May 10, 2009

Review: MacBook Air (late 2008), Pinnacle of Design

Recently, I got to spend a good amount of time with a brand new MacBook Air (late 2008 updated model), since this blog is not a "computer review" site, I will focus more on the mobility and design of this gorgeous hardware in this entry.

The MacBook Air is a spectacular notebook weighing approximately 3lbs and it's so thin that it almost disappears into thin air if you turn to its side. The first impression when handling the MBA is that it is lightweight yet sturdy and it is the pinnacle of Apple's industrial design philosophy. This laptop is solid, with its entire lowe casing cut out of a solid piece of aluminum, there is no flex and give when handling this ultraportable laptop.

The MBA has packs a powerful punch under its hood. Despite that my review unit only has the lower end 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, it is far more powerful than the previous Sony TX/TZ series (around 1.2 to 1.3GHz) that I am so used to. With a 1066MHz frontside bus upgrade, 120GB 4200RPM HDD and 2GB of DDR3 memory, this little machine zips around OS X Leopard as if I were using my MacBook Pro. The webcam and mic felt even more clear and crisp compared to my MacBook White and MacBook Pro if thats even possible! 13.1" LED display with 1280x800 is very large for an ultraportable machine, however, from a mobile experience standpoint, I could not ask for a better machine with the same performance and feature set.

What I am most taken back by (aside from its amazing mobile form factor) is its design. The designers at Apple has put so much creativity into this laptop that being around it stimulates one's own creativity. Their attention to details like the mic input, the indention around the keyboard to allow a flush fitment and even the magsafe connector angle are a testament of how serious Apple has taken its laptop design. Finished off the MacBook Air with a multi-touch, extra large trackpad makes using this laptop an intuitive and rewarding experience (ie. 2-3-4 finger multi-touch commands).

Overall, the MacBook Air has lived up to its name in my book. I highly recommend anyone who can afford this laptop to go for it. If you want more performance but less money, the new 13" Aluminum MacBook is an excellent alternative (hint: it only weights 4.5lbs!)

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