Feeds
80%

Apple MacBook Air Early 2008

Style over substance - and thank God too

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Apple MacBook Air

Well-hinged

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?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.