Apple MacBook Air

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Great Ultraportable

Aug 12, 2011 (Updated Sep 17, 2011)
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Rated a Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Well built, sexy, fast, light, small

Cons:can get expensive, Apple sandbox

The Bottom Line: Great ultraportable. Apple builds good hardware. Can install Win7 if needed.


MacBook Air 2011 review

I am typing this on our new Air. I love our iPad but frankly it is not that great for composing emails or typing anything substantial. Yes I know you can get a Bluetooth keyboard and turn it into a quasi laptop but it still isn't a "real" laptop. I think tablets have a real place in our world but sometimes you just need to do some real work.

Some specs:

Size: the 13 inch model is 12.8"x8.9"x.11" and weighs 2.96 pounds. The "13" in the name comes from the diagonal measurement of the screen.

The screen resolution is 1440x900 (which is more than the 1280x720 HD but not quite 1920x1080 HD) in a 16:10 ratio, which also is not quite the 16:9 ratio for "proper" HD.

The RAM is 4 GB which is not upgradable, it is part of the motherboard. The 13" version only comes with 4GB, the 11" model can have either 2GB or 4GB.

The storage is 256 GB and is not a "traditional" hard drive with spinning magnetic platters but flash memory, similar to a USB key. From the different websites it appears that the storage is a replaceable card that has the potential to be upgraded in the future. I would still get the most you can afford. The upgrade from 128GB to 256GB is $300.

The processor is the Intel i7 running at 1.8 GHz, the base processor is an Intel i5 running at 1.7 GHz. Again I would suggest getting as much as you can afford, the upgrade to the i7 is $100.

The new air can come with an i7 processor which moves it into the "real" laptop world. I actually ran BootCamp and installed Win7, everything is running great. Most people don't realize that Mac is not breaking new ground with ultraportable, they just are making it work. I bought a Sony T350 many years ago that tried to meet the need but the technology just wasn't up to speed yet. The new Sony ultraportables are nice but the Air is just better built and less expensive (how ironic that Apple is less expensive).

Let's talk about the Air build quality. It is built on the same "unibody" aluminum factor that the MacBookPro is but without the optical drive. They have shaved off a few millimeters of thickness and pulled the lip near your wrists to almost a sharp edge. The SSD drive enables the system to boot very quickly and masks some of the i7 low voltage characteristics that would show up in a traditional system. Let's face it, Mac makes great hardware. Ever since the iPod they have nailed the user experience. Heck I bought a HP Envy 17 just to see if it could compare to the MacBookPro 17 that my wife has (it didn't). I wish some other hardware company would step up to the plate and challenge Apple, I'm sure it will happen in my lifetime. . . . .

Anyway, the whole thing is a great experience. It started up with OS X Lion and worked great out of the box. There have been a few updates and whole thing has been very enjoyable (unlike my HP Envy 17 palm rest cooker experience). Even the Win7 install went without a hitch. I think I understand the "it just works" idea of the Apple community. My 10 year old son and wife drive a Mac and I am enjoying the experience.

I think I will still keep the Win7 partition for old times sake and to maintain a connection with the rest of the world.

I fear that now that Mac is no longer the small usage one it will begin to experience the wrath of the cyber baddies, but that is the price of success. . . .

UPDATE

Been living with the MacBookAir (MBA) for a few weeks now. It is an awesome combination of ultraportable and Mac. I can't believe how thin and light it is. When I use it to watch Netflix I feel like I am using our iPad, but then I use it to actually do some work and the notebook part begins to shine. This thing is redefining the category. I'm sure in a few months Windows versions will come out that can do the same thing, but Apple once again comes in and establishes a standard to beat. They just did the right combination of a massive battery and a semi-powerful processor to get the job done.

Bradman


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 1800
Operating System: Macintosh
Processor: Intel Pentium
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: 13 inches
RAM: More than 256
Hard Drive (GB): Over 50


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