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Portables Portables (Apple) Upgrades Apple Hardware

Early Review of 11" Macbook Air 348

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the must-resist-urges dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Apple's latest entry into the ultraportable space is no netbook, even though it's the closest the company has come to making one. Its chassis is, amazingly, even thinner than the original MacBook Air, with a screen two sizes smaller. Moreover, the MacBook Air's 11.6-inch widescreen is not the only first for Apple; so is its 1,366-by-768 resolution. Although Apple found a way to squeeze in two USB ports and a speedy solid-state drive (SSD), the MacBook Air (11-inch) is not nearly as feature-packed or as fast as the rest of the MacBook family, primarily because its 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processor is running on previous-generation Intel technology. Still, it will give the latest batch of Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) laptops a run for their money."
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Early Review of 11" Macbook Air

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  • But, but (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:19PM (#33974880)

    I thought Steve said they don't make netbooks?

  • I dunno man (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:19PM (#33974882) Homepage

    I like having a thin laptop, but I think this one might be a bit too thin. There comes a point where sturdiness plays a role. Even if it's as solid as a rock, I would constantly be worried about it being cracked due to it's crazy-thin profile.

    I like the fact that it comes with a USB stick instead of the standard "recovery disc"...good call on that one, Apple.

  • Not a netbook? What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:20PM (#33974904)

    And why exactly is the new 11" Air *not* a netbook? Sounds like we are mincing words here...

    Its a damn netbook, and not even a full year after Steve claimed at the iPad keynote that netbooks have no use...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:31PM (#33975058)

    So if Newegg decides to charge $1000 for an Eee, it's no longer a netbook. Got it.

  • Re:I dunno man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:33PM (#33975086) Journal
    I don't really see the attraction of thin laptops. Small, yes, but I don't think the thickness of a laptop has been the limiting factor in portability for me since my 386 laptop. A few centimetres is fine. I'd be really excited by something like the MacBook Air where the top and bottom halves both folded in half again so you got something the same thickness as a normal laptop but half the top area when it was completely folded, but the Air seems to have the same portability limitation as my current laptop: I could only take it somewhere where I'm taking a reasonable sized bag. Fold it in half, and I could fit it into a large coat pocket.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:26PM (#33975936)

    As much as people want to kvetch and moan about this, I can see the 11" MBA decimating the basic Plastic Macbook sales. They are priced the same yet here you get slicker design, more portability, SSD, aluminum case. I don't think either serves as a main computer, so why not go for the extra portability.

    As far as Jobs building a netbook (I hate that designation) after saying Apple wouldn't, what he actually said Netbooks are just cheap laptops, all they did better was be cheaper. Clearly this isn't Apple moving into sub $500 laptops (and it also not Atom powered with horrid graphics). This is not Apples Netbook.

    I think they are viable options that will move a lot more MBA, but naturally the same people that complain about every Apple product will complain about these.

  • Re:Netbook Pro (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:32PM (#33976046)

    Woah, that's sad.
    So not only do you need several mini-displayport [apple.com] adaptors [apple.com] ($30 each) and an external cd drive ($80) [apple.com], now you need a usb stick ($30) [apple.com] hanging out of the side of the laptop whenever you want to hard-wire it?

    Additionally, because they still don't put a Westmere in, it doesn't support hardware AES [truecrypt.org].
    Truecrypt is pretty much a necessity for any laptop (well, any of my laptops anyway).
    And having AES-NI [wikipedia.org] makes it that much nicer.

    Nice try Steve.

  • by joh (27088) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:34PM (#33976086)

    ...a few words.

    First, all who are saying that thickness is unimportant should try one. This thing is thin and small enough to slip into a bag all by itself and once in there it's light enough you hardly notice it at all anymore. What's not to like about that?

    The keyboard is the same size as all Mac keyboards and feels very much the same, the trackpad the same width as in the other MacBooks but not quite as high. Works perfectly well though and I did not miss a mouse. The screen is a bit smaller of course, but has the same resolution as the 13" MB and MBP.

    The machine felt surprisingly snappy, the SSD and rather fast GPU seem to compensate for the not so fast CPU just fine.

    There's no TRIM support in the (Apple-branded) SSD according to System Profiler.

    All in all it feels like a real laptop when you use it and almost like nothing when you carry it. I liked it very much and had my credit card nearly jumping out of my pocket.

