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Thread: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

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    Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Rant warning... beware all ye who enter.

    I got a 2014 13" MBA over the summer for a very good price, it only really exists for coding (C++, though heavy tests are done on desktop either ssh or in person), LaTeX, and web-browsing/pdfs for lecture notes. It was supposed to a nice small and light laptop that I could carry around all the time. (Aside: I couldn't actually get any other brand laptop with the similar weight, battery life and specs for the price - it was a very compelling deal).

    So I've been using it as above since I started back mid September and it's been great so far (other than a very slightly wobbly trackpad I've been meaning to have adjusted). Today, when I was cleaning the screen I noticed a few little lighter dots that wouldn't go away. So I gave it a bit of a scrub with a damp microfibre cloth and buffed it all again. Hmm. Still there. A line of little white dots about 2/3 of the way up the screen, crossing roughly the central 1/2-2/3 of the screen.
    Investigation ensued: gentle poke, definitely physical, fingernail (very gently) notices a slight roughness. So physical damage. Looking around to see what could have caused the damage I half closed the lid. Then I saw it. The edge raised aluminium section between the keyboard and trackpad matches the marks perfectly. So flawed by design?

    I'm very careful with my devices. My release iPad mini doesn't have a mark on it. Neither does the MBA other than the ones it has self inflicted! With regards to how I pack it my bag: I have a satchel type bag with a padded laptop pocket. None of my other devices have needed a case inside the padded pocket and I certainly wouldn't expect an 'ultrabook' to. I don't overly load my bag. Yes there are some small books and papers in there, but we're not talking about big textbooks leaning against the Air. I keep the bag upright when to avoid any load on the computer. I'm just shocked that this was so poorly designed. My best guess from having a poke around is that the top panel with the screen has been milled so thin (for weight reasons) that if *any* pressure is applied to the top of the case it will touch the other side. If it then moves around...

    Ridiculous.
    Thoughts, Comments, Advice? I do have AppleCare (yay cheap for students), but I'm not going to try and get the screen replaced till I've worked out how to avoid it recurring. (Heard multiple instance of people having it replaced under warranty as a one-off). Oh and to top it all my friend's 13" MBP had what looks like the graphics die today (surprising for built-in Ivy Bridge). Mildly frustrated here. Sorry for the rant.

    Edit: Oh, I also spent 10 minutes trying to take a phtot earlier, but the spots are very light dependent, couldn't quite get it. Luckily they're not visible with the screen on unless there's a very bright Halogen light or Sun, pointing directly at the screen (so unusable anyway).
    Last edited by Goobley; 06-11-2014 at 01:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    If you got it sorted, what about putting a thin sheet of foam inside the closed laptop? You know the sort of thing you get as packaging around some electronic goods.

    No, it's not very elegant having a bit of packaging permanently inserted in your laptop, but in lieu of a better solution...

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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    If you got it sorted, what about putting a thin sheet of foam inside the closed laptop? You know the sort of thing you get as packaging around some electronic goods.

    No, it's not very elegant having a bit of packaging permanently inserted in your laptop, but in lieu of a better solution...
    Seems sensible. I've also seen thin microfibre cloths for sale for this purpose since I spotted it. Whilst they charge a silly price for those there's probably no reason a normal glasses cloth wouldn't work.

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Get them to acknowledge the defect, get a full refund, buy a better brand?
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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    That sounds rubbish. Is it a known manufacturing defect, or do you think you have a duff one?

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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    I reckon you've got a duff MBA especially given that you've got a wobbly trackpad. I've had an MBA for nearly two years now and the screen is still immaculate with no need for any foam inserts or anything like that.
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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    From the research I've done - very limited as I'm preparing for some exams at the moment - it is far from the first occurrence of the problem - however there aren't enough different forum posts for me to think that it's a systematic manufacturing flaw (I'd expect most people to be rougher with theirs than I am, and mine has only been on bag duty for 2 months).

    I have booked an appointment with a "genius" on Sunday and will see what is to be done.

    @TheAnimus (or anyone else who'd like to chip in) If I were to go down this road does anyone know of any laptops ~13" with 8+ hour battery life, weighing less than 1.5kgs whilst running a *nix OS? These criteria were what led me back to a mac in the first place (grew up with them through the 90s).

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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobley View Post
    @TheAnimus (or anyone else who'd like to chip in) If I were to go down this road does anyone know of any laptops ~13" with 8+ hour battery life, weighing less than 1.5kgs whilst running a *nix OS? These criteria were what led me back to a mac in the first place (grew up with them through the 90s).
    Hm, Elitebook 820 G1 is around 1.3KG, Thinkpad X240 is 1.4KG. The Thinkpad has an IPS option while the Elitebook doesn't AFAIK. Both of these are 12.5", if you are looking at larger, the Elitebook 840 G1 is around 1.6KG.
    Reviews from NBC using the same criteria:
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-....112967.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-....106883.0.html

    Running Windows, the Elitebook gets 813min / 392min / 124min (Idle / Wifi Surfing / Full Load), while the Thinkpad gets 821min / 476min / 104min. What the battery life is with *nix OS's is an unknown.

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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Defo sounds like you have a badly made one. I've had Apple laptops for nearly 14 years now and never come across that. My father in law had an issue with one of his laptops, it was an acknowledged issue with the case and so it was replaced FoC on the spot.

    Just take it back - Apple's face to face support is really good, I doubt you'll have any issues.

    For the record - I always put microfibre clothes between my keyboard and screen, always have done after noticing that dirt from the keys was finding its way onto the screen. Seemed obvious that it could cause damage if the dirt was more than 'finger grease'.

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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lowe View Post
    Just take it back - Apple's face to face support is really good, I doubt you'll have any issues.
    This is the opposite of my experience with Apple, I've found them to be consistently worse than most retailers. I swore I'd never touch them again after the iPhone 4 fiasco I had. I made this mistake of buying a Philips hue bloom that exploded a little, returning a 4 hour old bulb was excruciating, only when I asked someone to sign something saying they refused return of it, did someone actually refund me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lowe View Post
    For the record - I always put microfibre clothes between my keyboard and screen, always have done after noticing that dirt from the keys was finding its way onto the screen. Seemed obvious that it could cause damage if the dirt was more than 'finger grease'.
    I've had a laptop for my own use since 1998. I've got 5 laptops that I personally use at the moment. I've never, ever needed to do this. Sounds like a serious design flaw to me.
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    Re: Seriously Apple!? (MBA)

    That's your experience, and I won't argue with that - it's just not the same as mine and I've had occasion to use their support on more than a couple of occasions. Perhaps your Apple shop is run by a moron?

    WRT the screen, I accept Apple's leaning toward a form over function design. With the thin laptops and no thick foam separating pads between screen and body etc I'm just using my own intuition as to what's going to happen when the lid is closed. I know plenty of people who have no issue at all. I just choose not to risk a £2k laptop for the sake of a small piece of cloth. You're right though, it is pants.

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