Mossberg reviews Apple MacBook Air: Strong battery, very thin and light, surprisingly powerful

Apple Online Store“I’ve been testing both versions [of Apple’s new MacBook Air models], but especially the 11.6-inch model, and I find that, despite a few drawbacks, they really do offer the different, more iPad-like experience Apple claims they do,” Walter S. Mossberg writes for AllThingsD. “Battery life is strong, and the wake up from sleep is almost instant, even after long periods of being unused.”

Like their predecessors in the Air family, these are gorgeous, very thin and light, but very sturdy aluminum computers,” Mossberg reports. “And, like their predecessors, or like iPads and smartphones, they rely on solid-state storage—flash chips—instead of a conventional hard disk to hold all your files. But Apple has dramatically reduced the physical size of the flash storage to make room for larger sealed-in batteries, so battery life is longer.”

Mossberg reports, “I was surprised to find that even the base $999 model was powerful enough to easily run seven or eight programs at once, including Microsoft Office, iTunes and the Safari browser with more than 20 Web sites open. It also played high-definition video with no skipping or stuttering.”

“So, if you’re a light-duty user, you might be able to adopt one of the new Airs as your main laptop. If you’re a heavy-duty user, who needs lots of power and file storage, they’re likely to be secondary machines,” Mossberg reports. “Overall, Apple has done a nice job in making these new MacBook Airs feel more like iPads and iPhones without sacrificing their ability to work like regular computers.”

Read the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, yeah, Walt, but what about Android?

30 Comments

  1. The MacBook Air sits between a iPad and a MacBook Pro in computer ability.

    What happens over time is people’s storage drives fill up. Their programs, music, pictures and videos (especially!) increase over time and it’s a hassle to drag along a eternal drive which if a hard drive, is subject to damage. The cloud storage concept for large amount of files is a joke, as upload and download speeds are terrible and inconsistent as it depends upon a reliable Internet connection.

    IMMO the best choice for the longterm is a MacBook Pro with a 7,200 RPM 500GB or better hard drive, a anti-glare screen so it can be used in nearly any environment.

    However if your computer needs are minimal and not expected to grow over time, but require a keyboard and monitor stand (unlike the iPad), then the MacBook Air is a good choice.

    I don’t see a lot of MBA’s in the wild, more people choose the MBP’s instead.

  2. The MacBook Air sits between a iPad and a MacBook Pro in computer ability.

    What happens over time is people’s storage drives fill up. Their programs, music, pictures and videos (especially!) increase over time and it’s a hassle to drag along a eternal drive which if a hard drive, is subject to damage. The cloud storage concept for large amount of files is a joke, as upload and download speeds are terrible and inconsistent as it depends upon a reliable Internet connection.

    IMMO the best choice for the longterm is a MacBook Pro with a 7,200 RPM 500GB or better hard drive, a anti-glare screen so it can be used in nearly any environment.

    However if your computer needs are minimal and not expected to grow over time, but require a keyboard and monitor stand (unlike the iPad), then the MacBook Air is a good choice.

    I don’t see a lot of MBA’s in the wild, more people choose the MBP’s instead.

  3. ‘What happens over time is people’s storage drives fill up. Their programs, music, pictures and videos (especially!) increase over time and it’s a hassle to drag along a eternal drive which if a hard drive, is subject to damage. The cloud storage concept for large amount of files is a joke, as upload and download speeds are terrible and inconsistent as it depends upon a reliable Internet connection.’

    Bizzarro, you are joking – right?

  4. ‘What happens over time is people’s storage drives fill up. Their programs, music, pictures and videos (especially!) increase over time and it’s a hassle to drag along a eternal drive which if a hard drive, is subject to damage. The cloud storage concept for large amount of files is a joke, as upload and download speeds are terrible and inconsistent as it depends upon a reliable Internet connection.’

    Bizzarro, you are joking – right?

  5. I’m glad that Uncle Walt likes the MacBook Air but, as usual, he whispers his praise as he tiptoes through his review for fear of offending the legions of Windoze morons on whom his career depends. At least he has the decency to take off his collar and leash before appearing on camera.

  6. I’m glad that Uncle Walt likes the MacBook Air but, as usual, he whispers his praise as he tiptoes through his review for fear of offending the legions of Windoze morons on whom his career depends. At least he has the decency to take off his collar and leash before appearing on camera.

  7. “Or you could just offload some of the crap on your HD. External HD anyone?”

    Most people will default to using a USB port to offload/onload files and this places premature wear on the port if used constantly, along with all the other things people connect to a USB port, like thumb drives, mice, custom keyboards, etc.

    My MBP has got a a failing USB port after 4 years of use, good thing I have another.

  8. “Or you could just offload some of the crap on your HD. External HD anyone?”

    Most people will default to using a USB port to offload/onload files and this places premature wear on the port if used constantly, along with all the other things people connect to a USB port, like thumb drives, mice, custom keyboards, etc.

    My MBP has got a a failing USB port after 4 years of use, good thing I have another.

  9. @ Mark Bizzarro,

    USB Hub. Powered if you connect to printers, scanners, hard drives and the like, unpowered if you don’t.

    Unpowered hubs are less than $10, powered and combo hubs less than $30.

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