Pros Size and weight are fabulous - love the full size keyboard, SD card slot - display is fabulous - very fast - runs iphoto without difficulty - web surfing is very fast - very comfortable to use in bed or slumped on the couch or at a desk
Cons some video downloads are stuttering - wish i had more hard drive room for photos - no word processor software - i miss the right click feature from PCs
Summary I bought the ipad the first week it came out but took it back after two weeks because of the lack of flash video support and the lack of a keyboard - I could not get used to typing on the touch screen and was always getting the wrong letter and it was very frustrating to fill out web forms. Also the device felt uncomfortable in my hands to me and i couldn't find a comfortable reading angle in bed. I bought the attachable keyboard for the ipad but that sucked because who wants to carry a keyboard around, and again not good if computing in bed. I am on the road and airplane a lot and this MACbook AIR is the perfect solution for me. I have had it for 5 days now and I am addicted to it. I got the 13 inch because of the bigger screen and hard drive and faster processor and the SD card slot. The 11 inch was cute but I am getting older and so are my eyes. So far it is very fast and I especially love the rapid boot up - but I do worry about space with all my photos and music. I am a PC user at work and after using the AIR for 3 days I want to throw my PC in the toilet. the air seems sturdy but time will tell. It is much lighter than my partners Macbook pro and seems just as fast on most functions and much faster on boot up. It is way faster than my dell pc. Only downsides so far: I cant believe for this price there is no basic word processing software! Also cant figure out how to tell how much hard drive is available easily - but this is probably just my lack of mac experience. battery lasted for over 5 hours - again better than my PC but not as long as Apple claims.
Pros NOT a netbook!
MORE than enough power and features for 90% of all users
Great trackpad, keyboard, display
Cons 11" screen is tough on older eyes (but 13" doesn't cost a lot more)
Summary This ain't anybody's "netbook." This is a full-featured computer, capable of running everything you're already running on your desktop computer. It's more powerful than anything you had on your desk just 3 years ago. It's got a fast processor - more than fast enough for just about anything. It's got decent storage (the 128GB), and RAM. It costs more than a crapboo- uh, netbook computer because it's a LOT MORE computer.
The carping about no SD slot is foolish. First, who really uses it? (That's rhetorical, so both of you who do use it please save your comments). Second, if portability is important enough that you'd consider a MAcBook Air, you've probably spent 40 bucks on an Eye-Fi card. The lack of multiple video connectors is also a red herring. You can spend 15 bucks for an adapter, but why would you want HDMI? This computer doesn't have an optical drive, so if you want to view movies you wouldn't buy it anyway.
The Air gives you exactly what you NEED to get your work done, but doesn't bother with the bells and whistles we rarely use. It does it in a phenomenally small package and at a GREAT VALUE.
Pros -Extremely thin and tapered design
-Very fast (for a laptop that thin), flash storage still amazes me
-Silent, manages to stay relatively cool
-Instant on isn't much of a feature, I turn my Air off. Though it boots in 12 seconds.
Cons -NO SD CARD SLOT
-Narrow selection of ports
-Extremely hard to service the device (everything is soldered, only memory can be changed)
-Cannot upgrade RAM
-Speakers are shallow, slightly quieter than my liking
Summary The Good:
The 2010 Macbook Air is a big update from those over-priced, over-heating, fragile Airs we saw a couple years ago. The biggest feature is probably the use of Flash Memory, Apple designed the new Air like an iPad, they soldered almost every piece directly on the computer to save space, though sacrificing customizability. The specs look meager on paper, but it out-performs my expectations. Again, I assume it's the Flash memory that's doing alot of the work, it can boot up in ~12-15 seconds which is the fastest I've seen in a Mac or a PC. It's quiet (no spinning disk), can get warm after a while. Applications are snappy, HD video is smooth, and multitasking is enough for the average user. Trackpad is easy-to-use, multitouch gestures become second nature. iLife 11 comes preinstalled, it's really a fun set of programs. iPhoto is easily the leader of the 3 updated apps, full-screen view uses every bit of screen you can spare on the 11-inch. This thing is crazy thin, it makes Macbook Pros look dated and fat. The batteries on the Air are gigantic if you have seen the inside, 5 hours on the 11-inch. Mine does around 4 hours and 40 minutes; holds a respectable charge.This new Air is the ultraportable of the ultraportable category. Great for the coffee shop, campus, or the traveler.
