Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, mid 2011)

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Reviewed by ljpuk (Currently owns)

I picked up the 11" MacBook Air to replace my ageing white plastic MacBook, which served me well for 5 years but I wanted something lighter that I could take with me to write and do some music and video production - I haven't been disappointed.

Before I continue I went for the i5, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD configuration.

Out of the box this laptop is stunning with it's all aluminium construction and lightweight body it's a joy to use. Its comfortable and almost feels lighter than carrying my iPad 2 around. As with a lot of Apple products build quality is outstanding, although it is going to ding if you drop it. I've got a few light scratches on mine as it goes in and out of my bag, but our products are there to be used - right?

The first thing that struck me when first powering it on was this thing flies! It booted up in less than 10 seconds (and still does after a few months use) and runs all of my daily driver apps with no issues. This includes music and video production using Garageband and iMovie (rendering HD will take a bit longer), mails, writing and surfing. So no issues for most of us in the speed department.

In use I had no problems with the display, although the 11" does feel a little squashed coming from my 13" but I soon got used to it.

The trackpad is amazing and after using Lion on an iMac previously I know get it - it's to be used on a trackpad. It's responsive, reacts well to clicks and makes the gestures a breeze to use.

The Apple keyboard is still in my opinion the best out there and the backlight really makes it great for use any time and I quite often use in complete darkness forgetting the time whilst using it.

Battery gave me no issues and I was able to go around 4 hours on a charge, although if you do decide to do some heavy iMovie work expect a lot less.

Before going onto the software we should look at price and yes it's an expensive bit of kit but it will last a long time, you get great support and when you eventually sell on you will get a good chunk of your cash back.

So onto Lion... As already mentioned I had used it on the desktop but using it here gave me a completely different experience and I found that I was suddenly using full screen apps all the time with multiple desktops. This is how it's meant to be used and suddenly using a trackpad on my iMac makes sense.

To sum up, this is the best laptop I have ever owned - its quick, light and the OS is a joy to use. Before you pick up the Pro give an Air a chance.

The Breakdown

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