Apple MacBook Air 11in Core i5 notebook
Review For years this particular Mac user preferred to carry around an X-Series ThinkPad, despite having a house full of Apple laptops. That's because Apple could offer nothing with comparable size and weight. It was worth putting up with Windows or Ubuntu to gain the convenience of a smaller lighter machine.
Entry level: Apple's MacBook Air 11in
This changed when Apple introduced the Air in January 2008. With the Air, Apple had made much of the computer disappear. The machine contained the bare minimum needed to house a screen and keyboard, and to protect them from knocks. But all this came at a cost.
The Air lacked a dedicated Ethernet port and expansion was limited to one USB port. Neither the hard drive nor memory could be upgraded by the user; the battery was sealed and could not be replaced. And performance suffered from a slow, small hard drive (if you didn't choose the SSD option) and a perishingly slow custom Intel processor. A cost that, for me, that was too high.
Last year the lonesome Air became a “product family”, of sorts. With the latest crank of the handle, Apple has addressed many of the original issues, adding multichannel, high throughput Thunderbolt port, and an Intel Core i5-2467M quad-core Sandy Bridge processor. And rather than being a luxury item, the Air design is now, incredibly, the entry-level Apple notebook.
But this Jobsian Wonderland is a parallel universe. Here, the term 'entry level' is relative. You can buy two powerful Wintel laptops for £999, which is how much an 11in Macbook Air (with 128GB drive) costs. You can probably find three quite passable ones. Reg Hardware reviewed the latest 13in Air recently, but on test here is the entry-level model: the cheapest Apple portable "experience" available. What's it like?
Next page: Design matters
"Resources are things we invent, folks, the outcome of our ingenuity"
Thank Christ for that. I'll sleep more easily tonight knowing we can rustle up more oil and gas by using our ingenuity. I've been labouring under the misaprehension that these and other substances only existed in finite quantities on this planet. How wrong can a man be?
I guess the reviewer should put that to the families of some coal miners in Wales (or anywhere else, for that matter). They obviously died in vain.
I must be missing something here.
2GB RAM, i5 CPU, 64 GBs of Storage for £849 = 90%. Can we flag down a cab and head for real street please?
And resources are something we 'invent', the most stupid thing I've read for months.
A regular netbook...
...comes crippled out of the box by Intel and Microsoft, has a barely usable CPU if you want to do more than three things at once - on any operating system, not just Win XP/7 - and has a fairly low res, almost certainly low quality screen. Brazos Netbooks look like changing that, mind, and forcing Intel to pull their finger out over Atom. I've played with a couple now, they're pretty tasty for the price.
The Macbook Air comes with a chunky Core i5 and is actually pretty damned close to being a mobile desktop replacement* in terms of the grunt it has for everyday use, on either Mac OS or Windows 7. The compromise (other than ports) is minimal, and that's why you pay more for it. The compromise with a proper netbook is massive, that's why you pay less for it.
Bear in mind it was only a few years ago that machines of the MBA class (ultra-ultra-portable with usable grunt) were going for closer to £1500 from the likes of Sony and Toshiba, and Apple itself - for what it does, the price isn't half bad.
In the end, that's why paying £350 for a traditional, barely-better-than-my-mobile-phone Atom netbook gets baulked at, and paying £900 for an ultra-ultra portable near desktop replacement is lauded.
Ah, crap, just seen the post it note on my screen - don't feed the trolls. Bah.
*for day to day stuff - obviously if you're doing full on video editing or software compilation, you're probably going to go another route.
an Atom is so close to an i5, you'll see no difference.