Review: Apple's 2010 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air

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  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    What elephant? Are you referring to your own personal experience? My 2+ year old MBA has been flawless, and to my knowledge, all my colleagues and friends that own MBA's have reported the same solid performance as well since I see them quite often.



    You're implying that there is an inherent flaw in the MBA, and I'm here to tell you that in my experience and of those of my other MBA owning friends, that is simply not true and you should not be making such a blanket statement without actual proof to back it up.



    No product from any manufacturer has a perfect 100% performance record. No one. Are you simply a recipient of bad luck, or do you treat your notebooks in a harsher way? Do explain.



    He doesn?t list anything but vague generalities. If he means the casing, it was the first to use the milled aluminum block... and I haven?t heard that it was flimsy. If he means the motherboard, well it?s obviously different for the new MBAs? and I haven?t heard of the others having a high failure rate. If he means the 1.8? HDD (something that is most likely to die from my experience)? that?s not even an option in the new MBAs. If he means the trapdoor, something I havent? heard of being an issue of breakage, just inconveniance? that?s also not an option in the new MBAs. What else could he be referring to or has he come to the conclusion that the MBAs, Apple and/or Steve Jobs is bad without needing to know anything specific or factual to back up that position.
  • antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    I think it has nothing to do with weight or foot print. Anyone who thinks that IMO is looking at the issue the wrong way. It has everything to do with battery life. on the 11" model you get 5 hours of life and 30 days standby. That's about half as much as the iPad and 3-4 hour less than the MBP 13". I think they were trying really hard to eliminate every nonessential battery draining component in order to save battery life.



    This could also be the reason why there is no 3G card either, but I don't know enough about 3G to know how it effect battery. On my iPhone the more I use the 3G the quicker the battery dies. I would love to have seen that as an option at the very least. But, as I've been advised by an Apple Store employee, there are many other options out there that are similar solutions, like a MiFi that's pay-as-you-go from Cricket and other similar solutions. The lack of Ethernet and HDMI components are a bit troubling though, since this device would be perfect for traveling business people and sales people. Being able to plug into an HD display or projector would be great, but I see that there are dongles out there for that, so it's really no big deal.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    I understand what you're saying, but that last statement doesn't really add up. The 13" MBA is roughly the same footprint as the old one and is only a tenth of a pound lighter. Are you telling me that in all of their infinite wisdom that a tenth of a pound, a few millimeters, a few dollars is worth losing the backlit keyboard?



  • zoolookzoolook Posts: 657member
    Quote:

    compared to the iPad's integrated A4 application processor and 1GB of RAM.



    1GB of RAM? Are you sure? I thought it was 256MB...
  • joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mazda 3s View Post


    on a side note, does the homepage of apple insider annoyingly load up zoomed in and focused on the ai logo instead of the full page for anyone else in mobile safari for iphone?



    me!!!
  • joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    1GB of RAM? Are you sure? I thought it was 256MB...



    It's a typo. 1Ghz A4, and 256MB RAM.
  • futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I recall reading that Apple was looking into low-power IPS display, but so far I haven?t seen any on the market. I think it was HP that recently started selling some very expensive IPS display upgrades in some notebooks, but I yet to see these reviewed so I?m not sure they have even come to market.



    If you check out AnandTech Apple?s notebooks best everyone else in notebook display tech across the board which shows that all TN panels are not created equally.



    I agree. My MacBook screen, and before that my Powerbook G4 screen are much brighter and clearer than any Windows laptop I've used.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Futuristic View Post


    I agree. My MacBook screen, and before that my Powerbook G4 screen are much brighter and clearer than any Windows laptop I've used.



    Here is one recent set of benchmarks comparing many notebook displays.
  • photoeditorphotoeditor Posts: 219member
    I checked out the Macbook Air at the Apple Store yesterday.



    It's impressive. The 13 inch display has the most legible text of any Apple laptop, better even than the 15 inch MBP hi-res matte, certainly better than the horribly glare-prone glass-fronted displays on most of the other MBP models. And also much better than the 11 inch MBA, which the AI review unfortunately fails to mention. Speed is very good; it handles Aperture well, which was a big surprise to me, and the instant opening is a godsend with hog-like applications like MS Office that usually take forever. And it runs very cool. Puts my Penryn 15-inch MBP to shame there. And you actually have a decent number of input-output ports; the display port, two USB and the SD slot on the 13 inch.



