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In-Depth Review of the MacBook Air With Photos

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the long-road-ahead dept.

Portables (Apple) 244

Engadget has the first really in-depth review of the MacBook Air that I have seen with plenty of great photos and specifics. They do a great job of highlighting the highs and the lows with plenty of concrete examples to back their claims up. It seems that while the MacBook Air is a great step towards ultra-portable computing, overall the pricepoint is just too high. Which is not surprising from a new Apple gadget I guess.

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244 comments

First post .....lol...once i got it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192728)

First post .....lol...once i got it

FUCK APPLE. Give me 10.5.2 already. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192752)

Quit wanking us with little developer seed scraps. 10.5.0/1 are Windows ME-like in their astounding shittiness.

Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192824)

that my WI-FI connection fucking dropped out again immediately after making that post. The only remedy is to reboot the damned computer. 10.5.0/1 is a downgrade. Apple got me to pay them for a fucking downgrade. Good work, bitches!!!

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192916)

Apple "got you" to pay for Leopard? What are you a weak simple minded fool who can't make his own mind up when it comes to purchases?

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192944)

When making a purchasing decision, it helps to have ALL the facts. The fucking box didn't say that Wi-Fi would drop out and that I'd be rebooting my MBP all the time just to stay online. Fuck you, pussy.

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192998)

I bet the box didn't say the OS would cure cancer either, god you're a stupid cunt.

I hope you buy a box that stabs you in the face (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193024)

and is not marked as containing such a surprise.

STAB STAB STABETY STABFACE and fuck you.

Re:I hope you buy a box that stabs you in the face (1, Offtopic)

armada (553343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193092)

I have been a personal computer user for 28 years. I have been writing software for 20 of those. I learned about 15 years ago not to buy the first of anything. Hell I even waited for the second version of the Honda CRF450 motocross bike (first one ended up with some issues) and honda is just about the best R & D house in the world. Why would you, I'm guessing at least a slightly intelligent person (slashdot user and all), assume something as uterly complex as an operating system would have zero bugs on its first release? Or do you just like to bitch?

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (0, Offtopic)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193668)

Odd, I've been running Leopard since it was leaked to TPB and I've never had my wireless drop out. I've had nothing but a good experience with Leo so far.

Maybe you have a PEBKAC problem?

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (0, Offtopic)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193766)

Most certainly not. Leopard has been causing a lot of networking problems for many users, including myself. My MacBook Pro regularly kernel panicked (especially when running BitTorrent) when connecting on WiFi, back in 10.5.0. Thankfully .1 fixed that for me, but I'm still hearing sporadic reports of it for some people.

10.5.1 still has one major bug for me - it seems to not play nice with my router (whereas Tiger did perfectly), by refusing to use the router's DNS. I've had to manually enter my ISP's DNS addresses into Leopard just to go to websites. The more frustrating part of this is that the driver seems to refuse connections for CERTAIN domains, but OK others, and this "blacklist" seems to change from time to time. For about 2 days I couldn't access Slashdot, but after then I was fine.

This baby has a long way to go before I will call it a success. It's not a debacle on the scale of Vista, but it ain't nothing to write home about either.

Re:Marking me a troll doesn't change the fact... (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193882)

It's unlikely to be PEBKAC, as it's a well documented problem (just google for it).

I also had it last night on my MacBook which I upgraded to Leopard about 2 days ago. Previously (under Tiger), it had been fine - the most reliable Wifi I'd ever used. Full signal strength at home, never dropped out.

Last night I watched my wifi icon mysteriously blink on and off every few seconds, and the list of 5-ish wireless networks around me dropped to 1 (my external WAP, not my internal WAP). My Macmini (also Leopard) could see all the other networks fine.

For a period of about an hour (the amount of time I spent looking into it), my wifi seemed to be utterly unreliable. After about 6 months of trouble-free usage under Tiger. During that hour I found lots of complaints about Leopard's wifi support being unreliable on forums, news sites, Apple's web site, etc.

But, you know, feel free to call it a PEBKAC. Maybe I was sitting wrong, and it blocked the wifi signals or something.

Worth reading if you still care (4, Insightful)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192760)

I thought it was a well thought out review. Carefully worded to back up every statement so neither the fanboys or haters could jump all over him as being biased. Though some probably will. Only thing that irked me was how there were several lines that go something like "unlike most ultraportables, the MBA has..." or "also rare in an ultraportable is...". Well, who started calling this 13.3" thing an ultraportable anyway?

Anyway, it did actually make clearer to me who would want this laptop.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192842)

- Can't have MagSafe AC adapter plugged in on a table, because the connector points down.

  - Recessed USB port means that you need a "slim" device to make it in, so start carrying around a mini-USB extension cable.

  - Recessed audio jack means partial plugins and that startling "buzz" when ungrounded, so start carrying around a mini-RCA extension cable.

