MacBook Air Review (short)
I had two MaBook Air, both with the Intel P7700 CPU(1.8GHz), for testing.
One version had the 80GB HDD and the other one the 64GB SSD.
Finally, I decided to keep the 80GB HDD version and to return the 64GB SSD
version because in my opinion, the SSD didn't justify the almost 1000 EUR price difference, not to mention the lower storage capacity of the SSD.
Here is a short review:
1. Quality impression(housing, keyboard, display, etc.) is first class, nothing to complaint here.
2. Display quality is great too, very bright(highest level)
3. keyboard keys are very good, even for fast typers and whoever designed the MacBok Air was actually using his brain because the keyboard is actually slightly lower than the housing, meaning that you won't see keyboard "imprints" on the display if you keep the MacBook Air in a tight bag (common problem of many Windows ultraportables).
4. the illumination of the keyboard keys is absolutely great, this is something I always hoped for because I type a lot in bed with a very low light level. It also doesn't seem to affect the battery power level too much.
5. battery life is very good, not great though. Considering the fact that this is a 1.8 GHz machine, the battery life of 3:00 hours(100% display brightness, permanent WiFi usage) isn't bad at all. I was able to squeeze one hour more out of the MacBook Air battery by reducing the display brightness to aprox. a third of the maximum level and turning off WiFi. Don't expect the claimed 5:00 running time, unless you really work at a minimal display brightness level, turning off WiFi and the keyboard keys illumination. The battery is still new, so maybe I manage to squeeze 0:15 to 0:30 h out of it after a couple of charges but I'd say that a real life operation time of 3:30 h can't be exceeded if you really want to enjoy the MacBook Air.
6. the multitouch pad is interesting but not something I really found worth mentioning. Maybe I'm too dumb to set it up properly but right now can't make it work with iPhoto or other applications. Yes, I read the instructions.
7. the 64GB SSD performed great and compared to the 80GB HDD it definetely is at least 30-40% faster(general real life performance). Does it justify to pay 1000 EUR more for it? Definetely not. You won't see any real life performance problems with the 80GB HDD, iTunes videos/TV series/movies are running very smoothly(even full screen), so I don't actually see any need to go for the 64GB SSD. Despite the fact that you also pay 1000 EUR more for the SSD, you also get a lower storage capacity. After installing my main applications, I have aprox. 40GB storage left on the 80GB HDD. This is still a lot but with the 64GB SSD, you have less than 25GB left. It is still enough for real life usage but I'd still hesitate to pay 1000 EUR more for it.
Bottom line is: the 64GB SSD works great in my Windows laptop, a Toshiba R500 but the MacBook Air and Leopard work great together and I don't really see any significant improvement of the operation experience using the 64GB SSD. Yes, I would have paid up to 300 EUR more for the SSD but 1000 EUR? No thanks. Prices for the SSD option are very likely to drop over the next few months, so maybe the SSD options becomes more interesting at the end of this year.
8. the MacBook Air works very quiet, sometimes the fan comes on and you can hear it but usually, the MacBook Air works like Air...you don't hear much. Definetely very good for quiet environments.
9. performance is great, iTunes videos play smoothly, even at full screen. I didn't try more "demanding" applications but I never had the feeling that the MacBook Air can't handle almost everything.
10. wireless(WiFi) performance is great too. The MacBook Air has apparently a very good antenna setup, I get strong WiFi signals all over the house(3 floors). I'm using a fritzbox 7270 "n" router. No complaints here.
11. as long as the MacBook Air runs on battery, it doesn't get hot at all, a perfect "lap"top. Running the MacBook Air connected to the power outlet? Definetely be careful because it can become pretty hot on the underside, especially if you're running some demanding applications.
When I saw the MacBook Air pictures for the first time, I was disappointed, especially since I expected an iPhone-like ultraportable laptop and this thing with a 13'' display didn't seem to be ultraportable at all.
So my hopes weren't too high when I opened the MacBook Air package but when I held this beauty for the first time in my hands, I started to understand the hype about it and why the slim design with a huge 13'' display is so great.
Before I received the MacBook Air, I wasn't sure I want to keep it. Actually, I was pretty sure that I'm going to return both of them but if I keep one, I would keep the 64GB SSD version. How wrong I was, I ended up with the 80GB HDD version.
One of the major annoyances of the MacBook Air seemed to be to me the lack of a built-in 3G(UMTS/HSDPA) modem. Then, I tried the application launch2net for the very first time with my Nokia N95 8GB. What a pleasant surprise, it worked like a charm, no matter if I used bluetooth or the USB cable. Highly recommendable but also a bit pricey.
Apple did a great job with the MacBook Air and until you don't try this thing for yourself, you won't be impressed.
Did I miss something? Not much. I would have loved to see a black version of the MacBook Air, I'm not really the silver type of guy, never liked this on the Toshiba R500 either. I would also like to hear from Apple if the display cover is tough enough to withstand some serious pressure, especially when you carry the MacBook Air in a tight bag. It seems and looks tough but it bends a little bit under higher pressure, so I really don't know how much pressure it can take before the display itself gets damaged.
So whoever is interested in buying the MacBook Air, you can't really do something wrong. I can't recommend buying the 64GB SSD version right now, the real life operation advantages are very limited right now in my opinion. Save your money and wait for a higher capacity SSD and a serious price drop by the end of this year, maybe earlier. If you need 3G(UMTS/HSDPA), I can highly recommend the launch2net application, it works great and it doesn't actually need any setup, it does almost everything by itself, including operator settings worldwide. Just make sure that launch2net supports your phone, current Nokia cell phones shouldn't be a problem but this application supports many other phones. I would recommend using the USB cable connection instead of bluetooth to reduce power consumption on both the MacBook Air and the cell phone. Also turn off WiFi when using lauch2net, you don't need WiFi when connecting to the internet through your cell phone, turning WiFi off saves you additional power.