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How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks

post #1 of 142
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At last year's Macworld Expo, Apple's dramatic unveiling of the iPhone divided the world into two camps: those who were excited about the state of the art being pushed, and those who were irritated that Apple was the one doing it. This year, the role of the iPhone is being played by Apple's new MacBook Air.

As with the iPhone, Apple wasn't inventing a new category of product when it announced the MacBook Air. The ultra light notebook category has been steadily refined and advanced by Sony, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and many others; each manufacturer has delivered product lines designed to match their customers' needs.

Sony targets high end consumers; it leverages its physical media engineering prowess to build DVD burners into most of its models, something that few other light notebook makers even attempt to do. Sony's Vaio line is splashy and feature rich, but isn't commonly regarded as well built or durable.

Panasonic is known for its ruggedized Toughbook line, designed to operate in rough environments. Its models commonly trade off high end performance and features for extremely light weight and compact size. That relegates Panasonic's fans to mobile business users, and makes it less appealing to mainstream consumers.

Lenovo, which bought up IBM's PC division, continues the venerable ThinkPad line as a highly regarded workhorse that delivers top performance in a thin but well constructed case -- all work and no play. ThinkPads are also known for their long usable life and their fingertip controllers rather than trackpads, something that polarizes users for or against based on their personal preferences.

Fujitsu is another leader in light and thin notebooks, but also makes more general purpose machines that borrow from its leading edge thin designs. Its larger sized lines are powerful and economical while still remaining thin and fairly light. Fujitsu also makes Tablet PC convertible machines with the flip-around monitors that have yet to prove popular because they are gutless and expensive.

Asus, best known for its popular $350 EEE PC toy notebook, is also making inroads into the light notebook business. It's targeting low powered thin models with small but higher resolution displays than most of the competition.

Of course there are many other makers of light notebooks. Dell and HP both make lighter notebook models, but none are really comparable to the top competitors in the ultralight market; instead, those two companies target the mass market, which hasn't yet started chasing light thin notebooks because of the engineering tradeoffs they require to drop the pounds and millimeters and their commensurate price tags.

Enter the MacBook Air

With Apple now competing fiercely against Dell and HP for mainstream notebooks and rapidly gaining market share, it's no surprise that Apple is leading the two contenders in its move into the ultra light notebook market.

Who is in the market to buy an ultralight Mac? Apparently Apple's market research is telling the company that it's well heeled business people who demand mobility first. Steve Jobs has previously talked a lot about building cheaper things that can be sold in volume rather than expensive things that target a niche market. The iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, and other recent products all fall into lower priced devices that the majority of Apple Store buyers can afford.

How The MacBook Air Stacks Up Against Other Ultra Light notebooks.

So what about the Air? At $1799, the new model is nearly twice the cost of an entry level MacBook. Clearly, it's not directed primarily at education. However, compared to other ultralight notebooks, the Air is very competitively priced. While clearance deals can be found among last year's models, the current Sony Vaio G series, Lenovo ThinkPad X60, Panasonic Toughbook R6, Fujitsu LifeBook s6510, and Asus U1F are all at least within $100 of the Air, and most of them are priced significantly higher when configured with the same processor, RAM and other core features of Apple's entry level Air configuration.

The Illusion of Features in Complex Configurations

Apart from the models I looked at in detail, all of the ultralight makers also maintain various other model numbers and lines that all deliver slightly different mixes of features. The common thread is that each model also offers a bewildering variety of options unto itself. However, it appears that all of this choice is largely designed to mask reality behind attractive sounding numbers.

Base model prices frequently exclude Bluetooth and Wireless N and most of the models ship with 1GB of RAM or less in the default configuration, neither of which could be described as reasonable when running Windows Vista to do the actual work buyers expect to do with their new ultralight notebook.

Also, many ship with a lean battery which the manufacturer includes primarily to advertise a slim profile and light weight. Over half of the models I looked at recommended a big strap-on battery that made the unit considerably heavier and bulkier, just to pull off the advertised "maximum" battery life ratings. Additionally, while most of the models advertise around 8 hours of battery life, they hit that target by turning off WiFi. When wireless is turned on, they actually achieve about 4 hours of use, based on tests performed by reviewers. Apple only advertises one number for the MacBook Air: 5 realistic hours of life with WiFi running.