    But there are stupid mistakes keeping me from buying one. First off, even with all those I/O choices, there's no high bandwidth input/output. No USB 3, just USB 2. No Gigabit Ethernet, just 10/100 due to the limitations of USB 2. No Firewire at all. And the SD slot sits on the USB bus rather than the PCI or ATA buses, leaving no overhead to take advantage of the superior speed of SDXC.



    Second concerns the keyboard. Not only is the backlight missing -- possibly a result of where they have chosen to locate the improved speakers (underneath the keyboard) -- but the symbols seem to be silk-screened on the keys rather than embedded in the form of a different color of plastic as on the MBP. With my track record, I'd be wearing those symbols off the keys. Not good.



    Third concerns Apple's vagueness on specs. SDXC? Not indicated, but it appears to be supported judging by posts. Still, not very well given the bandwidth limitation. Does it support the latest 802.11n-2009 WiFi standard with its 640 megabit bandwidth? We'll have to wait for someone to test that out, as it isn't indicated in the specs either. That's important because it would be the fastest I/O on the computer if it's there. Some kind of SSD management equivalent to TRIM? Again, not indicated. Implied by OS X's file management and Apple's custom SSD, but not actually indicated. How will this hold up for write speed over time?



    I'm in a tight spot because I need to buy new computers soon for work. Here's hoping the 15 inch MBP gets an Air-style makeover, losing the optical drive, incorporating custom SSD, leveraging Sandy Bridge's power savings, and providing robust I/O and the full set of keyboard features.
  • doroteadorotea Posts: 323member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    me!!!



    No, my iPad doesn't zoom in. I have the latest updates. And no installed

    Bookmarklets.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by photoeditor View Post


    And the SD slot sits on the USB bus rather than the PCI or ATA buses, leaving no overhead to take advantage of the superior speed of SDXC.



    That?s new info to me. Thanks.



    Quote:

    Some kind of SSD management equivalent to TRIM? Again, not indicated. Implied by OS X's file management and Apple's custom SSD, but not actually indicated. How will this hold up for write speed over time?



    AnandTech vetted this. The controller used for their SSD tested very well without TRIM support in their previous, thorough reviews of SSDs, which may be why choose those controllers.
    It?s the same controller that?s in Kingston?s SSDNow V+ Series and the SSDNow V Series Boot Drive. I reviewed the latter not too long ago and found that it was a good drive for the money, and here?s the kicker: the SSDNow V Series Boot Drive was amazingly resilient when written to without TRIM support. Its performance hardly dropped as a result of normal desktop use.
    Quote:

    I'm in a tight spot because I need to buy new computers soon for work. Here's hoping the 15 inch MBP gets an Air-style makeover, losing the optical drive, incorporating custom SSD, leveraging Sandy Bridge's power savings, and providing robust I/O and the full set of keyboard features.



    If they don?t get rid of the ODD before you need a new machine you can remove the ODD yourself, replace with OptiBay. You can have large HDD for storage and SSD of your choice as your boot drive. I?ve been using this for about 6 months now and it?s awesome. Also, despite not having TRIM my Intel X-25 actually rates at being faster than when I first set it up according to synthetic tests, likely do updates to Mac OS X.
  • joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post


    No, my iPad doesn't zoom in. I have the latest updates. And no installed

    Bookmarklets.



    iPhone, not iPad.
  • drakinodrakino Posts: 3member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The new Air positions its Mini DisplayPort on the opposite side as the MagSafe connector, which seems to pose a minor problem for users of Apple's external LED Cinema Display. Its molded cable sports connectors intended for use with MacBooks, where all the ports are close together on the same side. The cable can accommodate the Air's ports, but it's a little clumsy (as pictured below).



    Can the article be updated to show if it's possible to plug in the mini displayport and USB on one side, and only the magsafe power on the other side? Both Ars and Apple Insider have made a issue here, where I suspect there isn't any if the USB cord is used on the same side as the displayport connector.
  • onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macnyc View Post


    It's amazing how many disasters happen around you with Apple products. The people I know with MacBook Airs have not experienced any of those problems...



