via Six Colors:

So is the MacBook Air the right computer to buy a student? I’m going to stand by my previous suggestions, but of course, budget is a huge factor. If you can find a deal on a used or refurbished modern MacBook or MacBook Pro, it might be a better long-term deal than buying an Air, because they’re built with the latest and greatest tech, not stuff that’s already a couple of years out of date. But the fact is, unless your student really cares about watching HD video (and doesn’t have a different device to use to watch that) or editing video, even the $999 MacBook Air will provide enough power to do almost anything they throw at it.

I personally would still recommend a top of the line MacBook Air over today’s MacBook Retina. Anything less than the top of the line air, the Retina is the better buy.