Even so, the Air's not without its flaws. We've already mentioned the very spartan array of ports, but there's another: the design of cooling system. The Air pulls air in through the keyboard and vents it out of a grille on the base, or vice versa. That's fine when you're using the air on a desk, where the airflow will be unimpeded, but it makes it tricky to use perched on your thighs. Do so and you'll block the vents.
MacBook owners might be wary of doing this in any case, having experience high Apple laptop baseplate temperatures, but the Air's a different beast that runs much cooler than the company's other machines. It's a lot cooler than the MacBook Pro when running exactly the same set of applications. Push the processor and upper and lower surfaces will warm up but never get unpleasantly hot as the MacBook Pro can. The fan will rev up in such circumstances, but we never found its hum intrusive.
Missing ports not missed
As it turned out, we didn't mind the absence of an optical drive or multiple USB ports either, but that's no excuse for not building either an extra USB or a Firewire port into the Air's array, and an Ethernet socket, for that matter. Apple's £19 USB-to-Ethernet adaptor works well enough but, like the remote control, really should have come bundled, given the Air's price.
The standard, hard drive version retails for £1199/$1799, to which you can add £829/$1299 for the SSD version. The price is high when compared to Apple's more mainstream laptops but less than what Toshiba is charging for its entry-level R500, and Sony for the Vaio TZ1. Like those machines, the Air is a niche product, aimed at folk willing to pay more for a machine that's as portable as possible. And the Air is certainly very portable.
So too are the Sony and the Toshiba but without the sacrifices Apple felt it necessary to make to get its machine so thin. A little more thickness for extra ports wouldn't have been much of a compromise and still left the Air with a slightly bigger screen and keyboard, and a faster CPU than the TZ1 and R500. Better looking too - that's enough of a differentiation without having to be thinner into the bargain.
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 ;-)