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MacBook Air 11-inch: The Mercedes Benz of netbooks

MacBook Air 11-inch vs. other netbooks

The Apple MacBook Air 11-inch has broken new ground for netbooks. See why and learn its one major flaw. (The other netbooks in this photo are, from top to bottom, the HP Mini-Note, the Dell Mini and the ASUS N10.)

Photo credit: Jason Hiner

Read the full review: 11-inch MacBook Air: This is what a netbook should look like

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

27 comments
yooper
yooper

Let us please suspend the Mac Vs. PC rant for a moment because I have a very interesting question. First off, I'm some what farmilar with Apple products although I don't own any. My question is, what the heck is the deal with Ipod's for example when the battey goes dead or no longer charges, you send the Ipod somewhere to get a new battey BUT they send you a different unit!? I know I'm going to get shot down with specifics here, but why the heck can't you go to a store and buy a new battery and replace it? That's the number one thing I don't like about Apple products, the lack of custumization.

mnemennth
mnemennth

Apple has no desire to become purveyors of true netbooks; that would place them at odds with the "aspirational brand" niche they've carved out for themselves. Would you expect Mercedes Benz to suddenly start shipping Yugos just because everybody wants a cheap car? No. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and chimpanzees.

Cyberspice
Cyberspice

1) It's not a netbook. With the SSD and the 40 micron Core 2 duo it performs similarly to a 2GHz dual core laptop. 2) They didn't use an i3 because they have a 'special' core 2 duo with a smaller die size. Its more suitable for the use. 3) Apple were the first company to use solely USB on a machine (the original iMac). They were an early adopter of USB and all machines since then have had it. 4) Drop it and it will be fine. I through my Unibody mac book across a station whilst falling and breaking my wrist. My wrist was not fine. My mac got a small scrape but that is all. A completely solid state machine is *more* reliable. 5) What over heating issue. Its got a fecking heat sink as a case!! 6) My Macs on the whole last twice as long as my PCs. So even if they cost twice as much they're still worth it. 7) USB 3.0 is *not* standard yet. Intel will not be including it in chipsets until 2011. 8) VGA is old hat. Okay the machine uses Apple's micro display port (a variation on display port which is a standard) but there's enough machines out there using it that adapters are relatively cheap. Display port supports dual port DVI and HDMI. Finally if you don't like it no one's making you buy one. But don't be so insecure as to have to rubbish it just because you don't want one. Or do you secretly want one but can't afford it ;-)

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Mercedes Benz - except for the functionality. Old CPU, no connectors to "normal" DVI/VGA/HDMI screens [without an adapter], unreplacable battery, small SSD drive, but triple or more the price of most netbooks. Drop it and it's toast.

drrtybyl
drrtybyl

Apple portables have a notorious motherboard failure rate due to inadequate cooling. Will target disk boot mode be sufficient for data recovery when the integrated SSD fails?

helforama
helforama

Its NOT a netbook! aaargh! I don't even own one and that is annoying me.

tacully
tacully

I wanted 1 until I found its USB is 2.0?...how could Apple overlook this, 3.0 is now the standard

BoJohnson01
BoJohnson01

In Deutchland only taxi drivers and prostitutes drive the Mercedes Benz! Its an image thing.

lkozlowski
lkozlowski

As long as there are enough Apple religionistas, why not charge a BIG premium for the fanboys,

bryan
bryan

The Apple MacBook Air 11 has not broken new ground in the Netbook market. It is not a Netbook. It falls into the ultra portable notebook class. Apples own box calls it a Notebook. It is not running a low power Atom or equivalent as all Netbooks do. The Air 11 is running a full blown Intel Core 2 Duo. My question is why didn't they go with a i3? Good looking but not a netbook. It competes with Notebooks such as the HP Elite 2540p and 2740p 12.1" display Notebooks. They are both running i5's for the same price range. The real unique feature of the Airbook 11 is the permanently mounted Flash storage. Other manufacutures such as HP offer physically removable solid state or disk spinning hard drives.