On page 2 of 2: How to Be Thin; What's Missing in the Air; and The Very Hot Air.

How to Be Thin

Different manufacturers target their own intended market by specializing in one area or another. Sony skimped on CPU performance, graphics resolution, and display size in the Vaio G series to deliver a thin light notebook with a DVD burner, and in doing so scraped the high end of the price comparison. The Lenovo ThinkPad piles on everything from performance to RAM expandability and a full assortment of ports to deliver a full featured machine in a tight but not extremely small package. Panasonic's Toughbook drops features across the board to deliver a very light and thin notebook with a tiny 10.4" screen.

And Apple: it matches the top performance of the ThinkPad, bundles in Bluetooth and WiFi N as standard, delivers a larger 13.3" screen at higher resolution, while matching the ThinkPads weight and remaining thinner at its thickest point than all the other models at their thinnest. And in price, the Air matches the Fujitsu LifeBook, which at 4 pounds and 1.42" thick, is closer to being a full sized machine, and considerably thicker than even Apple's entry level 1" thick MacBook.

Apple also throws in a full featured 1.3 MP video conferencing camera. Many of the ultralights don't include a camera, and those that do, like the Sony and Asus models, commonly use a far poorer quality 0.3 MP unit that won't result in satisfactory pictures. Apple also built in DVI video output allowing the Air to drive a 24" digital display, and analog TV output in addition to the VGA output that most other notebooks settle upon.

What's Missing in the Air

The art of engineering is as much about leaving things out as it is building things on. Apple made some risky decisions with the Air that other manufacturers weren't likely to try anytime soon. If the Air succeeds, expect them to start copying, as indeed they should. That's how the state of the art is pushed.

For example, Apple simplified RAM configuration by making one: 2GB standard, with no room for expansion. That means that the Air comes with enough RAM to be highly usable, while lacking the option to drop in more DIMM cards at some point in the future when 2GB won't seem like very much. Of course at that point, the Air itself will likely be obsolesced by a more powerful version, and third parties will likely start offering a mail in option to solder on higher density chips. The main use for more RAM is running intensive applications, something that nobody with an Air should be planning to do; it's a mobile unit, not a desktop replacement.

How do competitors' compare? They all ship 1GB of RAM, but many of them can't even support more than 1.5GB total. Only the LifeBook and ThinkPad can expand to 4GB, and do so by being physically bigger. The other problem for notebooks not running Mac OS X is that no matter how much RAM you install, Windows only lets you use 3.3GB of it because of its 32-bit limitations. As Fujitsu warns: "When 4 GB of memory is installed in a Genuine Windows Vista system, approximately 3.3 GB is addressable memory; the upper memory is reserved by Genuine Windows Vista for hardware usage."

Apple also doesn't offer a wide range of hard drive options. There are in fact only two: an 80 GB HDD and a 64GB option to use a Flash RAM Solid State Drive at an expensive $999 premium. Of course, users will have the ability to pop open the Air and install their own hard drive as prices of SDD fall and capacities of HDDs rise. Apple doesn't match the 120GB HDD options other makers offer because the MacBook Air uses smaller format drives and the 120GB version of those drives, such as the one used in the iPod Classic, are simply too big to fit in the notebook because they require additional physical platters. Again, the Air is designed to be mobile, not an all encompassing data repository or a film editing workstation.

There's also no option to hang an extended capacity battery unit off the back end of the Air. Presumably, users will need to carry a charger and keep it plugged in whenever they plan to work for longer than 5 hours. Since Apple's battery rating applies to having WiFi on, the actual life you'd get in a plane should be longer. Of course, planes also have power sockets, too.

Apple also dropped additional USB ports, FireWire, and Ethernet ports, expecting users to do their business with a single USB jack. For users who desire the mobility of the Air, not being able to tether to an Ethernet cable seems like a non-problem. Until Apple did it, who could imagine a notebook shipping without an Ethernet port? A variety of other ultralight limitations have been worked around in software for the Air:
a more capable multi-touch trackpad that goes far beyond what a finger joystick or standard pad can do.Remote Disc networking and discovery software that makes an optical disc drive largely unnecessary.a Wireless Migration Assistant that magically imports settings and files from another computer.
That package of features gives Apple the simplicity of marketing two MacBook Air configurations: the $1799 base model with a HDD and a high end $3100 model with the fastest processor and futuristic SDD storage. Everyone else is left marketing the many configurations of the s6510 and the X61 and the G-11 alongside their C291NW/G and P1610 and R61e, T61, and X61s. Apple also sells a MacBook and MacBook Pro line. Imagine which model names will make any sense to consumers and be something they can remember.

