Apple MacBook Air (13-Inch) Review

6 thumbs up
Apple decided to refresh their MacBook Air lineup this year, but rather than simply upgrading the existing machine with a new CPU, GPU or Blu-ray drive, Apple introduced some entirely new pieces of hardware with the new 11" and 13" MacBook Airs. While the 11" machine is certainly intriguing, and a compelling addition to the overall lineup, we're focusing today on the revamped 13" version here.




Arguably, this 13" model deserves the most scrutiny, largely because it's the third 13" notebook that Apple offers. Apple doesn't have as many options at any other notebook form factor, so it's of particular importance to weigh your options when looking for a 13" Apple ultraportable. There's the 13" MacBook, 13" MacBook Pro and 13" MacBook Air. And with the new specifications and overhauled design of the Air, it's more attractive than ever before.


MacBook Air 13-inch Laptop
Specifications & Features (as tested)

  • Mac OS X 10.6.4
  • 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (6MB shared L2 cache)
  • 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 128GB of Flash storage
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 320M GPU (256MB)
  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
  • 1,440x900 native resolution (16:10)
  • No optical drive
  • AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Reader
  • Mini DisplayPort video output socket
  • No Ethernet port
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
  • Built-in FaceTime video camera (640x480 resolution)
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Internal omnidirectional microphone
  • Built-in full-size non-backlit keyboard with 78 keys
  • Multi-Touch trackpad with support for Multi-Touch gestures
  • Built-in 50-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 45W MagSafe Power Adapter with cable management system
  • 0.11-0.68 x 12.8 x 8.94 inches (HWD)
  • 2.9 pounds

Direct Price: $1,299 (as tested)




We had the opportunity to take a look at the base 13" MacBook Air model, which was configured as you see above. Being that this is an ultraportable, and one of the thinnest at that, you'll be giving up amenities like an optical drive and an Ethernet socket. These are two of the major features that are found on Apple's other 13" notebooks (the MacBook and MacBook Pro), so those are probably more your style if you can't imagine life without an internal optical drive or an Ethernet jack. There are also only two USB ports (many ultraportables offer three), and a very atypical video output. The Mini DisplayPort socket isn't widely adopted yet, so you'll probably need to factor in $20-$40 for adapters that will enable you to output video via the more common HDMI or DVI.

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It's a nice little NetBook,..............

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realneil:
It's a nice little NetBook,..............

I couldn't agree more. I'm glad they refocused the Air into that niche- instead of it being and underpowered, under- usb'd, and under-regular laptop.

Sadly they couldn't reduce the price point to compete. But it's Apple, so the competition isn't all that apparent with all the fanboys.

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Though I am no way a Mac lover... and I feel much safe and comfortable with Windows pc but I think it is quite handy...You can get a thorough review on:

http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2010/10/macbook-air-review.html

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Sarah Hastings:
Though I am no way a Mac lover... and I feel much safe and comfortable with Windows pc

Your first post Sarah/Salma: "This is Salma Raul and I am a iPhone application and technology consultant"

You just make your living with Macs and Mac Products.

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i tried it at my school's apple store and it was awesome, i mean... the SSD makes every program pop up instantly and the fact that it is so light weighted, i would rather have this than an ipad!!

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Papapak:
i would rather have this than an ipad

It would be really nice if you could get this for the price of an iPad, then the choice would be easy, wouldn't it?

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Stev'ie has already said this is the future of Apple laptops. You'll have the choice of a Macbook Air or a Macbook Pro sometime in the next year or two. No more plain old Macbook.

The reason their sticking with the C2D chip is because they can't squeeze an Nvidia chip in with a Core. With the next version of OSX needing OpenCL, they will not stick with Intel intergrated graphics. Maybe Sandy Bridge will be powerful enough for what they need when it comes out, we will just have to wait an see.

The Ultra-Light market is the one place where I actually see Apple producing by far the best products. Their competing against things like the Acer Aspire Timeline and the Sony VAIO X. The VAIO X cost about the same (or more) while only packing an Atom. Aspire has a more powerful CPU, but is thicker, slightly heavier, and doesn't have as good a GPU or screen.

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It is a great balance of portability, power and battery life. For a tiny notebook it has an amazing graphics!!!!

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My brother loves Apple laptops, and has for years, I would not doubt this would interest him, but I think he likes bigger than this generally. The specs do seem very decent for a UL model though.

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