Macbook Air Hands On Review

Posted by Umair Abbasi on May 4, 2008 in Technology

Things arriving DOA (Dead on Arrival) is starting to be a bit of a regular theme in my experience with computer hardware. First it was the Cosmos S casing (see: Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 vs Cosmos S) and now the Macbook Air. Well in full justification I can’t label the Macbook Air as DOA since it did turn on. It was the non functional keyboard and trackpad that had me going furious. Here I have a marvel of a machine and can’t type or browse anything without using my external Keyboard and Mouse.

My experience with Apple Support though removed the bitter taste out of mouth. Called in on Friday, told them the trouble I was having. Did a simple step the Support technician asked me to perform, still had the problem. Filed in my case on his computer and dispatched a DHL box for me to place my Macbook Air in. Box was delivered to me by Monday with simple instructions enclosed on how to send the Macbook Air back to Apple for repair. Placed Macbook Air in the box, scheduled a pick up with DHL online for Tuesday. Box was picked up by DHL on Tuesday delivered to Apple on Wednesday, repaired by Apple by Thursday and my Macbook Air is back in my lap Friday. For the whole experience all I had to do was make a phone call and not pay a single cent. The turn around time was 5 days, excluding when the call was placed.

Apparently there was some problem with my keyboard and track pad, basically the whole top cover, which was replaced by Apple for no additional cost. Since Friday I have had plenty of time to play with the Air and have to sum it in one word, AWESOME. This is truly an amazing machine.

The setup from scratch via the provided Leopard DVD was a bit on the slow side, but that was tolerable for me. I was doing the setup via wireless link to my hackintosh Mac Pro’s DVD drive using a Linksys WRT54GL router. This is a G router, assuming those of you who have a N router will have a faster experience than I did. I took me about 1hr and 15mins to install Leopard’s essential system files and iPhoto. All other options such as additional fonts, garage band, printer drivers were unchecked.

Before my hands on experience with the machine I was under the impression based on the configuration of the Air that I would have some sluggish performance issues I would have to get accustomed to over time. I presumed the sluggish performance based on the 1.6 GHZ processor and the 4200 RPM hard drive. But to my surprise if there is a sluggishness issue, I haven’t experienced it yet. I have the machine setup exactly the way I would like it to be and haven’t had a slow response from it yet.

As an example, at the time of writing this blog, I have VLC media player playing a movie off my Mac Pro’s shared hard drive on to a Epson Projector connected via the micro DVI out cable , Azureus downloading two torrents, a Word document opened in Word 2008, Apple Mail opened and myself typing away on my Firefox browser with 3 open tabs. This machine is taking it with no hiccups.

The Macbook Air is setup exactly the way I want it, meaning I have all the applications I would need minus Adobe Photoshop CS3, Dreamweaver CS3, InDesign CS3 which I would be installing tomorrow. But with all my required applications installed, I have 59.79 GB of space still remaining. Mind you though I haven’t transferred my 8 GB of photos and music over to the Air. I still foresee no space issues in the near future. I am assuming by the time the problem does arrive, technology would enable us to have bigger hard drives in the same form factor which I can then later purchase and upgrade on my own.

I wish I could think of something negative to say about the machine, but have nothing as of writing this blog. If something does come up will update the blog with the new information. For the time being enjoy the pictures.

P.S. The glossy effect you see on the top lid and the bottom of the laptop is not how the original product is. I have applied a skin to protect the two layers from scratches. The skin I used was purchased from Best Skins Ever. They use the same material as Invisible Shield only are considerably cheaper. I have used their skins in the past on my iPhone, Macbook, Macbook Pro, and have been VERY satisfied with their product. 

macbook air, apple

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