At a Glance
- Full-size keyboard
- Weighs three pounds
- Bright LED-backlit 13.3-inch screen
- Limited configuration options
- Slow processor
- Slow and small hard drive
- Unswappable battery
Mac users now have a three-pound, thin laptop to call their own, but it comes with tradeoffs. The MacBook Air comes without an optical drive (though there’s an optional USB SuperDrive you can buy for $99), so you’ll have to install programs via the machine’s Remote Disk software. There’s also no Gigabit Ethernet (again, available as an optional add-on) and no FireWire port. In addition to accessories, users can also opt for a 1.8GHz processor or a 64GB solid-state drive.
Judged merely on the cold technological specifications, the MacBook Air can’t measure up to Apple’s other laptops. But for those who factor size, weight, and style into the equation, the MacBook Air begins to make more sense. Is losing several hundred megahertz, dozens of gigabytes of hard-drive space, an internal optical drive, and FireWire connectivity worth losing two pounds? Each laptop user will have to answer that question for themselves.