The Very Hot Air

Even if Apple's MacBook Air wasn't competitive in its raw performance, its graphics display, its weight and size, and its pricing, the fact that its models stick out as well designed machines in easy to understand configurations should make the Air a hot seller.

The fact that Apple will be showcasing the new model in its own white-hot retail stores will also help push Air out the door rapidly. The company's sky-high satisfaction ratings from everything from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to the iPhone should also help fuel uptake of the new Air.

The burning question that remains is: what's up next from Apple?
post #2 of 142
First Post!

Just pre-ordered my MBA yesterday. With educational discount I got it for EUR 1.256,00 which I guess is not too much. Thanks for your review. Now I just need to find a way to not self combust with anticipation, as it's not expected to ship until 20th of Feb....
post #3 of 142
Maybe it's too late, but in the table, the black text on a dark blue background is pretty hard to read, too low contrast. I suggest a lighter color be chosen.
post #4 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The burning question that remains is: what's up next from Apple?

A lot more! Particularly with the MacBook Pro, as well as the lesser configurations.

Re battery life.
On the surface, the competitors' iterations seem to have greater battery lives. However, it should be understood, that their measurements are determined by using their computers under applications drawing the lowest power consumption, e.g., playing Mp3 music files. Something that is only referenced in their product manuals.

On a side note, I got three calls yesterday from 3 of the most unsuspecting clients and colleagues about the MacBook Air and whether I could get a discount for them. Unfortunately, the are past school age, but it didn't deter them one iota. They all considered the weight as the primary determining decision factor, followed by its wireless capabilities. More promising, they were all developers working primarily in Windows.
post #5 of 142
People will still bitch about it, though. There's no point in trying to rationalize something that Apple makes and sells, the whiney ass Mac users will bitch about it to no end. I for one, love it and think it will sell like hotcakes. I plan on odering me one very soon.

The lack of an optical drive means nothing, since I hardly evar use mine in my other laptop.

But this was a good article, though.
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post #6 of 142
Before MacWorld everyone was speculating that MBA would be flash based which would mean much longer battery life, less heat, and joy and peace for all in the world. Instead it was offered as an option (pricy at that).

All of the battery/time comparisons so far have been using the 80 HD and indicating battery life to be 5 or so hours. What is the expected battery life if one shelled out for the 64 Gb flash drive.?
post #7 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpsanders View Post

Just pre-ordered my MBA yesterday. With educational discount I got it for EUR 1.256,00 which I guess is not too much. Thanks for your review. Now I just need to find a way to not self combust with anticipation, as it's not expected to ship until 20th of Feb....

Yes, I remember that sense of anticipation as I ordered the MacBook Pro within a week of its announcement. I think my wait was something like five weeks, and it nearly killed me.

As you'll no doubt be refreshing your order status on the Apple Store website on a near-daily basis, you can save yourself a tiny bit of frustration by installing the Order Status widget.
post #8 of 142
Akin to the toughbook, General Dynamics Itronix makes the GoBook, which is even more rugged and generally purchased by the US military, although it's available for civilian purchase as well. (Including the 2 pound fully rugged MR-1: http://www.gd-itronix.com/gdc4s_stag...=Products:MR-1)
post #9 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by His Dudeness View Post

People will still bitch about it, though. There's no point in trying to rationalize something that Apple makes and sells, the whiney ass Mac users will bitch about it to no end. I for one, love it and think it will sell like hotcakes. I plan on odering me one very soon.

The lack of an optical drive means nothing, since I hardly evar use mine in my other laptop.

But this was a good article, though.

The pre-orders for the MacBook Air made Amazon's top-5 list over the weekend... there are a lot of comparisons to the cube, but ironically there are probably more articles comparing it to the cube than there were articles about the cube when it came out. This will sell a whole lot better.
post #10 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

Yes, I remember that sense of anticipation as I ordered the MacBook Pro within a week of its announcement. I think my wait was something like five weeks, and it nearly killed me.

