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Walt Mossberg Reviews the New MacBook Air

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Walt Mossberg, the influential tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal, has published[/i] his review of the new MacBook Air, which comes after testing both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models over the past week. Overall, Mossberg finds the new MacBook Air to be a true hybrid between Apple's traditional Mac portables and the iPad in many ways.
I've been testing both versions, but especially the 11.6-inch model, and I find that, despite a few drawbacks, they really do offer the different, more iPad-like experience Apple claims they do. Battery life is strong, and the wake up from sleep is almost instant, even after long periods of being unused.
In Mossberg's battery tests under harsh usage conditions, he found the 11-inch model offering 4 hours and 43 minutes of runtime while the 13-inch model offered 6 hours and 13 minutes. As his report notes, those figures should allow users to reach Apple's stated battery life of 5 hours (11-inch) and 7 hours (13-inch) under more reasonable usage battery and with a minimum of energy-saving techniques.

On the negative side, Mossberg dings the MacBook Air for its "paltry" 64 GB of storage on the low-end 11-inch model and notes that the entry price rises quickly once users start upgrading storage and RAM, as well as adding peripherals such as an external SuperDrive and Ethernet adapter.

But overall, Mossberg finds the machines to be remarkably capable for their size, finding them likely to be satisfactory as a primary machine for many light-duty users, while heavy users may find them to be handy secondary machines.
I was surprised to find that even the base $999 model was powerful enough to easily run seven or eight programs at once, including Microsoft Office, iTunes and the Safari browser with more than 20 Web sites open. It also played high-definition video with no skipping or stuttering.

So, if you're a light-duty user, you might be able to adopt one of the new Airs as your main laptop. If you're a heavy-duty user, who needs lots of power and file storage, they're likely to be secondary machines.
Those users who are considering the new MacBook Air for frequent traveling may also be interested to know that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has determined that the 11-inch MacBook Air does not need to be removed from passengers' bags when passing through airport security, ruling it to be smaller than a traditional notebook. The status of the 13-inch MacBook Air remains unclear, however, as the agency is still deciding whether the machine qualifies as a full-fledged notebook computer that would require separate examination or if its thinness and reduced complexity achieved through the lack of an optical drive and traditional hard drive would allow it to slip through as a smaller electronic device.

Article Link: Walt Mossberg Reviews the New MacBook Air
 

hunterjoules

macrumors member
Jan 2, 2007
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Seriously?

Does anybody take Walt Mossberg's reviews seriously? I mean, c'mon. There's a reason Jobs gives him early access to all the latest Apple tech.
 
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nfl46

macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

Nice! I'm actually returning my iPad that I bought last week and getting a 11.6 inch Macbook Air today. Well, that's if I make it to the Apple Store in time. I may not have time.
 
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JAYnLA

macrumors newbie
Aug 17, 2010
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Me No Likeums

I don't know why, but the Air line has never appealed to me at all. But I'm not attracted to really skinny people either.... maybe we have a theme working here.
 
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cult hero

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
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I was interested in getting the 11.6" model and after playing with one in person was even more interested.

The problem is, bumping the memory up to 4GB, the processor up to 1.6GHz and the storage to 128GB raises the price by $400.

That's a bit too much for my tastes. Flash memory is expected to drop in price substantially over the next year and I expect that the next revision will have 4GB standard. So... I'm gonna hold off for one more revision. It'd be nice to be able to get 256GB of storage in the 11.6" too.

The form factor is great though and it seemed zippy despite the gimped hardware.
 
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Corbin052198

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Mar 13, 2010
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Very nice report.
 
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Don Kosak

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2010
860
4
Hilo, Hawaii
Still not sure how this compares to an iPad.

The iPad allows very novel sliding/page-turning/twisting/pulling/etc gestures on a multitouch screen that supports a really immersive interaction with software you don't get on a Laptop/Desktop.

Maybe just the "instant on" feature?

I think we'll have to wait for what ever cat comes after Lion for a true iPad experience on OS X.
 
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roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
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New MacBook Air ad was even shown during early innings of the World Series Game 1 last night. A lot of people saw that.
 
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andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,346
406
Boston, MA
this netbook looks more and more enticing to me. When I go on short trips (a few days) then the iPad is great. But when I go to my parents/family for X-mas then a real notbook is simply more functional. dragging the MBP and removing it five times on airports is a major hassle. but this MBA would solve all this.

apple hit it big with the 11" MBA IMHO.

and not having to remove it on the airport is a huge advantage. and seriously, $1400 for a maxed out MBA is still an ok pricepoint.
 
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cvaldes

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2006
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Does anybody take Walt Mossberg's reviews seriously? I mean, c'mon. There's a reason Jobs gives him early access to all the latest Apple tech.
A large percentage of Apple's core customers fit into the Mossberg/Pogue readership. The typical Apple customer is not a snot-nosed fanboi. Remember that the self-reported income of early iPad adopters was over $100,000.

