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MacBook Air - Test

It is expensive, stylish, thin and has a battery that beats all competitors in the class. But it is enough to make the new MacBook Air to a real winner?

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Yes, it does.

 

Apple offered up several important functions in the first version of the MacBook Air - the company's lightest and thinnest notebook. The original version has only one USB port and no network port and memory card reader. Wireless networking and Bluetooth were the only connections. But the battery could not manage more than four hours was the biggest disappointment. An ultra-portable computer must do without AC adapter and power beyond that.

Apple has released a new 11.6-inch version of the Air, but in this test, we focus on the significantly improved 13.3-inch. The laptop is still extremely light and weighs only 1.33 kg. Moreover, the really thin. Air measures only 15 millimeters at its thickest part and 4 mm at the thinnest. This is a machine that catches the eye. Air is both well made and stable thanks to aluminum construction.
  

More ports than before
Two USB ports and a reader for memory cards are some of the most noticeable changes in the new Air. It still lacks networking and optical drive. You who can not do without it may invest in another machine, or buy Apple's USB Ethernet adapter and external DVD burners. But most disappointed are we that the system still lacks 3G connectivity.

Battery life has improved significantly. Air can handle 13 hours and 40 minutes in our test that simulates the ease of use (the computer scrolls through the various pages until the battery gives up). We have not tested any ultra-portable computer that can beat that. The battery does not, unfortunately, to replace on your own, and unlike other Macbooks it's missing a meter on the bottom that displays the current battery status. Apple says that it is not needed because the Air has a standby time of about 30 days. We have not had the opportunity to test whether it is true.

Besides a large and good battery is probably Apple's SSD, an explanation for the nice battery life. There are lots of laptops - both from Apple and other manufacturers - with SSDs. But under the rind of the Air, we find an SSD with a RAM chip and MSAT-connection instead of a larger disk-like form factor and the traditional SATA connection.

Nor is the storage device is supposed to be replaced. Therefore, you can at most have 256 gigabytes of storage space in your new MacBook Air. There is relatively little compared to the traditional 2.5-inch hard drives that can hold 500 or 750 gigabytes.

SSD is faster than traditional hard drives. To return from sleep mode - which can at least take 40 seconds with a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 5400 RPM hard drive - only takes a few seconds with Air. And to boot Windows (installed via Boot Camp) takes only 45 seconds. It may take a minute or two with a Macbook Pro. Thanks to the SSD Air feels a lot rappers than you might think, given the relatively slow processor and modest internal memory available.


An old CPU
Apple has focused on a relatively old Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor at 1.86 GHz instead of one of Intel's new low-power Core I3 or I5-models. Although the Core 2 Duo processor is slower than Intel latest models are nevertheless fast enough for most tasks. And much faster than a netbook.

Despite this, our test results in Windows is far from brilliant. It probably is due to our test machine has only two gigabytes of internal memory. Nor is it possible to upgrade, you may want to double the memory - which we recommend - it is important to you order it from the beginning. Four gigabytes should also be standard in a notebook at this price.

We suspect that Apple stick to the old Core 2 Duo processor so that they can continue to use the motherboard with Nvidia chipset and its integrated graphics card Geforce 320M. It is more powerful than the equivalent Intel I3 and I5-solutions. And because of a dispute between Intel and Nvidia, there are no motherboards with Nvidia chipset that works with I3 or I5 in writing.


Nice buttons and large touch pad
We like both the keyboard and touch pad in the MacBook Air. The keys are large and provide good feedback, so it's no problem writing for long periods. Unfortunately, it is not backlit, which the "old" Air. A disappointment to all who have not perfected fingering and working in a darkened lecture halls, meeting rooms and living rooms.

The touchpad is huge and has support for so-called multi-touch gestures. The buttons are built-in but still feels precise. They also work without a problem when you drag and drop icons, no other computer maker has invested in the built-in buttons are not passed by.

While the Air has a small 13.3 inch screen is the resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels. This higher than standard resolution 1366 x 768 pixels that we find in most screens in the same size. The text is still sharp and the viewing angle is good. And the screen is very bright even when you reduce the brightness to save power. The surface is glossy so expect more glare than a matte screen. When we place the computer under the lights in the office results, however, not so much glare and reflections as many other glossy screens.


A secure connection
Air power supply is equipped with Apple's MagSafe magnetic connector. The loosen easily if someone accidentally tripped on the cord so that the computer goes to the floor. MagSafe is not news, but still one of our favorite solutions. A welcome feature is that you can restore your system from a USB flash drive instead of CDs or DVDs that we are accustomed us. There are a lot smarter, especially considering that the laptop has no optical drive.

 

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