Snipped from the article:

"Air's MagSafe implementation won't always work with your current MagSafe adapters simply because the angle and location make it physically impossible to accommodate when used on a table. Hardly a huge issue, we know. But things get worse on the connectivity side. The USB port is recessed enough that, while we're sure it meets USB Implementers Forum's design spec, it realistically won't accommodate most 3G modems without a USB extension cable, and some flash drives, as we learned yesterday. Even the headphone port had a difficult time accommodating our Shure E4C phones. We got stereo audio, but a high pitched hissing from not being fully plugged in and grounded. (This went away when we used a better-fitting audio extension cable."

Re:Worth reading if you still care (0, Redundant)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192930)

can't have MagSafe AC adapter plugged in on a table, because the connector points down.
Yes, you can. Just not ones from different laptops, modles you need the MagSafe AC Adapter for the Mac Book Air. Others will work but not on a table. The one that comes with it does work on a table.

  -Recessed USB port means that you need a "slim" device to make it in, so start carrying around a mini-USB extension cable.

- Recessed audio jack means partial plugins and that startling "buzz" when ungrounded, so start carrying around a mini-RCA extension cable.

I agree it is annoying and it is an example of Jobs putting style in front of function. But to be realistic if you are going to be carrying around USB Devices for the MacBook Air then you will be putting it in a larger bag which will have room for an extra cable. Power Adapter, etc... The design of the Mac Book Air is for light travel, So most of the time you won't be using a USB device in it. If you need all this stuff then go with a MacBook or Mac Book Pro.

As for RCA connectors they have been standardly small for a while. Unless you make some radio shack monstrosity most headphones will work. Which is the primary use for it. If you wanted to use is as a Mixing station then you will need the previously mentioned Mac Book or Mac Book Pro... Besides if you are doing such advanced audio stuff you will probably want an optical drive.e

Re:Worth reading if you still care (4, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192900)

Going by weight, emmmmmmaybe we can kind of, sort of call this ultra-portable, but like you, I've always considered the foot print to be an important aspect (I'm typing this on a 12" Powerbook, btw). And just going by the looks of the thing, I'd really love to own it, but not at this price.

I've been a Mac owner since 1991, and my main machines have always been Macs. Currently I'm considering the Asus eee PC, which is both tiny and light, and which seems capable of handling 80% of my computing needs. It's so (comparatively) inexpensive that I'm tempted to buy now, even though I want to wait and see the 2nd generation of eee PCs.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192908)

It's only an ultra portable if you can smuggle it onto an aeroplane in your ass. You might laugh at the idea now, but just wait for the next batch of TSA rules and we will see who is laughing when your MBA is stolen by a baggage handler.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192924)

I think the MBA will be a huge hit with the ladies. I'm generalizing now, of course, but from what I've seen in the way of female fashion and behaviour, "sexy" is a lot more important than "practical".

No optical drive, only one USB port? Yeah, that settles it - valley girl ain't getting a MacBook Air. Not.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (0, Offtopic)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192978)

If you think a shiny laptop is going to help you score with the ladies, then you really need to get out of your mom's basement and taste the real world for a change...

PWNT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193466)

The fanboy mods pwnt your noob ass. Ha.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (3, Interesting)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192986)

I just think they were stuck for things to talk about... when you spend a paragraph detailing how a different laptops power adaptor doesn't fit in the unit, or that if you have dirty/sweaty wrists you'll have to clean the unit (unlike any other material?) - then it just sounds like you've got nothing to really complain about.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193526)

It's funny you should mention that. Macintosh owners pay INSANE attention to detail in regards to their computers. I should know, I'm one of them.

Some users would realistically call "unfit material" a dealbreaker, despite having any other features.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (3, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193030)

Well, who started calling this 13.3" thing an ultraportable anyway?
It's under 5 pounds, and while it does have a larger than average foot print, it's pretty damned thin, and the fact that it uses that custom cpu, 1.8inch (thought it was 1.7) HD puts it into the ultra portable class.

As I was discussing this with someone else, I would call it an ultra portable based on it's weight (sub 5lbs) and its thinness. For me, and keep in mind I'm not buying this, thinness represents more usable space savings. A 1/4 inch off the top to me means extra room for a couple of shirts or 75 to 150 sheets of paper. A 1/2 inch off the sides to me represents traveler sized shaving cream, tooth paste, perhaps a travelers brush and maybe a razor. The space crunch in my bag comes from thickness not width.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194172)

perhaps you should stop using your plebian large as fuck dells all the time.

my 12" ibook is under 5 pounds and as much as i love this laptop, it's not an ultra portable.

macbook air is a bit less than 3 pounds which i would say makes it an ultra portable. but it's not 2.3 lbs like some thinkpads used to be (still are?)

Re:Worth reading if you still care (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193166)

Maybe it is just me, but 13" isn't that big. You say it is a whole 13" but simple conversion reveals it to be just over 1' wide.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (5, Funny)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193634)

Maybe it is just me, but 13" isn't that big.
Okay John Holmes, there's no need to rub it in.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194116)

Clarification here: The 13.3" is diagonal across the screen. This may be what parent is referring to (In which case it would be wrong, it's not the width), but the entire MBA is, in fact, just over 1' wide (12.8" to be exact). It's also 8.94" deep if you're interested.

