127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
I've gone through more Apple computers--desktop, laptop, Power Macbooks, iBooks, iPads--since 1990 than I care to count. Out of all of them my favorite was easily the previous Macbook Air (the flash memory model). Forget about the specs. Once you get your hands on one of these, the specs on paper mean nothing. Suddenly every other Mac product seems clunky, overly hot and heavy. The Air is the only model I want to use, and actually do use--day after day. And in no time at all I discover how little use I actually make of a built-in CD/DVD drive or an extra USB port. (Granted, there are times you'll want to insert or burn a disc. I've had better success with $40 non-Apple external drives--currently, a Samsung--than with the Superdrive that Apple makes available for the Air at twice that price. Discs have a tendency to get stuck, and Apple leaves you no provision for mechanically ejecting a jammed disc.) As for a single USB port, a seven-buck 4-port Belkin hub solved that occasional limitation in an instant, though that may no longer be necessary since Apple has provided 2 USB ports, one on each side (the 11" model lacks the 13" model's SD card slot, which makes sense since those preferring the smaller model are less likely to be attracted to it for video/audio storage and editing).
The only product I was awaiting from Apple was a quality "netbook," so what did they do? They produced the wildly popular iPad, which I barely use at all (for the grandkids' visit is about it). Why, I thought to myself, couldn't Apple at least include a keyboard with it and put a cover on it? Well, they did--and they have delivered in spades with this most recent MacBook Air. If you want all of the features of a conventional Macbook minus the weight, look at the 13", slightly more expensive, model. If you want the lightest, most practical machine available (for a writer--not a film editor or audio engineer), stick to the 11.6" model--and be sure to ignore the specs that suggest the common entry-level Macbook is faster, more powerful, etc. When it comes to the "unmeasurable" qualities, the immense satisfaction of writing with a full-sized keyboard on a featherweight machine, the Air is in a league of its own. (I tried a couple of non-Apple "netbooks" and sent them back because they felt like plastic toys made for munchkins.)
The one thing I didn't like about the previous Air--and it cost me in time and money--was the ill-conceived design of the hinges attaching the two halves of the machine. If you knicked one, the entire mechanism began a slow process of erosion, eventually affecting the entire internal circuitry of the machine and leading to repair costs practically equal to the price of the new Airs (the original flash drive models cost over 2 G's). Thank goodness Apple has re-designed the hinge mechanism, making it possible to open the cover some extra inches and without fear of damage to the hinge, the machine, or the user's wallet.
Battery life on the previous model was noticeably limited, especially to someone like me who likes to run a bright screen. The extended battery life of the new Airs (again, the 13" model's is "more" extended) makes it practical to leave the AC adapter at home--maybe for the entire day. Also, speed and graphics resolution, which I thought could not be improved upon, are better than the first model, both seemingly as good as it can possibly get. (Admittedly, the extra time is due, at least in part, to my not using an Air for storing photos, audio and video files and messing with gizmos like "Face Time.") The onboard sound is 50% better, with greater frequency range and authentic stereo sound rather than a single tiny speaker.
The concessions Apple has made for an improved Air are almost too insignificant to be worth mentioning. The machine no longer has the curved edges, which required a cute little trap door that you flipped open in order to connect a USB item, external audio device, or video display. Also, the keyboard itself no longer has backlighting, which was marginally useful at best (since the light could not shine through opaque keys).
Since I've made a couple of references to advantages of the 13" model, I'd better insert here that, as lightweight as it is, it still feels like a tank compared to the 11.6" model. Or to put it another way, the 13" Air is to the 11.6" Air what a conventional Macbook is to the Macbook Air. If I needed a 13" Air, I could probably still live with the first model if the price were right. The excitement, the break-through, the most desirable model, it seems obvious to me, lies with the new 11.6" Air, which is even priced lower than its bigger brother.
