New design, same old performance?
When new, and with the wireless off and the backlight turned down, my first-gen Air gave me six-and-a-half hours or more usage before the battery died.
So no leap forward there, and no leap forward with boot times either, I'm afraid. The Air starts up from sleep quickly, but then no faster than any other MacBook does, especially when you disable Mac OS X's Safe Sleep feature, which writes the contents of memory to the hard drive. This is enabled by default on all mobile Macs, so there's a moment when the Air is showing the desktop but there's not yet a cursor to move.
The 13.3in model has an SD card slot. The 11.6in Air doesn't
Starting the 11.6in Air afresh took 29s from the press of the power key - now part of the function-key row - and the appearance of a usable desktop. That's compares well with Windows 7, say, but it's not much faster than a fresh MacBook Pro.
Apps like iTunes didn't appear to load sufficiently faster than they do on other Macs, but it'll take head-to-head timings to show how much quicker the SSD is. Don't forget too that 64GB SSDs tend to be the slowest of the lot, the read and certainly the write speed rising as you pack in more capacity.
So am I tempted to toss £849 on an 11.6in Air? As a lover of small, slim, lightweight computers, I sure am. The problem is that, since performance is inevitably limited by form-factor in this and all similar sized machines, it's not going to be radically better than my year-old Acer Aspire Timeline 1810TZ, which, incidentally, can deliver 50 per cent more battery life than the Air and has Gigabit Ethernet, a third USB port and a SD card slot.
But it's also heavier and considerably thicker. And it runs Windows 7. I could hackintosh it, but those who have report that not all the parts work under Mac OS X, in particular the Wi-Fi and sleep mode, two features I rely on.
Yes, there will always be a comparably sized machine that's cheaper and/or more featured than the 11.6in Air, but you'll be hard pushed to find one as good looking and a sheer bloody portable. And as anyone who, like me, has dropped an Air before, that aluminium casing can't half take some punishment. ®
Group Test 11.6in notebooks
Didn't get a review machine I see
I love the fact that the reviewer has clearly just wandered down to the Regent St apple store and had a play around with one of the desk models :)
Shows an enterprising spirit!
RE:Like a bad eeepc 1215pn surely?
Doesn't the Asus EEE 1215pn have the Atom processor. Comparing the Atom to a Core2Duo is like comparing a Skoda to a Ferrari.
Didn't Author tell you to stop reading?
"If you're the sort to throw a fit because you can by a 15in octo-core über machine for half the 850 quid Apple wants for the even most basic, smallest Air, stop reading now. Let me assure you, your prejudices will be reinforced."
...but no...you had to come in and comment anyway.
You should probably highlight the downsides of a Hackintosh before evangelising them too btw. You and I have built 'em and know the pitfalls, but Joe Public is probably nowhere near technical enough to build one himself.