There are a few other changes in this model as well, the main one being Apple’s decision to ditch the mini DVI interface for connecting the computer to external monitors, and to replace it with the newer DisplayPort interface. Apple has already launched a new 24in LED-backlit monitor that uses DisplayPort and is specifically designed as a companion for the MacBook range, so this is clearly flavour of the month at Apple right now.
Unfortunately, the DVI and VGA adaptors that used to be included with the MacBook Air are no longer to be found in the box. This means that if you want to connect the MacBook Air to an existing monitor you’ll need to buy a suitable adaptor for around £20 a shot. It just seems a bit tight-fisted of Apple to cut corners like this on what is already a pretty expensive machine. By the time you’ve paid £20 for a video adaptor, £64 for the external DVD drive and £19 for the USB-to-Ethernet adaptor, you’ve spent another £100 for some fairly basic features that are standard on other, equally slim and light laptops.
Apple has updated the trackpad too, so that it works with a wider range of ‘multi-touch’ gestures, such as the ‘four-finger swipe’ for switching between open applications. It’s odd, though, that having a separate click-button just beneath the trackpad now looks rather old-fashioned and clunky compared to the buttonless trackpads that Apple uses on the rest of the MacBook range.
We still have reservations about the MacBook Air. The improved graphics performance does make it feel a lot smoother and more responsive than before. However, it’s still very expensive, and design decisions such as the non-replaceable battery just seem extremely short-sighted.
Still very thin
Yet, for all its limitations, the sheer quality of the design shines through. It’s not just the look of the machine that matters – the feel of it is important too. Being able to balance the laptop lightly in the palm of one hand, or to simply snap the lid shut and pick it up the way you would with an ordinary A4 notepad really does make it enormously convenient and comfortable to use - and we did not, as one of our esteemed colleagues suggests, feel like a tit while doing so.
We’ll concede that the recently updated MacBook represents much better value for money, and it’s hard to imagine that the MacBook Air will sell well in these credit-crunch days. And yet – we still want one. That’s how good the design is. ®
More Apple Laptop Reviews...
MacBook Pro Late 2008
MacBook Late 2008
MacBook Air Early 2008
Apple MacBook Air Late 2008
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.