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First MacBook Air Reviews: Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today

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The first reviews are in for the MacBook Air:

Wall Street Journal
- "beautiful, amazingly thin computer, but one whose unusual trade-offs may turn off some frequent travelers."
- "difficult to describe just how surprising this feels in your hands"
- "MacBook Air's screen and keyboard were a pleasure to use."
- felt speedy
- Limitations: Sealed in battery, no optical drive, no built in Ethernet jack
- Battery test: screen brightness at maximum, Wi-Fi on, playing endless look of music: 3 hours, 24 minutes.

Newsweek
- "When I slip it in the sleeve of my backpack where my six-pound MacBook Pro usually travels, the pocket still looks empty"
- "diminutive dimensions pretty much evaporate the eternal quandary of whether or not to take your computer along with you."
- Doesn't get as hot as other Apple laptops.
- Max hard drive space is 80GB; no 160GB option due to thinness of machine.

USA Today
- "remarkably sturdy-feeling machine, especially given its size and weight"
- Not ideal for everyone (due to known limitations, non-replaceable battery, limited ports, etc..)
- "Jobs told me last week that Apple considered [adding 3G mobile broadband] but that adding the capability would take up room and restrict consumers to a particular carrier. Through a USB modem, he says, you can still subscribe to wireless broadband with your favorite carrier."
- Battery test: surfed web, used Remote Disk, wrote: 3 hours, 40 minutes.
- don't expect Air to be someone's only computer.




Article Link
 

chr1s60

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,981
1,540
California
I think with the MacBook Air it is either the perfect computer for you or it just isn't for you. There isn't really any in between with it like there is with the MacBook or MacBook Pro.
 
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kskill

macrumors member
Jan 17, 2006
87
0
new york, ny
i feel like right now the macbook air is only good for the rich

it will start getting fun with future improvements and price drops though.
 
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Sandfleaz

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2007
113
0
Maybe not for everyone but .....
Delightfully different .... can't wait to get my hands on one!
.
 
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AlBDamned

macrumors 68030
Mar 14, 2005
2,627
0
I can't believe the Newsweek article uses the analogy of a circumcision....
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
511
296
Well, unless they come out with an external battery w/ MagSafe power-through connecter I won't be buying one. I want the lightweight machine but without getting more longevity out of it I am better off with my MacBook and 3 batteries for the long flights I take.

Here's hoping.
 
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Mackan

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2007
1,374
48
"Jobs told me last week that Apple considered [adding 3G mobile broadband] but that adding the capability would take up room and restrict consumers to a particular carrier. Through a USB modem, he says, you can still subscribe to wireless broadband with your favorite carrier."

Restrict consumers to a particular carrier is what Apple and Steve wants, just look at the iPhone. So it must have been "take up room". ;)
 
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FrenchKheldar

macrumors member
May 1, 2006
83
0
Atlanta, GA
Sounds like pretty weak battery results ... Even if the SSD improves them, it won't be a drastic increase I think. I can live with a non-user replacable battery but you should be able to get 6+ hours being conservative (low brightness, some WiFi), and it doesn't look like we're there yet... I guess I'll wait the next iteration of the air (not that I had the need or the money now anyway :) ).
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
added to story.

MacBook Air now shipping for some lucky early customers

 
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shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
i feel like the macbook air is only good for the rich

That seems like a rather strange thing to say. My wife and I are potentially on the verge of losing our computers (work has me with a 2.33GHz MBP, and I am considering getting a different job when I graduate, and she is rocking my old 1GHz TiBook that's either about to die or should be, though it really runs Leopard pretty decently). We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination (she's an athletic tutor, and I am a grad student with a nice internship).

We're seriously considering the 24" iMac from money we save from her job, and then a MBAir if we can afford it later (depending on my job). The iMac will be perfect for when the occasional gaming bug bites, and with a USB TV tuner dongle, it will be our TV/entertainment center as well as the family computer. the MBAir fits in perfectly, to me. the iMac will run Aperture and whatever else I need, graphically, pretty happily, although I think even a rev. B MBAir will be up to that task just fine as well. When I am out and about, traveling, on vacation, I don't really need to play counterstrike:source--not that the MacBook regular would do that particularly well either. I might need to import images into Aperture, or I might want to watch some encoded HD video. Seems like the MBAir ought to run 720p, which is all it can really display, quite well. All the other stuff--iTunes, Safari, Mail, iChat--should be smooth sailing, easily.

So what's the deal? Why is that only for rich people? It isn't a cheap laptop, that's true, but "ultraportables" aren't usually cheap. Honestly, I don't think many people out there really use their computers' horsepower anyway. the Air is perfect for all of Apple's cool apps except for video (iMovie, right), and how many people use that? I sure don't.
 