Finally, configuration and price. Even with the educational discount from Apple Store, Amazon's is overall the better deal. I probably would be happy with the Mac Air's most basic, least expensive configuration (which brings the machine in at under a G-note). For some reason, Amazon has chosen not to offer through Prime the several different configurations available for this model, but it makes sense that most users are likely to order the pictured version with 128 gigs of memory rather than the standard 64-gig model. Because of my last bad experience with breaking an Air hinge (and, even before that, the previous Air that I received from Amazon arrived DOA) I know I "should" order the warranty. But if Americans did that for every item they purchased, we'd all be in deeper hock than is already the case. Besides, as a second release of what was formerly a new model, the Mac Air has by now had time to work out the bugs. If not, I've never had any problems returning a defective product purchased from Amazon.
They say that the time of the "Netbook" has come and gone. Maybe so, but that's just quibbling about names. I predict the current "iPad" and computer tablet craze will turn out to be the real fad. (You can watch videos on a TV, for Pete's sake, and as clever as some of the thousands of "apps" are, unless you're a committed, 24/7, life-time gamer, they soon lose their allure not to mention actual "use" value.) The Mac Air, which was so maligned upon its first appearance, is one of the most useful, well thought-out, carefully designed and assembled products Apple has come to market with. It's here to stay--and for good reason. Don't wait for Steve Jobs to convince you that you need one, as was pretty much the case with the iPad. This is one machine that makes its own case, and if you've read this far, you probably deserve to have it under your fingers the sooner the better.
[2nd thought re: the Apple warranty. There's no getting around the fact that the Macbook Air is more about convenience than savings. In fact, the necessity of having Apple replace a worn-out battery (it'll happen sooner or later) may be sufficient reason to purchase the warranty (Apple gives you a time-frame for doing so, should you have ordered the machine without the warranty.)]
76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
I just got my MacBook Air 11" on the second day it was launched, although I was not aware Amazon carries the same product, I went to Apple Store to purchase mine.
First of all, the 2nd generation Air is as slim as the previous one, and with the addition of new 11" model, it takes the slimness to next level. You will be stunned by just looking at its profile in person.
Secondly, the biggest differences you will notice at once are the screen is very crisp, even at the 11" model I bought, it can view significant size of the web pages and documents with no problem at all; also it got two USB slots, thanks Apple, they finally get it right; 13" weights as identical as the previous one, but 11" is less about half pound, not that much on the paper but you will immediately notice it when you actually hold it yourself.
Thirdly, speed of processor, to be honest and frank, since I have been using two generations of Macbook Pro, I was initially worried about the actual speed of the 1.4GHz of Intel chip. But after few days of using it, I have to admit it feels much faster than the old Macbook with 2.16GHz processor. I can open tons of web pages, iLife '11 and Office applications without any problem. Latest OSX Snow Leopard definitely helps a lot. But I doubt if anyone will use it for heavy processing work, i.e. video editing, music composing or lots of calculation, I don't think you shall get this one as your main computer though.
Fourthly, the SSD storage, since there are no moving parts, the laptop is very silent and cool, the reading of documents is fast, but not noticeable except using testing software. But booting up and waking up time are significant faster than the Hard-drive models.
Last but not the least, the battery lasts just what apple promises, with wifi on, surfing web, watching youtude, listening music and doing some Words editing can give you about 4 hours life. Consider the size of the laptop, it is more than just OK. Of course everyone is greedy, if you need longer battery life, go for 13". And to me personally, although the Macbook Pro 13" can last about 2 hours longer when doing the same tasks (with screen set at really low bright), I still feel more satisfied with Air 11" performance than the Macbook Pro 13", as Macbook Pro never gave me 10 hours as Apple claims.
In conclusion, the Second Generation of Macbook Air is not an overpriced Netbook for the hype, it is a true slim yet powerful laptop that you can actually carry with ease for daily work and entertainment without sacrifice too much for the speed. Steve Jobs once again stuns the market with this renovated master-piece, and with very attractive pricing. For this highly competitive pricing, the other slim laptop manufactures are going to have a tough time.
Be aware, DELL, ACER, TOSHIBA and SONY, APPLE is coming with an ultimate weapon at hand. Get ready, It is going to be a very tough fight!!!
