Apple MacBook Air MC969LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)

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Cheap "Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop" Discount Review Shop "Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop" Features and Benefits Apple's Thinnest Design Yet1.86 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor256 GB Solid State Drive, 2 GB DDR3 SDRAMNVIDIA GeForce 320M Integrated Graphics, 13.3 inch LED DisplayMac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard Operating System "Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop" Overview The 13.3" MacBook Air Notebook Computer from Apple is an extremely portable, stunningly designed laptop computer. Apple's engineers have leveraged the lessons they learned in designing the miniaturized iPad and applied them to the design of this 2.9-pound computer. The original MacBook Air's slim profile was made possible due to the lack of an optical drive. This system eschews the hard drive as well - opting instead for 256GB of flash storage - resulting in an even slimmer profile.When closed, the computer is only 0.68" at its thickest point. Flash storage doesn't just give you a lighter, thinner computer. It also allows for impressive battery life - up to 7 hours of web browsing and an amazing 30 days of standby time! The MacBook Air is housed in an aluminum unibody enclosure, which is as strong as it is light. Because it is cut from a solid block of aluminum, the housing is stronger than those found on laptops built via traditional means.The computer's high-resolution display makes working on the go a breeze. At 13.3" in size, the 16:10 display feature a native resolution of 1440 x 900 - equal to that of the 15.4" MacBook Pro! It features a glossy finish and a LED backlight for enhanced image quality and energy efficiency. Computers in the MacBook Air's weight class are most often classified in the "netbook" category. Netbooks typically feature less-than-full-size keyboards, cramped trackpads and low-powered CPUs. Not so with the MacBook Air.

Product Description

Apple MacBook Air Intel Dual-Core i5 1.6GHz 11.6" 128GB SSD w/Thunderbolt

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #34 in Personal Computers
  • Size: 128GB
  • Brand: Apple
  • Model: MC969LL/A
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 1.67 GHz
  • Memory: 4GB SDRAM
  • Hard Disk: 128GB
  • Processors: 1
  • Display size: 11.6


  • 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 11.6-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor
  • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, 7 Hour Battery Life

Editorial Reviews Product Description

The new MacBook Air is up to 2.5x faster than before. It features the latest Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O, a backlit keyboard, and OS X Lion, the next major release of the world's most advanced desktop operating system. MacBook Air also comes standard with flash storage, so it boots up in seconds, launches apps quickly, and wakes from sleep in an instant. And a long-lasting battery powers MacBook Air for up to 5 hours and offers up to 30 days of standby time. All in a durable unibody design that's thin, light, and ready for anything.

Apple MacBook Air 11.6
The MacBook Air with 11.6-inch screen--light, thin, and strong enough to take with you wherever you go (view larger).

This version of the MacBook Air (model MC969LL/A) sports a 11.6-inch high-resolution display, 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, 128 GB of flash memory storage, 4 GB of RAM, and an Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated graphics processor (see full specifications below). It also comes with the iLife software suite, which includes the latest versions of iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand.

OS X Lion

Every Mac comes with OS X Lion, the latest release of the world's most advanced desktop operating system. With over 250 features including Multi-Touch gestures, Mission Control, full-screen apps, and Launchpad, OS X Lion takes the Mac further than ever.

OS X Lion
Key OS X Lion Features
  • Mission Control provides a bird's-eye view of everything running on your Mac.
  • Launchpad puts all your apps front and center for easy access.
  • View apps full screen and switch between them with a swipe.
  • Interact with your Mac using intuitive new Multi-Touch gestures.

Key Features

Flash Memory Storage

By replacing the standard spinning hard drive typically found in laptops (as well as desktop PCs) with flash memory, the MacBook Air delivers an almost instantaneous boot-up when you open the display, as well as faster application launches and snappier overall performance. Additionally, Apple has shed the enclosure that typically surrounds flash memory (usually about the same size as a standard hard drive), thus giving it a smaller footprint and helping to decrease the size of the MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Air 11.6
The ultimate do-everything, take-everywhere notebook
(view larger).
Revolutionary Thunderbolt Technology

Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O (input/output) technology delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second of transfer speeds in both directions. Built into the MacBook Air, the Thunderbolt port allows you to connect to new Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals as well as existing USB and FireWire peripherals using simple adapters. You'll be able to move data up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800, and you can daisy-chain up to six high-speed devices without using a hub. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI, and VGA displays.

