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175 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Worthy Investment
I have owned many Apple laptops and computers over the years, and without a doubt think that the 2010 13" Macbook Air is one of the strongest offerings the company has ever had. I am a 'power user' and use my laptop for heavy photo and video editing. I frequently have Photoshop running simultaneously with many other memory-intensive programs, including Windows 7 (through...
Published on December 2, 2010 by Cinnamon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed.
The computer works great, although found out it was a euro model with the enter key being a bit different, also when we received and started looking at the keys the Y and Z keys were transposed, had to take to Mac store to fix but that was free. Also there are some areas where the previous owner had put a sticker (dont know why anyone would do that) and I can't seem to...
Published 7 months ago by Jennifer P. Udseth


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175 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Worthy Investment, December 2, 2010
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I have owned many Apple laptops and computers over the years, and without a doubt think that the 2010 13" Macbook Air is one of the strongest offerings the company has ever had. I am a 'power user' and use my laptop for heavy photo and video editing. I frequently have Photoshop running simultaneously with many other memory-intensive programs, including Windows 7 (through Parallels), and use my laptop for hours every day.

I purchased the 13" Macbook Air (which I'll refer to as 'MBA' for simplicity) directly from Apple, and added 2GB of RAM to make the set-up 4GB total. I do not know if Amazon allows you to customize it this way, so if it doesn't consider buying it directly from Apple or another store which does allow this upgrade. From what I understood, due to the MBA's construction - the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard - you won't be able to add RAM yourself later. If you're a light user, you should probably be fine with just 2 GB of RAM, but if you plan to intensively multi-task, consider upgrading the RAM.

This laptop is expensive, but is worth every penny if you can afford it. While it lacks an optical drive and certain ports - which can at times be inconvenient - it makes up for that by offering great performance and a stunning design.

DESIGN
I thought my 2010 13" Macbook Pro (which I'll refer to as 'MBP') was sleek and stylish, but this is just amazing. The MBP looks sleeker in some ways since its keyboard is backlit and its display has a nicer black trim to it, but in overall design, the MBA just can't be beat. You won't truly appreciate the Macbook Air's portability and stylish design until you physically play with it in person. The Macbook Air is very thin, but because it employs a tapered unique design it's not uniformly thin throughout the device.

The 13" model features 2 USB ports and an SD card reader (the 11" model doesn't have the SD card reader). The USB ports are cleverly located on opposite sides of the laptop so that you can have even bulky peripherals plugged in simultaneously. The built-in SD card reader is incredibly convenient (more on that below). What's more important to read here is not what connections it does have, but what it doesn't. The most important things missing on the Macbook Airs, in my opinion, are the optical disc drive and an Ethernet port. While I don't necessarily use - and therefore, miss - either of those too much, there are times when Wi-Fi is problematic or when you need to use a disc for something. Still, the Macbook Air has a great portable design that should offer more than enough for most people's daily use.

PERFORMANCE
Even with my heavy use, this has been very reliable for my daily multitasking. While some of that speed might result from my expanded RAM (mentioned above), the bulk of it comes from the Air's use of a Solid State Drive (SSD). While SSD technology is relatively expensivewhen compared to traditional hard drives on a per-Gigabyte basis, it is worth the money! You can find many comparison videos on YouTube showing how much faster Solid State Drives are when compared to traditional hard drives. The SSD really shines when cutting down the time when launching a program, or when turning the system on or off.

DISPLAY
The high-resolution display of the Macbook Air is great. The 13" Air features a 1440x900 resolution (like that of the 15" Macbook Pro), which is better than the 1,280x800 resolution of my 13" 2010 Macbook Pro. It is very sharp and crisp!

LIFE WITHOUT AN OPTICAL DRIVE
Some people have argued that the lack of an optical drive makes the Macbook Air impractical for daily use. Honestly, I have for the past several years used my optical drive very rarely, and knew I wouldn't miss it too much on the Air. That being said, you usually don't appreciate something until you no longer have it, and I have since noticed that there are times when having a built-in optical drive is convenient.

