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Editor's rating (1-5):
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Reviewed Feb. 4, 2008 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Editor's update July 2011: Read our review of the 2011 Thunderbolt 13" Macbook Air that replaces the model reviewed on these pages.
Editor's update October 2010: Apple reduced the price of the MacBook Air and introduced an 11.6" version to the line. Both have Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics.
When a new notebook model or line comes out, it rarely raises a cacophony of debates between lovers, haters, pundits and grandmas. Such is Apple's ability to engage the emotions. For the January 2008 MacWorld trade show in San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced the world's thinnest notebook. Indeed it's hard to imagine a notebook could be so thin. It makes the Sony X505, that once incredibly sexy, thin and expensive notebook (two varieties sold for $3,000 and $4,000 back in 2004!) look dated and chubby. And at the sweet spot of 13", the Air is mainstream ultraportable: its light and small but still usable. It didn't replace the MacBook or MacBook Pro line of computers, it's simply a new option for those who need or love ultra-light computers. But folks were up in arms, or in love just a bit too early for Valentines Day. Those who wished for a revival of the 12" Mac notebook complained that 13" was just too wide and tall for an airplane coach seat, those who wanted it for cheap complained of the price, especially the SSD version. And all the while, veteran Mac users who hadn't perused the Windows ultraportable price tags lately were suffering sticker shock. I suspect that Windows users, including would-be switchers who hadn't yet done so because they wanted an ultralight, were thrilled. Put me in that camp. We review a good number of notebooks, generally Windows models. Our specialty has been ultralight and subnotebook models, from that X505 to the seriously tiny Fujitsu U810. I'm a Mac person and have been since the late 80's, but I don't have the back or the desire to carry a 15" notebook or even a 5 pound 13" MacBook. Frequent business travelers and students already overburdened with books will tell you the same. A few pounds makes a ton of difference. So, like many Mac users, I instead toted a Sony Vaio TX850 or Vaio SZ650, and hoped some day Apple would take care of me. It seems they finally did.
Features at a Glance
The MacBook Air comes in two stock flavors: the 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with an 80 gig hard drive ($1,799) and the 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with a 64 gig SSD (solid state drive) for
$3,098 $2,598. We got both models in house for review. Both run on the Intel Santa Rosa chipset with a specially shrunk-down but full-spec Core 2 Duo. They have Intel X3100 integrated graphics with 3D acceleration (there's no dedicated graphics option) and single-link DVI support (monitors up to 23"), an LED backlit display, backlit keyboard controlled by an ambient light sensor, an oversized multi-touch/gesture-aware touchpad, 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, WiFi 802.11n (also compatible with 802.11a/b/g) and an iSight web cam. The Air has Front Row but you must purchase the $19 remote separately. There are build to order options so you can mix and match the CPU speed with the 80 gig or 64 gig SSD drive. There are currently no other drive or CPU options.
The Air's incredible thinness, lightness and drop-dead good looks stand at the forefront. The oversized trackpad that supports multi-touch and gestures just like the iPhone and iPod Touch is fantastic: you can zoom simply by pinching two fingers in and out, even icons in the Finder, Safari web browser windows, PDFs and images. You can rotate images with a twist of the fingers, and move forward and back in documents and web browser windows by swiping right or left with 3 fingers. Use 2 fingers for a right-click since the Air, like all Mac notebooks has only a single trackpad button. The iSight camera works well with Skype and iChat and the backlit keyboard is as always something we wish all notebooks had. Last but certainly not least is the relatively fast CPU by ultraportable standards. While the Air might not be as fast as the MacBook, it's much faster than most ultraportables on the market today weighing 3 pounds or less. For those on the forefront of mobile technology, the SSD is an exciting option that's light years faster, uses less power (for an average 20 minutes longer runtimes in our tests) and is silent. And like all Intel Macs, you can run Windows on the MacBook Air if you wish.
Design and Ports
Hands down, this is the most breathtaking machine I've ever seen. High end Vaio notebooks, once the bastion of understated modern elegant design, now look downright dull. And until you see and feel it in person, you can't get a true sense of just how thin it is. The casing is aluminum and it looks like a member of the MacBook Pro line. It weighs 3 pounds and measures 12.8 x 8.94 inches. The thickness is 0.16 to 0.76 inches-- it's thinner than a CD jewel case at it's thinnest points. That aluminum casing and relatively wide bezel around the display make for a very sturdy and rigid computer. The display has virtually no flex and there's no light pooling if you press the display from behind. Quality oozes out, suitable for the higher-end BMW and Mercedes crowd. This looks like a machine that should cost far more than $1,799. In fact, it doesn't really look like the notebook computer as we know it.
