The 11in Apple MacBook Air model is the more recent design, having been introduced to Apple's portfolio in October 2010.

To test the Apple MacBooks we install Windows 7 using the incredibly intuitive and smooth Boot Camp assistant that comes built into Mac OS X 10.7, the MacBook Air's native operating system.

This allowed us to run the same WorldBench and MobileMark benchmarks on the MacBook Air as Windows-based laptops.

It's worth noting that the MacBook Air offers the option of dual-booting Mac OS X and Windows installations.

And, more importantly, that even though the benchmarks were run on an OS that the hardware is not optimised for, they achieved results broadly comparable with, often better, than the competition.

The Apple MacBook Air 11in here is the entry-level specification – the cheapest Mac portable available – and on the face of it looks a tad underpowered with just 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. 

However, it's quicker than you might think, the 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M processor pushing it to a WorldBench 6 score of 111. The battery life isn't the best on test - we had this MacBook running for just over four and a half hours (278 mins) in the MobileMark Productivity test.

The design is very difficult to fault – it looks great, is supremely well put together and is comfortable to use, even considering its diminuitive size.

The aluminium unibody feels robust and there are so many nice touches that make it a joy to use. For example, the backlit keyboard is great for using in dark environments and the MagSafe power connector ensures that neither you nor your MacBook will get injured should you trip on the charger cable. 

But it's the display that really wins us over. The sharp definition and rich colour gamut is easily the best of the bunch, beaten only by this MacBook Air's bigger 13in brother. The viewing angles are wide, too, and while the finish of the screen is gloss, Apple's anti-reflective coating means that the mirror effect is reduced and not so distracting.


Apple MacBook Air 11in (Mid-2011) 64GB: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M
  • 11.6in glossy LED-backlit
  • 1366 x 768
  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
  • 2GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 64GB SSD Integrated Intel HD 3000
  • Thunderbolt
  • stereo speakers, headset jack
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • webcam
  • 35Wh lithium polymer non-removable battery
  • 300 x 192 x 17mm
  • 1.08kg
  • 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M
  • 11.6in glossy LED-backlit
  • 1366 x 768
  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
  • 2GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 64GB SSD Integrated Intel HD 3000
  • Thunderbolt
  • stereo speakers, headset jack
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • webcam
  • 35Wh lithium polymer non-removable battery
  • 300 x 192 x 17mm
  • 1.08kg

OUR VERDICT

The 11in MacBook Air is exactly the same price as Asus' 11in contender, although with only half the RAM and SSD space. But what it lacks in these respects it makes up for in build quality – especially when it comes to the screen – and for giving you the option to have a machine running both Windows 7 and Mac OS X.

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