Since thumb drives and external hard drives are becoming very affordable, digital distribution of software and games is rapidly growing, and many videos are now available through streaming services as opposed to hard copy DVD forms, a lot of the inconveniences associated with lacking an optical drive can be worked around. That being said, there are times when an optical drive is necessary, especially when it comes to installing software (i.e. Windows).

While the MBA doesn't have one built in, you can 'Share' the optical drive of another computer wirelessly. That is understandably less convenient than having an optical drive physically connected to the same computer, so you can instead plug in an external CD/DVD drive through the USB port. The major inconvenience of doing this is that you have to buy an external drive. That being said, you do not need the Apple brand 'Superdrive', and can instead get a 3rd party external optical drive for a considerably cheaper price.

HAVING A BUILT-IN SD CARD READER IS VERY CONVENIENT
The SD card reader is very convenient, and helps compensate for the relatively small hard drive found on the Macbook Air. While my largest SD card is only 16GB, I find SD cards to be even more convenient than using a thumb drive. Without the built-in SD card reader you could always plug in an external SD card reader, but having it built into the system frees up a USB port.

BATTERY LIFE
If you've ever felt that your cell phone, laptop, or other battery-based device doesn't hold nearly as long a charge as it should, it's not just you. Battery life is something that a lot of electronics manufacturers frequently distort the truth about. Amazon often omits external links from reviews and replace it with a [...] so I can't paste the link, but on the Apple website's section on Macbook Pros, for example, they state in the fine text: 'The wireless productivity test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing various websites and editing text in a word processing document with display brightness set to 50%.' In other words, their battery life claims are based on situations many more intensive users don't find themselves in...

For the 2010 Macbook Air, Apple has supposedly changed their battery testing method from the aforementioned Pro testing, and used improved technology to prolong the battery life. The Macbook Air's battery is rated to last for around 7 hours, but you might get less than that with heavy use. I have been pleased with the battery life so far, but I have had less than 7 hours of battery life when I was using the computer intensively. While the battery life isn't the strongest of all of Apple's offerings, the 30-day standby time is very impressive. I believe that the impressive standby time is a result of the SSD drawing less power in sleep mode than a traditional hard drive.

COMPARED TO PREVIOUS AIRS
I was really intrigued by the Macbook Air when it was first announced in 2008, but couldn't justify the high price tag. Since with this generation prices have gone down considerably, all models employ Solid State Drives, and there are 2 USB connections (instead of just one), now is a much better time to buy a Macbook Air than ever before. The only thing changed for the worse is that this model does not have backlit keys - not such a big deal for fast typers, but probably inconvenient for people who 'hunt and peck'.

COMPARED TO THE 2010 11-INCH MACBOOK AIR
Prior to deciding on the 13" Macbook Air I considered the 11-inch model. While the 11-incher is lighter and smaller than the 13-inch model, I decided against it because I felt that the screen was too small to be reasonably effective for my intended use. Additionally, the 11-inch model lacks a built-in SD card reader - not a huge deal since external USB-based SD card readers are cheap - and also employs a weaker 1.4 GHz processor (as opposed to the 13-inch model's 1.86 GHz processor). You lose half a pound in weight going from the 13" and 11" models, but I decided a slightly heavier laptop was more worth it for the screen real estate. You will have to play with the models in store to see what works best for you, but if you like opening multiple windows side-by-side, you will more likely than not also prefer the 13" model.

COMPARED TO THE 13-INCH MACBOOK PRO
Due to the similar price points between this and the 13" Macbook Pro, the two computers naturally lend themselves to head-to-head comparison, which I'll focus the rest of the review on.

Comparing a 2010 13" 128GB 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Air with 4 GB of RAM (again, upgraded, the default configuration is 2 GB) with my 2010 13" 250 GB 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro with 4 GB of RAM, I definitely felt the Macbook Air was faster. This is not an official comparison with benchmark tests - official benchmarks actually rated the Pro to be a faster machine - but for my use I felt things were noticeably faster with the Air's SSD in spite of its weaker processor.

