Apple MacBook Air (13-Inch) Review

Introduction and Specifications

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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