The customary webcam - nothing special, but good enough for our Skype calls - sits above the screen next to two tiny, circular grilles, one for the microphone, the other over the Air's ambient light sensor. The lid has a thin pad running around its entire length to cushion the display when it's stowed.
Internally, the basic Air has a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor - one of the older, 65nm models, not a new, 45nm one - and 2GB of dual-channel 667MHz DDR 2 memory, all soldered to the motherboard, so completely un-upgradeable. To reach it, you have to remove ten tiny philips screws, which allows you to take off the Air's base and view the long, thin and flat battery. It also lets you get at the 1.8in parallel ATA hard drive - or SSD, if you choose that expensive option; you also get a 1.8GHz CPU - but it's a 5mm-high model and there aren't many of those around, certainly none larger than 80GB.
Thin but tough
Our 1.6GHz Air has a Samsung SpinPoint N2 drive spinning at 4200rpm. But loading apps and files wasn't noticeably slow in most cases. The Air starts up a little less quickly than a MacBook Pro with a 5400rpm SATA drive, but not radically so. You'll have gathered from the spec that the Air isn't a powerhouse machine, and if you don't treat it like one, you won't be disappointed with its overall performance.
The screen's driven by the Intel GMA X3100 graphics engine built into the Air's chipset. It grabs a maximum 144MB of the 2GB Ram built into the laptop, but that leaves plenty for all the tasks the Air is designed for. This is a machine for running general productivity apps and communications software, and while you can do photo and video editing, it's not a pro machine. If that's what you need, get a MacBook Pro. The GPU can do games, but again this isn't a laptop for serious gamers.
We tried the Air as a second, travel-centric companion to but not a replacement for our 15in MacBook Pro workhorse. As such, the Air performed admirably. Performance is good with a wide range of commonplace apps, and there's enough storage for a decent selection of media. Like Apple's long-discontinued PowerBook Duo sub-notebooks, the Air is best seen as a secondary machine not your prime computer, unless your performance and/or storage demands are small.
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 ;-)