The Air's three ports are on the right-hand side, within a fold-out panel that's remarkably effective and feels well made. The 3.5mm headphone socket, USB 2.0 port and mini DVI port - adaptor cables are bundled for full DVI and VGA - are gently spring-loaded and not remotely as flimsy as these kind of mechanisms so often are.
Again, the unit closes flush with the casing, though there's a gap above it to allow you to flip the ports open. This is easy enough to do when the laptop's held on its edge, but tricky when flat on a desk, a result of the narrow gap between desk and laptop edge, not the mechanism itself.
There's no catch to hold down the Air's lid, but there's enough strength in the hinge to hold it down. The front of the Air has an indentation to allow you to reach under the lid's edge and lift it up with a finger. That's sufficient pressure to open the lid with out pivoting the base too, until you get the lid past the vertical. There's sufficient friction in the hinge to keep the screen wherever you place it.
The glossy 13in, 1280 x 800 display is wonderfully clear and crisp, though no more so than any other LED-backlit screen we've seen. But while the horizontal viewing angle range is great, in the vertical it's pretty poor. Again, that's par for the course on laptops these days.
The Air's screen bevel is surprisingly wide but not intrusive. It's clear the Air's the size it is in order to make room for its large touchpad. The width of the LCD is barely bigger than that of the keyboard, and had Apple implemented an ordinary touchpad, it could have shaved a good 1.5cm off the width of the Air.
The touchpad is big because Apple's enabled iPhone-stye gesture input: draw two fingers apart to zoom into pictures and the like, then turn them to rotate images. It works as well as it does on the iPhone - pictures zoom and rotate smoothly and without lag - but where it's essential on the handheld, here it seems a gimmick.
The keyboard's lozenge keys are very good to type on, and there's none of the bend you get with some laptop keyboards - the Air's keyboard is mounted solidly. The keyboard backlight - activated manually or whenever the light around you dims - is welcome, as is the addition of dedicated keys for Mac OS X's Exposé and Dashboard features. We'd have rather had wireless enable/disable buttons than the media playback controls, but each to their own.
And what's with an Eject key on a optical disc-less laptop?
RE: Typical "blind Apple follower"
My old Ibook lasted just as long (well 3 years for me) and took the same kinda of abuse, in fact its still going as a fraind of mine is useing it now, I like the air its cool it light but to be honest the HDD size is two small and at this time it is more of look how thin i am and i have already bougt a new laptop, but still haveing used Windows/Linux and Mac over the years I do use windows at home and work (XP and vista) and a mac and linux at home each has there advantages but macs tend to be better made and have fewer problems, Though my little EEE PC is a very usefull little thing and at this time proberly is better if you need a light laptop for websurfing, though this may change
Just my two cents.
The MacBook Air is MUCH Thinner than the MacBook
Hi Foof - Actually your comment is in error, the MacBook Air is shockingly thinner than the MacBook or MacBook Pro.
Look at some real photos (below) and you'll quickly see the reality of just how thin the MacBook Air is in comparison to the MacBook.
re: Ivan headach
"@Also, let's be honest, the Vaio's look cooler as well.
Ivan Headache • Saturday 12th April 2008 01:51 GMT
So when was the last time you saw a bunch of punters standing round a Vaio going "Ooh, Aah!"?
When you do let me know and then I'll admit that the Vaio looks cooler than a Macbook Air.
Typical "blind Apple follower" "
simple the Sony VAIO VGN-X505VP launched 2004 11mm thick at the thinnest point, 822g weight (so how come th MBA weigh ove a kilo if it's meant to be light and portable) and no optical drive so all the Mac fan bois slated it
oh and once again I say 2004!!!!!
catch up just cos Jobs says it's new doesn't mean it is
It's not thin
Check the specs! It's the same thickness as a Macbook, only the edges are thinner.
For all the stuff that they took out of a Macbook to make it weigh less, and weight is the ONLY benefit of the Air, they should have priced it at $999.
If you need any add-ons such as the optical drive, you end up using more desk space than the Macbook, too.
So you've got your MBA and don't need all these fancy gadgets most laptops have got. You have a second computer at home for all that anyway. Great.
Okay, so you're on the go like a typical MBA user, at a business meeting, everyone goes "wow" at your shiny thin laptop, and someone gives you a CD with a presentation on...
(of course yes you might be carrying a bag full of hubs, external drives, and a cd-writer, but that defeats the point of the MBA)
Though personally I think most MBAs will just sit on a coffee table along side some style magazines in a minimalistic lounge ;-)