Feeds
90%
Apple MacBook Air 11in mid 2011

Apple MacBook Air 11in Core i5 notebook

Small wonder?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Apple MacBook Air 11in mid 2011

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?

Apple MacBook Air 11in mid 2011

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: Design matters

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.