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luminosity

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2006
1,364
0
Arizona
- "When I slip it in the sleeve of my backpack where my six-pound MacBook Pro usually travels, the pocket still looks empty"


Well, it would, because the only six pound MBP is a 17 inch version, and any backpack/case made for it would undoubtably make the Air look pretty small by comparison.
 
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retroneo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2005
721
93
As long as they don't seal in the SIM card or put a network lock on, you can put any carrier's 3G sim card in and it will work.

There are multiple 3G HSPA networks in every other country that Apple operates in.
(The USA will soon have two)

The data plans are getting very cheap now too.

Please put HSPA in, it's pretty much essential now.
 
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ob81

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2007
1,406
356
Virginia Beach
"- Battery test: surfed web, used Remote Disk, wrote: 3 hours, 40 minutes."

I was going to get one. I will wait.
 
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Zadillo

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2005
1,538
39
Baltimore, MD
Sounds like pretty weak battery results ... Even if the SSD improves them, it won't be a drastic increase I think. I can live with a non-user replacable battery but you should be able to get 6+ hours being conservative (low brightness, some WiFi), and it doesn't look like we're there yet... I guess I'll wait the next iteration of the air (not that I had the need or the money now anyway :) ).

6+ hours out of a 37 watt/hour battery? I think that would be a bit of a stretch. Usually you only see that kind of battery life with the extra large extra capacity batteries (the ones that significantly add to the weight and dimensions of "ultraportables").
 
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shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
One thing I am curious about, and I didn't see it in the reviews or the other threads, is how well the thing handles an external display. I am going to assume it does pretty well, with the X3100 integrated graphics, but I'd be curious to see it hooked up to a 23" display @ 1920x1200, its supposed max res.
 
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ob81

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2007
1,406
356
Virginia Beach
6+ hours out of a 37 watt/hour battery? I think that would be a bit of a stretch. Usually you only see that kind of battery life with the extra large extra capacity batteries (the ones that significantly add to the weight and dimensions of "ultraportables").

4ish hours out of an ultraportable computer is horrible. Which leads back to the compromise issue. Apple compromised on some of the main aspects that makes a portable laptop, portable in the first place. If you have to keep charging your battery while on the go, not very portable. Only 3hrs of battery life? What will it be at 6 months?
 
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shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
4ish hours out of an ultraportable computer is horrible. Which leads back to the compromise issue. Apple compromised on some of the main aspects that makes a portable laptop, portable in the first place. If you have to keep charging your battery while on the go, not very portable. Only 3hrs of battery life? What will it be at 6 months?

well, 3.5 hours in all the reviews, and I believe both of them were with the settings maxed out. with half brightness (should be fine on an LED-backlight), and WiFi off (like on a plane), I can really see this thing rocking 4.5.
 
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Luis

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
1,228
0
Costa Rica
- "Jobs told me last week that Apple considered [adding 3G mobile broadband] but that adding the capability would take up room and restrict consumers to a particular carrier. Through a USB modem, he says, you can still subscribe to wireless broadband with your favorite carrier."

But they didn't care of that with the iPhone? Thank god for anySIM.
 
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ebouwman

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2007
640
17
Canada
Crock!

Just put a user-accessible slot for one of these:

http://www.novatelwireless.com/products/expedite/index.html

Then the customer can choose the 3G carrier.

You can also do it with your cell phone, you can bluetooth connect it and tell the computer to use it's data connection. Then say you have a blackberry on an unlimited data plan, then you shouldn't get nailed with 2 bills right?

Although I'm not sure how your phone company would feel about that.

How much is one of those cards anyways? And i'm sure that a slot like that would take up a lot of space, and considering they don't even have a disk drive...

"Jobs told me last week that Apple considered [adding 3G mobile broadband] but that adding the capability would take up room and restrict consumers to a particular carrier. Through a USB modem, he says, you can still subscribe to wireless broadband with your favorite carrier."

Restrict consumers to a particular carrier is what Apple and Steve wants, just look at the iPhone. So it must have been "take up room". ;)

They don't care about locking you to a carrier for a laptop, they only care about for the iPhone. That because with the iPhone they can make lots of money, but nobody would ever buy a laptop that was locked to a specific carrier, they just can't do it.

Also most of us don't have a use for that kind of feature so it'd be wasting space.

Sounds like pretty weak battery results ...

My MacBook probably gets less than that kind of battery life and it's twice the size :confused:
 
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NYCMacFan

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2007
161
0
No agreement on time here:

Mossberg: Torture test with wifi on, max brightness and continuous play of music: 3 hour 24 minutes, he expects 4 hours 30 minutes with usual use.

Newsweek: Slightly less than 5 hours

USA Today: Almost 3 hours 40 minutes surfing, typing and using remote disk. 1 hour less watching a movie.

What gives? I find this range of battery results somewhat strange. Surprised none of them discussed the quality of the speaker sound or volume, only one mentioned heat was low, none gave specifics on system performance or startup time.
 
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