Apple MacBook Air
- Superb design, anodised aluminium casing, build quality, illuminated backlit keyboard, built in iSight camera, 13.3in display, multi-touch trackpad, Remote Disc feature
- No optical drive, no FireWire, no Ethernet port, only one USB port, non-removable battery with short battery life
The MacBook Air is a superbly crafted notebook, but this niche product isn't for everyone. Its lack of optical drive, FireWire and Ethernet ports deem it inadequate for power or everyday users. Regardless, it functions well as a secondary device for frequent travellers, or those who require basic, hassle-free computing.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
Claiming to be the "world's thinnest notebook", the Apple MacBook Air is quite simply an incredible piece of industrial design. At just 19.4mm thick at its highest point, the Air boasts an anodised aluminium casing, a full-sized backlit keyboard and a trackpad that uses gesture-based input. The Air is not for everyone, but frequent travellers and those after an ultraportable notebook oozing with style will definitely be interested.
The first thing you'll notice about the MacBook Air is...well, it's extremely thin. Perhaps more of a surprise is just how sturdy the unit feels, despite its size. Many ultraportable notebooks often feel flimsy and delicate, but the MacBook Air's smooth, anodised aluminium casing and build quality is an excellent feature. You'll have no worries transporting it around all day like it's intended to be and it certainly feels as though it will take its fair share of bumps and bruises.
Under the hood, the Air is a typical ultraportable. It's important to note that it's not going to appeal to power users or gamers and nor should it. It's been designed for basic, portable computing and it does these jobs well. The Air is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU with an 800MHz front side bus and a 4MB L2 cache. There is also 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a rather small capacity 80GB hard disk drive, in addition to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. Alternatively, for a hefty bill of $4338, you can upgrade to a 1.8GHz CPU and a shock resistant 64GB solid state hard drive (SSD). Overall, performance is average; the Air isn't going to blow you away in terms of speed, but for basic tasks like word processing, Internet browsing and document editing, it does a relatively sound job.
Despite the design, Apple has still managed to squeeze in a 13.3in display and a full sized, backlit keyboard, relatively unheard of in the ultraportable space. The 13.3in widescreen is the same size as the regular MacBook display and has a maximum resolution of 1280x800. The glossy display is excellent – it's bright and clear and does a fine job displaying both rich multimedia and crisp text. Above the display is an iSight camera sandwiched in between two laser cut grills, the first a light sensor and the second a microphone.
The full-size keyboard is identical to the rest of the MacBook range, but the Air adds backlit key illumination. This is extremely useful at night or in low-light conditions. A built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts both the keyboard and display brightness and we found this worked very well.
A new feature on the MacBook Air that's not available on the rest of the MacBook range is the multi-touch trackpad. Operating similar to the iPhone and iPod Touch displays, the trackpad responds to finger gestures such as swipes, pinches and taps. Just like the iPod Touch, you can swipe your finger across the trackpad to scroll through your documents, pinch to enlarge text and rotate to adjust your photos. It's fairly responsive as it's able to distinguish between one, two or three fingers and the extra large size of the trackpad certainly helps.
As with many ultraportables, there is usually a compromise in achieving such a small design. The MacBook Air doesn't come with an optical drive (a $99 option), has just a single USB port and lacks FireWire, an Ethernet port and expansion slot. Apple puts this down to the fact that the MacBook Air essentially functions as a wireless device, so there is no need for these features – whether you agree or disagree with this notion depends entirely on your needs. A USB-to-Ethernet adapter is a $39 extra, while the included "micro-DVI" port means you'll have to use the included dongles (one VGA and one DVI) to hook up the Air to a projector or television.
Although the concealed, flip out flap that holds the ports is a lovely look, its design is somewhat frustrating – the cramped position of the USB port means it can't hold most 3G USB modems and some larger USB keys – you'll need a USB hub or extension cable for these.
As it doesn't have an optical drive, the MacBook Air instead boasts the Remote Disc feature, where it can essentially borrow a drive from a nearby computer (MAC or PC) – provided they are both on the same wireless network. Simply install the included software onto any other computer then load the disc into the drive, select Remote Disk on the MacBook Air and you can then access the disc wirelessly. You can't watch a DVD movie or rip CDs with iTunes but you can install most software (with the exception of Windows using Boot Camp) and access files.
Another drawback to the design of the MacBook Air is the battery – its sealed and non-user replaceable, so those who regularly rely on multiple batteries are out of luck. With battery life only rated at up to five hours this may well be a deal breaker for many. Heat is also an issue – after little over an hour of use, the MacBook Air becomes quite warm.
Join the newsletter!
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Xbox One X
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Lenovo ThinkPad celebrates 25 years of cutting edge technology
- Crowdfunding campaign to bring wireless charging to the Macbook
- Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, Google Home Mini & Max: Everything Announced At Today’s Google Event
- MSI GE73 7RF VR Raider Gaming Laptop: Full, in-depth review
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- The Best Australian Black Friday Tech Deals That Aren't On Amazon
- Wolfenstein The New Colossus Review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSolution Architect/Designer - Telecom IndustryOther
- CCIntegration SpecialistNSW
- CCProject Implementation Support - Telecom IndustryVIC
- FTOperations Process Improvement ManagerOther
- FTCobol DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- FTSenior Telecommunications RiggerOther
- CCTeam Assistant/Executive Assistant - TelcoVIC
- CCProject Manager - DeliveryNSW
- FTSystems Support ManagerNSW
- CCNetwork DesignerQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - Operational experience requiredOther
- FTMiddleware Engineer/ Tibco ActiveMatrix or other ESBOther
- FTProject ManagerQLD
- FTDevOps EngineerOther
- TPService Delivery ManagerACT
- FTInfrastructure SupportACT
- FTChange ManagerSA
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTHFC Capacity Planner | 6mth ContractOther
- FTStorage & Backup Engineer x2 - EMCOther
- CCJava DeveloperQLD
- FTHR Business PartnerOther
- FTPayroll officerOther