The Register hands-on with MacBook Air: Tough to beat for those who value portability & good looks

Apple Online Store“Let’s get the hard part out of the way at the start. The new MacBook Air isn’t a cheap computer, and was never going to be,” Tony Smith reports for The Register.

Advertisement: MacBook Air. Available in two utlracompact sizes. Starting at just $999. Fast, free shipping from the Apple Online Store.

But it does have something to offer, “if you’re someone who values portability over performance. With a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo in the 11.6in Air and a 1.86GHz chip in the 13.3in model, neither Air is a powerhouse. But neither was the original, 1.6GHz machine, and that was eminently suited nonetheless to word processing, basic photo editing, media playback and app development. I know, those are all tasks I put mine too. I even played Halo on it.”

“The Intel graphics was always the original Air’s failing performance-wise, and so the Nvidia graphics, as they did with subsequent revisions of the first model, will go a long way to balancing the relatively slow CPU speed and the use of the old chip,” Smith reports. “I should point out, though, that none of the other 11.6in notebooks on the market have a Core 2 Duo inside… The 11.6in Air had no trouble running 1080p video – not something you can say about even the newest of Atom-based netbooks with Intel graphics.”

Smith reports, “Yes, there will always be a comparably sized machine that’s cheaper and/or more featured than the 11.6in Air, but you’ll be hard pushed to find one as good looking and a sheer bloody portable.”

Full review here.

22 Comments

  1. Apple product is never about number of features, clock rate, and all those kind of quantitative stuff. It’s about integrity and quality. It’s like good system is supposed to be: the total is more than the sum of it’s components. This thing is way better then any netbook. I have been all over netbooks: HP mini, Lenovo, you name it. All suck. This new macbook air is way beyond netbook.

  2. Apple product is never about number of features, clock rate, and all those kind of quantitative stuff. It’s about integrity and quality. It’s like good system is supposed to be: the total is more than the sum of it’s components. This thing is way better then any netbook. I have been all over netbooks: HP mini, Lenovo, you name it. All suck. This new macbook air is way beyond netbook.

  3. Granted it should cost less. But that would fall in line with the iPad 64GB GPS/3G. The Air is stuck between the iPad and a standard notebook and has a notebook design with the trackpad/keyboard. Yet, it still uses a core duo and a better graphics card than before and I do not know how this unit compares to the netbook market- I “assume” fairly well if not better.

    I think the comparison’s on the features and not price is lacking. The net-books are really cheap on the parts and will wear fairly quickly in daily mobile use. Not to mention the small cramped keyboards, low quality screens, and weak processors.

    We need a fair comparison and not some simple it is sexy and expensive because it is Apple. Compare parts,performance,and durability- I believe the Air models will excel as an average.

    Loose the mind numbing dribble on price!

  4. Granted it should cost less. But that would fall in line with the iPad 64GB GPS/3G. The Air is stuck between the iPad and a standard notebook and has a notebook design with the trackpad/keyboard. Yet, it still uses a core duo and a better graphics card than before and I do not know how this unit compares to the netbook market- I “assume” fairly well if not better.

    I think the comparison’s on the features and not price is lacking. The net-books are really cheap on the parts and will wear fairly quickly in daily mobile use. Not to mention the small cramped keyboards, low quality screens, and weak processors.

    We need a fair comparison and not some simple it is sexy and expensive because it is Apple. Compare parts,performance,and durability- I believe the Air models will excel as an average.

    Loose the mind numbing dribble on price!

  5. Using my MBA 13″ now. 3 1/2 years on – no issues, very reliable. Every time I travel with it all those who catch sight of it want an inspection/demo.

    APPLE: Aspire Provide Pleasure Learn Evolve

  6. Using my MBA 13″ now. 3 1/2 years on – no issues, very reliable. Every time I travel with it all those who catch sight of it want an inspection/demo.

    APPLE: Aspire Provide Pleasure Learn Evolve

  7. The biggest problem with comparing anything to MBAs is that it is simply impossible. The primary feature of MBA is unique to MBA: the 1.3kg weight, the 1.7cm thickness and the 7-hour battery life.

    These features are almost never relevant to the vast masses of Windows drones/geeks, and most consider them non-features. However, they have significant value to many, many people. Consequently, there are many who consider $1300 for a 13″ ‘underpowered’ laptop an excellent deal, and will buy it.

    As I said, it is simply impossible to compare MBA with ANY other computer, feature for feature, spec for spec. Any such comparison fails to give complete picture.

  8. The biggest problem with comparing anything to MBAs is that it is simply impossible. The primary feature of MBA is unique to MBA: the 1.3kg weight, the 1.7cm thickness and the 7-hour battery life.

    These features are almost never relevant to the vast masses of Windows drones/geeks, and most consider them non-features. However, they have significant value to many, many people. Consequently, there are many who consider $1300 for a 13″ ‘underpowered’ laptop an excellent deal, and will buy it.

    As I said, it is simply impossible to compare MBA with ANY other computer, feature for feature, spec for spec. Any such comparison fails to give complete picture.

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