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First Look

Stunning. This is probably the best word to describe all the feelings that run through your mind when you look at MacBook Air for the first time. It is not for nothing that at the very first showcase of this notebook Steve Jobs took out of a paper folder. MacBook Air is amazingly thin, it is the finest notebook of all available in the today’s market. And although some manufacturers try to argue about it, the new Apple solution does look very impressive.

If we turn to numbers, it turns out that MacBook Air is not as thin as it seems. It is 4mm thin only on edges. The thickest part of it is 19.3mm. However its light case made of anodized aluminum and skillful use of smooth rounded shapes creates an impression that the notebook is almost weightless. In fact, it would be not quite correct to believe that the “airy” impression from MacBook Air is just a pure psychological effect. If you compare the new Apple solution against any of the competitors out there, you will see that it is truly thin and light weighing only 1.36kg.

Although the MacBook Air display diagonal is 13.3 inches, it still belongs to the ultra-portable solutions class. It is very convenient to carry around on a roadtrip: it weighs and measures almost the same as most contemporary glossy magazines. Moreover, a man with MacBook Air under his arm will look just as fine as the one with a fresh issue of Vogue or GQ magazine. You can’t take the style away from MacBook Air. A truly airy matt aluminum casing with a glowing white apple logo will make the desired impression not only on Apple solutions fans, but also on anyone who knows what real style is.

If the fashionable and technological design is a real advantage of the newcomer, then from other standpoints MacBook Air can be considered a victim of compromises. Just look at the side edges of it. At first they seem to be absolutely clear. Of course, it would be a real challenge to place anything on a 4mm edge. That is why the notorious airiness required sacrificing an optical drive, ExpressCard and CardBus expansion slots, card-reader and even the Firewire and Ethernet ports. There is nothing there at all.

 

 

Only on the right side of the notebook there is a small cover with a single USB 2.0 port, analogue headphones jack and Micro-DVI connector (the regular D-Sub and DVI adapters are included).

The absence of the usual set of ports and connectors is actually as impressive as its clear-cut shape and small weight. However, there is nothing we can do about it, so the only thing remaining is to figure out how justified the ascetic set of connectors offered by Apple developers is in different life situations.

The most user complaints are about the availability of only one single USB 2.0 port. It is true, having just one port like that is a real mockery for a contemporary notebook. Especially, since its sophisticated location sets certain limitations on the physical size of the USB plug. However, on the other hand, in case of a desktop use, you can always connect a USB hub to it, while on the road you will hardly need that many USB ports at once. However the absence of Firewire ports turned into an even more frustrating omission, because it doesn’t allow connecting any digital cameras to MacBook Air.

The notebook also doesn’t support wired network, because Apple stresses that WiFi is more than enough for a contemporary hi-tech era of wireless technologies. Especially since MacBook Air supports 802.11n protocol with 248Mbit/s peak bandwidth. Moreover, you can always purchase an optional USB Ethernet adapter for MacBook Air for $29.

I would like to say a few words about a DVD drive, to be more exact, about the absence of this drive. MacBook Air is the first mobile computer from Apple that doesn’t have this common accessory. Instead, Apple is offering Remote Disc utility that provides direct access to optical drives installed in other computer systems via local network. It is important to point out that this function works not only with computers running Mac OS X: Widows systems may also become so-called “DVD-donors”. However, this approach has a few limitations, one of the most frustrating ones being the fact that Remote Disc only provides access to data disks and doesn’t work with audio or video disks. However, you can always connect an external optical USB drive to MacBook Air. For example, Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive (selling for $99) or any other drive.

Please understand correctly: we are not trying to convince you that almost no expansion ports and the absence of a DVD drive by MacBook Air is a convenient and acceptable solution. No way. The only thing we are trying to say is that you still can live with that, especially since this notebook is an ultra-portable computer that doesn’t try to replace a desktop system in any way.

 
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