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Apple MacBook Air 2011 review: ultrabook like no other

Apple MacBook Air 2011 review: ultrabook like no other

By: Ionut Popa  In: Laptops, tablets and PCs  Updated: Dec 8, 2011

Until now Apple had no real competition for the MacBook Air, but times have changed, the ultrabooks are attacking Apple MacBook Air’s supremacy every day. The ultrabook is an ultra portable laptop design to be very thin and light but with a very strong configuration, to have a long battery life, to use the new generation of Intel ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) processors and to cost less than 1000 dollars, in other words the ultrabooks represents Intel’s plan to copy Apple’s success. So will Apple MacBook Air ultrabook be beaten at his own game?

What do you do with something that is already very good? You make it better! So in July 2011 the 4th generation of Apple MacBook Air ultrabook was released in two almost identical versions, an 11.6 -inch one and a 13.3-inch one, both have 0.68 inch/1.7 cm at maximum thickness point and the thinness goes up to 0.11 inch/0.3 cm, the 11.6 inch weighs 2.38 pounds/1.08 kg while the 13.3 inch one is a little bit heavier weighing 2.96 pounds/1.35 kg.

Once you open the new MacBook Air you will see a very thin FaceTime camera, a LED-backlit glossy widescreen display and an absent feature in previous generations that is back: the backlit keyboard, the MacBook Air has an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the display and keyboard. The Multi-Touch trackpad is large and works perfectly with OS X Lion, you can navigate using only finger gestures.

The 2011 MacBook Air is the best ultrabook

The 2011 MacBook Air is the best ultrabook

When it comes to connectivity you’ll have 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and when it comes to ports you’ll have a microphone, a headphone jack, an USB 2.0 port and the MagSafe port, you can find all these ports on the left side, on the right side you get an SD card slot (only on the 13.3 inch model), a USB 2.0 port and a Thunderbolt port. The Thunderbolt technology has a transfer speed of up to 10 gigabits per second, supports DisplayPort, and you can also use it for an external hard drive. There are few Thunderbolt peripherals right now, and they’re expensive, but that’s going to change soon.

The configuration of the new MacBook Air is very good, in fact is 2.5 times faster than the previous generation, because uses the new generation of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, you can have up to 4GB DDR3 of RAM  and up to 256GB of flash storage, the graphics will be performed by Intel HD Graphics 3000. Apple says that the battery of new MacBook Air last up to 5 hour on the 11.6 inch model and up to 7 hours on the 13.3 inch one, both models will last up to 30 days in standby mode.

Pick from 11.6 and 13.3 inch models

Pick from 11.6 and 13.3 inch models

Apple kept the prices from the previous generation of MacBook Air, so the 11.6 inch base model with Intel Core i5, 2 GB of RAM, and 64GB of flash storage will cost $999 and the cheapest 13.3 inch one cost $1299 with Intel Core i5, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage. But if you buy them from Amazon you’ll find the 11.6 one at $939.99 and the 13.3 inch one at $1,234.99.

So is Apple MacBook Air ultrabook the best ultrabook? Well if you are an Apple OS user this should be your first and only choice.

Models and pricing

Let’s end this short review of the 2011 MacBook Air with a list of main specs for the two models, together with pricing and links towards the best deals at this time. Double check with your favorite stores for the best pricing, you don’t have to trust us :)

Model 11-inch : 64GB MC968LL/A 11-inch : 128GB MC969LL/A 13-inch : 128GB MC965LL/A 13-inch : 256GB MC966LL/A
Processor 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
Memory 2GB memory 4GB memory 4GB memory 4GB memory
Storage 64GB flash storage 128GB flash storage 128GB flash storage 256GB flash storage
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000
Price (click each link) Buy from here Buy from here Buy from here Buy from here

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Ionut is Chief Editor. He has a degree in Computer Science BA and worked in IT since 2002. Ionut is now managing several tech sites, including GadgetRoad. Find me on Twitter

One Comment
  1. The MacBook Air family is a line of ultraportable Macintosh notebook computers created by Apple Inc. The Air was designed to balance both performance and portability; it has a full-sized keyboard design and a machined aluminium casing with extremely low weight and thickness. The MacBook Air is available in two sizes: ..,`..

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