Re:Worth reading if you still care (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193934)

I agree. This was a very decent review. We have kids in college and the youngest needed a new laptop. We were going to get it at Xmas, but decided to see if something like the Air would be announced.

After seeing it, and reading other reviews, we got him a tricked out MacBook with the DVI dongle for his big Samsung LCD display. With educational pricing, it was less than the Air by a bit. He gets a good compromise of weight and power for his needs.

What the author pointed out is basically what we came to; not practical as a primary machine and lacking some things.

My wife is next on the laptop upgrade list. With a birthday in the fall and Xmas just after, she's lusting after a Pro. She IS a road warrior, but she needs horsepower, connectivity, and screen size. She lugs a big HP and/or a tiny Dell (that's almost huge compared to the Air!) now, so unless Apple does mate the Pro with the Air, she is not a potential Air buyer.

I can absolutely see executives with these things at the office for meetings and such, but real users, like my wife and son, will probably opt for more capable machines.

It's Like Apple Is Mocking Its Fans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192774)

The MacBook Air is like those albums artists or groups put out when they start to feel contempt for their fans with a "Hell, they'll buy any crap we put out".

It is painful to watch these diehard Apple fans flailing around in web forums trying convince the rest of the computing world that this massively overpriced, under featured, and pointless product is 'teh best thing in the world'.

Re:It's Like Apple Is Mocking Its Fans (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192934)

You are wasting your time. Slashdot jumped the shark for Apple a long time ago. They (Apple) could put out the shittiest piece of kit in the world and the fanbois would drool over it like it was the second coming.

Listen up, airheads (-1, Flamebait)

AsciiNaut (630729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192802)

It's only a skinny laptop. Get over it.

Re:Listen up, airheads (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192894)

Sony has had ultra-thin Vaio laptops for years now. They used to be quite expensive, but from just checking now, they seem to be quite competitively priced to the MacBook Air.

Re:Listen up, airheads (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193644)

I actually did a price comparison on the vaio's and the Vaio's give you slightly more bang for the buck but at the cost of less battery life. All in all you are talking about ~$100 price difference. Apple also surprisingly has the least expensive 64gb SSDrive on the market. Hundreds less than retail and competitors.

What I want to know is does Intel and apple have an exclusive contract on that motherboard? or can Intel start selling those boards to anyone? in 6 months will sony be selling these? Better yet will someone merge one of these and an LCD TV to make turely interactive TV.

Re:Listen up, airheads (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193652)

Sony has had ultra-thin Vaio laptops for years now. They used to be quite expensive, but from just checking now, they seem to be quite competitively priced to the MacBook Air.
Quiet you fool ! don't you know whet they do to your kind around here ?

Bad placement (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192832)

That power adapter has exceptionally bad placement. The only way to charge while using the laptop is to have the book sitting on the edge of the desk. Which isn't always the best place to have your laptop. I don't think I've seen anybody put their laptop directly on the edge of a desk like that.

Re:NOT Bad placement (5, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192836)

Didn't you see the mag safe adaptor that comes with it? It's a 90 degree adaptor that fits while the MBA is on any flat surface. The one they showed on the edge of the table is the MB adaptor and they only show it so you can see how you have to use the MBA adaptor.

Re:NOT Bad placement (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192852)

Does it come with the magsafe adapter? I just skimmed the article (this is slashdot, what do you expect), but why would they complain about some other adapter you could use when the adapter it comes with works perfectly fine?

Re:NOT Bad placement (5, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192886)

Yes it comes with it's own power adaptor that is the small one shown next to the larger MB/MBP one in one of the pictures. I don't know why they complain about the other power adaptor besides just adding words to their article.

Re:NOT Bad placement (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192988)

Personally, I would complain about the one that comes with it too, because with the cable coming out like that it will be a lot easier to pull it from the connector by accident.

Re:NOT Bad placement (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193288)

The good news seems to be that the old adaptors will work for charging the machine when it is idle, even if they aren't really suitable for charging it in use. That's useful for people who already have one of the old ones. I imagine somebody will come out with an adaptor at some point.

Re:Bad placement (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192864)

It's just showing the previous-generation adapter. The one that comes with the MBA obviously fits.

Re:Bad placement (1)

geeknado (1117395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192892)

Yeah, I was thinking this as well-- that's astoundingly bad design. Barring a sudden launch of the iDesk complete with Air-friendly power cable notch, this coupled with the very mediocre battery life would be a deal breaker for me...If I can't plug it in when I'm inevitably stuck in the Charlotte airport on my most regular air commute, it's a loser.