Because it's so thin and light, it's very breakable. You DO NOT want to drop this, though the lack of a spinning disk might protect your data, it's not going to protect the screen. I tried running Aperture 3 on it which was good, but the lack of a SD card slot causes you to tangle with wires and wasting one valuable USB slot. Keyboard is great, makes a nice crisp sound when you depress it. It is NOT backlit which is a big disappointment since I use this in crazy spots which don't usually have great lighting. The iSight/Facetime camera is VGA, not as high-res at the iMac's. The screen is 16:9, the first appearance on an apple laptop. Core 2 Duo is really kinda last-gen technology, I was expecting an i3. Flash Memory is very fast but also very expensive. 64GBs of storage isn't going to archive your entire HD movie library. 2GBs of ram is the minimum recommended to run Snow Leopard, because it's unserviceable make sure to get the 4GB of RAM when you buy it.
So what is this new-fangled thing? Well Apple says this features makes shutting down obsolete because it can hibernate for 30 DAYS on one charge and can snap on instantly. I don't use this feature at all, because 1) It BOOTS UP in 15 seconds 2) Shutting down clears the RAM cache which is healthy for your system.
The Macbook Air is powerful, though not powerful enough (or have enough storage) to be the main computer for the average user. It's a nice extension of your iMac/Desktop. Dropping down to $999 and becoming Apple's second laptop to dip below the $1000 level, I can see this new device to become extremely popular.
Battery Life: 8/10
Service and Support: 7/10 (9 if easier to open, I always liked non-technobabble language at the Genius Bars)
Pros Super thin and light, high rez screen, near instant shut down and wake, feels faster than my 2.4 GHz laptop
Cons No 256KB SSD option in 11", miss the keyboard backlight
Summary Don't be fooled by the lower processor speed, SSD and fast graphics chip more than make up for it. I have the 1.6 GHz/4 GB 11.6 inch Air and it is fully the equivalent of a mid-level full size laptop for my work.In addition to being amazingly light and sturdy, this machine is fast. I have the upgraded 4GB memory and 1.6 GHz processor. Running 1080p mp4 video locally the processor is 75% idle. Running HD flash from youtube with Adobe's unaccelerated decoder the processor is 20% idle with no noticeable skipping.
You can view 1080p H.264 video without dropped frames and the CPU is more than 75% idle. Startup & performance of MS Office apps is very fast. No problem running heavy duty software development tools like eclipse.
Users who need large amounts of local disk for applications like video editing or more than 2 cpu cores for multiple virtual machines won't be well served.
The near instant startup and shutdown are invaluable. The extreme light weight and thin profile make it very comfortable on a table or in your lap in a chair or on a couch. The 16:9 screen is great for reading ebooks using Amazon's reader in two column mode.
Build quality is fabulous and up to that of my macbook pro. I was thinking about an iPad as an option for more portability, but the 11.6" air feels hardly any heavier and not much larger as well as letting me do anything that I can on my macbook pro. My pro is now relegated to the desktop and I can't imagine ever buying a big laptop again.
Updated on Nov 14, 2010
MS Office apps open in a couple of seconds and are very snappy.
Adobe Photoshop opens in 3 seconds and is very quick at editing a 15 MP image. Adobe Dreamweaver flies. Eclipse (the java application development framework) opens in less than 5 seconds.
Batter life is a real 5 to 6 hours with light editing, web surfing, and email use with the display at half .
Overall the machine feels much faster than my 2.4 GHz Macbook pro. CPU intensive work like transcoding video is only ~60% as fast.
After a couple weeks of use, I'm ready to give up my big laptop for good. I'm looking forward to an all SSD Macbook pro line next. I can't imagine buying a laptop with a disk drive again.
Pros Apps launch really fast and it's unusually quiet; both probably related to the Flash storage. Almost purchased an IPad but needed a physical keyboard. Battery life has been great. Doesn't get hot.
Cons No DVD/CD drive, No backlit keyboard