Glass Multi-Touch Trackpad and Backlit Keyboard

With the smooth, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, the MacBook Air makes it easy to navigate OS X Lion and your software applications. You can pinch, swipe or rotate images on the display screen with the brush of two fingers, or add more digits for a four-fingered vertical swipe to open Expose and quickly glance at all of your open windows.

Apple MacBook Air 11.6
Spacious, full-sized keyboard with backlighting (view larger).

In spite of its compact size, the MacBook Air has a full-size keyboard for comfortable, natural typing, and it's backlit so you can keep typing in even the dimmest light.

Integrated FaceTime Webcam

You'll be able to easily connect with friends, family, and business colleagues using the MacBook Air's FaceTime camera, which is integrated into the thin bezel above the display. And with Apple's FaceTime application, you're not limited to video chats with other Macs--you can now make video calls to iPhone and iPod touch users (Wi-Fi connection required for mobile users).


  • 11.6-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution
  • Up to 5 hours of wireless productivity plus up to 30 days of standby time
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor with 3 MB shared L3 cache.
  • 128 GB flash memory storage
  • 4 GB installed RAM (1333 MHz DDR3; maximum capacity)
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor (with 384 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory) for an outstanding everyday graphics experience.
  • Built-in FaceTime camera for video chatting
  • Wireless-N Wi-Fi wireless networking (based on 802.11n specification; 802.11a/b/g compatible)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 technology for connecting with peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and cell phones.
  • Two USB 2.0 ports with networking using optional Apple USB Ethernet adapter
  • Thunderbolt port with support for up to 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution (compatible with Mini DisplayPort devices)
  • Built-in stereo speakers along with omnidirectional microphone, headphone port
  • Full-size keyboard with backlighting
  • Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities
  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.68 inches (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
11.6 profile view

What's in the Box

11.6-inch MacBook Air, 45W MagSafe power adapter, AC wall plug, power cord, printed and electronic documentation

Note: The MacBook Air does not come with an optical drive, however OS X Lion offers the convenient DVD or CD Sharing feature, which lets you wirelessly "borrow" the optical drive of a nearby Mac or PC. So you can install applications from a DVD or CD and have full access to an optical drive without having to carry one around. Additionally, you can connect an optional optical drive (such as the MacBook Air SuperDrive) via one of the USB ports.

Included Software

  • OS X Lion
    Includes Mail, Address Book, iCal, the Mac App Store, iTunes, Safari, Time Machine, FaceTime, Photo Booth, Mission Control, Launchpad, AirDrop, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, Quick Look, Spotlight, QuickTime, and more.
  • Lion Recovery
    OS X Lion includes a built-in set of tools for repairing your Mac in the Recovery HD, a new feature that lets you repair disks or reinstall OS X Lion without a physical disc.

Limited Warranty And Service

The MacBook Air comes with 90 days of free telephone support and a 1-year limited warranty, which can be extended to 3 years with the AppleCare Protection Plan.

AppleCare Protection Plan

AppleCare Protection Plan

Because Apple makes the hardware, the operating system, and many applications, the Mac is a truly integrated system. And only the AppleCare Protection Plan gives you one-stop service and support from Apple experts, so most issues can be resolved in a single call. Extend the complimentary service and support on your Mac to 3 years from the original Mac purchase date with the AppleCare Protection Plan. You get direct telephone access to Apple experts for technical questions, and you get global repair coverage--including both parts and labor--for your Mac and select Apple peripherals.

Optional Accessories and Related Products

Thunderbolt Display

Apple Thunderbolt Display
The world's first Thunderbolt display doesn't just give you more pixels. It gives you more possibilities. Built-in Thunderbolt technology lets you connect as many as six devices through a single port and transfer data up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0.

