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CNET First Look
Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, June 2012)The $999 11-inch Air is still the cheapest MacBook in town, and it's faster and better than ever: but is it too small for everyday use? Either way, you'll want to pay up to increase the size of that lowly 64GB SSD.
I -- Scott Stein -- what I have here is the 201211. Inch MacBook Air is now the MacBook Air has been around. Since the fall of 2010. And has changed -- design one bit. Now on the other hand. It is still really -- to look and -- cnet's offices a lot of people looking over my shoulder to see what exactly this was. Because it is smaller -- -- slimmer -- -- your Mini Cooper cool convertible laptop. That just seems a little smaller than possible for a MacBook. And the performance to its credit is really about the same level as a thirteen inch MacBook Air. It's point one gigahertz slower in the -- core I five configuration. Which -- not gonna notice. And there's -- a bump up in speed thanks to third generation Intel processors that are now in all -- products. You can also get the same ram configuration the same storage. As you could in the thirteen inch model what your losing here. Is an SD card slot which might matter to a few people. And more importantly battery life this lasts two hours less on a battery charge than the thirteen inch model that being said. Hubble's five and half hours of battery life is really good -- do just fine for a lot of people but it's not that seven hours plus -- your gonna see on the thirteen inch. On the other hand you're gonna be saving a hundred dollars on this for the equivalent configuration. To some people looking to get the cheapest MacBook possible -- this happens to be it. The lowest end model of the eleven inch MacBook Air is 999. Now that sounds like a great value if you're looking to buy -- general use laptop unfortunately. This one is still saddled with a 64 gigabyte SSD that's really too small for most people I mean come on. -- -- I had -- in your base operating system installed and apps you're not gonna have more than me B two thirds of that space available and it's gonna go like that. But if you are you know hooking up an external drive maybe you can get by with it I would pick the 128 gigabyte model at minimum. The good news is that. That version is 1099 this year a hundred dollars less than last year's -- -- 99. But you still want it probably consider upgrading also consider that the ram and -- in here or either impossible to upgrade or very very difficult upgrade. So choose your configuration carefully. If you take this thing all the way up to its maximum configuration. You're gonna be laying down 2149. Dollars. That is a lot of change you get a Retina Display MacBook Pro for that amount of money. But know that if you're spending in that lower end of the scale for the eleven inch air you're getting a machine that is performing at the scale of a regular ultra book -- larger screen laptop it is every bit as fast. It feels great. And this keyboard has made no compromises and is an edge to edge. Full size keyboard that you find on any other MacBook like the MacBook Air the track has a little bit smaller. But that's what they've really made great effort to fit in here they are getting -- a large bezel around -- eleven point six inch screen. But don't worry about that keyboard it's gonna feel great. -- what's changed since last year while that slight bump up in processor speed little better battery life USB three point oh ports one on each side. And that's about it if there's also a different charge ports you're gonna have to use different cables the one -- -- -- -- MacBook and an -- to line adapter for hooking up to other. MagSafe accessories that you have in your column which is in knowing what hasn't changed -- a -- the size and shape. At 2.3 pounds about a pound heavier than the Retina Display iPad so really not that heavy at all. And on its look at the same thunderbolt connector here -- overall. It's exciting it's still very sexy but for people are gonna -- using this is there all round laptop that low storage where have to pay up to upgrade to. And the fact that it's got a smaller screen and a smaller battery life. Me -- you over to want to get a MacBook Air in the thirteen inch varieties instead I'm Scott Stein and that's a look. An eleven inch 2012. MacBook Air.