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The MacBook Air is Apple’s latest addition to their line of laptops, and their introduction of a sexy, lightweight and thin notebook. Squeezed in between the price regime, it is RM1,000 dearer than the black MacBook, and RM700 cheaper then the entry-model MacBook Pro.

MacBook Air

It is mostly aimed at people who travel a lot, prefer a laptop which is light and easy to carry around and fits nicely in their suitcase. If you’re planning on getting one for yourself, have a look through this article before forking out your money.

The main attraction of the MacBook Air is its design. It’s amazing how Apple managed to make a laptop so thin. At its thickest part, the MacBook Air is only 0.76″. And Apple didn’t compromise the general size even when they tried to create a sub-portable laptop. It has a 13.3″ screen just like the MacBook, a full-sized illuminated keyboard, but still only weighs 1.36kg.

The main compromises however are under the hood, where many people don’t bother to notice, but for those who know, those sacrifices are more costly.

How they managed to make the MacBook Air so thin was the exclusion of an optical drive. How well does a laptop work without a CD/DVD drive, you might ask. Pretty well, actually. Apple perfected CD/DVD sharing so that the MacBook Air can seamlessly share optical drives from other Macs or Windows machines. It may sound like a hassle but it’s certainly a brilliant solution. Some might argue that you won’t use a DVD drive that often, so it won’t be a problem.

The MacBook Air is equipped with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor which isn’t really the most powerful of processors; and 2GB of memory soldered onto the logic board meaning that it can not be upgraded. It also comes with a Parallel ATA 80GB hard disk, or you have the option to upgrade to a 64GB SSD (Solid-state drive) for an additional RM4,600 (including a processor upgrade).

All these specifications aren’t really impressive if you consider the fact that you’re paying RM 6,299 for a laptop which really, will under-perform in about 1 or 2 years’ time. Yes, you might remind me that the main reason people will continue to buy this is because of it’s form-factor and it’s weight. Let’s analyze the numbers:

For the sake of argument, I shall bundle the MacBook Air with its optional SuperDrive, because I assume that will it be the most commonly bought accessory.

1. Weight
The MacBook Air+SuperDrive weighs 1.68kg
The MacBook weighs 2.27kg ~ 590g extra
The MacBook Pro weighs 2.45kg ~ 770g extra

2. Dimensions
The MacBook Air is 0.16″ to 0.76″ thick
The MacBook and MacBook Pro are both 1″ thick ~ 0.24″ extra

So as you can see, the difference isn’t actually that much, although to the naked eye, it may seem slim. But trust me, I’ve picked one up and it isn’t really as light as air. And it was hot!

The MacBook Air doesn’t include a fan, probably to save on battery life. This brings up a couple of problems. First of which is that it gets hot pretty fast and a lot of people are having an issue with this. Secondly, the processor had to be limited to 1.6/1.8GHz because if it was faster, the heat generated would be too overwhelming for the cooling fins.

If you’re out to get a laptop, I wouldn’t recommend a MacBook Air, no matter how nice it looks. The technology within it will be obsolete in the next few years, and then you’ll regret spending RM6,299 on a laptop which you’ll mainly use as a secondary computer.

Look down the product line at the MacBook. The black model has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory (upgradable to 4GB), a 250GB SATA hard disk and lastly, a SuperDrive. And it’s RM1,000 cheaper!

Or if you’re looking to spend a little bit more money in order to get a laptop that will last you for the coming 5-7 years, get a MacBook Pro. Rather than buying the MacBook Air, pay RM700 more and get the entry model MBP. Its specifications will blow the MacBook Air to oblivion.