Apple’s slimmest laptop thins out its software
We reviewed Apple's last Macbook Air just over seven months ago, but this latest version has some new hardware and the latest version of Apple's OS X operating system.
The inclusion of the latest version of the operating system, OS X Lion, is the most important change, and it worked well on the Macbook Air. It takes its cues from the hugely successful iOS that runs on Apple's iPhone and iPad products.
The large, glass touchpad comes into its own, supporting a number of gestures that can be used to navigate through the various new features and making the Macbook Air feel a lot like an iPad with a keyboard. While it doesn't have a touch-sensitive screen, the touch does allow it to do a good job of mimicking one.
Under the bonnet, the new Macbook Air line-up has been equipped with the latest Intel Core processors. The version we reviewed, which costs £999, has an Intel Core i5-2467M dual-core processor and 4GB of memory. The previous version of the Macbook Air was fast and this latest edition was just as speedy. It zipped through most tasks and the new operating system made it feel slick and more enjoyable to use.
As with previous models, this one uses a solid-state disk (SSD) storage rather than a heavier, slower and more power-hungry hard disk. This helped make start-up times quicker, although the downside is the 128GB SSD here adds significantly to the overall cost.
The design and look of the new-model Macbook Air are almost identical to those of the one. The screen was superb and the keyboard was comfortable for typing despite being quite shallow. We continue to be impressed by the slimline design, which measures 0.3cm at its thinnest point and is certainly striking.
Some other changes have been made to the hardware: the Mini Displayport socket has been replaced with a Thunderbolt socket, which can be used to connect external displays, network cables and external hard disks, as well as a range of other devices.
However, as it is still in its infancy few devices support Thunderbolt and those that do are expensive. In any case, even though the presence of the socket gives the Macbook Air more connection options, you still need to shell out more money for expensive adapters that sit between your device and the Thunderbolt socket. The computer also has two USB sockets, a memory card reader and can connect to wireless networks and Bluetooth devices.
This is an excellent but expensive laptop, but it is a pleasure to use and looks great.
Read more reviews
A portable laptop that's beautifully designed, but the price is high
Excellent slimline design; great operating system; good specifications
Expensive; not many connections and sockets
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