As you'll no doubt be refreshing your order status on the Apple Store website on a near-daily basis, you can save yourself a tiny bit of frustration by installing the Order Status widget.

My dear old iBook g4 (summer 2004) died last week when some eejit at the airport forced me to check in my carry-on bag. A whole month without a laptop!! I really don't know what to do with myself....
post #11 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post

Before MacWorld everyone was speculating that MBA would be flash based which would mean much longer battery life, less heat, and joy and peace for all in the world. Instead it was offered as an option (pricy at that).

That's because the people that are drooling over SSD bought into the hype.

It is way too soon to expect a cheap solid state drive.

Quote:
All of the battery/time comparisons so far have been using the 80 HD and indicating battery life to be 5 or so hours. What is the expected battery life if one shelled out for the 64 Gb flash drive.?

You'll probably have to wait for Macworld mag to test it.

I don't expect much, iPod hard drives don't consume much power, and it's a pretty small factor compared to the CPU and screen. I would be surprised if it meant a half hour battery run time improvement. The drive might be faster, but I don't think the speed and power improvements are going to be anywhere worth the extra money.
post #12 of 142
Leading feature... OS X.

Nice!
post #13 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post

Before MacWorld everyone was speculating that MBA would be flash based which would mean much longer battery life, less heat, and joy and peace for all in the world. Instead it was offered as an option (pricy at that).

All of the battery/time comparisons so far have been using the 80 HD and indicating battery life to be 5 or so hours. What is the expected battery life if one shelled out for the 64 Gb flash drive.?

The price is not Apples fault. If anything, Apple's option is cheaper than others.

Re battery life/SSD. Best we wait to see what they are once the MacBook Air is available for testing. Any speculation is just that, and more often only leads to further and often erroneous speculation.
post #14 of 142
Reviews of the other Intel-based portables like the MBP and MB have shown you need to chop 2 hours off Apple's estimate of battery life in real world use.

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

A 3 hour battery life for the MBA will make it fairly unappealing to travellers - after all, you're not going to be able to swap batteries while travelling (try messing with a battery pack in an airport and see what happens)
post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

Reviews of the other Intel-based portables like the MBP and MB have shown you need to chop 2 hours off Apple's estimate of battery life in real world use.

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

A 3 hour battery life for the MBA will make it fairly unappealing to travellers - after all, you're not going to be able to swap batteries while travelling (try messing with a battery pack in an airport and see what happens)

What you did not notice is that the MBA specifically states that wifi is on during their battery experiment, which the article suggests is a big drain that makes the competiters' estimates unrealistic. If you are on an airplane you have to turn wifi off, which should extend the battery life significantly. You could do the same anytime you know you need more battery life.
post #16 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

A 3 hour battery life for the MBA will make it fairly unappealing to travellers - after all, you're not going to be able to swap batteries while travelling (try messing with a battery pack in an airport and see what happens)

I fail to see the weight difference, luggage difference and hassle difference between a spare battery in a case (like most laptops use) and a battery in a case with a small cable that you can plug into the power input of the MacBook Air. Except the latter is easier, can be any size (you could choose to have a 12 cell brick for an extra 10+ hours battery life...) because it doesn't have to fit in the battery bay of the laptop, etc.
post #17 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

Reviews of the other Intel-based portables like the MBP and MB have shown you need to chop 2 hours off Apple's estimate of battery life in real world use.

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

It's 5 hours with wifi on, whether this is transferring something or not remains to be unseen. So turning wifi off will be a real big help for the battery and will probably surpass Apple's advertised time period.
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post #18 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

Please reference. The only thing I could find on the Apple site was "up to 6 hours."

As for what is what is not appealing, let the traveller be aware. Certainly, one should do due diligence when purchasing anything of this nature. This computer is as has been proclaimed by the experts and people well qualified is filling a particular market need. For some 'travellers' it will not suffice. However, for a lot, it will. If anything, features won't be the issue. The pocket book will. Not that they feel that it is overpriced, but the funds are not just ready at the moment. That, and the fact, a MacBook Pro is just so much better, and it is just a matter of time that most of the great new features of the MacBook Air will soon be available on the next generations.

