With the screen at full brightness for a fair amount of time whilst writing this article, with occasional web browsing thrown in, after about five hours the battery indicator shrunk into the red. Yet, like the 17in MacBook Pro with its Herculean battery life, clicking on this warning icon for more information, doesn’t reveal something like 20 minutes left until the battery dies, but around two hours.
Light, yet extremely robust
Mileage will vary according to the demands of the tasks, but it should get you through a day of Starbucks surfing with time to spare. Certainly, watching compressed movies at full brightness took its toll on the battery life but it should easily manage a couple of features when travelling, or more with some screen dimming. Sonically, it’s not too bad either. Sure it’s no hi-fi, but despite being somewhat gutless, its stereo speakers under the keyboard do manage to deliver a respectably loud output without being too harsh.
As with previous MacBook Air’s, loading software from disc is overcome by sharing the drive from another Mac or PC on the same network. Using the Remote Disc option, Microsoft Office 2011 was loaded wirelessly onto the Air in just four minutes. USB flash drives will probably suffice in most cases and there is, of course, the SD card option. This slot isn’t spring-loaded and it didn’t seem to work initially. However, removing the card and pushing it in harder had it mounting on the desktop in seconds.
The start-up time was consistently in the early teens averaging about 14 seconds from cold to the desktop and a Wi-Fi connection. It’s just so quick that I found it rather changed my attitude to using a computer. Many times the perceived hassle of waiting for a boot up sequence to complete has put me off peering at a document or going on-line to check something when I’m just about to go off somewhere. Yet with the Air, that really changes.
iLife '11 is featured as standard to help make work for idle hands
So there I was at the dentist’s, with no idea how long I’d have to wait to be seen. Seconds later I had started work editing the Nokia N8 review video clips in iMovie – part of the iLife '11 suite included with the all new Macs. Certainly, time went by a good deal more constructively than thumbing through a dog-eared copy of Hello! magazine. And that’s what the Air’s so good at; filling in the gaps, whether it’s time – by being productive – or knowledge, by being able to check on something quickly.
This should be fun...
I shall offer a prize to the first person to post that their laptop is 50 times faster and only cost 12 shillings and sixpence...
More instant on
Well, Linux and OS X wake-from-sleep times have always been pretty good but these laptops will usually be compared to Windows laptops, and the Windows wake-from-sleep is a stuttering mess in comparison.
I can easily use my MacBook Air on my lap. Actually that is one of the key reasons I bought it--better LAPtop computing experience. My MacBook was heavy enough that it became uncomfortable to use for more than an hour or so at a time, and it would also get hot enough under load that it became uncomfortable. And actually once it had warmed up for a while it was a little too warm for me. So the MacBook Air is light enough and cool enough that I enjoy using it on my lap for hours at a time. I don't know why you can't seem to keep yours from shaking around while using it. Might want to consult your doctor about that.
bugger me backwards with a bargepole!
A reasonable group of comments with no WinTards thinking they are gods gift for picking something a tenth as good for a third the price!
Okay, you can take the bargepole out now!
Agree on value
I've long looked at MacBooks and even Macs in general, and could never quite pull the trigger except on two base spec iMacs (one in 2005 and an upgrade in late 2009) which I bought for my wife. Reason being that I do at least want *some* value for money, and in the higher-end models and until now MacBooks you are paying quite rip-off prices (hundreds of EUR for slightly smaller screens or 10-20% increases in CPU speed anyone?). And that's coming from someone who grew up (starting as a 5 year old) with the Lisa and later Macintosh (which taught me my love of all things computer).
So I spent the last couple of years with a 4 kg Dell 17" laptop (rather desktop replacement), dreaming about the day Apple would deliver a good value for money laptop. Then the new Air came out, and I ordered a 13" with 4 GB RAM upgrade the same day. Is it good value if you purely look at the raw 'technology' specs? Not really, at least it's no better than the MacBook Pro's which I passed on until now. No, where the real value is with this machine is the design and useability. In there are attributes which the MacBook Pro's also have, but complete that with the miniscule dimensions (given size of an USB port and 13" screen they physically could not have made it any smaller) and 'instant-on' (which really is an eye opener to me) and you just have a package that as whole is so 'right'. But most importantly based on the engineering challenge which I'm sure was involved (and probably written off over the first gen MacBook Air) I think it's actually great value.
I've been using mine for 3 days now, and already I can't imagine that in the next 5-6 years there would be anything I'd want to replace it with as my general-purpose leisure computer. That too makes it good value. Sure, eventually it won't be able to run the latest/greatest games anymore (something which remarkably it is actually capable of doing today, which is amazing when you put it next to my 3-year old top-of-the-line Dell which can't outperform it), but with the 4GB RAM upgrade I figure I'm safe for browsing, mailing, office tools, etc. for a very long time. And it's not as if they are going to release a version that is significantly lighter or smaller (laws of physics and all that).
2-3 seconds would be waking up from hibernate - deep, deep, deep sleep. Waking up from normal sleep is quicker than blinking. At any rate, it's quicker (by far) than opening the lid of the laptop.
Mine (a fully maxed 13") is on order (after extensive testing of a demo unit). I was deeply impressed - so much so that I decided not to buy a 'Pro after all. Mine will mostly be used for coding (Mac and Windows), Office, 'Net and Email, and (almost certainly) Civilization V.