Time Capsule

Time Capsule
Time Capsule is the revolutionary backup device that works wirelessly with Time Machine in OS X Leopard or later. It automatically backs up everything, so you never have to worry about losing important files. It also doubles as a full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi base station. Choose from 2 TB and 3 TB models.


Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive
If you want to burn discs or install software you already own on disc, consider the external USB-based MacBook Air SuperDrive. It takes up very little space and easily connects to Mac mini with a single USB cable--there's no separate power adapter.

USB Ethernet Adapter

Apple USB Ethernet Adapter
The Apple USB Ethernet Adapter is a simple, one-piece external adapter that plugs into the USB 2.0 port of your MacBook Air to provide 10/100BASE-T performance. Simply plug your Ethernet cable into the RJ-45 connector--no external power is required. It's small, light, easy to install, and even easier to use.

Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter

Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
The Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter lets you connect an advanced digital monitor, such as the Apple Cinema Display, to your MacBook Air.

Dual-Link DVI Adapter

Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
Use the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter to connect your MacBook Air to a 30-inch display that includes a DVI connector, such as the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

VGA Adapter

Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
The Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter lets you connect a standard analog monitor, projector, or LCD that uses a VGA connector or cable to your MacBook Air.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

97 of 100 people found the following review helpful.
5Beautiful and Fast
By E. Kim
I had considered buying the previous generation MacBook Air (pre July 2011) but just couldn't quite force myself to spend the money on machine that still used Intel's Core 2 Duo CPUs (despite the fact that the older Airs were still actually quite speedy). Apple was using the then newer generation Core i5/i7 CPUs on their other computers.

So when Apple updated their Airs with Intel's significantly faster Sandy Bridge i5/i7 CPUs, I became interested again. But, which size would be best for me?

11" VERSUS 13"
I've been struggling over this decision on which size 2011 MBA would be better. It's the usual dilemma with the 13" boasting pretty much better specs and battery life than the 11". Then I thought, well, the 13" is ONLY 2" larger diagonally, and ONLY weighs a "little" more (and ONLY costs a "little" more).

But the reality (for me) is that for a truly mobile device, like an iPad, only the MBA 11" has a shot at being mobile. The MBA 13" is great and certainly more mobile than a conventional MacBook Pro 13", but the MBA 13" is still IMHO more of a portable, than a mobile laptop.

The MBA 11" is actually mobile.

Once I realized this, there really was no longer a comparison to be made. They are two different devices. One being mobile and the other very portable. I have a 2011 MBP 17" which is my ultimate portable, and now my 2011 MBA 11" is my mobile computer.

1. Extremely fast CPU - The MBA 11" comes with a Sandy Bridge 1.6 gHz dual-core Core i5 CPU (or a 1.8 gHz dual-core i7 directly from Apple). Despite rumors to the contrary, the Turbo Boost and hyper threading capabilities were NOT turned off in the Core i5 CPUs. Geekbench benchmarks show extraordinary speed increases. The previous generation MBA 11" 1.4 gHz Core 2 Duo produced 2024 on Geekbench, while the 2011 MBA 11" now produced 5040 for a 149% increase. This speed even rivals the 2010 MacBook Pro 17" which scored 5423! (The 2011 MacBook Air 13" uses a slightly faster 1.7 gHz dual core i5 which scored 5860.)

2. Extraordinarily small! The MBA 11" measures 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.68 inches, while the MBA 13" is 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 inches. This means that the 11" is "only" 1 inch shorter and "only" 1.3 inches less deep, but in reality, when you hold up both machines, the MBA 11" feels like a completely different machine. My wife uses a 2011 MacBook Pro 13" which has a similar footprint to the MBA 13". The MacBook Air 13" still felt too much like a laptop, albeit an extraordinarily thin and light one.

