What’s annoying is that some professional features are still lacking from the Air. Falling component prices has allowed Apple to sell its Air for less than the 15.4in MacBook Pro. But why hamper it? For instance, there’s no option for a matte (‘antiglare’, in Apple-speak) screen. Rather more annoying is the lack of a Gigabit Ethernet port. Apple’s rivals cater for you rather better, here - the Samsung Series 9 Air-alike includes a mini-Ethernet port and an adapter.
Storage costs spoil and otherwise impressive user experience
While WLAN is perfectly adequate at getting you online, and surfing at a decent pace, it simply can’t match the throughput of wired I/O when high speed network throughput is required: for instance, for backing up to a server across a LAN. I get at least five times the throughput with my home server using a wired connection. Remember that Apple’s USB to Ethernet dongle is 10/100, to get Gigabit Ethernet you'll need to fork out £25 for the Thunderbolt adapter. Oh, and if you ever invested in an Apple remote, it won't work here – no infrared, alas.
And then there’s the price.
Apple is the largest purchaser of flash memory in the world, but it ruthlessly uses flash to segment its product line so it can pad out its own margins. The two models of 13in Air differ only by the amount of flash memory storage installed, and if you opt for a 256GB Air it carries a $300 premium. The street price of the memory is around $100. But, wait! If 256GB isn’t enough for your needs, then you need to pick the 256GB and then another $500 (£400) to bump it up to 512GB. So you’ve paid $800 for memory that costs [$400/£250]. This takes you well into Retina Mac territory.
The upshot of all this is that the Air, while a beautiful machine, either carries a hefty premium for ‘pro’ features, or does not make these features available at all. If you have a substantial movie, music or photo collection then the Air is not the Mac for you. If it’s storage you need, buy a Mac Pro, and swap out the hard disk with a low cost replacement of your choice – although this will invalidate the warranty.
Of course, Apple is only charging what the market can bear. No one obliges you to pay this, or even buy a Mac for that matter. And falling component prices mean that, fairly soon, large SSDs and Retina displays will no longer carry a premium at all. It’s just something to bear in mind today.
Overall, I found the combination of weight, features and performance to be ideal. Used constantly over several weeks, it made itself a strong candidate to be the nicest laptop I’ve ever used. It’s just a shame that even the 256GB Core i5 model can’t accommodate my iTunes and iPhoto libraries… ®
Thanks to Square Group for the loan of the MacBook Air.
Got a Macbook Air just over a year ago - have to say it is 'by far' the best laptop (for me) I have ever had and not just saying that because it's the newest. As someone who actually carries their laptop around (rather than being just a desktop replacement) it's been fantastic - so much smaller and lighter but still just as useable.
No I do not need a built-in DVD drive - so it's fine for me - for the few times I do (perhaps 1-2 times in the last 12 months) I have an external drive than is barely larger than a audio CD case. 9.5/10 - for what it is can't fault it - screen res is perfect for it's size, battery life is great, solid state is more reliable / rugged. The whole lot is like carrying an A4 pad and even the power adapter is barely bigger than a plug on a conventional laptop.
I'll admit it was not the cheapest but for what it is it's near perfect - the real test - if I lost it would I replace it - yes immediately.
Re: Expensive flash and no ports .....
just as good = inferior display - what planet are you on?
Think what you meant to say was for your particular use case you were only willing to part with £500 (btw was that real retail - a quick google suggests the online price of the current version is closer to £650).
So in short your comment should read" I have no need for the features the air has over my tosh - therefore I question the value of the Air for my own little world but I fully understand that others need to have a better screen or different OS validates their desire to pay more".
Agree with me or just having a thinly veiled dig at Apple for no real reason?
Re: So like the new iPhone
The MacBook Air (released January 2008) is Apple's take on the Sony Vaio TT (released September 2008)?
How does that work?
There are many great features about mac laptops that I love but you are spot on with the trackpad comment. That is obviously your main means of interacting with the device and every single non Apple trackpad I have personally tried hasn't even come close to the muti touch pads used on macs. Worth the premium alone in my opinion.
Re: Did it have a rotten Core?
Yeah because when I've just spent £1000 on a laptop the first thing I do is open it up.
Tinkerers are probably 1% of the market and less than 1% of Apple customers.