Advantages Compared to Base Configuration 2010 13" Macbook Pro
Lighter (2.9 pounds vs 4.5 pounds)
Thinner (0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest vs 0.95 inches)
Considerably faster in spite of a weaker processor (see below) due to its use of a Solid State Drive (SSD)
Higher resolution display (1440x900 vs 1280x800)

Disadvantages Compared to Base Configuration 2010 13" MacBook Pro
Slower Processor (1.86 GHz vs 2.4 GHz)
Smaller Hard Drive (128 GB vs 250 GB)
No backlit keys (Not a big deal for most, but some might find this inconvenient)
Fewer ports (the lack of an Ethernet jack can be a big inconvenience if you don't have secure Wi-Fi available)
No optical drive

FINAL THOUGHTS
The speed of a Solid State Drive is one of the selling points of the Macbook Air, but its ultra-portability is its stronger selling point (keep in mind prior to 2010 only the higher-end Air models featured SSDs). That being said, think of what's important to you. For students and business professionals who travel frequently, I think the Air is an ideal solution.

To those for whom speed is more important than portability, consider purchasing a Macbook Pro and upgrading its hard drive to a SSD yourself. You can also upgrade the Pro's RAM on your own, up to 8 GB (Air maxes out at 4GB, and you can't upgrade it yourself).

Think about what your primary use for the machine will be. If you don't have reliable access to Wi-Fi networks or need a CD/DVD drive regularly, you might find the Air constraining. For most people, however, the 13" 2010 Macbook Air is a great purchase that will offer a very powerful computer in an incredibly portable and sleek package.
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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Air" Benefits with Fewer Drawbacks!, October 23, 2010
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I chose the 256 GB storage option model, but the other specifications on this machine are the same.
I do have fairly recent Mac desktops, but my own personal Mac notebook had become aged. It was a Powerbook.

With the release of iPad last Spring, I had considered not going back to owning a new notebook, with a desktop and iPad at my disposal.

However, I decided I simply need a keyboard for some on the go work, and my machine was simply too old now.

This October 2010 MacBook Air redesign is the answer for me. I will try to post some images of the device soon.

Physically, the footprint is not much different than a 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro that other members of my household own. However, it's the thinness and lightweight design that brings out the "wow," for those who see it. If you want to use it on your lap in a large chair or sofa, it is simply comfortable. If you need to stop while walking, and stand against a wall and check something very quickly, while it can still be slightly awkward, the light weight makes this possible. Still, I'd try not to do this, in fear of dropping the precious unit. You do see some Apple marketing images of people using the device standing up. This would likely be even more comfortable with the 11-inch model.

The reason one would choose this updated 13-inch MacBook Air is simple! This particular model gives you the thinness and light "wow," factors that defined the MacBook Air since its introduction nearly four years ago. However, this model gives you something that was not offered at this price point previously. A nearly fully functional and performing notebook computer. The included 1.86 GHZ Core 2 Duo processor is not a slouch. 2GB of memory is not bad in efficient OS X, and the decent storage. I chose the 256GB model, but for a second Mac, a light user, or someone with an external USB hard drive when back at there desk, even this 128 GB is not too far behind an entry hard drive notebook. PLUS, there is a huge benefit of this solid state storage. It is INCREDIBLY fast. The slight hit in processor and memory compared to a MacBook Pro is at least partly made up for by the speed of solid state memory. Just check out the boot up time on this device. It boots up fast. Plus, when it sleeps, open it back up, for instant on. It's a new way of experiencing a computer. If you need it to look something up, edit an image, or type a report, it's ready for you.

The battery life is impressive too. Apple is quoting 7-hours on this 13-inch model, and I will get close to that it appears. Apple is using a new battery testing standard than they have used to quote hours on previous systems. Therefore, this 7 hours quoted might be closer to the optimistic 10 hour advertised on the MacBook Pro than the numbers themselves would have us believe.

This 13-inch model has a higher resolution display than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so you will fit more of your windows, pictures, etc. on the display. Indeed, it matches the resolution of the stock 15-inch models.

What don't you get on this model and do I miss it? Obviously, once again, Superdrive is missing. I do not miss this. I have Superdrive on my desktop computer, and you can always buy the USB Superdrive for less than one hundred dollars, if you want that capability when at your desk. This Air loses the backlit keyboard, one suspects due to the even slimmer and lighter design. However, I type efficiently, so I only lose the cool factor of illuminated keys, not function.

