PC Magazine reviews Apple’s MacBook Air: ‘Will captivate millions’

“The MacBook Air is a new class of laptop, even though it has a similar design as its MacBook Pro brethrens. What makes this ultraportable unique from the MacBook Pros and everything else in the industry is its thickness, or rather, lack thereof. It measures 0.76 inches deep at the back, tapering down to 0.16 inches as you move toward the front bezel. That’s simply unheard of on a 13-inch ultraportable. The MacBook Air weighs in at 3 pounds and includes features that the rumor sites have long been predicting, including a 13-inch LED screen and an optional SSD drive. It lacks an internal optical drive, and the (very) limited number of connectivity ports will raise eyebrows, but the $1,799 starting price, standard voltage processing parts, and a full size keyboard make up for its few limitations,” Cisco Cheng writes for PC Magazine.

“It goes without saying that the MacBook Air’s design is absolutely gorgeous. The system is basically the length and width of the MacBook 13-inch, except it’s more than 25% thinner in the back and almost 90% thinner near the front bezel,” Cheng writes.

“Going with a 13-inch screen easily allows Apple to integrate a full-size keyboard, which is nearly identical to the one found in the MacBook 13-inch. The only differences are the illuminated keyboard brought over from the MacBook Pros and the fact that it’s black,” Cheng writes.

“The touchpad on the MacBook Air is the largest I’ve seen on any ultraportable. The single mouse button is narrower than the ones on the MacBook Pros, but responsive. The touchpad adds another unique feature in that it’s gesture-based. In addition to two-finger scrolling, the same two fingers can now rotate photos, pan through photo thumbnails, pinch and enlarge Cover Flow images, and play with font sizes, just to name a few functions. Applying three fingers will let you browse backward and forward in a Web browser, though this only works in Safari,” Cheng writes.

“But what’s up with the single USB port? Since the ultraportable doesn’t have an Express Card slot or a card reader, the only way to use a WWAN card or grab images off of your SD card is through an external USB device,” Cheng writes.

MacDailyNews Note: PC Mag and their ilk love card readers more than they loved floppy drives, if that’s even possible. An over 2 year old Nikon CoolPix P1 (that we sometimes use when we need a flash) transfers via Wi-Fi (we use iPhone’s camera much more often nowadays – it’s just too convenient). Welcome to the future, 2005 style! It also comes with a USB cable if you prefer old-fashioned methods. We haven’t touched an SD card (or a card reader) since we dropped a 1GB’er into the Nikon over two years ago. Maybe we should get a MacBook Air to go with it?

Cheng continues, “The Wi-Fi connection comes in handy, given the system’s lack of an optical drive. The company also launched Remote Disc, a software upgrade that allows you to access an optical drive from any PC or Mac on your network. You simply go to the Finder search field and locate the Remote Disc icon. Clicking on the icon will give you a list of computers on your network where you can then perform a function like installing software from a networked PC. You can grab content off of the optical drive as long as it’s not copy protected.”

“Apple is claiming 5 hours on a rather small, 37Whr battery, which sounds great on paper. On the other, it’s a non-user upgradeable battery, similar to those on the iPods. Apple does say that down the line, if the battery fails, a replacement can be purchased for $129 and installation is free; but Apple will have to perform the surgery,” Cheng reports.

Cheng reports, “Without a doubt, the Apple MacBook Air is expected to sell like hotcakes. For one, the laptop debuts at $1,799, a compelling price point when compared to the $2,000 price tags on the Sony TZ150N, the Panasonic W4, and the Toshiba R500.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, you mean those big thick things that can’t run Mac OS X, iLife, iWork and all the rest while also being able to run Linux and slum it with Windows if necessary? How much extra is that worth?

Cheng continues, “Though Apple sacrificed an optical drive and certain connectivity options, it did so to make its profile significantly thinner than that of the competition. It also accomplished feats like adding a huge 13-inch display, a full size keyboard, and fast processing parts—all on a 3-pound chassis. I’d say these are respectable compromises. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement, because there is. But for now, the MacBook Air will captivate millions based on looks alone.”

Read the full article here.

49 Comments

  1. Gobble Gobble went the turkeys now that realisation finally begins to sink in! except the gobble they spout is more like Gobble de gook as their ignorance shines through thier comments…. It’s not just the looks Mr. Cheng, its is the software first and foremost!!!

    Thus spake the Crabapple….

  2. Why is it that when these review a PC brick, they always find many wonderful things to say about it???

    REview of standard but new version Dell PC laptop.

    Dell LPT-TOP 11223344-ST-VX Review.

    Its a wonderful shade of dull silver!!

    It looks like everyother PC out there.!!!

    It is over priced and under performing, so rush out and buy it. !!!

    It runs Winblows Vista with all its bloat. !!!

    It brings nothing new to the table!!!

    We predict that it will sell like hot cakes ( in china.)..

    Hmmm, I think I have seen this review before. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  3. I personally would not want a MacBook Air – I would rather have more screen space. Since I carry my laptop in my bag, the difference of a couple of pounds is not really consequential to me (note: I carry it pretty much everywhere and pretty much all the time).

    That said, I cannot understand the complaint about “no card reader”. I think the USB is fine, considering that many (most?) people use that method anyway.

    The one thing that is not getting enough attention is Remote Disk. That is a really cool workaround and I would not mind running that on my MacBook Pro. Maybe some day on the iPhone?

  4. How many devices do people expect to plug into a laptop all the time anyway? This laptop is designed to be the ultimate in portability, so you don’t want a bunch of devices plugged into it at one time.

    If you’re going to need a bunch of devices plugged in, get a USB hub – you won’t be carrying those devices around with you anyway. Kinda goes against the idea of portability.

  5. Honestly, why do you need more than one USB port? I have a hub that I plug all my USB crap into, leaving the other 2 ports on my iMac empty. Same on my ancient Quicksilver PowerMac G4. I have one USB cable going to a hub where everything is all connected. The other USB port is not connected to anything. It is silly to insist upon multiple USB ports when you don’t need them. PLUS, most things can daisy chain via USB, or come with their own little hubs built in (ie: external hard drives).

    So, if I were to get an MBA (MacBook Air), I’d come home after traveling it, and connect two cables. One being the power charger, and the other being a single USB cable connected to my hidden hub.

    PC reviewers just don’t seem to get how most people use their stuff.

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