3. Extraordinarily light! The MBA 11" weighs 2.38 pounds (while the MBA 13" weighs 2.96 pounds and an iPad 2 weighs 1.35 pounds) I actually sometimes hold the MBA like an iPad while reading in bed because it's so light. If you are seeking just a light, portable laptop, then the weight of the MBA 11" or 13" would be great, but if you (like me) are seeking a truly mobile device, then even fractions of a pound matter. The MBA 11" weighs less and is consequently the better choice, but as amazingly light as it is, even lighter would be better. Its doubtful that a mobile device will ever exist that would be considered too light.

4. High-speed Thunderbolt (i.e. Lightpeak) port offering bidirectional 10 gigabits/s throughput - Thunderbolt technology is far more revolutionary than USB 3.0 or eSATA. Thunderbolt is NOT limited to the use of a storage device. An external LCD can be attached. Although I use the MBA 11" as my mobile device, it may be acceptable as a primary computer if one attaches an external LCD display and a high-speed Thunderbolt drive. Supposedly an external Thunderbolt hard drive would be nearly as fast as an internal hard drive.

5. Everything is solid state! This MBA feels more like a true "mobile" device since it is fully solid state with its solid state drive. I am far less worried about damaging this versus other laptops I've owned in the past.

6. Extremely fast cold starts and shutdowns thanks to the solid state drive and OS X.
7. Great, full-size keyboard AND keyboard backlighting is back again! While this may seem like a minor point, the previous generation Core 2 Duo Airs did not have the backlighting.
8. Tremendous, typical Apple build quality. The MBA feels like a piece of solid precision crafted machinery.
9. Same great glass trackpad with even more gestures in OS X Lion to be used.
10. Comes with the new Mac OS X Lion (which I won't discuss, but it will allow for apps to use a full-screen mode which is of benefit to MBA 11" owners)
11. Extraordinary aesthetics - I can't express adequately in words how beautiful this machine looks.

1. Although I have a Samsung LCD, the vertical and horizontal viewing angles are not nearly as good as on my 2011 MBP 17". It's still more than acceptable, but it's something that MacBook Pro owners will probably notice.
2. Some MBAs come with a Toshiba solid-state drive which is not necessarily a con, but this may bother some users. In real world usage, I have read that one cannot detect any speed differences, but if you like to run benchmarks, then the Toshiba drives in the 128 GB size seem to be slower than the Samsung 128 GB drives in certain benchmarks.
3. MBAs come with either a Samsung or LG LCD panel. It's not clear what the differences are between them. There is pure speculation and mostly fear that one panel is superior to the other, but I have seen comparison photos of both types of displays, and the only difference I can notice is an extremely slightly warmer look to the LG panel. BUT this was on computers that did not have the screens color calibrated. In any case, I can state clearly that my 2011 MacBook Pro 17" display is vastly superior in color and viewing angles, but they are completely different machines.
4. The battery life is Apple (conservatively) rated at 5 hours (compared to 7 hours for the MBA 13" and also 7 hours for my MBP 17"). Apple's battery life ratings have become much more stringent in the past few years are much closer to real world usage. What was even more important for me than screen size, was battery life in trying to decide between the MBA 11" and 13". It's always tempting to want something with better specs, but i realized that for my anticipated needs, 5 hours would be adequate. So far, I can say that with just light web browsing, I am getting more than 5 hours. However, I have not done a formal test on this. When rendering pages with significant graphics, the battery meter will jump from 5:10 to 3:30 and then jump back to 5:10.
5. There is no SecureDigital memory card slot on the 11" MBA, although there is one in the larger 13" size. (I can't believe I got another Mac laptop WITHOUT a SD slot! My 17" MBP doesn't have one either while the smaller MBPs do! And now, the smaller MBA doesn't have one while the larger one does! I wonder if I'll ever get a Mac with an SD card slot!)

