We’d estimate that performance for routine tasks such as running Microsoft Office apps is 10-20 per cent higher on this model. Battery life for this sort of task seems unchanged – a little under four hours when typing away in Word, although you can stretch this quite a bit longer if you turn the screen brightness down low.
XBench 1.3 Results
Longer bars are better
You can see from the XBench results that - even allowing for the fact we tested a 1.6GHz early Air and a 1.8GHz new one - the machine's had a big performance boost. We wouldn't take the Overall rating too seriously - it's way beyond faster machines thanks to the very high HDD score, a result of the test machine's SSD. Our real-world experience of SSDs tells is they're not that much quicker than HDDs.
But you can see the improvement in Memory, thanks to the higher frontside bus speed and the use of DDR 3 technology.
However, the most welcome improvement is the Nvidia GPU, replacing the feeble Intel GMA X3100 in the original Air. Apple says that the GeForce 9400M provides four times the graphics performance of the X3100, and we certainly noticed that video playback and tasks such as scrolling through album artwork in iTunes were much smoother. An H.264 standard-definition download of Iron Man from the iTunes Store looked rather splendid running in full-screen mode on the Air’s glossy display.
However, it’s games that show the greatest improvement. The 1.86GHz model managed a respectable 36 frames per second when running Doom 3, whereas the previous model could barely run the game at all. Of course, no one buys a Mac only to play games, but the Mac OS and programs like iTunes involve a lot of graphical trickery, so the improved graphics performance helps make the machine feel much more responsive in day-to-day use.
Do you have to be a geek for requesting an RJ45 or second usb port?
Right tool for the job?
While I look askance at Air having only one USB port (??) and a non- replaceable battery (???), I also agree with the many posters who basically said that if it won't work for you as-is, don't buy it. I wouldn't buy a Maserati to haul sacks of concrete any more than I'd buy a pickup truck to race on the autobahn. Kudos to Apple for pushing the design envelope; in due time I expect we'll see something with all the features that powergeeks need built into something stylish enough to make us look forward to doing work on it.
I get PC's for free,...
Now,.If Mr. Jobs would like to give me an MBA for "FREE"
I'll use his products.
Why oh Why
Do people continue to criticize at product that would never fit their needs or in fact is not even targeted at them as a potential customer.
I have seen the MBA and absolutely love the form factor and design, however like others here I would never buy one, why not, because it wouldn't do what I needed, however why should that stop me liking the product for what it is or admiring the design aesthetics. I think it's great that innovation like this continues as eventually it will filter down into the sort of devices I need and use.
It's a real shame people insist on this type of behavior - it is not constructive or enjoyable (and I usually enjoy reading the news and views on El Reg).
Please, Please accept products like the MBA and iPhone for what they are, and if you are not the intended audience then don't feel you have to try and ruin the experience for those who are. I am not an Apple Fanboy - I use products from many manufacturers (including Apple) and don't feel the need to call something a pile of cr@p just because it doesn't meet my needs!
The MacBook Air is not MEANT to be a powerhouse for geeks, it's targetted at people who want reasonable performance in a very compact form. Apple have *deliberately* stripped out a lot of the unnecessary stuff (unnecessary for its target market, not geeks) to make it so unbelievably thin and portable.
The whining I keep hearing from people moaning about how expensive it is given it's been stripped down. Sorry guys, but stripping all this stuff off a standard laptop form factor takes R&D time, it's the same reason Porsche make versions of it's cars which have everything stripped out (glass for perspex, removal of seats, no air-con etc, right down to the badge being a sticker rather than a metal badge) and cost MORE than the standard versions with all the trimmings. It's a niche market that they're catering for and the design costs time and therefore money.
If you have about £1200 to spare and want an Apple laptop, you have 2 choices - buy a full-featured MacBook Pro if you're a geek and/or want the power and features the larger form-factor provides, or buy a MacBook Air and get the ultimate in portability with some features and performance sacrificed in order to achieve that.
Remember geeks - the MacBook Air is not targetted at you! Go buy the MacBook Pro instead.