Deals and Shopping:
Like the MacBook Pro, the MBA has an LED backlit display that's downright gorgeous and extremely bright with no color cast. It's easy to read text thanks to the relatively roomy 13.3" display running at 1280 x 800 (same as the MacBook and Sony Vaio SZ). Unlike the MacBook Pro, there's no matte screen option, the Air comes only with a glossy display. Again like the MBP, the keyboard is backlit, though the keyboard feels more like the MacBook's, which isn't a bad thing. Key travel is good, though shorter than the MBP's and the size is just perfect unless you have really large mitts. The large display and keyboard (by ultraportable standards) make for a perfectly usable machine. Yes, the 11" Vaio TX and TZ series notebooks and the Fujitsu LifeBook P1510 and P1620 aren't as wide or long but their displays are harder to read and the keyboard is sub-normal sized. The MacBook Air gives a big nod to usability and ergonomics, unlike many subnotebooks. It doesn't feel like a stop gap measure that sends you running to your desktop or larger notebook ASAP.
The MBA's 3 ports are on the right side of the notebook, under a small door that drops down. The MacBook Air's edges curve to a thin point, and that leaves space for the door to drop down, like the cargo door on a military aircraft. Space is tight as we mentioned, and fat USB connectors might not fit. We had to use a USB extension cable for our Yego Y, but our DVD drive's cable, mouse cable and flash drives fit just fine. The 45 watt MagSafe power connector is on the left side near the rear, and Apple's designed one that fits in that tight spot. For those new to Mac portables, the charger is incredibly small and light and adds little overall weight and bulk to the travel package.
When working with MS Office documents, browsing the web and doing email, the notebook stays fairly cool and the fan rarely comes on. Play a game Like Age of Empires III and you'll feel a hot spot about the diameter of a golf ball just left of center toward the rear of the computer on the underside. The fan will also run continuously quite audibly. The Air runs cooler than the MacBook Pro and Sony Vaio SZ series, but there's little space between the CPU and the case so you can feel it when the machine is working hard. This is true of both the 1.6 and 1.8GHz models.
Is the MacBook Air a design and engineering marvel? Certainly it is. But so are the Sony Vaio TZ series (for squeezing so many features into such a small package) and the Fujitsu U810 for shrinking a notebook down to a 7" x 6", 1.56 pound package. Which is better? There is no right answer: it depends on your preferred OS, size, weight, screen viewablity and keyboard needs. Has Apple started a trend? Definitely. Some folks have compared it to the ill-fated Mac Cube and that's wrong-- the world wasn't looking for a small Cube-shaped desktop PC. Ultralight notebooks and subnotebooks are in contrast an established market. Will the MBA do for notebooks what the RAZR did for phones? It could very well be. After all, the RAZR didn't even do much of anything-- it was a basic phone with a great design. The MacBook Air, despite its tradeoffs, is still a powerful and capable machine.
What's vanished into thin Air
Subnotebooks make compromises-- the CPU is usually slower, there are fewer ports and the optical drive is often not internal (though that's slowly changing since Sony raised the bar and found a way to squeeze a DVD drive into slim but still much thicker subnotebooks). As you've probably read or heard by now, there is NO CD or DVD drive built in. Instead Apple sells a very light and compact USB external SuperDrive (dual layer DVD burner) for $99. Or you can use your own USB optical drive if you have one-- it needs to be the kind that provides its own power (plugs into an AC outlet). We tested two different external drives (a Sony external drive and the compact Ridata Quattro drive) and they worked fine. We used the Sony external dual layer DVD drive to install Windows Vista via Boot Camp with no problems. Alternatively, the MacBook Air's Mac OS X DVD comes with Mac and Windows drivers that allow you to share any machine's optical drive that's on the same network (this won't work for installing Windows or playing music or movies but it does work for everything else, including installing software and Mac OS X). If you need to burn DVDs on the road, the Air isn't the best machine for the job unless you want to carry the Apple SuperDrive and bring your total toting weight closer to 4 pounds. But if you're the kind of person who rarely uses the DVD drive when traveling, it makes more sense. And of course, Apple wants you to buy or rent iTunes movies for those plane rides.
Port door dropped down.