FINAL WORD: GO FOR IT IF YOU CAN, YOU WILL BE A HAPPY MAN/WOMAN WITH THIS BABE IN YOUR HAND!!!
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
I just picked up this nifty piece of equipment today at a local big box store. I've read as many reviews as I could get my hands on and I will probably recap many of the same points.
Context: I got this computer as a second device, mainly to work with Pages 'O9 documents and PDF files. I am writing a dissertation and plan on using this computer as the primary vehicle in my writing. I will use my other computer to store my music, family photos and videos.
AESTHETICS & BUILD- This is a beautiful computer, elegant in lines, and also stunning to the touch. All the surfaces feel smooth and solid. The screen is very crisp, more than my macbook i think, and offers what appears to be a very small resolution. You can really pack a lot on to this smaller screen. Using the computer on hard surface feels very stable, there is wiggling or rocking.
SPEED - The computer feels surprisingly snappy for the rather low-end processor speed. From what I gather, the solid state drive enhances the speed of the processor to provide a rather smooth experience. I've been testing that a bit, and, I had pages open, a video running in Hulu, and everything went well. If I could have, I would have went with the 4 gb memory instead of the two. This computer isn't going to set any speed records, but it is fine for the average user i think.
BATTERY - I will update this when i have more information after using it.
SPEAKERS - The speakers are only so-so, about the same as other macs. And, something that i found annoying is that the speakers are sort of implanted under the keyboard. If you want to listen to music while typing up a word document, you feel vibrations from the music coming though. the simple thing is just to plug in a pair of headphones.
REMOTE FEATURE - the Air has this feature that allows you to wireless connect to and run a drive on another computer in your wireless network, or, also tranfer files. I think this is going to come in very handy. But admittedly, I have yet to see what will happen. I have connected my own generic optical drive today to install Iwork 09 and worked fine. Although the thing looks like a beast compared to this little laptop.
MULTITIOUCH PAD - I have an older macbook and hadn't experienced the new features of this trackpad. I was thinking that I might have use up one of the two USB ports on an external mouse. Now, I am considering leaving the mouse at home! This little trackpad packs a lot of effective multitouch features enabling easy scrolling, zooming in an out on webpages, and other moves I have yet to learn. Very sweet.
LACK OF COMPUTER LOCK - Most full size laptops come equipped with a little hole to attach a security lock to make sure no one swipes your computer when you are the library or coffee shop. The Air does not have one. I am disappointed with that. But, as small as this thing is, and as fast as it boots up and wakes from sleep, I could probably just bring it with me whenever I leave the table.
Overall, this computer is going to have some trade offs, as many reviews across the web have noted. You are trading: built in optical drive, large storage capacity, and speed for a highly-mobile, enjoyable to use computer, then I think you will be very satisfied. This thing is WAY better than your average netbook and only a little less functional than the macbook or macbook pro. I would stress though that 128 gb of a hard drive is what i have and I would not go smaller than that. Great computer.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I have a somewhat interesting take on the 11.6-inch MacBook Air. I chose the 13-inch model for myself, but my father who is always on the go for business, chose this 11.6-inch model. He wanted the extra portability, and I wanted the extra performance of the larger machine.
In the end, the story took a further twist. I sold the 13, and I now have this 11.6inch model as shown by Verified Amazon Purchase.
Visually, the machines look different. My (original) 13-inch model does not look significantly different from the front or rear compared to a full featured MacBook Pro. In other words, on the 13-inch model, which I still think is a fantastic choice for many, the footprint of the device is basically the same as a 13-inch MacBook Pro. The difference is the slim side profile, and the two missing pounds.
This 11-inch model is not only light and thin, but has a smaller footprint too. It is striking to see. It looks small, and it's gorgeous. My original 13 was light, but took up as much desk space or lap space as a 13-inch Pro essentially.
The drawbacks to this model and the reason I originally chose the 13-inch? The processor included in this 11-inch machine is a fair bit slower. Comparing some online benchmarks, this entry-level 11-inch model with the 1.4 GHZ Core 2 Duo brought in about 70 percent of the processing speed of the entry level 13-inch model. While other parts of the machine are equally as fast, such as the graphics processor, solid state storage, and memory, the processor performance difference is not insignificant. You do feel a slight performance difference between the 13 and 11.