I was also somewhat intrigued by the '8"-11"' comperable ultraportable statement...I'd think you'd have to put this in the class with the Fujitsu Lifebook S [shopfujitsu.com] for a proper comparison. Despite its thinness, this thing is wide and deep enough that it seems like a more natural grouping.

Price-point? (5, Funny)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192838)

Pricepoint? The 90's called and they want their buzzword back. Gezzus, just say fucking "price". The amount something is for sale at is its price. Period. Sheesh.

Re:Price-point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192968)

Hey, we have all kinds of points, like "percentage points", so why not pricepoints?

Re:Price-point? (2, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192990)

Percentage point has actual meaning. In fact, the media is quite good in getting it wrong, i. e.: "Today the FED raised interest rates by 0.25 percent".

Re:Price-point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193126)

As long as both sides know what they're talking about, being exact is not necessary. Nobody says, "The car was running at 60 mph relative to the road beneath it."

Re:Price-point? (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193004)

The mods should get a break, this guy is quite right, if a bit rough with words, definitely not a flamebait.

Re:Price-point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193020)

"Price point" is in the Merriam-Webster dictionary since 1900, not sure what your problem is with this word, or why you think it originated in the 90's.
Re: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pricepoint [merriam-webster.com]

Re:Price-point? (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193040)

It's inflated diction. Just like the term "inflated diction."

It's 100% understandable English, but annoying inelegant.

Re:Price-point? (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193196)

Probably it was the horrendous over-use of it as a popular 90's buzzword.

From 1900 to 1989 it was only uttered by bearded and PHD'd market analysts describing what we mere mortals refer to as MSRP. Then in the dot-bomb days, everyone decided that sounding like a market-droid was a desirable thing, so we heard tons of over- and mis-used buzzwords.

My biggest problem with it is it is unnecessary extra verbiage that serves no useful purpose other than an attempt to make the speaker appear more "intelligent" or "hip".

Just think of all the print ribbons and extra memory and disk Kbytes used on storing extra useless "points" back in the 90's - that was why main core went from 640K to 4GB, you know.

Banish DVD (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192898)

I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..

Re:Banish DVD (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192922)

I just got back from the future, and in the post apocalyptic road warrior world to come, shiny discs will be the main form of currency. The richest people are those that never threw away their AOL CDs.

Re:Banish DVD (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192948)

Well, considering that 4 GB SDHC cards are common, and currently only cost $30, I think that eventually giant (by comparison) DVD media will disappear. Sure it's too expensive now, but give it 5 or 6 years. I still want something that doesn't get damaged by scratching like MiniDisc, or SD. Maybe some kind of bluray tech in a MiniDisc formfactor would be nice.

Re:Banish DVD (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193028)

Make SD more resilient and i'd agree, but I have broken SD cards very easily by just bending them slightly putting in and taking out of card readers, DVDs whilst larger can take more abuse than SD cards, even most scratches can be fixed relatively easily.

Re:Banish DVD (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193110)

Well they could make them twice the thickness and use super hard epoxy like plastic, that would probably make them a lot more resilient. Put a cover over the electrical contacts also to protect against damage by static electricity and other sources of electricity.

Re:Banish DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193224)

The problem is, sir, something that you failed to consider.

While it would make sense to use a SDHC or other "small" media format to save data and shit, there is a question of distribution.

Bandwidth is still not cheap enough to download or stream everything. Memory cards are still too expensive to just give out when you have a file.

It is very easy to just give someone a CD or DVD. If I have a meeting or seminar or class or anything where I want to distribute something to a large number of people I can do it very easily. And at a very low cost.

Think of having to distribute something to a small group (say 50 people) and using SD cards. Ok, it would be a bit expensive. But there is another problem. Not everyone may have the card reader. Everyone has access to a DVD drive. Ok. So we will use SD plus USB cards. Shit. That is expensive.

The price has to drop a lot for your plan to work. We would need SDHC to be less than $1.00 per card. 500 DVDs can be printed and distribution for less than $100.00 with printing costs. Give me a price for the same thing on SD plus USB (for compatibility) for 500 units. Replication costs have to come down to a level where these cards can be given away.

Re:Banish DVD (1)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193060)

Why on earth would they do that? It's the main distribution media for software and movies and readers are backwards compatible with CDs, which are the main distribution format for music. None of that was ever true of the floppy.

Re:Banish DVD (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193072)

I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..
To be honest I don't see the issue. They are the standard. If you find them too bulky for your needs
1) 80mm media
2) jump drives
3) copy to HD / virtual drive

Nothing stopping you from putting your important portable shit on any of these.

Re:Banish DVD (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193682)

I hope DVDs will go the same way as floppies already have, they are cumbersome and just takes up space. Create more PCs without DVDs..
I'm sorry, Mr. Jobs, but I'm not buying movies from iTunes.

Light but lower performance (1)

soapbox (695743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192946)

News flash: portability is expensive. It costs money and processing power. And they have to pay Jon Ive a mint because he designs lots of cool doodads for Apple. I'm impressed that Apple convinced/strongarmed Intel into a CPU package shrink just for them. But it's not as fast as the other Core 2 Duos currently in the lineup:

Another article here [macworld.com] .

