A final complaint is the non-removable battery. We've never been too bothered by this in a phone or a music player, but here it's a concern. Apple has had its fair share of battery recalls, but with the Air there's no mailing out replacement power packs - it's a back-to-the-shop job. While the battery life is very good - yes, we got more than six hours out of ours with the screen backlight turned down low - lots of people like the reassurance of a spare battery.
This isn't a deal-breaker for us, but it is a disappointment and Apple will lose some customers because of it. Ditto the port limitations, though again we found ourselves not bemoaning the absence of Firewire and Ethernet anywhere as much as we'd anticipated we would.
It's the form-factor, stupid
We have a cheap no-name external DVD drive that we bought to install Windows on our Eee PC, and that works just fine with the Air for installing apps more quickly than Apple's clever over-the-network drive sharing software can. We tried it nonetheless, and it works, though CD and DVD playback's impossible. Some early reviewers rightly pointed out that copying a drive full of data over the WLAN and onto the Air is very slow, but then who'd have expected it to be otherwise? Use a cheap USB hard drive instead - that's what we did, and it was much quicker.
We didn't notice any particular wireless issues beyond the general fact that MacBook Pro and Air speeds are below the laptop par, a result of the metal casing and slim window used to lets signals pass in and out. We had no problems connecting and staying connected to a variety of access points. The experience was no different from connecting using either our old MacBook Pro or a Windows XP-equipped Eee, and certainly superior to networking a Vista-running Vaio.
The Air is a 'love it or loathe it' machine, but don't let the naysayers put you off if it offers the form factor you prefer. Of course it's not going to be the laptop to suit everyone - you can buy cheaper or more capable Macs and PCs - so it's not a must have for the price-conscious buyer or the power-hungry. It's pricey, but with the exception of the tiny, basic Eee, the Air's no more expensive than other slim'n'light laptops.
If form-factor is your prime concern, then the Air provides a good computing experience, and if our time with it is anything to go by, its port and optical disc limitations proved no handicap at all. Again, if you think they're going to be, there are plenty of other laptops out there that'll meet your needs instead. Of course, if you want to run Mac OS X on a thin'n'light machine, this is really your only option. If you don't then you're not going to chose the Air no matter how smart it is.
For us, price notwithstanding, the Air hits the mark. It's effectively as portable as our Eee, but with a much better battery life, a bigger screen, and a much more usable keyboard and touchpad. It's got the performance for a wide range of mainstream apps, but put it in your backpack and you'll forget it's there.
This is style over substance in the very best possible way.
Apple MacBook Air Early 2008
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 ;-)