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Review: MacBook Air

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Apple recently updated its popular ultrathin MacBook Air laptop to make the already excellent product even better.

It has been given a serious internal makeover with a faster processor and new features that offer a huge performance improvement.

It also ships with the Apple latest OS X Lion operating system along with the Thunderbolt port which allows for lightning data transfer.  

DESIGN

If you’re in the market for a laptop computer that’s fast, thin, light and with the processing power to perform even the most complex tasks then the MacBook Air can tick all the boxes.

From the outside the 13-inch MacBook Air offers the same light and thin design as the previous model. It is just 1.7cm at its thickest point and weighs only 1.35kg.

We were carrying around the MacBook Air everyday during testing and it was so light we forgot we even had a laptop with us.

The 13-inch MacBook Air has a faster processor and a new Thunderbolt I/O port

Like its predecessor the MacBook Air has en excellent keyboard but with one major difference.

This time out the MacBook Air has a backlit keyboard so those working in low light conditions, like aboard a dimmed aircraft cabin, users can easily see what keys they are striking.

The backlit keyboard was left out of the previous version because it would have impacted the battery performance.

No such fear this time – we found the MacBook Air provided about seven and half hours of battery life with constant use and wirelessly accessing the internet.

With Lion on board and its new gesture controls the large trackpad came into play nicely. The trackpad is large enough to perform all of gestures that makes navigating the system, your browser and your files.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is just 1.7cm thick at its thickest point

PERFORMANCE

On the performance side the speed of the MacBook Air will impress right from start up which took just 10 seconds.

Powered by the new Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the MacBook Air can handle even the most processor intensive tasks. So just because its thin doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.

What also helps with the speed is the fact the MacBook Air uses flash storage instead of a regular spinning hard drive.

This not only helps keep the MacBook Air slim it also adds to the performance and efficiency because it can access data even faster.

Another added bonus is that the whole thing uses less power while providing faster performance.

Speed is also the operative word when it comes to transferring data on and off the MacBook Air through the built-in Thunderbolt port.

This is handy when connecting to compatible monitor or external hard drive. Large volumes of data like high definition movies can be moved on and off the device very quickly.

The MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes

Thunderbolt works about 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and 20 times faster than USB 2.0.

There is no DVD drive on the MacBook Air but there are two USB ports, as well as Thunderbolt, along with an SD Card slot and headphone jack.

A DVD drive can be purchased separately to use with the MacBook Air but we found the SD card slot and USB ports were sufficient ways to get data on and off the device.

And with cloud services so easily accessible it is easy to access large files with an internet connection rather than via a DVD.

VERDICT

The MacBook Air is a thin, light and fast device with an excellent operating system and slick performance to make it one of the best laptops money can buy.

MacBook Air

Prices:

$1099 MacBook Air 11-inch 1.6Ghz dual core Intel Core i5, 2GB RAM, 64GB flash storage.

$1349 MacBook Air 11-inch 1.6Ghz dual core Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB flash storage

$1449 MacBook Air 13-inch 1.7Ghz dual core Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB flash memory 

$1799 MacBook Air 13-inch 1.7Ghz dual core Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 256GB flash memory.

www.apple.com.au