Re:Light but lower performance (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192966)

Intel will redo the packaging for anyone that is willing to cover the cost.

Re:Light but lower performance (4, Insightful)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193198)

News flash: portability is expensive
Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).

The other issue is that as the Mac hardware is essentially now the same as a PCs, there's not much stopping the likes of Sony from designing a similar form-factor laptop. Apple have proved the concept works, although I can envisage some people carrying around a bag of cables and adaptors to get the most out of it.

On another note, I was interested to see how Intel shrunk the Core 2 for the Air - it seems they shrunk the PCB block rather than the chip die itself, which would make shrinking it a lot cheaper overall. Very nice work though - hopefully it'll encourage them to make their chips smaller overall in future.

Re:Light but lower performance (4, Funny)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193774)

Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).
The Air has more features than some full size portables. Just look at this comparison [blogspot.com] .

Re:Light but lower performance (1)

soapbox (695743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194066)

Sort of... although I think thin is the expensive kicker here. The Asus eeePC is cheap and - dare I say it - a lot more portable and feature-laden than the Air (removable battery, 3 USB ports, ethernet).

I saw my first eeePC in the wild yesterday. I was impressed, and the girl using it was happy to show off the new toy*, but I was struck that there's no way I'd be typing on it for long. That keyboard is tiny. That's one thing about the Air (not that I'm buying one--my 2005 PowerBook 15" is fine for now) that I really like: the 13" screen and the full-size keyboard.

On another note, I was interested to see how Intel shrunk the Core 2 for the Air - it seems they shrunk the PCB block rather than the chip die itself, which would make shrinking it a lot cheaper overall. Very nice work though - hopefully it'll encourage them to make their chips smaller overall in future.

I agree. While I still haven't seen a nano-itx or pico-itx in person, pictures I've seen show the relative size of the CPU to the rest of the components, and certainly the PCB block shrink would benefit those guys.


*P.S. She was going to put Ubuntu on the eeePC since the stock setup was a bit too much like a PDA. If I weren't already married...

Re:Light but lower performance (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193218)

Portability is not that expensive anymore. You can buy 12" notebooks for about 700 euro or less. Yeah, they aren't that flat (37mm for Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo U9200, 43mm for Acer Aspire 2920) but they sport modern hardware too. And they have DVD drives... and ethernet ports.

Great! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192970)

Engadget has the first really in-depth review of the MacBook Air that I have seen with plenty of great photos and specifics. They do a great job of highlighting the highs and the lows with plenty of concrete examples to back their claims up. It seems that while the MacBook air is a great step towards ultra-portable computing, overall the pricepoint is just too high.

Great post! :-)

Power Users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192974)

Who are these power users everyone is talking about? I run genetic simulations and I'd be fine with what the MBA is offering. There can't be that many people doing video editing (and even that should be possible since people have been doing it for years on slower computers).

Maybe too many people are simply obsessed with the technology per se, instead of some actual creative work.

Re:Power Users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193052)

I think you are absolutely correct - for 90-something percent of the tasks people use their laptops for the power of Air will be absolutely sufficient. Also, I don't think Air is any more niche product than Mac Pro, in fact quite the contrary, yet people already predict its demise.

Re:Power Users? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193116)

Maybe too many people are simply obsessed with fashion, instead of some actual creative work.

There, I fixed it for you with regards to why people buy Apple products.

Re:Power Users? (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193244)

Who are these power users everyone is talking about? I run genetic simulations and I'd be fine with what the MBA is offering.

Well, there's me. The things that it lacks for me are...
  • Memory - I run large VMware images and 2G is barely sufficient for me.
  • Storage - Not big enough to store lots of vms plus a large amount of music and video. Probably not fast enough either - I do a lot of compilation and have multiple processes writing huge log files simultaneously. A fast drive is appreciated.
  • CPU - inside my VMware images I'm often running 5 or more large Java VMs - I like my CPU.
  • Screen - it's both not quite big enough for what I do, and it's glossy whereas I prefer matt
  • No firewire - so no input from a DV camcorder
  • No wired ethernet - I hate adapters
  • "There can't be that many people doing video editing"
    Oh, and I also do video editing. And Logic Express for music work too.


Now don't get me wrong, the above wasn't an anti-MacBook Air rant and in fact I quite like the device. Those answers are specifically addressed to your question - "who are these power users?". One would be me. That's fine though, a MacBook Air isn't aimed at me whereas a MacBook Pro is. I'm actually fine with the no optical drive thing which others are seeing as such a controversy, but the other compromises are a bit too much for my usage.

Cheers,
Ian

I've got a carbon fibre shovel (3, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192980)

It's lighter and thinner than every other builder's shovel and it looks really great.

OK, it is 20 times more expensive that a wooden-shafted version with a steel end, and it will only do the same work, but that's more than made up for by it's looks.