There is no built-in Ethernet port. Apple sells a $29 USB Ethernet dongle adapter that handles 10/100 Ethernet with a standard RJ45 jack. We've seen other tiny notebooks and ultralights with no built-in Ethernet port, but the required dongle is usually in the box-- stingy Apple. WiFi is the way to go, or a USB WAN (cellular data) stick like the Sierra Wireless Aircard 595U on Sprint. Speaking of which, we don't mind the lack of a built-in WAN card. We'd rather choose our carrier and not be tied to an internal WAN card that may become outdated.
There's 1 USB port, a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a micro-DVI monitor-out port. That's it. If you use a Bluetooth mouse, life will be easier since that frees up a USB port. If you need to use 2 USB devices at the same time, you'll need a USB hub or a Y-adapter (we used Ridata's Yego Y adapter, which is compact and has a 1 gig flash drive built in). Serious musicians won't be happy with the lack of a 3.5mm line in-- only USB mics and converters will work.
There's no battery door or latch because you can't swap the battery. That requires some disassembly and you can take it into an Apple store where they'll replace it for $129. That does little good for cross-country and trans-Atlantic travelers sitting in an airline seat with no power outlet. Apple claims the MacBook Air can run up to 5 hours on a charge, which is optimistic: so far we've been getting 3hours and 40 minutes on the "normal" power setting at mid-brightness under Mac OS and the "balanced" setting under Vista on the HDD drive model, and 4 hours with the SSD. This is with WiFi and Bluetooth on doing light web browsing and working with Office documents. Streaming video and playing video from the drive reduce runtimes and does gaming.
Clearly, the MacBook Air isn't meant to be a desktop replacement. If you need all the ports, drives and integrated card readers of a full size notebook, then consider a MacBook, MacBook Pro or Windows notebook. This is a travel and couch machine, a secondary or tertiary machine. If you want something incredibly light and thin that doesn't compromise on the display and keyboard sizes, with a much faster CPU than most ultralights and subnotebooks, then consider the Air.
Horsepower and Performance
Here's a touchy subject: ultraportables almost universally run on slower CPUs. The MacBook Air is definitely the slowest Mac in the current Apple lineup, but it's nonetheless a powerful machine that's faster than competing 3 pound and under notebooks. The MBA is available with either the 1.6 or 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo and this is not the ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) CPU that runs slower. Intel designed a shrunk down 65nm Merom processor (the Intel P7500) to fit in the Air and it runs on the Intel Santa Rosa 965GMS platform. The CPU has 4 megs of level 2 cache and an 800MHz FSB just like the MacBook, MacBook Pro and Santa Rosa Windows notebooks. The MacBook Air is about as fast as the last generation MacBook and is similar in CPU and chipset specs to Windows notebooks released in the spring to summer of 2007. That means it's no slouch and both models are extremely responsive using the Finder, playing iTunes content including 720p streaming QuickTime content, surfing the web, using MS Office 2008 and working with 10 meg images in Photoshop CS3. This is not a desktop replacement or power user's notebook suitable for serious movie making, 3D design and CAD work, but it's fine for lesser tasks. Streaming QuickTime trailers in 1080p is decent in terms of playback, though pointless unless you're using an external monitor since 1080p's resolution at 1900 pixels wide doesn't fit on screen. There's quite a bit of buffering even over 802.11n for 1080p, so we suggest downloading the trailer to the drive first rather than streaming.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and MacBook Air.
MagSafe port on the MacBook Air.
Extremely light and compact charger.
Bottom of the Air: look ma, no battery compartment!
We were concerned that the 4200 parallel ATA drive would be deadly slow but we've experienced no lagging launching applications, loading large game resources from the drive or playing movies stored on the drive. It is a bit slower than other current Mac notebooks installing software and deleting large numbers of files (3,000+) from the trash, but not horrendously slow. Why does the MacBook Air use a 1.8" low RPM PATA single platter drive? Because that's all that would fit. The drive formats to 74 gigs with 56.8 gigs free from the factory (iLife 08 uses a few gigs). There's enough space to install Vista and still have room for apps on both partitions and some multimedia files but not a 30 gig iTunes library.
