Home' LAPTOP Magazine : January 2011 Contents ULTRAPORTABLEnotebooks
It’s as if the 13-inch Macbook Pro
won The Biggest Loser. Meet the new
13-inch Macbook Air, which weighs
1.5 pounds less than its beefier brother and packs
enough horsepower to be your primary computer.
starting at $1,299, this ultraportable isn’t cheap,
but it costs $200 less than the last 13-inch Air and
features a higher-resolution display.
While the 13-inch Macbook Air is as tall and
wide as the 13-inch Macbook Pro, it weighs just
2.9 pounds and tapers from an astonishingly thin
0.11 inches to 0.68 inches. Apple achieved this
weight loss by eschewing the traditional hard drive
enclosure and putting the flash memory chips right
on the logic board. only the 13-inch sony VAIo Z
(3 pounds, 1.3 inches) and the toshiba Portégé;
R700 (3.2 pounds, 0.6 to 1 inches) come close
in terms of portability.
the all-aluminum design is cer-
tainly beautiful, sturdy, and easy to
tote. However, frequent fliers might
find that the13-inch Air’s height make
it a tight fit on an airline tray.
We found the chiclet-style
keyboard to be comfortable and
typed this review quickly. Just keep
in mind that you’ll have to give up
the Macbook Pro’s backlit keyboard
to have a notebook this portable.
Unlike the 11-inch Macbook Air,
the 13-inch version has enough room
on the chassis to accommodate an
sD Card slot, which makes it easy
to transfer files from a camera or
camcorder. the card doesn’t insert fully, but at
least you don’t have to plug in a card reader or
schlep an extra Usb cable.
the 13-inch Macbook Air’s panel provides
1440 x 900 pixels. this lets you see more of web
pages and other documents than a 1366 x 768
panel without having to scroll. Just as important,
the Air’s LeD-backlit display is one of the brightest
we’ve seen in this size, making an episode of Glee
on Fox.com pop.
both the 13-inch Air and 13-inch Pro share the
same graphics, but the Air packs a slower 1.86 -GHz
CPU while the Pro pairs a faster 2.4 -GHz CPU with
4Gb of RAM. In some ways, though, the 13-inch Air
feels more responsive. because this notebook uses
flash memory and not a mechanical hard drive, it
wakes from sleep instantly and cold boots in just
under 15 seconds.
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
Apple’s ultimate ultraportable combines a barely-there profile with a high-resolution display,
instant-on functionality, and long battery life.
w w w.apple.com
CPU: 1.86 -GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Operating
System: Mac os X 10.6 RAM/Expandable to:
2Gb/4Gb Hard Drive Size/Speed: 128Gb/ssD
Display Size/Resolution: 13.3 inches/1440 x
900 Graphics/Video Memory: nvidia GeForce
320M/256Mb Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Ports:
two Usb 2.0 , ethernet, Mini DisplayPort,
headphone, mic, kensington lock slot Card
slots: sD memory reader Size: 12.8 x 8.9 x
0.7 Weight: 2.9 pounds Warranty/Support:
one-year limited/24/7 toll-free phone
thinnest and lightest 13-inch notebook
Long battery life
Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
speedy solid-state storage
Good graphics performance
tall and deep for 13-inch laptop
keyboard not backlit
Flash storage not designed to be upgraded
the 13-inch Macbook Air
weighs just 2.9 pounds and
tapers from a very thin 0.11
inches to 0.68 inches.
Using our LAPtoP batter y test, we saw an excellent
runtime of 6 hours and 36 minutes. Apple claims
that this laptop gets as many as 30 days of standby
time, so you don’t have to shut it down.
Apple bundles the new iLife multimedia suite,
which includes improved versions of Garageband,
iMovie, and iPhoto. Mac os X Leopard also comes
with an easy-to-use mail client, iCal, iChat, Photo
booth, and time Machine for backups.
Apple has made the Macbook Air line relevant
again with its new 11-inch and 13-inch models.
between those two systems, we think the 13-inch
model is a better buy for those shopping for a
primary PC. Although it costs $300 more, this
ultraportable is faster, packs in more flash storage,
has a higher resolution display, and lasts 1.5 hours
longer on a charge.
If you’re comparing Windows and Mac laptops,
the toshiba R705 ($799) is a compelling choice.
It’s almost as light as the 13-inch Air and sports a
faster Core i5 CPU. the editors’ Choice-winning sony
VAIo Z is even better, thanks to its dual ssDs, backlit
keyboard, and Core i5 CPU, but that ultraportable
starts at $1,799.
overall, the 13-inch Macbook Air represents a
remarkable achievement. It’s light enough to take
any where and it delivers an unbeatable combina-
tion of comfort, responsiveness, and endurance
for a system in this size and price range.
— Mark spoonauer
PCMark Vant age 5,390
3DMark06 4 ,611
LAPtoP batter y test
LAPtoP transfer test
boot time (min:sec)*
(auto detect/max) 56/24 fps 45/12 fps
LAtPoP battery ef-
ficiency R ating*
* Lower is better
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Laptop | January 2011
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