MacBook Air World's Thinnest Notebook Photo:CNET.com
Apple's MacBook Air at a Glance:
Billed as the world's thinnest laptop the Apple's MacBook Air is a mere 0.76-inch thick at its thickest part tapering to 0.16-inch. Otherwise the MacBook mimics the 13-inch silhouette of the current MacBook line
MacBook Air Photo
Inside the stylish silver shell you will find a a 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a choice of either an 80GB standard 1.8-inch hard drive or a 64GB SSD drive. Moving up to the SSD drive and faster CPU drives the price up from US$1,799 to a huge US$3,098. The MacBook Air comes with Bluetooth and wireless networking built-in and standard.
Features of the Apple MacBook Air
The MacBook Air includes a new multitouch track pad, which incorporates a range of gesture controls that will be familiar to iPhone users, in which users can zoom by pinching in or out, rotate images by spinning two fingers, flick through items by wiping left or right and move windows in a new way. MacBook Air's keyboard is full size and similar to that of the standard MacBook. A nice touch is that the Air's backlit keyboard allows you to keep computing when the lights go down.
In addition to being more energy efficient than a traditional LCD panel, the LED-backlit screen also allows for a thinner lid.
The Air also comes with an iSight camera on top of the screen, the same as MacBookPro notebooks. Connections include a 45-Watt MagSafe power adaptor on the left and a USB 2.0 port, micro-DVI port and headphone port under a flip-down panel on the right.
There is no optical drive but the Air can connect wirelessly to an optical drive in another nearby computer. Alternatively you can purchase a USB-powered SuperDrive as an US$99 extra.
Other missing features include any kind of mobile broadband, an SD card slot, FireWire, an onboard Ethernet jack, and Express card slot.
While the MacBook Air may draw you in with its sleek looks, you may be concerned to discover that its battery is apparently not user replaceable. That means an overly complicated and pricey battery replacement procedure when it begins to slowly slip in holding a charge.
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The Best Points of MacBook Air
The MacBook Air weighs 2 pounds and Apple claims battery life for the MacBook Air is rated at five hours.
The full size keyboard and generously-sized 13.3-inch, 1280- by 800-pixel, glossy LED screen, using the same LED technology found in the MacBook Pro makes the MacBook Air much more typist friendly than many true ultraportables with their cramped keyboards and smaller screens.
However despite the claims of the world's thinnest notebook the Air's footprint is considerably larger than that of many subnotebooks on the market; in fact, the Air's 12.8-inch width and 8.94-inch depth are each 0.02 inches longer than the corresponding dimensions of the MacBook.
It's in weight and thickness-or, if you will, thinness-that the MacBook Air shines. Whereas the MacBook and MacBook Pro are each around 1 inch thick, the MacBook Air is essentially three-quarters of an inch thick at the thickest point, and less than a fifth of an inch thick at the thinnest. At only 3 pounds, the Air is 2 pounds lighter than the next-lightest Apple notebook.
Apple has made an effort to make the Air environmentally friendly. While the brushed aluminium case creates a lovely exterior, the MacBook Air is also beautiful on the inside. Apple has eliminated mercury and arsenic from display components, and PVCs from the circuit boards. Packaging sizes were reduced, as well.
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MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Compared
Apple's flagship notebook line, MacBook Pro, have been around for a number of years now and developed an enthusiastic following.
For those who do not truly need, or want to pay for, the Air's lightness and thinness the MacBook Pro still offers a valuable alternative.
The MacBook Pros include a range of optical drives. Multiple ports abound including an ExpressCard slot, FireWire, Ethernet, multiple USB ports, audio input, and optical audio output.
Also the MacBook Pro ship with faster processors of the 2.0GHz to 2.4GHz compared with the Air's 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo or, a 1.8GHz chip. The Air is limited by heat and space issues.
Space and heat issues also limit the MacBook Air's storage options. Because the laptop is so thin, it appears that only single-platter, 1.8-inch hard drives-the same type found in the 80GB iPod classic-fit. These drives are also slower than a typical laptop drive, at 4200rpm compared to 5400rpm, and are ATA rather than the now-common SATA. The only alternative here, performance-wise, is the optional 64GB solid-state drive, although the high prices for such drives adds US$999 to your tab.
Finally, the MacBook Air adheres to the general rule that you pay more for smaller size. Even though it isn't as full-featured as the MacBook, it costs $300 to $700 more than Apple's consumer-level notebook, and for only $200 more you can get a much more capable-but larger and heavier-Mac Book Pro.
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