Feature lists aren't the whole story
It's easy to look at a feature list and assume that a longer one is better, but that's not always the case, especially when large parts of it go unused no matter what. The counter argument, of course, is that it's better to have a third USB port, Ethernet, SD, VGA, HDMI and so on, especially when you're paying a premium, and I'm not unsympathetic to that view.
Enough ports - but are they the right ones?
But I have to say, if it's a matter of putting up with the absence of a few use-in-a-blue-moon ports in order to get a machine as sheer darn portable as this one, I'll wave goodbye to them any day.
You may disagree - you may need those ports, in which case your choice of laptop will be made accordingly, and it's no big deal either way. The crucial point here is that the Air is a machine for folk who need or want the acme of portability.
Ethernet, SD and a third USB port are really the only deficiencies. There's no optical drive, of course, but that's troubling fewer and fewer folk these days. Bluetooth, it has; ditto a good webcam. What else do you need from an ultra-mobile PC?
I'd have Mac OS X over Windows 7 any day of the week, but if you prefer the latter, you can run the bundled BootCamp utility to install it on the Air. I did, so I could run Reg Hardware's PCMark Vantage and 3DMark 06 tests.
The trackpad is huge compared to those of most netbooks and sub-notes
At which, it put in some very decent numbers. The Air's integrated Nvidia graphics put it well ahead of any netbook or 11.6in sub-notebook Reg Hardware has seen. Ditto its PCMark Vantage scores, helped by its SSD.
Next page: Benchmarks: 11in sub-notebooks
Re: I disagree on price
Small point: the Air's 11.6in screen isn't 'far superior' to the displays found in other 11.6in notebooks.
Like all of these, it has the same resolution - 1366 x 768 - and while some are a little better than others - the Air's is one of the better ones - there's actually not much to choose between them.
I say this having reviewed the Air *and* ten 11.6in notebooks recently.
I have one
(Redacted from a post somewhere else)
I purchased one of these almost the moment they were relased (1.4 Duo, 2GB, 128GB)
I have to carry my computer with me at all times, and my unwillingness to lug much more than a Kg lead me immediately to a Netbook - I have been running a Hackintosh (MSI Wind) for a few years. After the first MacAir was released a colleague acquired one. My analysis was “almost there”. After 3 seconds with the new model, I simply took one home. Game over.
1: Metal computers are really a better option for people who carry them at all times and travel constantly. This machine is exactly the correct size to fit in my backpack. It is lightweight and durable. No additional protection required. Check…
2: The machine is sufficiently powerful for any realistic task I am likely to perform, as ripping DVDs and HD video post-production are not in my list of daily activities. Check…
3: Relatively speaking, the cost is in the same ballpark as similarly configured sub-notebook/netbook class machines. Check…
4: Like most Apple products, the MacAir simply is a masterpiece of design and engineering. For the epicurean, this is the machine to own. There really is no competitor. Check…
5: I happen to use a large flat screen monitor when stationary. I can live without an ethernet port. Check ...
6: OSX runs fine in 2GB (as do most Unix implementations). 4GB would have been overkill. Check ...
7: The single MS-Windows program that I absolutely must have for my job, that has no Mac equivalent, runs just fine in Parallels. I wish I could live without it and parallels, but until I retire I am stuck with it.
Missing: I might have liked and SD slot, but I have a USB SD that I can use on the very few occasions I need it. Ditto ethernet.
Having used the machine constantly for several weeks now, I can say that it has met my expectations 100%.
Since the speed of OSX does not degrade exponentially with every version in the same manner as Windoze (it's the opposite I think), I expect this machine to be a workhorse for many years to come, so the additional cost with sublime portability & ruggedness and acceptable battery life are a good balance.
Finally ... Why do reviewers obsess about the bandwidth rating of various networking connector options? They are for all practical purposes irrelevant for a single machine connected to any network.
"Finally ... Why do reviewers obsess about the bandwidth rating of various networking connector options? They are for all practical purposes irrelevant for a single machine connected to any network."
Because they matter if you want to move large files around. And large can mean a lot smaller than a DVD. 100Mbit/sec ethernet is slower than modern hard disks. And you can't get 1Gbit/sec out of a USB 2 port. Would have been nice if it had had one USB3 port.
Re: Ethernet Connectivity
This is what I mean by 'lack of extras'. For the price it's charging, Apple really should have bundled this adaptor, if only to say on the feature list that the Air does 10/100Mb/s Ethernet.
Yes, it's piffling, but on any other netbook or sub-notebook you don't have to pay it.
I agree with everything
I agree with everything you've said.
But I still want one!