I’ve been using the MacBook Air for the past week and here is my early review for the hard drive version (I have the solid state drive version on order and will switching to that next week I hope).
Screen: The screen is huge for an ultralight laptop. I have a MacBook and a tiny Sony Viao as my other laptops before the Air. The MacBook was big and clunky and the Viao was tiny. The MacBook Air beats both hands down for the screen.
Keyboard: This is a seriously full-sized keyboard to go with the full-sized monitor. It’s a COMPLETELY new experience to have this much keyboard and screen in such a light package.
Weight: This thing weighs nothing but feels “full” because of the full keyboard and monitor. This leads to AMAZING “lap feel.” The lap feel on this thing is off the charts. It’s so light that you don’t feel like anything is on your lap! I picked up my laptop bag the yesterday, put it on my shoulder and started looking for my laptop. Then I realized the laptop was in the bag I’d put on my shoulder! That’s how light it is… you’re going to think you forgot it when you pick up your bag.
Battery: Right now it looks like two to three hours of battery life. You’re going to get one movie out of it on a flight. That kind of sucks, and the face that you can’t swap batteries is going to be an issue for some travelers. However, many flights are putting plugs in coach now (i.e. Virgin American), so I suspect this problem is going to go away over time. Also, I’m sure someone will make an after market UBER battery pack that connects via the standard power adapter. For me, it’s not a major issue since I’m normally on short flight under three hours or I’m in business class where they have a plug.
Ethernet port: Yes, it sucks this thing doesn’t have an ethernet port, but I’m going to just buy a USB one. Apple should include this frankly.
USB ports: Yes, it sucks that this has only one USB port, but I’m going to get a little dongle that hosts three USB ports. No big deal. Apple should include this frankly.
Price: Yes, it’s overpriced…. who cares?! If you’re buying Macs you’re overpaying already, and frankly for business folks there isn’t much difference between $1,000 and $1,700 over three years of having the MacBook. also, you know this thing will be $1,499 by Christmas and $1,399 after that.
External DVD drive: Total non-issue. Bring it with you if you want, leave it at home if you don’t. It’s $100 and it powers itself from the laptop. So, again, a non-issue. Apple should include it, and maybe some day they will.
I’m in love this thing because the weight really is a issue with laptops and how often you bring them with you. When these things were 10 pounds you brought them if you had to. When they were 6-9 pounds you brought them because you wanted to. When they are 2-4 pound you bring them everywhere because you can.
Now, I’m on the road 5-10 days some months. My laptop is my life… and this is making my life a lot better. I’m price insensitive, so take that into account as well.
This is, like the iPod and iPhone, a breakthrough device. People don’t appreciate the full keyboard and monitor in an ultralight package issue yet I think. When you type on this thing for an hour with it on your laptop you’ll get it.