Let's try to look at the positive side. 'Good things come to those that wait', and one will 'attract more bees with honey'.
post #19 of 142
I'd like to see available ports on that table as well.
post #20 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Lenovo, which bought up IBM's PC division, continues the venerable ThinkPad line as a highly regarded workhorse that delivers top performance in a thin but well constructed case -- all work and no play. ThinkPads are also known for their long usable life and their fingertip controllers rather than trackpads, something that polarizes users for or against based on their personal preferences.

ThinkPads have had trackpads as well as TrackPoints for years. You obviously haven't seen a ThinkPad in 7 years if you think all they offer is the nipple.

As always, this article reeks of flagrant fanboyism and constant jabs at anything and everything not Apple, to the point of blatant falsehoods at several points. Don't get me wrong, I love the MBA - if it were closer in price to my current ultra-light (my 12" iBook G4, which was $949 after educational discount), I would buy it in a heartbeat. But that doesn't mean you can get away with flat out smashing on anything without an Apple logo on it.

The ThinkPads are FANTASTIC machines - my dad, who has worked for IBM for many years, has done horrific things to his ThinkPads, and they simply shrug it off and keep on trucking. They may not be the sexiest machines around, but it'll last you several years with no problems.
post #21 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Libb View Post

As always, this article reeks of flagrant fanboyism and constant jabs at anything and everything not Apple, to the point of blatant falsehoods at several points.

Could you point them out? And support your contentions?
post #22 of 142
The biggest omission for me is the lack of a built-in SD card slot. Why not incorporate one? They don't take up much space and it would be an ideal way to expand storage. With 16GB cards becoming available that 80GB limit ceases to be such an issue, and being able to easily transfer images from cameras etc onto MBA would be great. Also you could rip DVDs to SD cards and then carry a library of them around with you for flights etc. Sure you can use an external reader, but why have to carry it around with you and dangle it out the side of the MBA when it could be neatly integrated?
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post #23 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpsanders View Post

My dear old iBook g4 (summer 2004) died last week when some eejit at the airport forced me to check in my carry-on bag. A whole month without a laptop!! I really don't know what to do with myself....

Easy solution... find a Mac dealer with a 30 day return policy...
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post #24 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

The biggest omission for me is the lack of a built-in SD card slot. Why not incorporate one? They don't take up much space and it would be an ideal way to expand storage. With 16GB cards becoming available that 80GB limit ceases to be such an issue, and being able to easily transfer images from cameras etc onto MBA would be great. Also you could rip DVDs to SD cards and then carry a library of them around with you for flights etc. Sure you can use an external reader, but why have to carry it around with you and dangle it out the side of the MBA when it could be neatly integrated?

I can transfer movies to my 64 gig usb thumb drive. Get one of them if it matters that much.
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post #25 of 142
As an owner of both an iMac 24 2.8GHz and Macbook Pro 17, I also find the Macbook Air to be an interesting product. One that I want to take a good look at when its actually released

However, in the interests of accuracy (and at the risk of being flamed) I feel its important to post ACCURATE comparison data with other Subnotebooks. I feel that the total Focus on Thickness to be disingenuous

I use a Thinkpad X61s for Business Travel and the article above would be better served by comparing the Macbook Air against that. It would have thrown up a far more interesting comparison than the numbers quoted. For example

\tThe X61s has a 31Whr battery compared to the 37Whr battery in the Air (16% less)
\tThe X61s has a Thickness of 0.8 to 1.1 inches by comparison to the alleged 0.16 to 0.76 of the Air. (However, even a superficial inspection of the photographs shows that the advertised 0.16in thickness is only at the VERY front of the machine. It very quickly increases to approx 0.5 thickness and then tapers to its full thickness of 0.76)
\tThe X61 is 2.2 narrower (10.6 v 12.8) and 0.6 (8.3v 8.9) shallower than the Air, resulting in a 30% smaller footprint overall. This smaller footprint is quite important when one uses a laptop on airplanes etc
\tThe weight of the X61s is 2.75 lbs, i.e. lighter by a smidgen than the 3lbs Air
\tThe Hard Drives available are 120Gb and 160Gb and spin at 7,200rpm, as opposed to the slower 4,200rpm of the 80Gb Hard Drive in the Air. This will have an impact on performance
\tThe X61s comes with 1Gb Ram and this can easily and cheaply be upgraded to 2Gb and 4Gb
\tThe 5 Hour Battery Life quoted for the Air is with the Solid State drive. It will be interesting to see what the battery life is under real world conditions with the spinning hard drive
\tYou can also use a 73Whr battery ($130) with the X61s, adding 1 to the overall depth, but still only 0.5 (9.3 v 8.9) deeper than the Air. The weight now becomes 3.2lbs, a smidgen heavier than the Air. This takes the battery life out to Eight hours and the machine will still have a smaller footprint than the Air
\tThe screen on the X61s is 1.5 narrower (9.7 v 11.2) than the Air, but 0.25 taller than the Air. Obviously, this is due to the 4:3 profile
\tThe Air does have 30% more pixels than the X61s (1024 by 768 versus 1280 by 800 for the Air)
\tBoth the Air and X61s have Full Size Keyboards and Full Size keys. The Key Travel on the X61s is the full 5mm that you get on a desktop keyboard