Did I mention it looks great?

Parent is a stupid American (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193002)

Did I mention that YOU COULDN'T WRITE PROPER ENGLISH TO SAVE YOUR LIFE?!

Remember...
Its is possessive, you American! Now go back to supporting George W. Bush, you red neck.

Sincerely,
A European Genius

Re:Parent is a stupid American (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193068)

Did I mention that YOU COULDN'T WRITE PROPER ENGLISH TO SAVE YOUR LIFE?!

Why on God's green USA would we write English? We write American.

Take your prissy little "its" faggotry back to the Mother Country and its pussy-whipped Commonwealth. In America we type American and we'll put it's and its wherever we damn well please.

Imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever. Now imagine that boot connected to an American and the face being yours. It's the 21st century, you foreign shitheads -- welcome to the United World of America. We own you all, and ask Iraq if you don't believe us.

You are a fucking red neck. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193154)

America is falling apart. Europe is going to be the new world power.

Americans will be the new slaves of the superior world. I bet you're a fat, too.

global warming (0)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193006)

This laptop will be owned by two kinds of people:
  1. People who think humans aren't causing global warming
  2. People who think humans are causing global warming but the extra carbon footprint the sealed-in battery exchange costs is ok because, well..., just because.
Both types of people won't think twice about the aggravation of either forgetting to format their hard drive before sending in the computer for the new battery or the aggravation of having to format their drive just to exchange a battery. Neither type will care that they'll be without a computer for a few days while the laptop is winging its way to Apple and back.
 

I find myself wanting to be one of the above kind of people...it's an awfully nice looking piece of hardware.

Re:global warming (0, Troll)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193152)

..it's an awfully nice looking piece of hardware.
You just need to remove that smug-looking fruit logo from the case, which increasingly marks Apple owners out as the equally smug, techno-dopey fashionistas many of them tend to be.
Hardly innovative and clearly a triumph of style over substance - but it's certainly a great indication of what's to come when the technology required to produce ultra-thin, light weight, low power consumption 'minimalist' notebooks - without compromising functionality or processing power (or $$$$!)- really starts to come together over the next 24 months.
As the parent suggests, it does look the business, though, and looks and status will inevitably generate far more sales than it really deserves.

Re:global warming (1)

WMD_88 (843388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194030)

The battery is actually fairly easy to replace. You just unscrew the back, take one screw off the battery, and pull out the connector. You won't have to ship it in.

nice try (4, Informative)

oever (233119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193018)

The new MacBook Air will hopefully point laptop makers in the right direction: small and silent laptops. From what I can tell from the specs and the review, though, the MacBook Air is not as nice as the laptop on which I'm typing this: the Dell Latitude X1. Although the X1 is now out of production, it is still, in my opinion, the perfect laptop. Someone else has already taken the trouble of comparing [ormset.no] the two machines. Here's the summary:

Dell Latitude X1 is smaller (albeit slightly thicker), has a gigabit ethernet port, comes with a external DVD burner, has two USB ports and and SD and a CF slot. The battery is easily removed and replaced or upgraded.

The MacBook Air has a dualcore 1.6 GHz processor where the X1 has a single core that clocks 1.1 GHz. Also the Air can take 2GB versus the 1.25 GB of the X1.

The X1 comes with an obligatory copy of Windows XP, but I upgraded it to Kubuntu Feisty. The MacBook comes with an obligatory copy of Mac OS X.

I have been developing KDE4 on my X1 just fine. The extra speed would be nice, but for a portable machine battery life is more important.

If the X1 were still in production, it would clearly be the better laptop.

Dell Latitude D420 / D430 (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193188)

As ultra portables go, my D420 is almost perfect. Small, light, plenty of power, replaceable battery, solid state drive, external optical drive....etc.

The D430 is a current model, and can be had for less money.

Unfortunately, if you want/need to run Mac OS, the MBA is the only game in town.

-ted

Re:nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193316)

Well if you can sacrafice some thickness, the Dell 640M inspiron (14.1 screen) can be had fairly cheap with the bigger 9 cell battery and realistically get 7hrs+ usage out of it with wireless active. Costs much less too, and still can be upgraded with standard components. Granted it probably doesnt touch the Air for asthetics, but at half the cost or less with double the battery life, who cares? Its also very , very quiet.

Nice try, indeed (2, Informative)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193348)

You are seriously comparing a 1.1 GHz single core to a 1.6 GHz dual core? That's not even close to the same class of computing power.

Meanwhile, people are quibbling that the MBA is slightly slower than other Mac dual core laptops...

Re:nice try (5, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193402)

The X1 is a great laptop -- I love mine, but I'm sorry its not even close to the Airbook. Its extremely slow (less than half the speed of a 1.6ghz C2D), its got a small keyboard and a low-resolution display.

Its *great* for use on an airplane because the seat in front of you can be back and you can still fit it on the tray. Its great for tossing in a bag.