These are people who do read the NY Times/WSJ, have large amounts of disposable income, who aren't techies. They just want it to just work and they are willing to pay a premium for better designed, better supported machines.

These college-educated professionals with AMEX cards are the main reason why Apple has surpassed Microsoft in sales and market capitalization.
 
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wizard

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May 29, 2003
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A couple of things. First Walt really needs to take Apple to task for the paltry SSD alotment. 64GB in the base machine is almost criminal. Worst the increases in prices for uprated SSDs is highway robbery. Apple is certainly keeping stiff margians on these AIRs.

Second being more forceful about the lack of Ethernet would be helpful. It is just one of those things that you need when you really need it.

The comparison to iPad was interesting but where is the request for a 3G / LTE version? It is one of the great things about iPad, and would make AIR a better machine for many.
 
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Eauboy

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2008
134
12
Washington, DC
The TSA guidelines are meaningless. The crew on the ground (and which side of the bed they woke up on and how big of a stick they have stuck up their ass that day) determine what will and won't be allowed to stay in a bag.
 
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bmaltais

macrumors newbie
Jan 22, 2010
21
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A large percentage of Apple's core customers fit into the Mossberg/Pogue readership. The typical Apple customer is not a snot-nosed fanboi. Remember that the self-reported income of early iPad adopters was over $100,000.

These are people who do read the NY Times/WSJ, have large amounts of disposable income, who aren't techies. They just want it to just work and they are willing to pay a premium for better designed, better supported machines.

These college-educated professionals with AMEX cards are the main reason why Apple has surpassed Microsoft in sales and market capitalization.

You are absolutely right. Apple products are pricey, reliable and out of reach for people with lower income... sadly for Microsoft. This is why those netbook and cheap PC are flying out of BB shelves... only to be ridden with Virus, slowed down by antimalware applications and bloated with crapware so that the manufacturer can make a small profit on them at the expense of usability... hence making the pricier Apple product even more appealing to financially stable educated people.
 
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alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
169
Does anybody take Walt Mossberg's reviews seriously? I mean, c'mon. There's a reason Jobs gives him early access to all the latest Apple tech.

he's right

i've known people that loved sub-notebooks for 15 years. they want something with an email client and a web browser. it has to be small, light and the battery needs to last a long time so they can work on the plane. these are niche products aimed at business users who are always working and traveling.

as a home user i have no idea why i would want one of these compared to an iMac or a MBP or a PC

$1849 on a tiny laptop for home use is insane and no one is going to buy it for that reason except for tiny percentage of iFanatics who buy every product Apple releases
 
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roratus

macrumors member
Sep 27, 2010
64
0
NAZI Occupied Florida
*Yawn*.....Great for light users, not so great for more heavy users, fills a particular niche, machines are quick yet the hardware is rather gimpy, too expensive for what you get....yada yada yada......SAME REVIEW DIFFERENT REVEIWER
 
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Hattig

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
1,444
78
London, UK
My What Mac Laptop To Buy Guide
-----------------------------------------------

Q: Do you currently have a desktop Mac that you will use as a primary computer?

Y: Buy a MacBook Air and use it as a secondary portable computer. Storage space isn't important - sync files using DropBox, etc. 11.6" or 13.3" is up to you.

N: a) Buy a MacBook Pro and use it as a primary computer.

Or b) Buy both a desktop Mac (iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro) AND a MacBook Air.

AnandTech got 11 hours out of the 13.3" MacBook Air!
 
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Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,094
299
Indianapolis
...hence making the pricier Apple product even more appealing to financially stable educated people.
Where can I get my top hat and monocle? Sadly I don't smoke.

Education doesn't matter as much either when it comes to keeping your job or finding one. Everyone is getting hit hard.
 
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Btrthnezr3

macrumors 6502a
Aug 5, 2010
766
65
Texas
The TSA guidelines are meaningless. The crew on the ground (and which side of the bed they woke up on and how big of a stick they have stuck up their ass that day) determine what will and won't be allowed to stay in a bag.


Which crew on the ground are you referring to?
 
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andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,346
406
Boston, MA
The TSA guidelines are meaningless. The crew on the ground (and which side of the bed they woke up on and how big of a stick they have stuck up their ass that day) determine what will and won't be allowed to stay in a bag.

in my experience once the guidelines are out most of the time they allow you to leave the ipad in your bag. and even if they change their mind they are quite friendly when you say that you thought you can leave it in the bag because the TSA recommended so. i never had a problem and would expect the same for the MBA.
 
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Zimmy68

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,826
1,151
A positive review of an Apple product from Walt Mossberg?!??!

Stop the presses!!!!!

Is there any photos in the review that shows a pic of Steve Jobs as Walt's wallpaper?
 
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Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
0
64GB is adequate for most peoples needs. I have 2TB in my iMac at home, that's where everything is stored.

I need my laptop to be portable with excellent battery life, 64GB is more than enough to hold a days worth of important stuff.

I can understand for some people it's going to be inadequate though, plenty of students only have a laptop.
 
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