The 64 gig SSD drive version with the 1.8GHz processor is obscenely fast launching applications-- nothing comes close in the world of conventional hard drives and even the Mac Pro seems slow in comparison. The SSD drive is comprised of memory rather than hard disk platters and that's why it's so fast. It won't help speed up processor-intensive tasks like encoding a song or video however. But it doesn't care if you shake the computer up and down all day long since there are no moving parts. SSD drives are found in some ThinkPad, Vaio and Dell notebooks but they're still relatively new to the market. They cost an arm and a leg: the 64 gig drive used in the Air costs between $900 and $1,000 if purchased separately. Is it worth it? At the current price point, it's not worth it to me, but for those who literally use the notebook on the go bouncing and bumping or need that speed boost, the answer might be yes. 64 gigs is currently the highest capacity drive available in the 1.8" size as of Feb. 2008, and that's tight. For those who need to install Windows, you won't have room for more than a set of core applications (Office, Adobe Creative Suite) on each partition and a bare minimum of music and videos. The drive formats out to 55 gigs with 38 gigs free from the factory. You can get rid of any Apple apps you won't use (say some of the iLife 08 suite) to recover up to a gig.
We benchmarked both the 1.6GHZ and 1.8GHz models using XBench 1.3 under Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (as shipped) under the "normal" power setting while plugged in. here are the results:
MacBook Air 1.6GHz, 80 gig HDD
Thread Test: 153.79
Memory (system): 129.21
Memory (stream): 128.92
Quartz Graphics: 93.18
Open GL Graphics: 13.66
User Interface Elements Test: 106.26
(sequential read and write): 34.45
Disk (random read and write): 10.72
Disk random uncached write (4k blocks): 3.26
Disk random uncached write (256k blocks): 41.56
Disk uncached read (4k blocks): 41.89
Disk uncached read (256k blocks): 54.72
MacBook Air 1.8GHz, 64 gig SSD
Thread Test: 167.43
Memory (system): 130.23
Memory (stream): 131.89
Quartz Graphics: 97.84
Open GL Graphics: 13.77
User Interface Elements Test: 134.87
(sequential read and write): 43.81
Disk (random read and write): 59.34
Disk random uncached write (4k blocks): 22.62
Disk random uncached write (256k blocks): 54.59
Disk uncached read (4k blocks): 950.97
Disk uncached read (256k blocks): 263.30
As you can see, the processor speed bump results in a small bump in the CPU benchmark, but the really impressive data is the disk drive read speeds on the SSD model which are off the chart. For comparison, a Mac Pro with the stock SATA 250 gig Seagate drive has an uncached 4k block read result of 90.17, 10x slower than the SSD! SSD drives are not fast at writing data to the drive and has a result those numbers are less exciting though the 4k block write is much, much faster than the 80 gig HDD.
Intel's integrated X3100 graphics are pretty good by integrated standards. It's perfect for office and web work and with its 3D acceleration it can handle moderate gaming. Age of Empires III ran fine under both Mac OS and Windows as did Rise of Nations III. But we wouldn't expect much from F.E.A.R. or other super-demanding titles. This is not the notebook for playing the most demanding 3D titles.
Vista on the MacBook Air
We installed Windows Vista Ultimate on the 1.6GHz Air using our Sony external dual layer DVD drive and Boot Camp. Installation went without a hitch and the entire process took about an hour (that's average for Vista). We then used the Leopard disc 1 to install the Windows drivers (insert the disc and installation starts automatically with your permission). Most drivers are on the disc-- and one Intel controller driver was reported as problematic by Vista. But after 100 megs of Windows updates, the Intel driver issue was cured. WiFi, Bluetooth, graphics and everything else worked properly. Though Vista shows an Apple multi-touch trackpad driver, there are no settings or control panel for the trackpad and no gesture (i.e: pinch) support (likely Apple will release new drivers in the coming months).
The MacBook Air runs Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
We were shocked at how well Vista Ultimate ran on the 1.6GHz MacBook Air. It was snappy and responsive, unlike most ultraportables we've tested and reviewed. We installed the 64 bit edition of Vista on the 1.8GHz SSD and were likewise pleased. Our 1.8GHz tester swore off his Vaio TZ after using Vista on the Air thanks to the serious performance improvements. We benchmarked the machine using the Windows Experience Index and PCMark 05 on the 1.6GHz Air (balanced power setting).