Truly, with the add on of the USB superdrive for pinch situations, this particular model is a Mac that could actually be one's main computer. Decent processing speed, decent memory, and most of all plenty of solid state storage and the speed benefits of that storage. The graphics processor in this release is much improved over the previous generation too enabling watching of high definition videos. Two USB ports allow for connecting your iPod, external USB hard drive, USB Superdrive, printer, or whatever other USB device you might have. SD Card slot is included on this 13-inch Air model for the first time too.

Note - The brand new iLife '11 is loaded on this machine too. It's fun to try out the new features of iLife on a brand new computer! iPhoto 11 enhanced full screen mode is fun to use with this high resolution display!

Sure, a graphic designer, developer, or engineer might need more horse power or a larger display. However, a 2.9 pound Mac that is fully capable of being a great second Mac, or primary Mac, for many users is an incredible achievement. Do not let the significance of this creation not take us back a bit. It is an impressive feat. Recommend unit.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The anti-reflective coating is finally good enough for me to consider glossy, November 18, 2010
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
This review addresses specifically the screen quality.

Those who demand desktop performance from a portable should consider the iMac. That being said, I have noticed that this low-voltage Core 2 duo 2.13GHz can easily keep up with its big cousins (MacBook Pro 13.3"). The performance is good enough, so I am unconcerned about benchmarks.

Let's look at the screen. Even if you have a tonal range of medium grey to complete darkness, the reflection on the screen is not as bothersome as the MacBook Pro's highly-reflective glass and the previous version MacBook Air's glossy screen (it, too, had a coating, but not as good as this version).

I am in my mid-40s, so I initially thought the 1440 x 900 pixels being squeezed down to 13.3" area may be too small for me to read. Not so. The increased pixel density and the increased contrast makes the text much more readable. Those who are skeptical should forget about the specifications and just see it in person.

I wouldn't consider the 11.6" because the screen's height has been chopped off 10% (16:9). This screen is 16:10. Those who think that 2.3lbs versus 2.8lbs is a big difference should think again. The smaller one has about 25% battery run time, which means you may want to carry the power adapter. It does not have an SD-card reader, which means another piece of cable (for camera) or card reader to lose. The lack of vertical space causes the user to scroll more. All these reasons combined, the 11.6" holds no advantage over the 13.3"--not to mention the fact that the processor and level-2 cache are not as robust as the 13.3" at the same RAM/SSD configuration.

* * * * * speed * * * * *
I thought I might as well mention a few things.
The unit I just installed is a 13.3", 2.13GHz, 256GB SSD, 4GB RAM

* cold boot to desktop: 13 seconds
* all MS Office 2011 applications take 1-1.5 seconds to launch
* iLife 11 apps all take about a second to launch, except Garage Band takes a bit longer to initialize.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's all it's cracked up to be!, October 31, 2010
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Short answer is yes, this laptop is a good buy and your best option for a laptop from apple.

The Macbook air is the Terminator 2 of apple laptops, the second one is so much better. I had purchased a 13 macbook pro about 4 months ago and I sold it to get this 13 macbook air, and I am so happy I did. Just the better screen and flash memory alone is worth it. Read below for a detailed pros and cons list from a general to medium power user.

Pros : Beautiful display, they squeezed all the pixels of the 15" macbook pro, into the 13.3" macbook air, they also have improved ten fold on the glare problem because the coating or screen is glare free, its unbelievable.

Flash memory. 128GB is enough for 90% of people out there. With the ability to have dropbox or .mac account and so much stuff in the cloud nowadays 128GB is really not unreasonable, also what I will do If I run out of space is pop a 32gb (or maybe bigger when they release them) into the sd slot and boom, an extra 32gb of space for $55 as of now on amazon. I enjoy NEVER seeing the rainbow wheel, applications run smoothly and everything is very snappy, it is a noticeable difference from a regular hard drive, at least twice as fast, multitasking and doing tasks is enjoyable and zippy with the flash memory and the boot up time is great at just 14 seconds, and instant on from hibernate or sleep is very welcome, I can edit in photoshop easily with no lag at all, actually better than my macbook pro, watching hd video and other tasks are handled just as well, I am really surprised.