While the Macbook Air is certainly an interesting product, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Anybody that travels with a Subnotebook will tell you that the Footprint (for use on Planes etc.) and Weight (for carrying purposes) are AS if not MORE important than Thickness, which appears to be the main Promotion focus of the Air. Other factors are just as important (IMHO)

Flame suit on!!!
post #26 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by His Dudeness View Post

I can transfer movies to my 64 gig usb thumb drive. Get one of them if it matters that much.

I'm skeptical that you have that kind of drive.

But it doesn't address the statement on transferring from cameras. There are SD cards that open up to become USB drives.
post #27 of 142
One thing I learned from this forum at least is Apple's claim that I can get 6 hours from my 15" MBP. When I'm working at a coffee shop with a fresh charge, Bluetooth off, Airport off and screen brightness set to 1, I can maybe, *maybe*, get 2h45. And that's if I'm having a slow day where I'm spending most of my time just thinking. When I'm even moderately productive I'm lucky to get 2h30. The battery is 6 months old. I've never, *ever*, made to 3 hours.
post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

I've never understood how anyone got close to 5 hours. My average battery life is about two hours, and this is on a new battery, not using the optical drive, and not doing anything particularly CPU-intensive.
post #29 of 142
Odd that Appleinsider don't do a comparison to the Toshiba R500 as this is the most obvious comparison. They also mention, but don't do the specs in that table of the Toughbook Y or W series (ideally they should show both).
post #30 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I'm skeptical that you have that kind of drive.

But it doesn't address the statement on transferring from cameras. There are SD cards that open up to become USB drives.

I have a 64 gig usb thumb drive. Bought it about 4 months ago brand new off of eBay for 145.00.

And I have a Canon Powershot G7 that is usb transfer. I have never had a digital video camera so I can't comment on them.
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post #31 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonHurley View Post

\tThe 5 Hour Battery Life quoted for the Air is with the Solid State drive. It will be interesting to see what the battery life is under real world conditions with the spinning hard drive

Not sure on this. Doesn't an SSD with an 1.8hertz processor consume the same power as a HDD with 1.6hertz. I was thinking it was comparable, but not sure. Would stink if 5 hours was a quote for SSD with 1.6hertz though

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonHurley View Post

Anybody that travels with a Subnotebook will tell you that the Footprint (for use on Planes etc.) and Weight (for carrying purposes) are AS if not MORE important than Thickness, which appears to be the main Promotion focus of the Air. Other factors are just as important (IMHO)

Flame suit on!!!

I agree on footprint and this is why 4:3 is a nicer screen. Bad for movies, but better for most uses (browsing, word pricessor, powerpoint) and allows an easier footprint. Think Apple had to go with 13.3 inch as a 12 inchwidescreen is really like an 11inch 4:3 (really tiny, trust me - I have a 12inch widescreen from Dell). But widescreen is the future and I accept that.
post #32 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I've never understood how anyone got close to 5 hours. My average battery life is about two hours, and this is on a new battery, not using the optical drive, and not doing anything particularly CPU-intensive.

This is a real fear if you are taking this on an airplane/road as you can't change the battery.

Is this powerable with that shaver power thing in the bathroom of the plane? Its only like 45 watts right?
post #33 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon9x View Post

One thing I learned from this forum at least is Apple's claim that I can get 6 hours from my 15" MBP. When I'm working at a coffee shop with a fresh charge, Bluetooth off, Airport off and screen brightness set to 1, I can maybe, *maybe*, get 2h45. And that's if I'm having a slow day where I'm spending most of my time just thinking. When I'm even moderately productive I'm lucky to get 2h30. The battery is 6 months old. I've never, *ever*, made to 3 hours.

