The Newest MacBook Air Is Dead-Sexy [REVIEW]

macbook air

Photo: Dylan Love

All right, look — I wasn’t a fan of the previous generations of MacBook Air. I like a vicious processor attached to an affordable machine. I like something that feels robust and non-delicate.Click here for photos! >

The previous Airs fell embarrassingly short of all these standards. They were expensive weaklings and I was always worried about accidentally snapping one in half.

But that’s not the case this time around.

The newest MacBook Air is a total joy to use. The beautiful hardware and the new Lion operating system complement each other wonderfully. On top of that, I never once felt like I had to treat the computer with kid gloves. The Air comes off as a sharp-looking utility instead of a fashion accessory that just happens to do maths.

Then there’s the economic consideration — starting at $1,000, these machines don’t pack nearly the punch on your wallet that they used to. I tested the 13-inch MacBook Air with the i7 processor upgrade, the most expensive possible configuration which retails for $1,700.

If you’re someone who takes computing seriously, it’s easy to rationalize spending that much money on this machine. Of course, there are plenty of other configurations to suit your needs in between the $1,000 and $1,700 price points.

If you’re a previous Apple user, you’ll quickly be at home here. I have yet to feel a difference Snow Leopard and Tiger. Everything is just as you would expect with the small exception of “natural scrolling.” I know lots of people lost their minds over it, but if they’re going to flip their stack over something as trivial as a touchpad, how valuable is their input on anything? My personal experience with the trackpad in Lion was that it took 5 minutes of playing around with it until I re-calibrated my brain to use natural scrolling without any problems.

Seriously, guys — natural scrolling is not a big deal.

The Air is awesomely thin. I’ve left the house all while forgetting it was in my bag — it’s that lightweight.

Should you buy it?
If you’re currently looking for a new computer, then I’d say absolutely yes. Talk to a computer-savvy friend to figure out which configuration is best for you, but either way, the performance for the money just can’t be beat. I expect this will be the back-to-school computer.

It arrived in this nondescript box, the same way Apple ships all its products.

A quick cut across the top of the box and there it is -- our new MacBook Air.

Apple's famous minimalist packaging.

There's the name of the device, in case you forget what it is as you open it.

Just as minimal on the inside as it is on the outside.

Hello to you, too.

All the tiny print. We tore this off pretty quickly.

Here we are. Let's open it up.

It won't really do anything until we turn it on.

Boot-up time is just SECONDS. This blew us away.

Here's our desktop after startup. The screen is gorgeous.

It has such a slender profile.

From left to right, here's the SD port, USB port, and Thunderbolt interface.

The opposite angle.

Closer up we see power, the USB port, and headphone jack.

Want to learn about what led up to this computer?

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