I said to myself that I would not be buying anymore Apple hardware this year after being stung after their ever-so-slightly-less-than-impressive earnings announcement that lost me a stack on CFDs. But having seen the 20th October announcement – finally, for a 12″ Powerbook replacement – I just pounced and had to own the new 11.6″ Macbook Air.
The design is flawless and I am incredibly glad now that I didn’t part with my cash for the iPad, with its stifled iOS operating system. For my money (and the fabulous corporate discount that I am still, somehow, entitled to), I have received a wonderfully scaled-down version of my Macbook Pro that runs full-blown OSX, Terminal, BBEdit, Photoshop/Fireworks and anything else that I am likely to need.
Many observers will probably complain about the price and the ‘lack of features’, but this is simply not a fair comparison as there is no other product out in the market like this. Netbooks are generally of a poor construction – especially when compared to the Macbook Air; they are also slow, coupled with awful screen resolution that makes them a passing solution for a professional, at best. In some ways, I am inclined to comment that they should have repackaged this product as the ‘Macbook Air Pro’, as it has left the issues that plagued its predecessor far behind.
- Solid construction: aluminium unibody as with almost all their notebooks now.
- 64gb of fast flash memory. Ignored 128gb option, as an external drive is fairly mandatory anyway.
- 1366 x 768 resolution trumps anything else at this screen size – feels no different to my Macbook Pro or my old Macbook Air.
- Two USB ports! (Only old Macbook Air owners really appreciate this)
I do feel that at any of these price points set out, that 4gb of RAM should now be included as standard. RAM prices are so cheap now for 2/4gb modules, so there is no reason in my mind for Apple to not have provided this.
Where has the backlit keyboard gone?! This is, oddly, one of the most important things to me since owning the first Powerbooks to include this feature and I cannot believe it has been omitted from this product in both sizes! One has to believe that in shaving off additional micrometers, the backlit keyboard was one of the casualties, but had I been the engineer/designer, it would not have gone.
OK, I think that is all the grumbles I have at the moment. Time will test the overall build quality and the quality of the new internals – the old Macbook Air had a serious screen/hinge issue (the lid and screen were essentially all one part) where it simply got looser and looser, to the point where the plastic hinge began to crack and eventually, the whole lid came off. Hopefully this will not happen this time around.
If you have contemplated the Macbook Air in the past, but it didn’t quite cut the mustard for you in all areas, then this new model should not disappoint.
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