There is no way on Earth you could use it as a full-time laptop unless you had midget hands and only used Office.

Re:nice try (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193486)

Yes MacBook Air.

I know I got it wrong. I've been on hold with Comcast for 90 minutes and my brain is turning to mush from their horrid hold music.

I'd like to see how durable the Air is by cracking someone over the head over at Comcast.

Re:nice try (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193542)

The MacBook Air has a dualcore 1.6 GHz processor where the X1 has a single core that clocks 1.1 GHz. Also the Air can take 2GB versus the 1.25 GB of the X1.
I'll take the faster CPU over an SD card slot any day of the week.

Re:nice try (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193858)

Both systems make different compromises. MBAir has more memory and a lot more CPU power, but that blog post doesn't really seem to acknowledge that.

The blog post you linked used some specious reasoning to show that the X1 is better at some of the comparisons. I think the X1 looks generally better, but the biases used to show that the X1 is better by a huge margin are as over the top as an Apple cheerleader's biases.

I'll take just one example here. The calculation for "pixels per inch" is completely wrong and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how it's measured. Ppi is a linear number, it's how many pixels you need to line up to make one inch, you don't take the number of pixels on the screen and divide it by its diagonal length like that blog did. For example, a common ppi for desktops is about 100, give or take a few. Notebooks might have ppi numbers of 100, 125, 150 and a few are a bit higher than that. But there are no notebooks with ppis in the tens of thousands. I think the X1 might still be better with that, but it's best to not use a false argument to reach a conclusion, even if the conclusion ends up being the same.

Poor presentation, but some useful content (2, Insightful)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193036)

That article's a mess: poor grammar; photos that focus more on looking arty rather than providing information (the fourth one down is near useless); horrendous distortion in some of the shots (the second one down makes the screen look like it's melting); and attempts to make the writer look smarter by using fancy words that the writer doesn't even know the meaning of (you cannot have an eliolated [answers.com] CPU). If you can get past that though, the content's not bad. I'm curious about what battery life would be like with the brightness turned down, WiFi and BLuetooth off and just using Office/iWork for some actual work. Just using TextEdit I was able to get 8 hours out of my old iBook, but my MacBook can't stretch that far.

Re:Poor presentation, but some useful content (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193396)

...and attempts to make the writer look smarter by using fancy words that the writer doesn't even know the meaning of (you cannot have an eliolated CPU).


Maybe you should spend a bit more time with a dictionary before presuming to nitpick. "Etiolated" is not that fancy a word--it's hardly the first time I've seen it used in its broader meaning of "feeble."

Even if one only knew about the specific horticultural meaning, it would be a pretty good metaphor.

Re:Poor presentation, but some useful content (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193480)

Thank goodness. I was looking for comments on the article (which was what the summary was pointing to after all) but all the other comments were bitching about the laptop itself. The grammar didn't bother me but looking back at the article you're absolutely right about the pictures. They (at least most) look like something you'd use for a splash page on a website instead of showing proper perspective.

Re:Poor presentation, but some useful content (1)

dayid (802168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193628)

I wondered how they/he had tested the battery life as well.

This is one reason I am still hanging onto my 13" iBook. The ~8 hours of battery time I have yet to see in any other "ultraportable" laptop. It's still not heavy to lug around, and for anything the 800MHz w/ 640MB of RAM can't hadnle, there's always VNC and SSH to get into a more powerful machine - which it seems the MacBook Air is still relying on you having another server/desktop anyways.

a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193106)

the macbook air is a revolution more because it changes the way you use computing. the fastest airbook at 1.8Ghz is slower than the mini and is slower than anything except the base macbook air. most people are complaining about the lack of ethernet and firewire. but...

genius can be defined as something extremely common sense that noone thought of before the genius. although not quite genius, apple has decided that the burden of connecting to the internet needs to be on the network not the computer. that's huge - it's also why i can't get one.

you really need a robust enough network at home/school/work to justify no cat5 or firewire. my home i can control, maybe i'd even get one of the Time Capsules. Work, not so robust and the network is still mostly 11b with some 11g going up recently. Nowhere near sufficient to warrant clipping the cat5. unfortunately i can't just upgrade the routers at work. school, 11g WHERE THERE IS wireless. but the school has explicitly decided NOT to put wireless in some places, even though cat5 is available in those rooms.

So the problem isn't with apple, it's with my employer and my school. it's not about the price of the device as much as it's about moving the responsibility of connectivity to wireless, where everybody wants it. now, if all of the major computer companies start making devices without cat5, the institutions will HAVE to upgrade their networks to accommodate their user base.

That would be a revolution.

A ripoff aimed at the iPhone crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193108)

The price doesn't even remotely meet the specs and some technical issues probably dictated from the marketing folks (bad choice of some connectors, no user replaceable battery, external drive purposely incompatible with well accepted standards) make this laptop attractive only for execs who blindly accept [wikipedia.org] as technically advanced anything coming from Apple.