The included storage on this model is 128 GB. Being a second Mac, I could have gotten by with the 64GB machine, but I got a good price on the machine here at Amazon, and I figure the extra storage will bump my resale value up someday, when the next revision is available. Still, you will have to be careful to not story lots of videos on here, of course, story a handful of movies for a trip is no problem. You main video library can simply remain on another Mac, and you can stream it over to Air via iTunes.
However, the storage is solid state and fast, which enables fast startups and allows the machine to still feel snappy despite the slower processor.
Apple specs the battery in this model at 5 hours, whereas the 13-inch model has a quoted 7 hours. Apple is using a new battery testing procedure, which is said to more accurately predict real world battery life. Nevertheless, the battery life edge does go to the 13-inch model. I find the Apple battery projections not awful, but I get about 1 hour less than the quoted on each machine, and I have relatively non intensive tasks I use the Airs to complete.
The display is no slouch despite its 11.6-inch size. Indeed, its resolution is similar to the Mac Book Pro's 13-inch display, so there is no question that the display is gorgeous.
iLife 11 is included and already installed on this device, so you will be able to take advantage of the latest iLife software right out of the box. Two USB ports and a mini display port allow for expandability and compatibility with external devices. Connect an external hard drive for expanded storage, or sync up your iPhone. No problem. Indeed, believe it or not, this small 11.6-inch MacBook Air can drive the 27-inch Cinema Display that Apple sells. That shows the impressive graphics performance this small machine offers.
The 13-inch asks you to take fewer sacrifices in terms of performance and storage. However, this 11.6-inch is oh so portable. Honestly, it's surprising when you see it in person. This 11.6-inch is probably destined to be the "cool," choice.
Overall, it is clear to see there are several drawbacks to the 11-inch model. Less storage, shorter battery life, and slower processor. However, there are several benefits: a smaller footprint, lighter weight, and therefore easier portability. Plus, there a cool factor that makes jaws drop when you pull this 11-inch model out of your bag. Despite its diminutive size, it's a quality product. Make no mistake about it, while it might be less powerful than other Mac notebooks, the 11-inch Air is no net-book. The quality and performance far outshines any net-book. This machine will serve your word processing, consumer photo editing, music listening, email writing, and web surfing needs without issue. I might caution its use as one's sole computer only due to the limited onboard storage, limited RAM, and somewhat slower performance (1.4 GHZ Core 2 Duo Processor). Highly recommend product for the correct application/use.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2010
I have a number of laptops (3 incl a tablet) and a desktop. I bought this because work I am doing requires me to use some Mac programs.
This little machine is better designed re engineering than most give it credit for. Despite the weak processor (it actually is not that bad if you consider the Passmark values), it has handled some sophisticated software reasonably well. I have this bootcamped with Windows 7. If anything, Windows runs as well or better than OSX on this machine (verified by monitoring CPU and Graphics performance loads)...the SSD and the 320M graphics rescue this machine from mediocrity.
The installation of Win7 is brilliantly aided by the bootcamp installer, a script program that finds all the drivers and creates the environment.
I have been running VideoStudio X2, Engineering level statistics programs, signal analysis programs, Office, etc and it runs like a champ. It is fully possible to edit SD video on this machine. Don't get me wrong, you will not realize i5 or i7 performance, but it is doable.
I found that the VGA adapter produces some artifacts with the resolution set at max...it goes away if you reduce it to 1360 x 768 (it is an overscan issue corrected by this minor change). I have run (from SDD) high definition video with different scalings on the laptop screen and the output HD display without a single frame dropped.
I have run all kinds of external devices, scanners, language OCR, disks, etc with no issues. With a couple of free programs to establish NTFS capability, you can read and write between both Mac and Win 7 partitions.
