Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, mid 2011)

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Reviewed by 1001001 (Currently owns)

My Powerbook sadly croaked (absolutely loved that machine!). That was my sign that it was time for a new Apple laptop. In a way, it was perfect timing as my lifestyle changed so much from that time I got my Powerbook. For one, I no longer was doing video and photo editing. Two, my job was constantly on-the-go. So it was only natural that I go look at the Air. I also took a look a the Samsung Series 9 (that black brushed-metal finish is gorgeous!), but by a hair I went with the MBA because I already had a Windows laptop.

I scored a 10 for design and touchpad quite simply because the MBA is no doubt the industry standard. The battery life score of a 9 was because my Powerbook would, at best, last 4 hours. The MBA would get around 8 hours (I'm one of those Powerbook users that tried everything to eek battery life. That carried over to the MBA). While the display is not matte (c'mon Apple), it was not as bad in sunlight as I thought it would be and indoors the colors were great. The boot up and launching of applications really amazed me - it's not instant-on, but pretty fast. And compared to my old Powerbook and my Dell XPS, this laptop did not scorch my pants nor sound like a nuclear reactor.

Now I scored an 8 for software because Lion is good, but there is just some UI things that make it cheesy (open iCal or Address Book as an example) or gimmicky (I barely use the iOS-style application launcher). The new Finder is love/hate. Another application I use a lot, iTunes, has become bloated. But the positives outweigh the negatives: the OS was easier to setup and get going than previous iterations, FULL SCREEN APPS IS AWESOME, Mission Control is good (took a bit to get used to), pinch-to-zoom is surprisingly useful and its fairly polished overall (I still think a clean Windows 7 is better OS overall). If there was a real weakness, it would be the keyboard. It's good but not the best out there.

So why the 10 overall? To be honest it's more of a 9.7 if I had to nitpick. The reason is no laptop has fit my on-the-go lifestyle like the way this laptop has. It's light compared to my other laptops and many times I've been able to just whip it out, flip it up, and get working in under seconds (about 20 seconds if I turned it off). Yet, it's powerful enough and the battery is great.

I'm excited for the new crop of ultra books and curious to see where Apple takes theirs next. Until then, this is my laptop of choice.

The Breakdown

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  • 10
  • Design 10
  • Keyboard 8
  • Touchpad 10
  • Display 9
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 9
  • Battery life 9
  • Software 8
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