Never learn anything from this forum!
Apple's claim for the MacBook Pro is, and I quote, "up to 6 hours". Totally two different meanings.
post #34 of 142
[QUOTE=NYCMacFan;1203741]Not sure on this. Doesn't an SSD with an 1.8hertz processor consume the same power as a HDD with 1.6hertz. I was thinking it was comparable, but not sure. Would stink if 5 hours was a quote for SSD with 1.6hertz though
[quote]

You can buy the SSD with the 1.6GHz version too.
post #35 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by His Dudeness View Post

I have a 64 gig usb thumb drive. Bought it about 4 months ago brand new off of eBay for 145.00.

And I have a Canon Powershot G7 that is usb transfer. I have never had a digital video camera so I can't comment on them.

New digital video cameras generally connect over USB. I think they're read like a hard drive, so you can potentially get faster than real time transfer.
post #36 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbill View Post

Reviews of the other Intel-based portables like the MBP and MB have shown you need to chop 2 hours off Apple's estimate of battery life in real world use.

E.g. Macworld reviewers were getting 3-3.5 hours on the MBP when Apple was claiming 5.5 hours.

A 3 hour battery life for the MBA will make it fairly unappealing to travellers - after all, you're not going to be able to swap batteries while travelling (try messing with a battery pack in an airport and see what happens)

Hmmmm - think AirPlane power adapter and many Airports have electrical wall outlets. Don't see this to be any issue IMO.
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Regards
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post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Never learn anything from this forum!
Apple's claim for the MacBook Pro is, and I quote, "up to 6 hours". Totally two different meanings.

"up to" should mean that it should be possible to achieve that. That's why I'd like stronger truth in advertising laws. If no one can get more than 3 hours in the most battery optimized settings, then claiming "up to 6 hours" is unethical.
post #38 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon9x View Post

One thing I learned from this forum at least is Apple's claim that I can get 6 hours from my 15" MBP. When I'm working at a coffee shop with a fresh charge, Bluetooth off, Airport off and screen brightness set to 1, I can maybe, *maybe*, get 2h45. And that's if I'm having a slow day where I'm spending most of my time just thinking. When I'm even moderately productive I'm lucky to get 2h30. The battery is 6 months old. I've never, *ever*, made to 3 hours.

Maybe your battery was bad in the first place?

With brightness about halfway, bluetooth and airport both on, doing light typing and a little internet, I can get 3.5 hours.
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
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A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
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post #39 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bxs6408 View Post

Hmmmm - think AirPlane power adapter and many Airports have electrical wall outlets. Don't see this to be any issue IMO.

Actually it is, because that assumes you can get to a working outlet, on the airplane or at the airport. I've never been on an airplane that had a working power jack. One airport lobby I was at had four accessible jacks for about every 100 seats.
post #40 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonHurley View Post

As an owner of both an iMac 24 2.8GHz and Macbook Pro 17, I also find the Macbook Air to be an interesting product. One that I want to take a good look at when its actually released

However, in the interests of accuracy (and at the risk of being flamed) I feel its important to post ACCURATE comparison data with other Subnotebooks. I feel that the total Focus on Thickness to be disingenuous.

No one is going to flame you for a researched comparison. Flaming occurs when one makes comments without backing them up.

Welcome to AI.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

Odd that Appleinsider don't do a comparison to the Toshiba R500 as this is the most obvious comparison. They also mention, but don't do the specs in that table of the Toughbook Y or W series (ideally they should show both).

I don't know the R500, but the Toughbooks don't make for a good comparison. They all use older tech and cost considerably more for it do to their semi-rugged design.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

I agree on footprint and this is why 4:3 is a nicer screen. Bad for movies, but better for most uses (browsing, word pricessor, powerpoint) and allows an easier footprint. Think Apple had to go with 13.3 inch as a 12 inchwidescreen is really like an 11inch 4:3 (really tiny, trust me - I have a 12inch widescreen from Dell). But widescreen is the future and I accept that.

That is my feeling on it, too. With widescreen displays 13" is the ideal size for viewing and fitting on your seat-back tray.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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