Lightweight. Never mind how gorgeous the design looks, the size and weight are amazing. I would never want to take my macbook pro out in the car or on the bus/train, even though the air is just a couple pounds lighter, it sure makes a huge difference, playing on the laptop out and about has never been more enjoyable, its like the laptop is not even there and its just me and the screen, I find myself taking my air everywhere.

Cons : No backlit keyboard! although personally I never look at the keys when I type. Battery Life, I wish I could get 10 hours like my macbook pro, but 7 is fine and worth losing the lbs and inches to attain that goal.

I'm sure there are more pros, and maybe even a con or two, but these are the big deciding factors in choosing an air over any other laptop. I truly feel this laptop could serve 99% of users needs, with only the select few people needing huge hard drives and super fast processors on a 17" laptop screen with firewire needing the top of the line fast mobile computer.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning machine. Absolutely stunning., February 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I'm a computer engineering student, so I own several computers, each with their own purpose. I have a tablet for note taking in class, a desktop super computer (i7, SSD, 3x 23" monitors) for serious work and gaming. Previously I had a 2009 Macbook which I used for goofing off and light work (pspice, eagle pcb, office, etc). I loved my Macbook- it was quiet, the battery life was better than a comparable Windows laptop, and it was quick enough for my needs- but I enjoyed using my desktop more. That has all changed since I bought the Air- holy sweet jesus I love this machine.

The good:
-FAST. I mean this thing is blazingly fast- you really have to use it to understand. Every application I've tried is open before it finishes its first "bounce" on the dock. Even monsters like Excel and Powerpoint take less than two seconds to completely open. Chrome launches in milliseconds. Shutdown is ~3 seconds, cold boot is ~7 seconds to OSX, 15 seconds to Win7. Sleep is instantaneous.
-Battery life is great. For my usage I charge it overnight, unplug around 7am and use casually throughout the day, in and our of sleep. At the end of the day around midnight I plug it in with around 20% charge remaining. This is with the screen at 50% brightness (more on that in a minute) and wifi on all the time.
-The keyboard and trackpad are the same fantastic combination you get in all the other Macs (minus the backlight on the Pro)- roomy, comfortable, and multi-touchy.
-The screen is incredible, the 1440x900 resolution makes my old Macbook's 1280x800 look terrible. The LED backlight is shockingly bright- at 50% brightness it is as bright as my old Macbook at full-tilt. At 100% it is like staring at the sun. I keep it at around 50% during the day, slightly lower at night, and am quite happy with it. Another note: The screen has a nice matte finish which is great with reflections.
-Size. This thing is so thin and light it's practically non-existant. But you know that already :) Also, it is silent. Not quiet- silent.

The meh:
-2GB RAM. While in OSX this really isn't a problem as long as you're using it reasonably. I haven't tried VMWare with it (I use bootcamp), but I imagine it might cause some swap issues if running Win7 virtualized with anything else (Word, excel, PP, etc). I just use bootcamp since it shuts down in under 3 seconds, and boots fully to Win7 in around 15 seconds.
-Outdated processor. This is really more of a principle issue than a practical one. I haven't found a situation yet where I'm lacking for CPU-oomph, but it's outdated and annoys me slightly as a spec-nerd.
-Price. There is no way around it, this is an expensive machine, especially for a second computer.

Final thoughts:
If you're looking to upgrade from an older Macbook Pro or any Macbook this computer will NOT disappoint. The size, speed, and screen come together to form a fantastic overall product. I've always said the best Windows machine is a Mac and bootcamp, and this is no exception. As an engineering student I have to use Windows all the time, Win7 runs great, with no issues whatsoever. This is by far the best laptop I've ever owned or used. Period. If you can afford it, I promise that you will not regret it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best...laptop...ever, January 25, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I posted the following review on a higher end model. But this model has the specs closest to what I got, so I'll post it here.