This is an expensive machine. If you need portability and to dual boot, it can be a worthwhile investment. The keyboard is excellent. This is the only trackpad I have been able to stand on a machine. Under OSX the multitouch, surface clickable trackpad is terrific (I hope full multitouch is incorporated into bootcamp...currently only tap and two finger scroll and secondary tap are available in Win7).
This is not my main computer, and I certainly could not use it as the only machine that I have (my desktop is a powerhouse). However for mobility and flexibility as a dual-boot away-from-monster desktop-device, I am happy with it. I had return privileges without restocking, but I have decided to keep it.
Final note: If the trackpad under Win 7 bootcamp is too sensitive, install the following: Trackpad Plus Plus (++) a free program.
You can get 5 hours in light web surfing etc. Invoke the GPU (320M) for video and battery goes downhill rapidly. At full
screen stretched video, you will get 2:30 minutes. That is all. If you run it in a window, you can extend this to something over
three hours with the display at less than half brightness. Running Slingbox produces the same medicore battery life, even with
a small viewing area.
This is very poor, IMO .. I was expecting 3 hours playing SD video at full screen with medium brightness.
Anything, including flash, that uses the CPU and GPU intensively will eat battery .. you will be shaken seeing the battery
meter begin a rapid decline. There is an article review on AandTech that explains this...and finds it is true for both of the MacBook 2010 Air models. As long as non-flash web surfing is all that is being done, this can even get 6 hours of battery...as soon as multi-tasking or high CPU GPU tasks are done, this life is cut by more than half.
At this point, because video is important to me, I am probably forced to return this wonderful computer.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2010
I just recently converted into Macs. I have an iMac at home for the family but I have yet to find a small portable from Apple. Before Apple had only the 13 inch models which is a bit too big for my bag so I decided stick with an 11 inch HP netbook. Now Apple released the 11.6 Air I was the first in line to snap up the entry model. The price is basically double then your average netbook but for double the price you also get twice the performance. One problem I had with my HP netbook is the loong time for it to load programs especially MS office programs. When working with huge documents like Word and Excel, the netbook tends to get sluggish and unresponsive at times. Not so with my new 11.6 Air. Office 2011 for Mac loads fast and I don't experience any slow down when working with huge Word and Excel files. In fact the Air seems much snappier then most computers I've worked with before - perhaps this is because of the SSD storage? Although the battery is rated for only 5 hours, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able stretch the battery life up to 7 hours if I turn off my wifi (which I don't need when I go into long document editing seasons). Finally, one of the best thing I love about the Air is the full size keyboard and the higher quality screen which although does not adds to its performance but makes the Air very comfortable to work with compared to other small size notebooks. Two thumbs up.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
I've been dying to get my hands on this 11 inch Macbook Air. I got to the store and waited less than a minute and I was using it. First thing I wanted to find out was if this was really like an actual laptop versus one of those slow Netbooks that I listen to peeps complain about. To my surprise this computer flies. I was really pleasantly surprised at the speed it moves at. So my next question was just how fast does the apps like Word come up. Boy was it quick. No slower than my computer at home. I was using the 1.4Ghz model running only 2GB RAM. The solid state drive was the 128GB model. Apple is going to sell a lot of these to people who want a super light laptop that has a bigger screen than your typical notebook and runs really quickly. So to put this thing to it's paces I downloaded Google Earth. The Apple store's connection was running at about 12 to 14Mbps yet it downloaded very fast. Installation was ridiculous quick and the next thing I knew I was flying across the globe and viewing my Panaramio pics that I had posted on Google Earth. The only thing that didn't happen was the pics giving the preview view, but hey I don't even get that on my i7 computer right away so who cares! The world spun and rotated while going from country to country and city to city as if I was on my computer at home. Amazing thin machine. The body is ultra-thin and the quality top notch like all of Apple's Unibody Aluminum machines. I totally can see myself running around with this beautiful laptop that weighs only 11 more ounces than the iPad. I have carried around an iPad with me all day and it is not heavy at all so another 11 ounces should be nothing. The new trackpad is wayyy nice. You will love it and I never even realized I didn't miss the mouse until later when I thought about it. No need for the rat anymore so those two USB ports that come with it are open for perhaps an SD card reader. The perfect machine to take with me so I can load my digital photos and view them on the nearly 12 inch screen ! (11.8 inches to be exact!) Another feature I will love is that you can plug in your Headset with mic and remote and talk on it using Skype and also play music while surfing. Very, very nice. This is just an initial review. After getting one I will be back to give more details.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2010
Each person has their own requirements for a computer.
