Feeds
80%
Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air June 2009

Laptop lightweight packs more punch

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

One point to note is that the SSD drive produces extremely strong performance that disproportionately boosts the laptop’s overall rating in both PCMark05 on Windows and Xbench on OS X. The SSD drive certainly helps with tasks such as opening large video files in iMovie, but it doesn’t provide much benefit for more routine tasks such as surfing the web or using Microsoft Office.

Apple MacBook Air

No internal optical drive, but CD/DVD drives from other machines can be accessed

Battery life has improved too. The battery is sealed-in and non-replaceable, so you can’t swap it for a replacement on a long plane-flight. However, the MacBook Air now uses the same Apple-designed lithium-polymer battery as the MacBook Pro range and managed to last for just five minutes short of three hours when looping PCMark05 continuously.

Switching back to OS X, we got almost exactly three hours and 30 minutes of video playback using an H.264 file stored on the SSD drive, and you should be able to beat four hours quite comfortably for lighter tasks such as typing away in Word. We were also pleased to see – or rather, hear – that the laptop remained very quiet at all times during use. The base of the unit does get a bit warm at times, but never got too hot to rest on our lap.

Mind you, there are other aspects of the MacBook Air’s design that remain as infuriating as ever. Some people might consider the non-replaceable battery to be a deal-breaker, but in daily use we found ourselves more annoyed by the single USB port and lack of Ethernet, the latter being available as a USB adapter option. And, of course, anyone that’s got a Firewire camcorder or hard disk is left in the lurch by the omission of Firewire too.

And while we understand the decision to omit a built-in optical drive in order to reduce weight, Apple offers an optional external USB SuperDrive unit for an additional £64, if you really need it. Although we have successfully hooked up other optical drives with the Air, Apple offers a facility to install software over your network using the CD/DVD drive from another computer running Remote Disc for Mac or Windows.

Apple MacBook Air

Optical extra: Apple’s SuperDrive USB external DVD writer

Appearing as a disc in the Air’s volume listings, drive sharing is technically ingenious and relatively easy to use. Still, when we needed to do a clean install of OS X for our tests and then install the bundled iLife suite and MS Office, we simply wanted to slap in the disks and get going straight away. There’s another big limitation here, as it appears an external drive is necessary with Boot Camp to install Windows on the MacBook Air.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
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
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...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.