I bought this (not from Amazon) a few days ago. 13 inch, 1.86, with 4 gb of ram, 128 GB. i got the 4GB ram since I thought another $100 on a $1200 machine is well worth it, especially if I have a memory intensive program (office for Mac comes to mind). Since I've only had it a few days, I can't say anything about the 30 day standby time claim. But I will say I wouldn't be surprised. I don't bother shutting this off because I like the instant on feature here. It is just like turning on my iphone, no kidding. I only plan to use it mostly in different rooms of my house and take it on trips here and there. The light weight is awesome! It doesn't feel cheap with its all aluminum enclosure. I am not a heavy video editing guy. But it is powerful enough for me to play around with some video. I use it mostly for work and so I can take care of stuff without having to worry (so much) about viruses.

I bought it mostly for the instant on feature and of course its light weight. But I wouldn't have bothered if it was as weak as its predecessor. But since every review on earth said the 13 inch was powerful enough to use as a primary computer (some said almost), I thought it would be ideal for me. And I don't regret it one bit. I have an iMac also that I use for storage and if I need a DVD player (the MBA can remotely use the DVD drive on the iMac). If this is your primary computer and you are a power user, you are probably better off with a MBP. But if you are not a power user and you want it for light to medium duty (business work like powerpoint, some video editing) or if you have another computer, this is perfect.

I've been a Windows user all my life until I got my first iMac in 08. Once you go Mac, you never go back. I boot that computer in Windows if I have a Windows specific program. But let me talk more about the instant on feature. My iMac boots up in less than a minute, and that's with 2 years worth of junk and programs on it. My Windows laptop - I make coffee and come back. I was going to try to just use my windows laptop, but then I realize that 5 minute+ boot time was a productivity killer. Sometimes you just need to boot up to surf the net quickly and that didn't let you. If you put it into "standby" mode, the battery would die. So I always just went to my iMac, even if I was in the opposite side of my house. I even got impatient with the iMac's boot times so I just put that one into sleep mode. So instant on there, in a sense (still takes 5 seconds).

The MBA, on the other hand, really instant on. By the time I get the cover opened and into position, it's already good to go. When I cold boot, it's ready to go in less than 15 secs. That's just ridiculous! But it makes this computer well worth its price. I find myself constantly going to it over the last few days just to check the weather, check my email quickly, go quickly work on something. At first, I thought it was the novelty. Then I realized that it was always in my kitchen, ready to go, without a plug chaining it to a desk in another room. That makes it and me a lot more productive. I needed a change in scenery while working today so I just hooked up on wifi in the kitchen to get some work done.

Last thing: a note on the hardware and the windows/mac fight I always hear about. I've always seen Windows users talk about the Apple Tax when I was a Windows user. It deterred me bunch from even trying Apple. The argument was always why you were paying so much more for the same hardware? Then I tried the iMac and I noticed it was the software stupid. Mac OSX is so much better than windows. In addition to the boot up times, it is just more intuitive. I have Windows 7, and that still blows. There are quirks to OSX, but it is in my opinion far superior. Who knew that getting your password before a program can install itself would be such an effective idea? Now to the hardware part. What is clear to me is that the integration Apple controls makes their products far superior. But what is also apparent is that their hardware is itself far superior. The specs, while not always better, seemlessly integrate with the software to make a faster feeling machine (my almost 2 year old Mac works fine for everything). But trying this MBA made me realize the quality of the products they put in. My Windows laptop has the usual specs for its time (Gigabit ethernet ports, USB 2.0, Wireless n, etc.) But its hardware is not quality, something I didn't really realize until my MBA. For instance, my Windows laptop's wireless could not pick up the signal from my wireless router when I was on the other side of the house. And even when I was only in the next room. I had to set up a second wireless router I had so I could use my laptop when I was in the opposite side of my house. I thought this was normal...until I got my MBA (I never had a reason to turn on wireless on my iMac since it's hardwired). I tried the wireless in the opposite side of my house (about 80 feet away), which has several walls separating, just for kicks. And I noticed the wifi was at full strength. I thought there was something wrong with the meter. But I tested the speed, and it was at max. Plus, I could see other wireless networks with considerably less signal. So really, it is NOT true that Mac hardware is the same as Windows hardware. I would assume the top of the line like a Toshiba Portege ultraportable would have similar quality hardware. But then again, that means you're spending as much as an Apple product, and the "Apple tax" seems more like an "Apple discount." So those "Laptop hunters" commercials we all saw, not exactly a fair comparison from a true comparative perspective in my opinion.

