Home' LAPTOP Magazine : December 2010 Contents Apple
CPU: 1.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Operating
System: OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) RAM/
Upgradable to: 2GB/4GB Hard Drive Size/
Speed: 128GB/Flash Display Size/Resolu-
tion: 11.6 inches/1366 x 768 Graphics/Video
Memory: Nvidia GeForce 320M/256MB Wire-
less: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Ports:
Two USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, headphone,
mic Size: 11.8 x 7.6 x 0.7 inches Weight:
2.3 pounds Warranty/Support: One-year
limited/24/7 toll-free phone for 90 days
Amazingly thin-and-light design
Large, gesture-friendly touchpad
Webcam makes FaceTime calls
Wakes instantly from sleep, boots very fast
No SD Card slot
Keyboard not backlit
Lid sometimes falls backwards
18 minutes of runtime in our LAPTOP Battery Test.
That's comparable to similarly sized systems such
as the ASUS Eee PC 1215N (5:40). Apple also claims
this laptop gets up to 30 days of standby time, so
you don't have to shut the Air down. You can pick
it up and use it, just like with the iPad.
Apple bundles the new iLife '11 multimedia suite,
which includes improved versions of GarageBand,
iMovie, and iPhoto. iPhoto now features full-screen
view for enhancing photos, and lets you easily
share your pics via Facebook, Flickr, e-mail, and
more. Meanwhile, iMovie adds the ability to turn
your creations into Hollywood-style trailers, and
GarageBand boasts a new How Did I Play? feature,
complete with an accuracy meter.
Apple backs the 11-inch MacBook Air with a
short 90 days of free telephone support and a
one-year limited warranty.
The 11-inch MacBook Air is a powerful ultraport-
able that makes other systems in its class look
positively bloated. More important, this machine
never keeps you waiting. Some may prefer the
new 13-inch MacBook Air ($1,299), which offers
a higher-resolution screen, faster CPU, and a SD
Card slot. If you're torn between Windows and
Mac, the $899 Acer Timeline 1830T offers Core
i7 muscle but integrated graphics and a much
less compelling design. If you want the thinnest,
lightest Mac experience ever, this Air will leave
with 128GB of flash storage and Nvidia graphics
to give this ultraportable plenty of muscle for run-
ning Mac OS X Snow Leopard. In the GeekBench
test, for example, the Air scored nearly 900 points
higher than the ASUS Eee PC 1215N. Still, other
ultraportables have beefier processors, including
the 11.6-inch Acer Aspire Timeline 1830T, which
notched a whopping 3,742.
Yes, benchmark results are important, but the
11-inch MacBook Airjust feels fast, especially when
it comes to waking up from sleep mode. That's
because this notebook's 128GB of flash memory
is always ready to snap the machine to life. For
example, after simply opening the lid on a recent
flight, the Air lit up instantly.
On our tests, this notebook proved snappy
when rendering video. Still, this is by no means
a powerhouse. In the Cinebench benchmark, the
11-inch Air scored 2,751 in the OpenGL portion
of the test, compared to 4,417 and 4,447 for the
13-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro, respectively.
In the multi-CPU portion of the test, the 11-inch
Air notched 2,635, while the larger MacBooks got
5,066 and 4,936. This notebook can be used to
get real work done, but don't think you're getting
a workstation-class machine.
While Call of Duty is a bit too much for the Air,
users will be able to play less demanding titles
fairly well. In World of Warcraft, the Air averaged
30 fps at native resolution and graphics at the
recommended settings; that's twice as good as
the Acer 1830T (14 fps).
We saw 5 hours and
The lid sometimes dropped back when we picked
the machine up with one hand. The display never
tilted all the way back, but it was annoying.
A good ultraportable keyboard will make you
forget that you're using a smaller notebook, and
the 11-inch MacBook Air passes that test with
flying colors. The only bummer is that the keys
Apple leverages its extra-large glass touchpad
to full effect here. Pinch-to-zoom worked well in
iPhoto and Safari, and it was a cinch to minimize
all open apps with a four-finger swipe downward.
A three-finger swipe let us zip through pictures
You won't find a brighter, crisper, or more color-
ful display on a notebook in this class. Photo and
video editors will find this 1366 x 768 panel easy
on the eyes. The Air's wide viewing angles make
this ultraportable a good choice for sharing a movie
Thanks to a new FaceTime desktop beta appli-
cation, MacBook owners can make video calls to
other Mac owners, as well as to those who have an
iPhone 4 or the latest iPod touch. While the video
window was small, the quality was better than
we expected, with warm colors and pretty good
detail. We also found it neat that our video window
automatically reoriented itself when the other caller
turned his iPhone to landscape mode.
Two stereo speakers project audio right through
the top of the keyboard, pumping out surprisingly loud
and clear sound.
The 1.4-GHz Core
2 Duo processor and
2GB of RAM combine
LAPTOP | December 2010
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SEE APPLE IN ACTION
Watch how the new MacBook performs.
See p. 6 for more info on how to use this code with your cell phone.
gestures worked well
on the extra-large
glass touchpad on
the 11-inch Air.
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