InfoWorld reviews Apple MacBook Air: supreme portability, attractive, and functional

“The MacBook Air isn’t designed to be a desktop replacement system, and it doesn’t have desktop-like specs, unlike the MacBook Pro (see Tom Yager’s review, “The best notebook you can buy”) and other 2.4GHz-plus Core 2 Duo laptops on the market,” Paul Venezia reports for InfoWorld. “Could I live without a bevy of ports and a DVD drive? Could I use the Air to do real work?”

“In order to find out, I bought one and used it to write this review. In many ways, the Air has caused me to rethink some of my preconceived notions about what I need from a computer (see my “Deep End” blog post on that topic),” Venezia reports.

In an age when you can still get a laptop with a parallel port, Apple has created a laptop with no legacy ports, even deleting FireWire from the specs. There’s also no built-in optical drive. Many reacted to this with disdain, decrying the lack of an internal optical drive, fixed RAM, and limited ports as being too limited and artificially handicapping the system. I’ve come to realize that I don’t think that’s the case at all. When I thought about it, I don’t really need any of those things on a daily basis, and when I do, it’s rare. Perhaps desktops need lots of ports, but not laptops — not any more. In a time when I can buy a 16GB USB2 flash drive for under $80, why would I bother to carry DVDs and CDs? If I don’t use those, why do I need the drive? If I need to transfer files between systems, I can use wired or wireless Ethernet, or that USB flash drive. – Paul Venezia,, “The MacBook Air finds its Nietzsche,” February 10, 2008

“It’s unfair to classify the MacBook Air as a laptop. It’s not, unless you’re Mini Me. It’s an ultraportable,” Venezia reports.

“I figured the best place to work with the Air would be a coffee shop, which is essentially its native environment. Within five minutes of sitting down and joining the free Wi-Fi network, one of the three people that had been eyeing me came over and said, simply, ‘Wow.’ The other two then came over and after five minutes of the Air being passed around, hefted, and turned over and over, the general consensus was still ‘Wow.’ One woman brandished a Dell Latitude like a dirty diaper and announced that it was time for a change,” ” Venezia reports.

“The MacBook Air is not perfect, but it sure is attractive and functional. If you’re looking for a desktop replacement system, get a MacBook Pro. If you’re looking for a basic laptop, get a MacBook. If you’re looking for supreme portability and more than reasonable performance, definitely get a MacBook Air,” Venezia reports.

Full review here.

24 Comments

  1. “It’s unfair to classify the MacBook Air as a laptop. It’s not, unless you’re Mini Me. It’s an ultraportable,” Venezia reports.

    That’s a valid and fair distinction and one that many critics here and elsewhere have overlooked.

  2. In the years/months to come hopefully we’ll stop writing about the Air in terms of the sacrifices you make for portability but more about other models (including Macs) and what you sacrifice with them in portability in order to get “better” specs.

  3. “One woman brandished a Dell Latitude like a dirty diaper and announced that it was time for a change,” “

    they are going to sell a LOT of these babies…….

    and yes, i know what you friend means Mr. Reeee. that was my first thought too. it feels like the iPhone or classic. it is light beyond belief, and thinner than thin.

  4. “In an age when you can still get a laptop with a parallel port, Apple has created a laptop with no legacy ports, even deleting FireWire from the specs. “

    You know, I think the pundits are right. After all, the iPod Touch makes a terrible laptop.
    Where is the 13″ screen?
    Where is the full keyboard”
    What? No firewire or ethernet connectors?
    NO floppy drive??
    It does not do Windows??
    on and on……… …. LOL ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Apple has been making products that fit specific markets, period. They do not make beetle VWs that can haul 3/4 ton loads of dirt!!

    I hope the average reader (which does seem to be getting smarter, by the way ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> ) begins to write in more and more to the writers who just have nothing to say, but yell it so loudly.

    Just a thought.

    en

  5. Last week I had the pleasure to use a MBA on loan from one of my agencies. First let me say that it was amazing to hold and use the MBA it’s design was very high on the Wow factor..that being said that is where it ended.

    I took it to various meetings with me as a way to take notes and low and behold the battery started to go in the second meeting. I wound up getting a little over 3 hours of battery time. The jack ports on the side are aweful close together. I did not have a problem running Parallels but when I switched back and forth between Parallels and OSX it became very slow.

    Overall a nice notebook but at $1799 I forsee a major price drop in the summer.

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