87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
, July 26, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC968LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
i am not going to go into a deep review, as there are already a lot of reviews out there covering the same things. but I will talk about special things that other reviews may not have covered. I personally have owned the 2010 11" and 13" airs, and I currently own the 2011 macbook pro 15" and 2011 11" air. the 15" is about 2x the processing power as the air (according to geekbench), but it lacks an SSD for faster daily tasks.
-- on Engadget, they recently covered that the 11" air has a faster SSD than the 13" ones. not a difference you'll notice but still a nice excuse to purchase a smaller one :) (it was something like 240mbps vs 180mbps estimated)
-- the battery life on the 11" is actually down from the previous generation by about 30 minutes on battery saving settings. Last gen can get about 7 hours, this one is just over 6 (about 25% brightness, web browsing only). Also, air's battery life plummets if it does moderate to heavy processing (flash, photo/movie editing, gaming), the pro's battery life goes down, but by much less.
UPDATE: I am getting around 4.5 hours of ~4 tabs in safari (no flash), Skype IM chat, and mail client running. about 40% brightness, no backlit keyboard, no sounds. kind of subpar for me. similar to the alienware m11x where the 1st gen had super battery life, 2nd gen increase power but decrease battery life, and 3rd gen has both. hopefully apple follows suit.
-- online benchmarks show that the 2011 11" air is about 2.5x faster in processor speed than the 2010 model. however, if you never used an i5 or i7 processor before, know that you will also be able to multitask a lot better than the old core2duos. for example, you can edit in iMovies and photoshop at the same time (something that will lag the crap out of the old generation).
-- DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE SCREEN SIZE. with Lion, applications can take advantage of its fullscreen function. For example, for many native applications like Safari, Mail, Calendar, etc, you can fullscreen them and they'll take up the entire screen, however, they dont actually take up the main desktop screen, but a whole new screen on its own. if you have multiple fullscreen apps, you can use 4 fingers to flick between them, fast and efficient. I owned the last gen air 11" with 10.6 SL, and it was a bit frustrating having multiple windows open, i usually have to minimize most of them. Now, you can browse in full 11" screen, and use 4 fingers to flick to check your mail.
-- keyboard and trackpad have more of an "umfph" feeling to them. a bit more resistance than the older models. the 2010 air was my first mac, and i was disappointed a bit by the light and cheap feeling keyboard, but the 2011 made it right.
-- FYI, if you never owned a macbook, the "instant on" feature is actually in all the unibody MacBooks and Pros, but they are just a bit slower than the air's. so don't think of it as a feature only the air has, it's just a bit faster.
-- you can't change anything in the air once bought, unlike the pro.
-- screen quality is actually worse than the Pro line up. Yes the air has more pixel density, but the vertical viewing angle is pretty bad. it is NOT made of the same screen as the Pro and iPad (IPS), however, it is a matte screen so a much better screen in the sun. i owned both the 11" and 13", the viewing angle problem was much more noticeable on the 13" just because the screen is bigger. I always found myself adjusting the 13" screen every time i move a bit.
-- 2gb ram is enough to run lion just fine.
-- sound seems to be slightly louder on the 13" vs 11". 11" sound is TINY. i always turn it to max whenever i'm watching videos. headphones are a must.
-- if you are deciding between a pro vs air, in general, i would say go with the pro if you do professional work with photo/movie editing, hardcore gaming (at least 15in), or if you plan on buying or already have a tablet. go with the air if you are a light user, want a tablet replacement. Owning an air and a tablet is a huge waste of money.
-- I would personally recommend the 1.6ghz, 4gb, 128ssd 11" macbook air. I believe that is the most useful and "bang for the buck" you can get vs the rest of the lineup. but everyone's preferences are different.
UPDATE: there has been 2 instances where the air would have its fan turned on full speed as if I was doing intensive work when i am only doing light web browsing. very rare though. fixed by shutting the system down and restarting.
All in all, my only complaint about this air is the price. the $1200 macbook pro 13" vs the $1200 11" macbook air, the air has a better hard drive, but thats it. it's using less material to make, a slower processor, smaller battery, small and worse screen, less ports, i would think Apple can price it less than the macbook pro. basically, less everything, but paying the same price because it has a good design. thats my 2 cents at least. $899 for the entry model would shut me up :)
Hope this will help you decide.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?