1. Believe it or not (do a Google search) but if you use Adobe's Flash, your laptop battery life will most likely be significantly shorter. Some reports show that having Adobe flash turned off allows for 2 hours of additional battery life.
2. I purchased the MBA 11" with standard 1.6 gHz Core i5 and am happy with this. If you get the built to order ones from Apple, you can upgrade your 11" to include the same 1.8 gHz Core i7 that's also available as an upgrade on the MBA 13". Anandtech has found that the 1.8 gHz Core i7 upgrade produces significantly faster benchmarks >20% speed difference without a shorter battery life. The i7 upgrade did produce significantly more heat, however.
3. If you do not need a truly mobile laptop, then the MBA 13" is probably better for most people's needs as a standard conventional laptop (albeit very light, thin, and also beautiful).
4. If you absolutely must have USB 3.0, and you can wait, then you should know that Intel's next future CPU/chipset for Ivy Bridge will allow for native USB 3.0 support.

There is no such thing as the perfect computer for everybody just as there is no single tool for every task for every person. I needed a truly mobile laptop to fit with my lifestyle and work needs, which for me included a smartphone, tablet, mobile laptop, and a large laptop/desktop replacement. For the right person, this MBA 11" is truly in a class of its own.

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
5The Sweet Spot of the MacBook Airs
By Glenn R. Howes
I've been waiting for a new computer for my wife, something that she can use both as her desktop computer attached to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and still take along on business trips around the world. Ideally, something she could throw in her big purse and go. The previous edition of the MacBook Air was close, but too compromised in terms of processor speed. The Air is perfect for her.

At this writing, Amazon is selling two versions of the 11.6 inch MacBook Air, an i5 model with 2GB of RAM and 64 GB of SSD storage, and this model with 4GB or RAM and 128GB of storage . You can order elsewhere a third model with an i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage--the i7 is the low voltage 2 core version. This review aims at helping the consumer decide if a MacBook Air is the computer for them, and if so, which one. I think most people will find this model, the middle model to be more then adequate but some will need to seek out the larger capacity version, while some can get along with the lower capacity version as a second computer.

The strengths:
This computer is fast. The combination of a Solid State Drive (SSD) hard drive and an i5 (or optionally an i7) processor make this the fastest computer I've ever used, and I have a 2011 13" MacBook Pro as my personal computer. The SSD gives it a qualitative responsiveness--application launching, task switching--which any spinning disk laptop will be unable to match. Quantitatively, it more than keeps up with its larger siblings in CPU intensive tasks. For example, my big laptop can compile a large, commercial application I maintain using Xcode 4 in 9 minutes 38 seconds, this tiny sub notebook can do the same in 9 minutes 5 seconds. Whichever computer is literally the fastest isn't relevant, what is relevant is that Air buyers are no longer trading speed for portability.

This computer is portable. I went to the local Apple Store and compared the 11.6 to the 13 inch MacBook Air, and while the 13 is extremely portable it is not a good fit for a woman's purse. This 11.6 can nearly get lost in a purse, I can imagine my wife hunting around for a few seconds trying to find it. It's ridiculously small.

Battery life when not under heavy load is good. I can web browse, and as long as I stay away from Flash websites, can do it for several hours. However, under load the 5 hours Apple promises for wireless web browsing becomes sub two hours. If the fan is on, the battery will not last, so it becomes time to figure out which page is running Flash, or which application is hogging all the CPU cycles. The larger Air has more room for a battery and thus has a longer battery life. The battery life of my MacBook Pro is certainly at least an hour or two longer under the same approximate load.

The screen is beautiful and crisp. Color balance and contrast seem superior to that of my MacBook Pro's (which isn't bad either). Viewing angles are good but not the spectacular IPS angles of an iPad. I had been wary of dropping down to the 11 inch screen from the 13 inch of my MacBook Pro, but I think I could work all day at this size especially if all I were doing was web browsing or video watching. I wouldn't want to edit videos or do long term software development at this size, but of course there is a Thunderbolt port and with the appropriate MiniDisplay adaptor I could attach it to any monitor. This will spend most of its life attached to a 21 inch LCD.

The keyboard is thankfully backlit. Typing is reasonably comfortable, although I'd prefer another milimeter or two of key travel. Again, this will spend most of its life attached to an external keyboard so it doesn't matter much but I much prefer the touch feel of my MacBook Pro.

The trackpad is large and Lion ready for all your taps, pinches, swipes (one, two, three and more fingers). Apple is renowned for its trackpads and this is no exceptions. Perfect finger feel, no stutters, accurate tracking.

