Apple MacBook Air 13 (late 2010) review: Apple MacBook Air 13 (late 2010)

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Thin profile is still great for travel. Two USB ports and SD card reader make things much more useful.

The Bad Still using the Core 2 Duo processor. Default model only comes with 2GB RAM. Wi-Fi disconnect issues.

The Bottom Line Apple's latest MacBook Air adds some much needed ports and pulls some things in line with the MacBook Pro range. It's an excellent travel laptop, but we wish it would have made the transition to Intel's Core i series.

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Apple's newest MacBook Air got a nip and tuck, a small tweak to bring it in line with the look of the current MacBook Pro. Nothing rams this point home more than the hardware inside, the fact that it's still running a Core 2 Duo being chief suspect.

This is nothing to be ashamed of, of course. Some Windows-based thin-and-light laptops still use the Core 2 Duo as a way to keep heat and cost down (although they're now transitioning to Core i3 and i5), while still being able to achieve the svelte form factor that the MacBook Air pioneered in the first place. This time around though Apple has boosted its 9400M graphics solution to the GeForce 320M, also found in the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Our particular review sample comes with 2GB RAM and a 128GB flash drive. Apple's making a point of not calling it an SSD in its marketing (although OS X's Disk Utility is perfectly happy calling it thus, as is Toshiba).

All this hardware is crammed into a unibody aluminium shell, refined since the last iteration — it has an extra large touch pad, with single button press as per the MacBook Pro. The power button has been moved into the keyboard, sitting right next to the F12 key. The annoying flip down ports are gone, in favour of directly exposing them to the outside for easy access.

There are now two USB ports instead of one, a headphone jack, SD card reader and Mini DisplayPort out. Sadly, it doesn't inherit the backlit keyboard or edge-to-edge glass of the MacBook Pro, and there's no dedicated microphone jack or Ethernet — all features that we feel would push the Air into true luxury zone. Admittedly, it'd likely also drive up the price and push the Air into the unattainable zone for many as well.

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Where to Buy

Apple MacBook Air 13 (late 2010)

Part Number: CNETApple MacBook Air 13 (late 2010)

Typical Price: $1,599.00

See manufacturer website for availability.