I ordered a new MacBook Air soon after it was released, and have been using it exclusively since it arrived, on the first of November. I took the plunge because it was, with a couple of upgrades, identical in spec to my previous laptop, one of the first unibody MacBook Pros. As far as RAM, screen resolution, CPU speed, and internal storage went, the MacBook Air was on par. It did away with ports I never used and an optical drive I rarely used, but added solid-state internal storage and legendary battery life.
Using it for nearly a month has largely confirmed for me: this is the best laptop I’ve ever owned, and laptops like this are where the portable computer market should go if it wants to succeed.
This is what I really like about the Air:
As I mentioned, the legendary battery life. This wasn’t something I thought I’d ever care about, but working in coffee shops, where the nearest outlet might be in use or just too far away, really made me appreciate it. I mean, now, I can go an entire session at a coffee shop (usually, something like two to four hours, depending) and never have to plug in.
It doesn’t get all that hot. My old laptop would, just in normal use, get very hot and it would be uncomfortable to work with on my lap. I almost didn’t notice this change, but there I am, reclined back and working and not even paying attention to the device I’ve got in my lap.
It’s very light. This feeds doubly into the benefits of the previous point.
It’s, well, intimate. The screen is significantly smaller than the one on the Pro, but has the same resolution. The result is that I can see everything I used to see, but it’s more compact. I think this smaller, more detailed screen makes the most sense when the screen is arm’s length away. Also, when I look at the screen on my Pro, it surprises me how comically large everything looks. Having an iPhone 4 hasn’t helped in this regard, since I more than ever don’t want to perceive a pixel ever again.
Overall this computer has surpassed my expectations, simply because of these tiny improvements that I didn’t know would be important when I ordered it. I doubt I’m measurably more productive when I’m using it, but honestly, with this I can work and start to not pay attention to the tools I’m using. This is significant.