Excellent performance despite the thin and light design
Extremely thin and light, sturdy build quality, very good display, comfortable keyboard, excellent trackpad, good battery life, quick startup time, respectable performance despite slow processor
No backlight for keyboard, no external battery status indicator, speakers could have been bit louder, 64GB on base model is too less, 128GB model is too expensive
Expert Rating :
The original MacBook Air that launched two years back was a remarkable machine. It was the thinnest notebook at the time of its launch, and even though others soon caught up with it in terms of thinness, the Air still held its own when it came to pure charm. But despite that it wasn't the MacBook of our dreams. It was prohibitively expensive and did not have the performance or the features to justify the price tag, and had very little to offer apart from flaunt value. Even with last year's hardware update, we still weren't quite convinced. Given a choice we would spring for the 13-inch MacBook Pro without hesitation, as it offered a far better balance between portability and performance.
But the new MacBook Air changes all that. The biggest change is in the price, the MacBook Air, at the moment, is significantly cheaper than the older model. It is also slimmer, as you would expect any new generation Apple product to be, and at the same time includes plenty of basic features that the older model left out, such as an additional USB port, an SD card slot and stereo speakers. It also includes higher resolution displays and has now switched completely to flash storage. More importantly, there is now an 11-inch model as well, along with the 13-inch model, which starts at $999, the same as the cheapest MacBook.
But there have been some compromises made along the way, such as the inclusion of a slower processor, limited storage space and the lack of backlight keyboard. But will that affect the overall performance in a significant way? Or is the new MacBook Air still a better machine overall despite the obvious drawbacks? Let's find out.
11-inch MacBook Air
45W MagSafe power adapter, AC wall plug, and power cord
Printed and electronic documentation
Software Reinstall Drive
As you can see, the 11-inch MacBook Air comes with a smaller 45W power adaptor, compared to the 85W power adaptor that the MacBook Pros come with. Also, this time around Apple is providing the software on a nifty little flash drive. It has the Mac OS X Snow Leopard as well as iLife '11 on it. Unfortunately though, Apple has not included Windows Boot Camp drivers on the flash drive (they have made sure that the drive is not detectable at all on Windows). Thankfully, you get the option to download Boot Camp drivers when you are creating a partition, which you can save on another portable drive and then install separately after you install Windows.