Windows Experience Index (1.6GHZ MacBook Air (1.8GHz in parenthesis when different):
Processor: 4.6 (4.7)
Gaming graphics: 3.5
HDD: 4.4 (the SSD got a 5.3)
PCMark 05 (1.6GHz MacBook Air):
2715 PC Marks
Comparing the Ultraportables
The MacBook Air compares very favorably to other ultraportables on the market, most of which 1) cost a pretty penny, 2) make concessions in their effort to get so small. The engineering and custom component cost of super-light and super-small notebooks costs money, and they run $2,000 to $3,600 with few exceptions. We won't compare the Air to UMPCs, which are in a different (pocketable and even lower performance) category, but we'll look at a few popular ultraportables that are light, thin and relatively small. If you're completely devoted to Mac OS, don't bother reading this section .
MacBook Air vs. the Sony Vaio TZ
The Vaio TZ series runs $2,199 to $3,699 with most models in the series costing $2,399 to $2,999. The TZ measures only 10.9 x 7.8 inches and has an 11" display which is well suited to tiny tray tables in coach. It's significantly thicker at 0.8" - 1.17", and at 2.76 pounds, weighs a few ounces less than the Air. The added thickness gets you a dual layer DVD drive inside, the room for a removable battery and an additional USB plus FireWire port. The machine is an engineering achievement and has been one of my favorites since the earlier TX line. The usability drawbacks are significant: the display is a bit hard to read at 1366 x 768 on 11.1 inches and the keyboard isn't nearly standard size (though it's not horrid either). The real drawback with the TZ, as with other really small notebooks is the processing power: the 1.2 to 1.33GHz Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duo CPU (a big step up from the Vaio TX's Core Solo nonetheless) is slow. Vista Business edition isn't exactly responsive, but rather just barely usable. The MacBook Air screams in comparison with significantly better benchmarks. Sony's TZ with a 64 gig SSD costs $3,500 compared to the MBA's $3,100.
The MacBook Air on top of the Sony Vaio SZ650 notebook.
MacBook Air vs. the Sony Vaio SZ
Here's the battle of the ultraportable 13" notebooks, though the Sony weighs a full pound more. We've got both in house and the weight difference is noticeable. What the SZ gives you as another of Sony's engineering marvels is most of the amenities of a full size notebook for that extra pound and added thickness (1 to 1.5" thick). The SZ line could be a desktop replacement unless you're a really hardcore gamer (see our review of the Sony Vaio SZ650). It has a fast Core 2 Duo, an internal optical drive, the same glossy 1280 x 800 LED backlit display specs and more ports. If you really need a powerful machine for more than web surfing, MS Office, email and light to moderate Photoshop work, the Vaio SZ which sells for an average of $2,200 to $2,500 is it. Note that there's no SSD drive option on the SZ, only a hybrid drive option. But it's not nearly as portable in terms of weight and thickness as the Air. Features take up space and weight, plain and simple. But it's one powerful machine. The same is true of the 4 pound Dell XPS M1330 which is in a larger and heavier class than that Air but offers many features in a 13" non-slim design.
The MacBook Air and Sony Vaio SZ650 13" notebook.
MacBook Air vs. the Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 and Toshiba Portege R500
The Toshiba R500 (look for our review in the coming weeks) is a 12.1" ultraportable that's very light at 2.4 pounds with an internal optical drive and 1.72 pounds without. The 64 gig SSD version sells for $2,699 (no optical drive) to $3,000 with internal optical drive and the conventional hard drive model with optical drive is $2,149. You shed even more weight with the R500 but once again, lose out in the CPU department with the machine running on a 1.2GHz Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duo with a 533MHz FSB (this is one of the reasons Toshiba also offers the machine with Windows XP which runs more easily on that CPU than Vista). The 12.1" Portege measures 11.1 x 8.5 x .77 to 1.0 inches (not counting the feet) and it has more USB ports plus FireWire.
The Fujitsu LifeBook P1510 and now the P1620 are cult classics of portability with a touch screen. They are not easy on the eyes however, with less sharp displays than the other machines mentioned here. The display measures only 8.9" at 1280 x 768, and this is a notebook for those with very good eyes. Even then, you wouldn't want to stare at the tiny text all day long. It's quite small at 9.13” x 6.57” x 1.36” and weighs 2.2 to 2.5 pounds, depending on the battery. There's no optical drive inside and no room for one, and the drive is a PATA hard drive like the MacBook Air (there's no SSD option). Once again, miniaturization takes its toll and the machine's 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo ULV running on the older Intel 945GMS chipset struggles with Vista and is better suited to XP. The MacBook Air runs circles around it. It does have 2 USB ports and the Ethernet port is built-in though. The price is $2,224 for a P1620 with 1 gig of RAM and an 80 gig PATA hard drive.
