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Apple Macbook Air 11in review

Power to match portability
Fri Aug 05 2011, 15:36

Product Apple Macbook Air 11in Mid-2011
Website Apple Macbook Air
Specifications 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 256GB SSD storage, Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU, 11in LED-backlit display with 1366x768 resolution, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Thunderbolt port, 79 keys, Mac OS X Lion
Price From £850 + VAT

APPLE's MACBOOK AIR laptop epitomises the term 'shiny toy' and the annual refresh always tempts salivating fanbois to scurry along to the nearest cappuccino company store and drop close to a grand without blinking.

For those who have never handled a Macbook Air, the design and light weight are major attractions. Such is the beauty of the Macbook Air that it drew praise from all corners of the office, including staunch anti-Apple users.

With Apple having perfected the design long ago, it was only a matter of time before it was going to address the lack of power, which has been the main criticism of this ultralight laptop.

Using Intel Core i5 and Core i7 chips pretty much ensures that the majority of users will struggle to complain about performance.

The INQUIRER got its hands on the high-end 11in Macbook Air, which has some beefy specifications. Apple packed a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM into the chassis, making it up to 2.5 times faster than its predecessor. Our unit also came with a 256GB SSD drive, which added £250 onto the price tag.

With dimensions of 300x192x17mm and weight of 1.08kg, the 11in Macbook Air remains the most portable laptop in the face of stiff competition from Windows-based offerings such as the Samsung Series 9 and Asus U36.

Apple MacBook Air chassis

Even though the Macbook Air is stick-thin, its build quality is superb and extremely sturdy. This is somewhat unsurprising though, as all Apple's products such as the Iphone and Ipad show premium build quality.

The 11in screen has an LED backlight and comes with 1,366x768 maximum resolution. We think that Apple could have stretched the size to 12in, but the sharp colours and brightness of the display more than make up for the lack of size. Plus, the 11in laptop is not much bigger than the Ipad and is easy to carry around.

There is an ambient sensor that automatically adjusts the screen brightness and keyboard lighting
, and the power supply also clips into place magnetically, a great touch.

Another key area where the Macbook Air surpasses the majority of its Windows-based counterparts is the keyboard and trackpad.

 Many laptops have passed through The INQUIRER, and a few have had absolutely atrocious keyboards. Apple has impressed us once again by rolling out a device with a well-proportioned 79-key island keyboard. Other manufacturers should take note.

Apple MacBook Air keyboard

Some might find the lack of a number pad to be bothersome, but for the majority of users it is not a big miss.

 The track pad is huge and is more than adequate to carry out swiping and pinching gestures comfortably. The only real downside is the click-anywhere feature, which can be a little inconsistent.


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