Build quality. This is not some shoddy plastic netbook. The unibody construction is amazingly rigid and could be used to bludgeon an attacker in a pinch (and still keep on downloading).

The weaknesses:
Storage size is a bit cramped, especially at the lower price points. I think the 64GB model targets users looking to keep all of their documents, images, videos, music in "the cloud" and while I'm sure people will live in the cloud in the future, most of us live on Earth with our limited speed Internet connections. The larger capacities are fine for many people, including my wife, but not for me, I have too many videos, photos, and music files filling up my MacBook Pro to compress myself even down to the 256GB model.

There are not many ports on the box. Two USB ports, a headset port and a Thunderbolt port are limited. I purchased a USB to Ethernet adaptor which takes up one of the two precious USB ports--or pushes me into using a desktop USB hub--but I refuse to use WiFi on a desktop computer. Apple has announced a Thunderbolt version of its well regarded but expensive Cinema display for release in September and that will relieve most port complaints (replaced by I have to pay a thousand dollars for a monitor with a Firewire port? complaints).

Fan noise under load is a bit loud. Surprisingly, this computer which is dead silent until the fan kicks in can be pretty loud due to the small space available for the fan vent.

The FaceTime camera is weak compared to the cameras in the Air's larger cousins. It's OK, but not the spectacular clear FaceTime HD of the camera in my laptop.

This is not a gaming laptop. The one performance compromise is the lack of a proper discreet GPU. The integrated Intel HD 3000 is OK, probably as fast as the last generation NVidia 320M used in the previous Air, but not something you'll want to throw the most demanding game at. It will be fine for watching video on, and just about anything else but high end gaming. This is the same GPU in my 13" Pro laptop.

The maximum memory capacity of the Air, despite being a 64-bit computer, is 4GB. This is a shame as RAM is cheap these days; I have 8GB on my MacBook Pro. The SSD is upgradeable although online prices for the unusual SSD on a board used in the Air are amazing; maybe in a couple years it will make financial sense to upgrade. The lowest model has only 2GB of RAM and that may be too low for many combinations of applications, or when running a virtual machine.

The lack of an optical drive. I had a USB DVD drive already but many will not. Apple will sell you a pretty one, but in most cases any cheap USB drive will do. The only time my wife used her optical drive on her old computer was once a year to install TurboTax, so this will not be a big problem for her. I did have a problem installing Windows 7 using the Parallels Desktop virtual machine in that the virtual machine would not see my cheap optical drive to install Windows. I ended up using Disk Utility to make an ISO disk image of the Windows installer disk and use that as image for installation. My advice here is to not buy an optical drive but wait to see if you actually need one. We are in a future where a household only needs one shared USB optical drive.

The lack of an SD slot reader. I use the reader in my larger notebook several times a week. The larger Air has a reader, and while USB SD card readers are cheap, they are also awkward, often slower and easily lost.

The expense. On a per pound basis, this is the second most expensive object I have ever purchased. My wife will mainly be using it to run Windows software, and I guess I could have gotten a netbook for traveling at a third (or less) the price. I felt it important to get a high performance computer that she could replace her desktop with too, one with a nice screen and a decent keyboard. The previous Air wasn't there yet, this is.

This laptop ships with Apple's new operating system OS X 10.7 (Lion), which means new users will be getting used to the more gestural iOS like elements of OS X, as well as the infamous upside down scrolling. Thankfully, Lion is a solid release. As a developer, I've had many fewer problems with it than the previous 10.6 release which was a string of pain. Users should know that 10.7 dropped support for PowerPC applications so longtime Mac users should check that all their needed applications are Intel or Universal.

I've installed Windows 7 under the Parallels Desktop VM on this box, and it works well. I gave the virtual machine its own core and 2GB of memory and it is zippy fast. This was the main reason for moving my wife to a new box, the 5 year old Core 2 Duo she had been using was starting to slog under the weight of dozens of Excel spread sheets and scores of browser tabs. I don't know how well a VM would run on the smaller capacity model--splitting a mere 2 GB RAM and finding room to install Windows on the meager hard drive.