As you can see, ultraportable and subnotebooks aren't cheap and in fact often cost more than the Air. They all have tradeoffs, be it weight and added size to offer more ports and power in the Vaio SZ, or very slow CPUs that pale in comparison to the MacBook Air. Ultraportables come in different sizes, shapes and configurations because we each have different needs and desires, so I wouldn't say one is better than another. But economically, the base MBA is less expensive than the alternatives.
We're ultralight lovers here and we love the MacBook Air. While it makes compromises as all subnotebooks do, 3 key elements are uncompromised: display size, keyboard and processing power. The Air is thinner than numbers can express, so goreous it belongs in the museum of modern art and light enough for those with bad backs or chronic jet lag. Ultraportables aren't for everyone: they cost more and lose features in the process of getting small and light, but for those who want or need one, the Air is among the best. We're thrilled that Apple has joined Sony in the the "Think Different" subnotebook camp. Once you use one, you just might find it hard to go back to a traditional laptop.
Pro: Fantastic good looks and so thin and uniquely designed that it doesn't look like a computer. Sturdy aluminum casing, very fast performance by ultralight and subnotebook standards. Lovely and bright LED display, innovative multi-touch trackpad is useful and easy to use. WiFi 802.11n for fast wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR for peripherals (free up that USB port) and using a mobile phone as a high speed modem. Backlit keyboard is handy as is the iSight camera for Skype and iChat. Uncompromised keyboard and display for an ultraportable. Serious chic and geek factor for those who want to impress the Starbucks crowd. The SSD option puts the Air at the forefront of mobile computing (and yes, it's wildly expensive to be there). Competitively priced among ultraportables. Mac OS X is a fantastic OS, and we're happy finally see it in an ultralight notebook. And we won't even get into the relative stability, speediness and lack of virii...
Con: Limited ports, no internal optical drive. Ethernet adapter isn't in the box, it requires a $29 separate purchase. Battery isn't swappable for those who need a spare on the road for long trips and the Air won't last a 6 hour flight. Hard drive space is limited on both models.
Price: $1,799 for the 1.6GHz, 80 gig MacBook Air and
$3,098 $2,598 for the 1.8GHz SSD Original Model MacBook Air. Current models priced much lower.
Web Site: www.apple.com
Display: 13.3" LED backlit color display with automatic brightness control (manual brightness option is there as well). Native resolution 1280 x 800, supports millions of colors (32 bit). Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics with 144 megs of shared memory. DVI out capable of driving monitors up to 23".
Ion rechargeable, not user replaceable. Apple stores can replace it for $129. Compact 45 watt Apple MagSafe world charger included with smaller connector to fit the Air.
Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz processor or Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz processor (custom 65nm Merom Intel P7500), both with 800MHz FSB and 4 megs level 2 cache. Intel 965GMS chipset with specially resized CPU to fit in the Air (this is not a ULV processor). 2 gigs DDR2 667MHz RAM soldered to motherboard, not upgradable.
Drives: 80 gig 1.8" 4200 RPM PATA drive or 64 gig SSD drive. 80 gig HDD formats to 74.5 gigs and the 64 gig SSD formats to 55 gigs. Has sudden motion sensor to park hard drive on HDD model. Optional $99 external USB SuperDrive dual layer DVD drive (reads and writes CDs and DVDs).
Size: 12.8 x 8.94 inches. The thickness is 0.16 to 0.76 inches. Weight: 3 pounds.
Keyboard and Trackpad: Full size notebook keyboard with 78 keys, 12 Fn keys, 4 arrow keys. Number row is above letter keys. Oversized trackpad with multi-touch gesture support similar to iPhone and iPod Touch.
Camera: Integrated iSight web cam with mic.
in mono speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
jack. Intel High Definition Audio chipset.
WiFi 802.11n "AirPort Extreme" (also compatible with 802.11a/b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR (Broadcom).
Software: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. iLife 08 (iPhoto, Garage Band, iWeb, iMovie HD, iDVD). OS X applications include Safari, Mail, Preview (PDF and image viewer), Time Machine (backup application), iCal calendar, Address Book, QuickTime, Front Row, iChat, Dashboard, Spotlight and Xcode developer tools.
In the Box: MacBook Air, MagSafe world charger, micro-DVI to DVI adapter, micro-DVI to VGA adapter, 2 system software install/restore DVDs with Boot Camp drivers and optical drive sharing software on disc 1, polishing cloth, printed guide.