Thinnovation From Apple
Apple have come up with something really special with the MacBook Air. At only a shade under 2cm thick at it’s widest point, it weighs a petite 1.36kg yet incorporates a (relatively) huge 13.3” screen. The screen itself is has a 1280x800 resolution as well as LED technology which leads to longer battery life.
The large screen also means a large keyboard which is very nicely spaced out and easy to use. It lends itself well to prolonged typing, even more so than a PC.
Furthermore, there is no compromise on the size of the keypad. The touchpad itself can function like that on Apples iPhone, allowing you to zoom in and out with your fingertips.
What's more, it's durable. When I first tested the MacBook Air, I thought it would be flimsy, prone to breaking and all the rest. Although they didn't let me test it to destruction when I tried it out, I'm convinced that it is built to survive, perhaps more so than other portable mini laptops like the Asus or the Acer.
I cannot recommend enough going to an Apple store. A hands on experience is as good as any review, if not better. Even if your not considering buying, it's worth finding your nearest store
As with most Apple products no amount of specifications, reviews or testing to destruction can hide the astronomical cost.
The UK RRP stands at a staggering £1199, putting it on par with some top specification PC desktops such as the TouchSmart IQ500 or gaming computers such as the Trooper Gaming PC.
Is There An Alternative?
For such an astonishing price, it has to be considered whether there is another path to follow. So what are the alternatives to the thumb-thick Mac?
Well, sticking with the Mac theme, the standard MacBook keeps the 13” screen but is obviously thicker so no advantage there. Besides, it only saves around £200-300 for 330g more weight – it’s not as if Apple “do cheap”.
Acer Aspire One
Asus Eee PC 901
will provide everything albeit with a Windows or Linux operating system (so no flashy apple display) and a relatively stingy 8.9” display.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? Where’s the “mini” in the MacBook Air when it’s got a 13 inch screen. Is the large screen really necessary?
Whilst professionals such as architects and graphic designers and high-earning gamers may make use of the extra dimensions, if you only need a compact and light laptop then an Acer or Asus is definitely the right direction - plus you save a grand in the process.
What about other ultra-portables?
Asus have recently released their upmarket
Eee PC S101
which is both looks good and weighs a shade over a kilo. Sony's
is another option, although you don't save on price, you get more features for your money. It's got a slightly smaller 11.1 inch screen.
Whilst the Macbook Air is an amazing piece of technology it only makes sense if you can justify a six-fold increase in price over other netbooks, simply for the full size screen with the weight of a mini laptop.
Perhaps the price will become more affordable? Well, without any other manufacturers producing a laptop to similar specifications, it seems unlikely that Apple would drop it’s margins – after all they’re not a charity. So in these days of economic gloom it does indeed look like the MacBook Air is a preserve of the well heeled professional.
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