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Laptops Reviews
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Apple MacBook Air review

£1,199 inc VAT for 1.6GHz model

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

In many ways the story of the MacBook Air is the story of a series of compromises, all made in order to fit an entire Mac in a 1.3kg package that's 4mm thick at its thinnest point.

In many ways the story of the MacBook Air is the story of a series of compromises, all made in order to fit an entire Mac in a 1.3kg package that's 4mm thick at its thinnest point.

Apple MacBook Air - full technical review

Updated: 31 January 2008

There was no mention of Steve Jobs' favourite "one more thing" keynote sign-off at Macworld Expo in January, but the biggest product launch at the annual Mac event could still have a major impact on the Windows-based laptop market - the Apple MacBook Air.

Macworld Expo in San Francisco has become the most highly anticipated event in the IT calendar in recent years, with techies desperate to learn what Steve Jobs has lined up as Apple's biggest product launch of the year.

In 2007, the Apple iPhone (reviewed here) captured the imagination of those in the audience and millions of people around the world who monitored Jobs keynote via the web, while the event has previously been used to launch iTunes, the Mac mini and various versions of the iPod.

This year, rather than introducing a completely new product category, Apple chose to launch a variation on a theme, but what a variation it was. The MacBook Air has arrived, a third MacBook model that brings incredibly small size to Apple's laptop line at a premium price, and a model Apple claims to be the world's thinnest laptop.

However, in many ways, the story of this laptop is the story of a series of compromises, all made in order to fit an entire Mac in a 1.3kg package that's 4mm thick at its thinnest point.

MacBook Air front

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Apple MacBook Air Expert Verdict »
Apple MacBook Air MA0003B/A Scores 7.9 out of 10 based on 13 reviews
1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip at 800MHz
2GB of 667MH DDR2 SDRAM
1.8in, 80GB hard drive (64GB SSD available)
13.3in widescreen display
Mac OS X 10.5
802.11n
USB 2.0
Micro-DVI
headphone jack
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
1.3kg
4x325x227mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 6 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The story of the MacBook Air is a story about compromise, the decision about whether the MacBook Air is a product worth having can be answered by one question: How much are you willing to compromise? Judged merely on the cold technological specifications, the MacBook Air can't measure up to Apple's other laptops. For those to whom the tech specs matter above all else, the MacBook Air can't be seen as much more than an overpriced, underpowered toy. But there will be those who, small drive and slow processor be damned, will adopt the MacBook Air as their primary laptop - simply because they want that laptop to be as small as possible. For those who factor size, weight, and — yes, we'll admit it — style into the equation, the MacBook Air begins to make more sense.

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