REVIEW: The MacBook Air might have some shortcomings, but it makes up for them with a level of portability and productivity that easily bests its larger counterparts.
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs first
unveiled the latest version of the MacBook Air on Oct. 20
during a press
event, some wondered how the product would fit between Apple's 13.3-inch
MacBook and the company's iPad tablet. After all, those other products provide
mobility and a certain level of productivity. Both the previous version of the
MacBook Air and the company's latest model seemed ripe for
But after spending the past week using the 13.3-inch MacBook
Air, boasting a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory and a 128GB
solid-state drive, it's clear that Apple's laptop fits quite well at the
crossroads between portability and usability.
The first thing that will strike customers when
viewing the MacBook Air is its outstanding design
. The main enclosure is
made from a single piece of aluminum that oozes sophistication. Plus, it's
extremely thin, measuring just 0.11 inches at its thinnest.
The computer boasts Apple's glass trackpad, which allows users
to control on-screen functionality with several gestures. In fact, owners can "pinch"
to zoom in on a page, swipe their fingers across the trackpad to move forward
and back, and use three fingers to drag windows around. The experience takes
some getting used to, but once customers get the hang of it, the MacBook Air's
trackpad becomes extremely handy.
Since I only reviewed the 13.3-inch MacBook Air model, I can't
say how well-designed the 11.6-inch model is. But when choosing between the two
models, it's important to consider the display size differences. On paper it
might not seem like much, but when in use the difference is quite noticeable.
If you will be doing some serious work on the device, the bigger screen is your
For a look at the new Apple MacBook Air, please click here.
Although the MacBook Air comes with a full-sized keyboard, it
doesn't have backlighting. So unless you are a fantastic touch typist, typing documents
at night is practically impossible. Hopefully, Apple will rectify this major
omission in the next iteration of the computer.
However, perhaps the biggest omission from the MacBook Air-and
one that was also missing from its predecessor-is a disc drive. If users want
to install a program from a disc, they have two choices: opt for the
ridiculously expensive MacBook Air SuperDrive add-on, which costs $79, or use
another computer's drive.