My MacBook Air finally arrived on Friday, after more than three weeks of anxious anticipation. This machine is replacing my old 1.67Ghz Powerbook G4, which now belongs to
I was interested in the Air from day one, but after they started showing up in the local Apple Stores and I actually got to play with one, it was game over. For me, the tradeoffs that most people see weren’t really existent… I walk to work as often as I can, so a lighter machine is a huge win. And most of the time, my old G4 was plenty fast, so the slightly slower processor in comparison to my work MacBook wasn’t really much of an issue either. The only thing that really concerned me was the slower rotational speed of the hard disk, but after playing with it in the store it didn’t seem to be much of an issue (not to mention that eventually there will be faster discs in that form factor that I can upgrade to in the future). I ended up ordering a 1.8Ghz machine (with a traditional hard disk).
The machine is simply awesome. When I’m holding it I feel like if I left go of it, if it didn’t hover in place it would at least gently float to the floor (I haven’t tested this out yet). As you’ve likely heard in just about every review of the machine, it feels way sturdier than you’d expect given it’s size and weight. I’d venture to say it even feels sturdier than my Powerbook, which always felt like a tank to me. I feel like I could drop it from the roof of NRH and still use it when it hit bottom (of course, the floating would help).
I read some reviews criticizing the battery life, and frankly, I just don’t see any problem. Sure, when I was downloading a 10GB file using the 802.11g, the battery life was shortened. But whenever I’m using the machine in a more normal setting, I get 3-3.5 hours out of the battery. I’m sure I could stretch it further if I disabled Bluetooth and WiFi, but whatever. As far as I can tell, it lasts longer than my Powerbook battery ever did.
The screen is gorgeous, even if it is glossy (why can’t you make the matte finish a BTO option on all the lines, Apple? I’d happily pay more!) The LCD backlighting is so bright at full brightness it is almost uncomfortable. I haven’t really trained myself to use the multi-touch stuff much at all, honestly, it seems mostly like a novelty. I’ve been wrong before, though, so I’m going to see if I can make it useful. My guess is that when a 3rd party releases a trainable gesture system, it might become more attractive. I just don’t zoom photos enough to get a semi over the pinching. :)
I haven’t played with Remote Disc… I bought the external drive, but honestly I probably won’t be using that all that much either. I’ve gotten to the point where optical discs are the new floppies. I pretty much buy all of my music and software online these days, so it’s pretty rare that I need an optical drive. The only time I watch movies on a computer is when traveling, and I always ripped DVD’s to the hard disk for travel anyway (as the optical drive devours precious battery).
I don’t really have many gripes with this machine.. I seem to sometimes get a double login prompt when unlocking the machine, but I don’t know if that’s a Leopard problem or specific to this machine. It is also strange not hearing the optical drive initialize every time I wake it from sleep. It’s like trying to sleep in the country after living in a city, the silence is disconcerting. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.