  • by monopole (44023) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:45PM (#33976330)

    Quite true, I've been using a EEE 1000HAB ($179 off of woot) with the memory upped to 2GB hooked to a 23" monitor w/ a USB key as my sole "Windows Box" to write a 40 Page proposal which had to be in a ".doc" format. I ended up doing all the illustrations using Poser, DIA and GIMP. It worked fine for this role, perhaps a tad less snappy than a full out computer but perfectly fine for my purposes. It's thin enough and light enough to toss in my big bag or a netbook bag. In fact I prefer just tossing it in my bag rather than a USB drive so I can make any mods to the documents onsite. My I note that my other 1000 HAB runs Ubuntu 10.10 UNR.

    All that at 17.9% of the cost of a MBA

  • Re:I dunno man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Graff (532189) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:17PM (#33977010)

    was thinking the same - and what seems to be missing is that you still need to carry around a great big charger, possibly a spare battery, headphones, books, papers, umbrella, and other gubbins truly roaming office workers need all in one big bag. So a couple of mills here and there might look good, but is it that important?

    To be fair Apple has made some major strides in cutting down the size of chargers and if you are only going out for lunch or a few hours then you don't even need that since the Apple laptops have been getting up to 10 hours on a charge under moderate usage. You can't change out the battery so you don't carry around a spare. Books and papers are becoming scarcer since the use of e-books and the like have become popular.

    Believe it or not, even shaving off a small percentage of size and weight does make a difference. Sure if you compare the latest MacBook Air to the last version you won't notice a huge difference but go a few versions back (to regular laptops of the time) and you can see how much the incremental changes have added up. By continuously pushing the envelope you constantly refine your product and keep it fresh.

    Do you pay a premium for being on the cutting edge of portability? Of course, but for some people portability trumps price and speed.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:31PM (#33977266) Homepage

    It's not that underpowered. It has fast internal storage and a decent amount of RAM. The processor is well below the top of the line, but probably still faster than the top of the line from a few years ago. It's going to be a hell of a lot faster and more capable than most netbooks on the market.

    "Netbook" is a very vague marketing term that's supposed to define a class of laptop, but it's kind of like talking about "cloud computing" or "Web 2.0"-- people disagree about what the term actually means. By many accounts, this is not a netbook.

  • Re:Netbook Pro (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:42PM (#33977452) Homepage

    Except when you try to connect to a WPA station with the same SSID as a WEP station, and the network settings window hangs with a spinning beachball.

  • Re:An Ad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @03:37PM (#33978314) Journal

    >>>Your Aspire One with no SSD, smaller screen, lower resolution...

    Oh here we go. You remind me of when I visited a car lot a few years ago. I told the salesman, "I told you all I wanted was a basic car for around $15,000. Why are you trying to sell me a $30,000 luxury model with a lot of ____ I don't need? Good bye." - Same applies to your Aspire v. 11" Macbook comparison. Some people don't want to spend almost $1000 on a machine. Some people are perfectly happy with $200 PC or $300 aspire.

    Another thing: 768p screen? Really? Mine has 1024p and it's a few years old. I'm not sure I understand why Apple is going backwards? (Uh oh... here come the Applefanboys to mark me "troll") (Not even allowed to give an opinion anymore... like dealing with damn Bible-thumpers.)
    .

    >>>Feedback on this comment system?

    It sucks. I hate this dynamic index.

  • Re:An Ad? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @03:59PM (#33978640)

    Another thing: 768p screen? Really? Mine has 1024p and it's a few years old.

    Who makes an 11" ultraportable with a 1080p screen ?

    Heck, I'm not even sure I'd want such a thing. 1366x768 on 11" will be squinty enough as it is.

  • Re:An Ad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirMasterboy (872152) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @04:24PM (#33979050) Homepage
    Hmm, well I absolutely love the 1920x1200 on my 15.4" HP workstation laptop, and thats 147.02ppi.

    This new MacBook Air is only 135.09ppi. Not bad at all but it's still a bit less than I would be used to in a laptop.

    If it was 1440x900 on 11.6" it would be 146.39ppi. That is actually what I would love to see.
  • 11" Air + 27" iMac (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dwightk (415372) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @04:34PM (#33979176) Homepage Journal

    Costs around $250 less than a Maxed 15" Mac Book Pro

      (including Apple Care)

    Food for thought.

    Although that is mostly due the cost of the 512GB SSD in the MBP.

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