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Apple MacBook Air Review

Look Beyond The Missing Drives, Ports and Slots And Uncover The Future Of Mobile Computing...

Macbook AirRight, if you're at home or at work, go to the kitchen or canteen and see if you can find a bag of sugar, you know, the 1kg type. Pick it up, feel how much it weighs. Now imagine you're holding another bag of sugar as well, but there's only a third left inside. That weight in your hands is how much a MacBook Air weighs, 3lbs or about 1.36kg. Amazing.

The Air is all about mobile computing, about having a PC that you can use almost anywhere, that is small enough to fit inside your briefcase, your back-pack or a large padded envelope, yet still has a large screen and usable keyboard.

Let's talk a little more about the hardware of the Macbook Air. Closed, it's 32.5 cm wide, 22.7 cm deep, by 2cm high. It packs a 13" display, full-sized keyboard, 80gb Hard-Drive, Intel Core Duo 1.6 ghz Processor, 2gb of Ram and 5 hours battery life. There's also the more expensive option of a 64gb Solid State Hard drive (longer battery life, faster) or a faster 1.8ghz processor. We've got a built in camera above the screen, wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Now for the controversial bits. The MacBook air has a limited number of ports. We only get one usb 2.0 port, Micro DVI port, and audio out. No firewire. The battery is not removable. THERE IS NO DISC DRIVE. Yes, that's right no floppy or optical drive. Before we go any further check out the video:

So you see, you don't need an optical drive. Simply borrow someone else's drive with the supplied software. How cool is that? So not having a disc drive isn't a deal breaker. The lack of ports is annoying, especially the lack of, firewire, ethernet or an expansion slot for a modem, but USB equivalents will be available.

Not being able to change the battery mid-use is another frustration, but in order to hit this specification and price Apple decided to hard-wire the power-source in. Some of you may be worried about replacing the battery a few years down the line, but Apple are saying they'll offer the service at a reasonable price.

We have to however try to put all these thoughts of Ports and Drives behind us, and think about where mobile computing will be going. Wireless is getting to be everywhere. You'll be at work, on the train or plane, then you'll whip out your Air and flash it up. You'll use Wi-Fi to access the internet, or via your phone's Bluetooth connection if you're not near a hotspot. The Air is so light you won't begrudge bringing it anywhere. It'll run all the most common applications you'll need, but most importantly it'll be with you when you need it, not sitting at home in a laptop bag because you couldn't be bothered to lug it around.

There is a cost of course for all this, namely dollars. For less than the price of a MacBook Air you can get a very well specified ordinary MacBook, with a 160gb Hard-drive, Super-Drive, 2.2ghz Processor and 1 Gig of Ram, you could spend the difference on some nice software.

Talking of software, if, like me, you're only used to Windows, Software is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks and questions you'll have about switching to a Mac. We don't have to worry though, because the Air ships with the new Apple Operating System, Leopard.

We all know that Macs are meant to be more stable and easier to use, but I for one have some pieces of software that I like using and more importantly don't want to have to pay for again. (Dreamweaver MX is too expensive to buy again!) With OS X Leopard comes Bootcamp, a utility that lets you install Windows XP or Vista and run it on your Mac. That's right, if you buy a Mac you don't have to worry about the Software. You can use your old Windows stuff. What are you waiting for?

Would I buy one? Well, you know I'm a big Psion Fan, and I love the idea of Ultra-Mobile PC's, so the Air really appeals to me, I think in a few years all laptops will be like this.

Price: £1179.99 as of Jan '08

Buy A MacBook Air from Amazon.co.uk - Free Delivery

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