Apple’s MacBook Air is the product by which all other ultrabooks are judged. Originally released in 2008, it has taken Apple’s competitors more than three years to release something comparable. In the meantime, Apple has been through several iterations of the product, the latest released last June.
The current line-up comprises of both 11.6 inch and 13.3 inch models, with storage capacities ranging from 64GB to 256GB. They all use solid state drives, and include an Intel i5 processor (1.6GHz for 11.6 inch models, 1.7GHz for 13.3 inch) or optional i7 processor. They come with either 2GB or 4GB of memory and run Mac OS X Lion. All are encased in gorgeous aluminium, and weigh either 1.08kg (11.6 inch) or 1.35kg (13.3 inch). We looked at the 13.3 inch, 128GB SSD model.
Even with its newer competitors, the MacBook Air is still a product to be envied. Although it’s certainly rivalled in weight, size and performance now, it’s in the details that the MacBook Air still shines: the excellent backlit keyboard, the beautiful high-resolution anti-glare screen, the tiny power pack, the Bluetooth 4.0 support.
It’s not without a few whiffs, however, such as the crummy webcam, the lack of an integrated Ethernet port (requiring you to use a USB adaptor for wired LAN) as well as the lack of native HDMI output. Instead the Air has a Thunderbolt port – a new kind of port that’s designed for high-bandwidth devices, including monitors. You can get an HDMI adapter, but it will set you back an extra $20.