So the first batch of the new Macbook Air 11.6″ arrived early this week in all Apple Reseller Stores and we spared no time to get our hands into one of these babies. See un-boxing photos and first impressions after the jump.
I originally wanted to get it in SG since I was supposed to go there for a media coverage yesterday but due to visa issues with my Japan trip in two weeks, I wasn’t able to go (sent Calvin there instead to do the coverage). Dale, our special assignments contributor, also went to HK for some shopping and tells me the entry-level Mac Air sells for around Php46,000 there.
Fortunately, we found a local source that was able to give us a really nice deal at Php45k for straight cash purchase. Pretty good deal considering the SRP is Php52k.
So, on to the unboxing of the new Macbook Air 11.6″.
I’ve been a fan of the 11.6″ and 12.1″ ultraportables since last year with the MSI Wind U2xx series, the Acer Timeline and the Asus UL series. The Sony Vaio X was drool-worthy but being Atom-powered, and a Z-series at that, I felt they were a bit under-powered.
I’ve recently purchased a Core i3 ultraportable, the Asus UL20FT (review coming up this week-end), as an upgrade to the Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz of the Acer Timeline but the 3 to 4 hours battery life left me wanting. The Timeline really spoiled me with a 5 to 6 hours battery life.
So when the 11.6″ Macbook Air was announced, I thought this could be the closest fit to what I am looking for in an ultraportable. It’s super thin and super light, has pretty decent processing power and a 5-hour battery life I’m satisfied with. From my usage since yesterday, the claimed 5 hours of battery life is true and maybe I can even stretch it by lowering the screen brightness.
The new Air is pretty impressive at first glance — the thin and light form-factor gets very high scores and to think that it has an aluminum unibody adds to that great engineering feat.
The base configuration of a Core 2 Duo SU9400 running at 1.4GHz and a 2GB RAM is pretty decent and, based from experience, is already a good combination of a performance yet power-saving system. Add the embedded SSD into the mix and you get a very snappy system that boots very fast, launches applications in a jiffy and goes from sleep to wake in under a second.
The full keyboard comes with chiclet-style keys, standard for all Macbook, and the large trackpad are all comfy and easy to use. The entire trackpad is also the button so that need some time to get used to. The power button is also at the top right corner so I get confused it with the Delete button oftentimes.
The one big concern with the unit is the limited amount of storage space. Using SSD is great but that also limits capacity due to the expensive parts. The base config only has 64GB in it so if you’re carrying a lot of photos, music and videos, that will eat it up in no time. The 2nd variant comes with 128GB but at Php10k more.
Most logical and affordable solution is to bring an external storage for the large files (fortunately, I still have that 750GB My Passport that WD gave to me lying around).
My only other personal concern is the OS actually. It will take some time to get used to OS X and learn the ropes, find and use alternative softwares (anybody knows of a good SSH client for Mac similar to putty?). I would not really be a full-time switcher since I’ll still be using my old and trusty Window machines.
Over-all, the new Macbook Air is very promising. The combination of a smaller form-factor and above-average battery life makes it a good option for a walk-around laptop. The price-point has also gone down considerably since the first time the Air was introduced. You will no longer be burning holes in your pocket. Just one.