“It’s kind of hard to improve on a 4.5-star rating. And yet Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air (starting at $1,299, $1,599 as configured) is better than its predecessor in some key ways,” Mark Spoonauer reports for Laptop Magazine.

“Just like before, this ultraporable is wonderfully thin and light and wakes up instantly when you lift the lid, but the new Air ups the ante with a backlit keyboard and a faster Core i5 [and i7] processor[s],” Spoonauer reports. “The notebook is also more versatile, thanks to a new Thunderbolt port that allows you to connect the laptop to a growing number of super high-speed peripherals, including Apple’s new Thunderbolt display.”

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“We already loved the 13-inch MacBook Air, and Apple’s improvements make it the perfect notebook as far as we’re concerned. When you combine a sleek ultraportable design with a great display and touchpad then nearly double the performance–without sacrificing battery life–you’re left with a winner,” Spoonauer reports. “You also get an improved backlit keyboard, Thunderbolt support, and the more powerful and versatle Mac OS X Lion… Add it all up and you have a machine that not only earns our Editors’ Choice award but also a very rare five-star rating.”

Full review – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: The world’s best operating system inside the world’s best ultraportable computer. It doesn’t get any better than Mac™.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple marketing, you may use the last sentence of our Take, “It doesn’t get any better than Mac™,” for a modest fee. 😉

Related articles:
WSJ’s Mossberg reviews Mac OS X Lion: ‘The best computer operating system’ – July 21, 2011
2011 MacBook Air benchmarked; outperforms all 2010 MacBook Pros – July 21, 2011
Apple debuts new MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 & i7, Thunderbolt I/O & backlit keyboard – July 20, 2011