Hope this helps.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just mind-blowing, worth the price, April 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I am a software engineer who enjoys fast machines. I have a quad-core PC desktop at home and I just sold my i7 macbook pro. Going to the air I thought I'll have to sacrifice speed - I was wrong. The fact that you can get ultra portability, quiet operation, AND speed is mind-blowing. If you think this is expensive, think again - Dell just came out with their own competing version that's more expensive! And, of course, not quite as light or small, and it's still plastic, not aluminum. And resolution is lower.

Is 2GB enough for MacBook Air? Yes, b/c OS X runs much better on less memory than Windows. Is 128GB enough? Only if you dont't dual-boot and have external hard drive for all the backups and data you don't often use.

Does it run photo-editing apps well? Yep, albeit you may want 4GB if you do that a lot. 1080p video? It yawns at it. Flash? Full-screen without a hitch, albeit fans kick on after a bit (flash, of course, is very CPU-hungry).

I love the thing, but I do want to dual-boot, and I want to run Windows via Parallels in background. So I'll be upgrading to 256GB 4GB version. With the high resale price, it's more than worth it.

In fact I was impressed so much, my first cousin, my brother, my roommate, and one of my friends now own Airs too after my recommendation, and they all love it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Computer Than I Expected, April 24, 2011
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This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I work as a freelance writer and editor, and I bought the MacBook Air 13" to replace an older MacBook Pro 17" 2.4 GHz that had seen its last web copy. So, you can imagine that I assumed this would be somewhat of a "downgrade" in size and performance. But I was very wrong.

Performance
First of all, the Air screams. The thing boots up before I'm even ready for it to each day--I've gotten so used to grabbing my coffee or something else while waiting. I hit the power button, and within 20 seconds, I'm surfing the web. Programs launch quickly (usually within 2 hops on the dock), and I notice an impressive difference between my computer and my wife's MacBook with a faster clock speed (though older). The only issue I've ever had is with Adobe Flash performance, but Flash has never been speedy on any computer I've used (PC or Mac). This little computer will shock you for how fast it is.

Screen
It did take a couple days to get used to the smaller screen, but once I set up Spaces, I hardly notice any longer. My productivity hasn't suffered, and the speed of the machine makes it easy to zip between Spaces for various applications. You should know, however, that the screen is highly reflective. So, make sure your workspace isn't in direct sunlight.

Form
Occasionally, I just pick the computer up and marvel at how light it is. Despite that, though, it's solid, and the lid opens easily. It's the perfect balance.

Typing and Trackpad
The keyboard takes some getting used to because the "Chicklet" keys are a big shift from the older keyboard. But the click and resistance is solid. Then again, it seems like there's less chance of dust getting down into the keys. Considering how thin the machine is where the trackpad is located, you'd expect a reduced click. But it works just like it should.

Battery Life
I don't get the battery life that Apple says you should get, but I also have several programs open at all times for my workflow. That said, I can spend an entire morning (5 hours) happily typing away before I need to hook up the power. And, most impressively, the battery charges up in less than 2 hours ... even while I'm working.

Lack of Optical Drive
I actually bought the external superdrive to go along with the laptop, but I've only used it once in nearly a month of use. In fact, I'm convinced that DVDs will go the way of floppies in a few years.

Overall
This little mighty mini laptop will do more than you think. It's the perfect combination of size and performance. If you need a portable computer with excellent battery life and enough power to get your work done, go with the MacBook Air.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would give it a 4.5, October 29, 2010
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This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Pros > Everything you've been told by apple... and most of it is true!
Cons > No backlit keyboard, I'm struggling right now to have no typos in this review. No edge-to-edge glass display (silver-aluminium 1/2" border on MBA) gives it a not-so-nice look.

It is my first MacBook, and I must say I really love it, I started to bite this apple with an iPhone 3GS... now I have an iPhone 4 and could not turn away from this 13.3" beauty!

I'm really hoping Steve meets that 60 day Mac App Store deadline he has promised, that I will try right away.