Mine were portability: light weights and small. I want to be able to bring this on a day trip, overnight trip and not think about the weight or what bag I am going to bring.
I don't do any kind of video, photo, 3D, graphics editing.
For when I need to do serious work on spreadsheets that require multiple open simultaneously, I use an iMac.
I use external hard drives to keep extra data and photos.
For basic word processing, email, surfing, powerpoint, skyping etc The MacBook Air 11" works perfectly well.
This is a real iPad Killer - (almost*) all of the benefits of the iPad and none of the disadvantages
-audio is not very loud
-only two USB ports and a video out
After 2 weeks with the Air, I don't miss my MB Pro 13" at all, the screen size is not an issue for me, and I love the size, for people on the go - it's perfect (except photographers, designers, people with butlers and chauffeurs, etc)
PS I purchase a Colcasac as a sleeve, it's great.
* no touch screen, no 3G
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2010
I've had this for a few days, this is a well made netbook. Well of course apple doesnt call it a netbook but that's what I am using it for. I've went through about 3 netbooks and they all lack a proper processor and gpu; this came along and offers both. Now I would have purchased a pc had any manufacturer actually made one with similar specs but they dont.
I develop software so I primarily use Windows; and I've installed Windows 7 64-bit on this machine; it works wonderful with it. I've tried the OSX partition a few times and the OS works just fine but isn't as feature rich or customizable as Windows 7 is, it also lacks software and ALL development tools I need.
The build quality on this machine is very good; the chassis is made out of aluminum and keeps fairly cool on the palmrest and keyboard area; however it does get quite warm on the bottom of the machine - apple needs to work on their thermal design and/or include better fans inside their machines. I suspect because they are using nvidia gpu's they heat up quite a bit. Otherwise the machine is very well constructed.
The screen is nice and bright and pretty much flawless; no dead pixels and the clarity and color accuracy is great.
I get 5 hours and 55 minutes in Windows using the power saver mode, and exactly 4 hours using the balanced setting, high performance gets me around 3 hours. I've found OSX give very similar results. These figures are with wifi ON.
The machine is very light and has a small form factor - this is pretty much the only reason I got this machine - its basically a netbook form factor and provides mid-performance of a standard laptop - which is something netbooks really should offer instead of intel graphics and atom processors.
All in all this is an excellent Windows netbook if you want to go that option; of course if you want to use OSX theres that option too and it will work just as well.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Got this from Amazon. saved about $150 since I didn't have to pay the 9.75% tax and $25 recycling fee from Best Buy so highly recommend from Amazon.
I won't say anything the other people have said but I can tell you my experiences. I own the 2010 macbook pro 13" and the 2010 version i3 27" imac (yes, i know, i have too many computers!) but after seeing this at Best Buy I thought this was one of the most amazing computers I've ever seen. As small as it is, it's nothing like those $300-$500 netbooks. It is FAST. I believe the flash memory is the reason for this. Put this next to mly 1204N 12" Asus Eee, it is extremely thin. The screen is BRIGHTER than that Asus, and the Asus is so chunky next to this.
I can also tell you I use about 80% brightness and the battery is still at 60% after 2 1/2 hours of web browsing and Slingplayering. So I'm sure the 5 hour battery claim is accurate and it might be even more. Extremely good battery considering it is so thin.
The laptop does not get hot, just warm, although I haven't done any video editing or photo editing. The keyboard is not lit, which is a bummer but the screen is close enough to light up the white letter on the black keys.
I am extremely satisfied, even at the very high price but this is a real apple mac computer, not a netbook. I won't be buying another computer for at least a few years as these are MORE than satisfying. Hope this helped.