There are reports online that some units ship with Samsung SSD drives, and some ship with slower Toshiba SSD drives. There is no way to guarantee getting the faster drive, and you may not notice anyway. This review was based on a laptop with a Samsung drive.

Which to Buy:
There are 6 different configurations of MacBook Air. I chose the i7 4GB of RAM 256GB of SSD 11 inch model--a model available in Apple's brick and mortar stores or as a custom build. This is the more portable model and has an adequate RAM and fairly good hard drive capacity. I had been thinking of getting the 13 inch version, but on looking at them in the store, I realized the extra portability and the usability of the screen was enough to make the smaller version preferable. If you don't have a purse and will be putting the laptop in a case anyway, get the 13 inch version, everything will be a bit less cramped, the battery life will be longer and you'll have an SD reader built in. I actually only purchased the i7 because that's what came with the 256GB SSD, it probably isn't worth a premium over the i5 models for what the typical Air user would be using it for.

11-Inch i5 64 GB 2GB RAM -> People with no media who want a fast web browser, or as a second computer
11-Inch i5 128GB 4GB RAM -> People with little media who run applications occasionally on the go (Most People)
11-Inch i7 256GB 4GB RAM -> People with applications with high performance requirements such as running a VM

13-Inch i5 128GB 4GB ->People with little media who run applications occasionally on the go, like a larger screen over portability
13-Inch i5 256GB 4GB -> People needing a larger screen and high performance.
13-Inch i7 256GB 4GB -> People with applications with high performance requirements such as running a VM and a larger screen

Compared to Other Laptops:
I'll be keeping my 13" MacBook Pro with its much larger disk capacity. Replacing the 750GB laptop drive in my Pro with an SSD would be ridiculously expensive. Also, I like having an SD card reader, a high resolution camera, an Ethernet port and a Firewire port. In most other ways this Air is superior. The Air has a better screen, is much more portable, and with the SSD is noticeably more responsive.

Compared to the larger MacBook Pros. The larger models have real GPUs and bigger screens, and I think are only of interest to people with specialized needs: gamers or people who need to do video editing on the go. They won't be much faster at anything not requiring the GPU. I'm just not the kind of person who'd buy a 17" laptop. It wouldn't fit on my lap. I was at a neighbor's house today and the college bound daughter had just bought a monstrous HP desktop replacement portable, and it was ridiculous, just get a smaller laptop and an external monitor so you have the option of portability--or spend less money and get a desktop.

Compared to Windows laptops. If I wasn't such a consistent purchaser of Apple hardware, I'd have taken a hard look at the i3 version of the Samsung Series 9. It might be a bit more expensive (yes really), and has a lesser processor but for pure Windows use it seems like a fine piece of hardware in this ultra thin category.

In Summary:
This is a great laptop. Apple's going to sell millions of them. If it fits your needs and you have the cash you will likely be happy with it. I know people with the previous generation Airs, and they love them, and this Air is all that and twice as fast. However, be sure it fits your needs, check to see what your disk space requirements are. Check to see if you have any PowerPC applications which need to be updated. Maybe you'll need the extra battery life of the larger models. Go to an Apple Store and try out the keyboard, maybe the short key travel will drive you nuts. Maybe the short wide screen of the 11 inch will make you feel like you are browsing the web through a mail slot. Maybe you could get a refurbished last years model for a smaller amount and make do with the lesser processor. In short, because this is a pricey little laptop, you have to be sure its the one for you.

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful.
By JesseW

When Amazon sells out, the 3rd party retailers jack up their prices on the cheaper models to try and confuse customers into thinking they're getting a better deal than they really are!

For example, Apple's base 11" MacBook Air is $999, but after Amazon sold out, there were 3rd party retailers selling them for $1199 (the price of the upgraded 11" model) even $1299 and $1499, Priced WAY above MSRP!!!

Do not be fooled, make sure you know what you are getting and don't just assume because it costs $1200, that you're getting the $1200 model!!!

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