Happy about its performance, syncing with all my google mail, contacts and calendars was a snap, iLife has changed my perception of media organizing and editing, Facetime didn't come preinstalled but worked faultlessly after a quick download... you get the point, a 4.5! Almost perfect.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 star computer, except for wifi/software issues, April 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I've had this computer for a couple of months. I will start with the bad. My Macbook Air messed up both my router and my fiance's. It not only failed to connect, it ruined the connection for others on the router. The problem with my router was fixed by changing the password from WEP to WPA. But this might not be possible if you're at a coffee shop, a library, or anywhere else. Considering this computer is an ultraportable, this is a big problem.

The second problem: opening iTunes sometimes causes the computer to freeze. I still have no idea what triggers it. Fortunately, it's not really a problem to never turn off iTunes (or the computer as a whole). But it's still annoying. (NOTE: not a day after I wrote this review, Apple released a software update that fixes the problem. 4.5 stars!)

...

Everything else about the Macbook Air is amazing. Yes, the processor is underpowered. The solid state drive (SSD) more than makes up for it. The processor is not the only thing that determines a computer's speed. For example, having enough RAM is more important than having the fastest processor. The processor needs data to work, but taking data directly from a hard disk drive (HDD) is slow. RAM is like a small data reservoir that the processor can quickly access. More RAM means more data for the processor, and faster. An SSD drive, basically, makes your entire storage disk work more like RAM than a hard disk. The processor can take data much more quickly from an SSD than an HDD. So what this all translates to is: SSD makes opening files, opening programs, turning the computer on and off much, much faster. It's not a silver bullet--it won't make gaming or video editing faster--but it will, for example, make game levels or videos much faster to load. As someone who mostly uses my computer for web browsing, watching videos, and writing, SSD provides a much more noticeable performance increase than processor speed. The Air simply feels much faster than a late-2010 Pro.

Along with speed, the Air is so light, quiet, and cool (temp-wise) that it almost doesn't feel like a laptop. You can close it, carry it to the kitchen with one hand, open it, and everything appears instantly. Apple's whole "iPad hooks up with a laptop" isn't just empty marketing rhetoric. It changes how you physically interact with the machine. It's something that's hard to quantify, but it's a huge benefit.

The screen is wonderful. The extra resolution (1440x900, vs. the 13" Pro's 1280x780) is very welcome, especially for multitasking. The screen build itself is noticeably better than the Pro, mostly because it has a lot less glare. (Note: the Pro's black bezel makes its screen initially look better than it is.) I'm also surprised at how good the Air's speakers are--again, noticeably better than the Pro. If you set your equalizer to small speakers, music actually sounds *good*, and it gets loud, too. Compared to the Pro, the keyboard has less travel, but I don't personally mind. (The keyboard also lacks the Pro's backlight ... but I never had a backlit keyboard so I don't miss it.) The battery does in fact last 7 hours easily.

If you're on the fence between the Air and the 13" Pro: if you are not a gamer or video editor, and if you won't miss your DVD drive, the Air has surprisingly numerous advantages. If you're debating getting extra RAM: I have had no problems with just 2GB of RAM (someone at the Apple store said the Air can switch to the SSD for memory purposes ... I haven't independently verified this, though I imagine virtual memory would indeed be faster in an SSD.) As for paying $200 extra for the 256GB Air, I would rather just spend $50 on an external hard drive and move large files there when I need to.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that Apple is overpriced, and I am agnostic about Windows vs. OSX. But I think build quality matters a lot for laptops, as opposed to desktops. Anecdotal evidence: I had a Toshiba laptop that lasted one year. Then I bought the cheapest Macbook and it lasted for five ... and the Macbook Air makes my 5-year-old Macbook feel like a rickety POS. The Air's trackpad is also excellent, and I would have trouble going back to a laptop without multitouch gestures.

$1250 is a huge investment, but if you aren't the type who needs tech upgrades every two years (or who smashes their computers every two years), the Macbook Air's build quality and SSD make it a good long-term value. It's really not a fashion statement computer. And were it not for the two issues I mentioned, I would give it five stars. (And hopefully Apple will fix them in software updates.)
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