If there's one point in buying that thing, it's that it doesn't come with Windows.

Re:A ripoff aimed at the iPhone crowd (1, Troll)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193240)

Interesting Wiki link:

Reality distortion field is a term coined by Bud Tribble at Apple Inc. in 1981, to describe company co-founder Steve Jobs' charisma and its effects on the developers working on the Mac project. Later the term has also been used to refer to perceptions of keynote (or Stevenote) observers and devoted users of Apple computers and products.

Bud Tribble claimed that the term comes from Star Trek. In fact, while the expression is in Star Trek style, it is unknown on Memory Alpha.

In essence, RDF is the idea that Steve Jobs is able to convince people to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bluster, exaggeration, and marketing. RDF is said to distort an audience's sense of proportion or scale. Small advances are applauded as breakthroughs. Interesting developments become turning points, or huge leaps forward. RDF focuses less on outright deception and more on warping the powers of judgment. The term audience may refer to an individual whose attitudes Steve is intending to affect.
So what we're saying is that a MacBook Air is pretty much like an unlocked, unactivated iPhone.

Re:A ripoff aimed at the iPhone crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193320)

Theres 5 or 10 other reviews on various sites where the macbook is actually either slightly more or slightly less then notebooks in the same market.

Newsflash: that 499 notebook that weighs 8 pounds, is 2 inchs thick, and is on sale at best buy isnt in the sale category.

Check out Sony, Thinkpad, Dell, or other ultra lights and compare them.

Maybe it's a showcase? (4, Interesting)

autophile (640621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193194)

Lord knows I love all things Apple-y, but not the MBA. That being said, perhaps the MBA is a showcase machine, not really designed to be practical, but to show off new technologies for light laptops. And, unlike concept cars, you can drive this one home with you.

I guess that's positive enough spin :)

--Rob

A 3th party ext. battery will solve the core issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193604)

I can imagine a company like Belkin producing an external battery for the air that connects to the power supply connector. When such a device hits the market the core problem of the mba for travellers will be solved. Otherwise, I don't really mind the compromises in the context of an ultraportable laptop.

Boot from USB?? (2, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193684)

Apple disabled the booting of system CDs from USB CD drive a long time ago (required either a direct connect drive or fire wire) I figure the special CD drive changes the situation for the MacBook air.

Oddjob's Laptop? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193738)

From the article: It fits in a manila folder, you can slide it under a door, and if you threw it hard enough you could probably chop someone in half with the thing.

So instead of the MacBook Air we should call it Oddjob's Laptop? Seems appropriate given that it's an Apple and they definitely made some bizarre choices when designing it.

Comparison with Lenovo's X300 (1)

MBHkewl (807459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193994)

Shameless plug: http://mbhtech.blogspot.com/2008/01/macbook-air-vs-lenovo-x300.html [blogspot.com]

Even though Lenovo's laptop isn't out yet, anyone for a portable laptop would surely wait after seeing the difference in features.

If you're after an "ultra"-portable, I guess your choice would be Asus's eeePC.

Good balanced review (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194100)

Personally, I've been convinced that the MBA isn't for me because of the lack of 3G (which would be my definition of "Air") and it looks like the USB port is actually a bad piece of design, which ruins it for my usual "I pay extra for good looking designs" fetish.

Overall, a good review - it's nice to see it acknowledged that thin, light and stylish is a feature some people will pay for. But there's one thing in particular that bugs me about all reviews of the MBA, namely the lack of replaceable battery. I simply don't believe the frequent flying people who can easily afford to buy the MBA (not geeks with a design fetish) carry around a spare battery. Many of the highly paid sales people and execs I've met struggle to carry around a spare brain cell, fer chrissakes. Expecting them to have a train of thought that lasts longer than a couple of hours is kinda pointless :)

I want to love this machine, I really do (4, Insightful)

shagoth (100818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194158)

I was an Apple loyalist through the worst of times, I was first out the door to buy a Titanium laptop. I have diversified a lot in the last couple of years. Those things said, I really, really want to like the MacBook Air. It's a gorgeous machine. It evokes the same kind of visceral "must own" response that the original Titanium Powerbooks did. This machine makes too many compromises to be a primary machine for the serious poweruser or developer. No ethernet, no WWAN, no optical drive, no firewire and oddly no audio-in. In headier times, having one of these machines for sofa browsing would be great, but that's not where I am right now nor or most of the computing "professionals" that I know.

It's hard to know the target market for this machine, though it's clear the machine was designed for Steve personally. I'm sure that this machine will look great sticking out of the designer backpack on the passenger seat of a new 3-series BMW that Mommy and Daddy bought for college commuting, but it's hard to relate to a market that far removed from the kind of office that has machines in varying states of assembly. The MBA is a glorious consumer machine but the slashdot crowd is not the core market for this product.

Ultimately, the slashdot crowd isn't Apple's market at all and it's a happy accident for Apple that slashdot intersects with other products aimed at Apple's core demographics.
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