Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A Review (13-inch model)

 

Apple MacBook Air MC504LL/A Review (13-inch model)

Review: Apple MacBook Air (13” model)
Reviewed by: Bas Jansen
Provided by: Apple NL
Model: MC504LL/A

Apple NL was kind enough to send us one of their latest laptops for review; the MacBook Air MC504LL/A . The new MacBook Air has been introduced in two editions: you can choose from a 11- or 13-inch model. The 11-inch model of the MacBook Air can almost be seen as a netbook. However, pricing will prove you wrong: with prices starting at (USD/EUR) 999,- a netbook is much cheaper. Still, the specifications of the Apple MacBook Air suggest it’s capable of competing with many full sized laptops.

Apple company information

I’m sure most MyCE members will be familiar with the Apple brand name. Apple’s been around long enough, and their Macbooks seem to be gaining in popularity over the past few years (although I wasn’t able to find solid evidence for this). Apple and Microsoft are sure fighting over market share, in a public debate on which we reported last August.

If you would like to find out more about Apple, you can visit the Apple website.

MacBook Air: Background

Looking at the MacBook Air (MBA) we have to go back to 2008 for the first edition. The second edition added a Mini Display Port, and with the 3rd generation we saw a price drop. So it was up to Apple’s Jonathan Ive to come up with even a better design. Apple already has a lot of experience with the Unibody design, and for the 4th generation MacBook Air Apple even included the screen frame in the design. The Unibody design also provides strength to the MBA: it does not matter which corner or angle you hold the MBA, it always feels strong and sturdy.


Packaging and inside the box

Now it’s time to take a look at the MacBook Air itself and what the MacBook came shipped with. Apple is known for its minimalistic packaging and the MBA is no exception. When opening the box you will find: MacBook Air; MagSafe power adapter; AC wall plug and power lead; printed and electronic documentation manual and a USB Software Reinstall stick.

Box contents of the MacBook Air MC504LL/A

Besides the hardware the MBA comes preloaded with Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iLife ‘11.

Specifications

  • Processor: 1.86Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 6MB L2 cache
  • Videocard: NVIDIA GeForce 320M, 256Mb DDR SDRAM (shared)
  • Bus speed: 1066Mhz frontside bus
  • Internal memory: 2x 1Gb of 1067 MHz DDR3 SDRAM installed (max 4Gb)
  • Storage: Apple SSD TS256C 256GB
  • Screen: 13.3inch diagonal high-res backlit LED (Glossy)
  • Resolution: 1440×900
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort (with separate sold adapters support for DVI output, VGA Output, Dual-link DVI, HDMI output)
  • Camera: Facetime camera
  • Keyboard: Full-size 78 (US), 79 (ISO) keys
  • Trackpad: Multi-Touch with gestures support
  • Wifi: 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 +EDR
  • Connections: 2x USB, Headphone mini-jack
  • Battery: 50 watt-hours Li Polymer battery
  • Standby: up to 30 days
  • Usage time: up to 7 hours (wirelesss connected)
  • Size: 0.3-1.7cm (0.11-0.68 inches) x 32.5cm (12.8 inches) x 22,7cm (8.94 inches)
  • Weight: 1.32Kg (2.9 pounds)
  • Battery: 50 watt-hours Li Polymer battery

If we look more closely at both the 11” and 13” versions, there are some clear differences besides the size of the display. If you choose for smaller 11” model, the resolution will be lower (1366 x 768 instead of 1440 x 900), but this is to be expected. However, the smaller model will also offer you less processor power (1.4GHz 800Mhz frontside bus with 1.6Ghz optional) and less storage (64GB, with 128GB optional). Also, you lose on battery life – but this is directly related to the fact that the 11-inch version only weights 1,06 kg (vs 1,32 kg for the 13-inch model).

For this review, we considered ourselves lucky because we got to play with the 13-inch version. The extra size gives you some extra weight to carry around and you will be doing some 1.32Kg weight lifting instead of 1.06Kg. For this, you gain battery life for increased wireless working (Apple reports “up to 5 hours” for the 11-inch, and “up to 7 hours” for the 13-inch). If you are a fan of SD cards then the 13-inch model will be your choice, as this is the only model that comes equipped with a built-in SD slot. There is no internal optical drive, but if you really need to have a CD or DVD player you can wireless borrow the optical drive of a nearby Mac or PC (more on this later).

 

Now let’s head to the next page where we will look at our the judgement from a frequent Apple user