Don't get me wrong, I love my 13" MacBook Air (2010 model, 4GB), but compared to my wife's MacBook Air (2009), the build quality leaves much to be desired.
- I don't know if Apple is using thinner aluminum for the bottom plate or what, but the bottom of the chassis flexes more and you can actually push in quite a bit and the bottom plate will give.
-My wife's MBA feels extremely solid, like it's built from a single slab of aluminum. My MBA creaks when picking it up, and sometimes if I apply too much pressure to the palmrest when typing. My wife's MBA doesn't do this.
It seems as though the .1 pound reduction in weight wasn't worth the build quality tradeoffs IMHO.
I can live without the backlit keyboard, but stuff like this worries me.
Glad you brought that up. I actually started noticing that too. I definitely notice when lifting it from the front (thinner) edge that the chassis "creaks". I dismissed it as the chassis screws slowly relaxing loose over time. I think if I re-tighten the screws, the creaking would stop. It is a very minor annoyance for me.
However, to be fair, my old 2008 MBA creaked a lot when I rested my big hands on the palmrest. The chassis itself did not flex/bend. Again, I think just re-tightening the screws would alleviate that.
I don't think the build quality is necessarily affected though. It's still built like a tank compared to other machines. I agree with you, I think my old MBA had more heft to it, and obviously the thinner profile of the new MBA means they are using less aluminum. I think there's a fine balance between keeping things light, and taking it too far where structural integrity is being affected. I don't think Apple is going to do that unless they abandon aluminum and use a stronger metal like stainless steel (???). They can only go so far with current materials/design before it gets too thin and things start bending/warping.
I don't know if the screws on the chassis have a specific torque requirement when they're assembled. When I work on my motorcycles, even torqued screws in certain areas eventually come loose depending on flexing/vibration. I dab of blue loctite and the issue is resolved. I wonder if the same would resolve the creaking issue on the MBA??? I'll have to look into that. Those screws are pretty darn small for loctite!