    You caught that too?!
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drakino View Post


    Can the article be updated to show if it's possible to plug in the mini displayport and USB on one side, and only the magsafe power on the other side? Both Ars and Apple Insider have made a issue here, where I suspect there isn't any if the USB cord is used on the same side as the displayport connector.



    I don?t see how that would make a difference. Either way the result is clumsy as one of the three cables coming off the Apple LED Display will have to routed to the opposite side of the new MBAs.
  • christopher126christopher126 Posts: 3,450member
    What a thorough, detailed article! Just excellent! Thx AI!



    Best
  • boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 948member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I'll miss the backlit keyboard too. But in hindsight, it was a nice-to-have and added to the coolness factor. In the end, I never really used it. I'm not into working in a dark room with a bright LCD display being the only source of illumination. It's just horror on my eyes to adjust to that kind of lighting environment.



    I still find it odd that after all these years, people still try applying regular notebook capabilities with the MBA. Apple now provides a huge notebook selection and the different capabilities of each model at their price-points indicate what Apple's decision-making processes were.



    More hardware / performance - MBP

    More lightness / mobility - MBA.



    Yes, gigabit ethernet would have been nice, having an optical drive would have been nice, backlit keyboard, FW, etc... but gutting the rarely-used items out keeping it light and replacing the empty space with batteries is the better way to go - on the MBA of course. I have needed the first two items maybe a handful of times in the 2+ years I've owned my MBA. Non-issue.



    Well Stevo did indicate this is the form factor future laptops should/will be.

    So here's hoping the next iteration of MBA or MBP will have this form factor with the backlight keyboard(I use my thinkpad light all the time in dark locations, it's close to a deal breaker). And since storage is premium, eseta or FireWire or? for data backup.

    Options for a faster processors(yes battery will drop off, it's a choice)



    So, I need to update from my T40. Luv the apple styles, but a Thinkpad T410s plus an iPad seems like the combo for me. Or perhaps a MBA... arrrrgh, shoot, decisions, decisions, compromises, compromises.
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,582member
    I played with the 11" and 13" MB Airs at the Apple Store yesterday and noticed that the power button is now a black key along the top row of function keys instead of a flush metal button as on previous MB Airs and current MB Pros.



    Even with that extra "power key" on the top row keyboard, there are still 14 keys on the top row. This is because the keyboard illumination keys aren't needed, and one of them has been removed. There is only a blank F5 key now. So it's possible that this generation of MB Airs will never get backlit keyboards. In the future, Apple could add an extra key to the top row for 15 total keys including the keyboard brightness up/down keys. Or they could improve the automatic keyboard illumination brightness setting and let the user adjust it in Preferences.



    Also, the keys themselves are shorter than on the MB Pro and have a shorter stroke. No doubt to enable the MB Air to be extra-thin. I really like the key action. It feels like you can type faster and more quietly, yet there is still tactile feedback. I still think Apple is conditioning its user base for an eventual touchscreen keyboard + trackpad. It would have no physical feedback but boy would it be thin. And it could avoid separate LED backlight systems and trackpad controller hardware.



    The success of iPad shows that lack of tactile feedback for light-duty typing isn't a deal-breaker. Apple might do the same thing on future ultra-light laptops if touchscreen costs come down enough.
  • katonahkatonah Posts: 95member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    On a side note, does the homepage of Apple Insider annoyingly load up zoomed in and focused on the AI logo instead of the full page for anyone else in Mobile Safari for iPhone?



    My iphone defaults to http://iphone.appleinsider.com in mobile safari. It seems pretty nice as a small scale version of this site.
  • drakinodrakino Posts: 3member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I don?t see how that would make a difference. Either way the result is clumsy as one of the three cables coming off the Apple LED Display will have to routed to the opposite side of the new MBAs.



    The difference is that two plugs (USB and Displayport) leave the connector straight, while the MagSafe plug leaves the connector at a 90 degree angle towards the back of the machine. While yes it's still somewhat clumsy, it's less so then having 2 different connector exit angles on one side (Power and USB).
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drakino View Post


    The difference is that two plugs (USB and Displayport) leave the connector straight, while the MagSafe plug leaves the connector at a 90 degree angle towards the back of the machine. While yes it's still somewhat clumsy, it's less so then having 2 different connector exit angles on one side (Power and USB).



    Gotcha. Now I see what you?re saying. That makes sense.
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