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MacBook Air: Hands on at MacWorld

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MacBook AirI just spent about 30 minutes playing with a MacBook Air at MacWorld 2008. The MacBook Air is impressively thin, but Apple’s asking users to make too many trade offs. Check out the quick video walk-through and photos below.

There are tons of sites, including Apple’s own, that praise the MacBook Air to no end, but I found several flaws that will keep me from recommending the MacBook Air as a primary notebook for most users.


1) Only 1 USB port.The MacBook Air has a single USB port, which is fine for some users with basic syncing needs. But if you’re like me and have several USB devices this is going to be a major issue. I carry a portable USB drive, USB EVDO wireless card, memory card adapter, iPhone, and a Sony camcorder with a USB cradle. Sure, you could carry a USB hub, but that kinda defeats the purpose of the whole thin and light idea.2) Internal BatteryThe MacBook Air’s internal battery can get “up to” five hours of battery life. That’s not enough for a cross-country flight or a full day of work. You’ll need to send your MacBook Air in for service to replace the battery when it starts to wear.3) Tiny Hard Drive

The MacBook Air will come with a 1.8-inch 80GB hard drive that spins at 4200RPM. This is just too slow and small for a lot of users. While the MacBook Air is not being positioned as a multimedia powerhouse, Mac users will of course load up them up with movies and music. With just 80GB of storage, I expect to see a lot of MacBook Air users lugging around external drives.

4) External Optical Drive

To win the thin contest, Apple did away with an internal optical drive on the MacBook Air. That’s fine for a lot of users, but if you really do need an optical drive on the road you should get a notebook with an internal DVD burner. External optical drives are clunky and its easy to forget them at home. What’s worse is the external drive will probably need to be plugged directly into the MacBook Air to draw enough power, which means you won’t be able to charge and sync your other USB devices at the same time.

5) Steve Jobs Comparing it to the Sony TZ Series

During the keynote Steve Jobs kept comparing the MacBook Air to Sony’s TZ series. He didn’t mention that the Sony TZ series has an internal DVD burner and can get up to 12 hours of battery life. Or that you can order the TZ series with a 64GB solid state drive AND a 250GB hard drive. The Sony TZ also has a full compliment of ports and plugs including three USB ports, a FireWire port, ExpressCard slot, Ethernet port and more.

There are plenty of flaws with the MacBook Air, but I’ll probably end up buying one as a secondary notebook. If you’re looking for cool, the MacBook Air is for you. If you’re looking for mobile performance take a look at the Sony VAIO TZ series.

update:

6) $$D Drive

The solid state drive is a $999 option! I know it’s a premium option, but the SSD adds 55% to the base price.

Here are some pics from MacWorld. This thing is indeed incredibly thin. The base of the MacBook Air is actually THINNER than an iPhone. The MacBook Air makes my 15-inch MacBook Pro look big and clumsy in comparison.

MacBook Air iPhone

MacBook Air Thin

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

23 Comments

  1. martial

    January 15, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    here is the news MacBook Air
    http://techworldnew.blogspot.com/

  2. martial

    January 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    here is the news MacBook Air
    http://techworldnew.blogspot.com/

  3. Patrick Alessi

    January 16, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Seems sort of pointless to me. The Macbook Pro is not THAT thick!

  4. Patrick Alessi

    January 15, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Seems sort of pointless to me. The Macbook Pro is not THAT thick!

  5. Xavier

    January 16, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Patrick- some users need portability above all else and the MacBook line was sorely missing a thin and light laptop. I just uploaded some new pics of the MacBook Air and you can see how it compares to the MacBook Pro in terms of thickness.

  6. Xavier

    January 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Patrick- some users need portability above all else and the MacBook line was sorely missing a thin and light laptop. I just uploaded some new pics of the MacBook Air and you can see how it compares to the MacBook Pro in terms of thickness.

  7. a.b.

    January 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    what i’d really miss is a firewire port.

  8. a.b.

    January 16, 2008 at 6:49 am

    what i’d really miss is a firewire port.

  9. Tenders

    January 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I think this machine looks great. Personally I don’t need all the things that people are saying it should have and it will do everything that I need from a laptop that I can travel with. If I want to do video editing, then I’ll use my wifes MacBook Pro or our MacMini. Simple. Plus, I think it looks beautiful!

  10. Tenders

    January 19, 2008 at 4:35 am

    I think this machine looks great. Personally I don’t need all the things that people are saying it should have and it will do everything that I need from a laptop that I can travel with. If I want to do video editing, then I’ll use my wifes MacBook Pro or our MacMini. Simple. Plus, I think it looks beautiful!

  11. wagner

    March 2, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    If you think that the communication device you have is the best then you are yet to see this . Its great and amazing the features and functions are outstanding , it is better seen and than ANY . the New MacBook Air & New MacBook Pros is Apple’s newest 13.3″ ultra-thin notebook, World’s Thinnest Notebook, offering cutting edge design in a remarkably thin package. models now available with Intel’s newest generation of Core 2 Duo processors in 24-karat Gold colour plated case .

    If you are serious and need to lay your hand on it then feel free to inform me via wagnerk13@yahoo.com

  12. wagner

    March 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    If you think that the communication device you have is the best then you are yet to see this . Its great and amazing the features and functions are outstanding , it is better seen and than ANY . the New MacBook Air & New MacBook Pros is Apple’s newest 13.3″ ultra-thin notebook, World’s Thinnest Notebook, offering cutting edge design in a remarkably thin package. models now available with Intel’s newest generation of Core 2 Duo processors in 24-karat Gold colour plated case .

    If you are serious and need to lay your hand on it then feel free to inform me via wagnerk13@yahoo.com

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