juntunen
juntunen

I should have seen that coming. Holy moly.

tacully
tacully

Mercedes builds the smart car

tacully
tacully

I want one as a travel companion to my 20 laptop that I use for presentations, just wanted one *without* old technology - so I wait for the 3.0 version

loren
loren

If your a corporation, you call apple and demand emends. I suspect they will oblige. If you are a regular person, you go to the apple store and demand emends. I suspect they will oblige. I do recommend buying applecare. It's an extended warranty. Frequently, if you use AmEx for a purchase, applecare is extended even longer.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Traditionally, Mac's have a single multi purpose port that requires dongles for different uses. Having a USB port just seems odd.

mjc5
mjc5

Isn't it about time that folks gave up on the "Mac religion" thing? We so often sound like some good ol' boys at the country store, spittin 'baccy on the stove, and arguing about Fords versus Chevies. The world has room for aesthetics, the world also has room for those who like other parameters. There are also different things that the different tools do.

Happy Dog
Happy Dog

After being a "road warrior" corporate consultant for several years, and a corporate staff internal consultant, I've used IBM's, Dell, Toshiba, HP, and even Gateway laptops/notebooks. My current HP dv6 1053d entertainment notebook is my last MS OS computer. Once I dump this one following the extended warranty, I'm buying only Apple for reliability and performance. It is way too frustrating dealing with Microsoft offshore tech support personnel who know less than they should and the communication barrier is unbelievable. Enough said!

george-barna
george-barna

The exorbitant prices Apple charge for their products Applecare is a ripoff. They should last for three years, period.

jkiernan
jkiernan

Add $249 for AppleCare, raising the base price to $1,248 for the 11" and $1,548 for the 13".

panda
panda

Only one question: where is the workshop place ? Is there any church or temple? Or Apple Corporate office in Cupertino? Technically speaking, the Mac OS X is based on Unix, a very robust and stable Operating System. Many of the opinions are given by people who do not have enough knowledge about technology. Remember, variety is the spice of life...even for ignorants.

glenstorm_98
glenstorm_98

The reality is that Apple does make a superior product. People that can't admit it have to "shoot the messenger" because they lack a real ground on which to insist there's no substantive difference. I just say there's a reason why a Mercedes costs more than a Yugo. Hurling epithets like "fanboy" and "religionista" is a cop-out, plain and simple. Do I have a PC? Of course. I learned desktop computing on PCs back in the early 80's at least five years before I ever saw a Mac--so don't accuse me of preferring what I had first. And I still keep a PC around for customer work that can't be done on a Mac (like MS Access development or Visio diagramming). But any time I have a choice, why should I limp along in a Chebby when I have a Bimmer in the garage? For my money, Apple does one thing better than any other vendor. It gives me a consistent user experience that's neither agggravating, irritating nor annoying; they just work. I use computers for what they can do for me, not any excitement I can get out of forcing them to do something that makes me feel geeky. If I need to, I can easily write scripts in Perl or C-shell, etc. to create functionality, set up cron jobs, etc. Pretty much anything that BSD Unix supports.

loren
loren

I think it's unhealthy to "love" or "hate" a platform. It's just a tool. It's not a social relationship or a political alliance, and we shouldn't treat it as if it is. *Arguing* over one platform over another platform, is like debating the merits of vanilla ice cream vs. chocolate ice cream. It's a personal choice and personal preference. If you really like the Mac and the software you need is available and you can afford a Mac, get one: otherwise, buy a Windows machine. However, I always recommend that people should be compatible with work and/or school. Now, when it comes to a business environment, a logical rational decision must be made. If the software you *must* run for business is only available for Windows, while you could run Windows on the Mac, it doesn't make much sense to have Macs running Windows just for the sake of having a Macs. The opposite is true also. Yes, Macintosh users are known to be fanatical. The Apple technology is tightly controlled, tightly integrated and easy to use; there is a premium to be paid for this. The Apple products are pretty darn stable, easy to use, not prone to much malware or hacking. Can they be problematic? Yes, as can Windows. However, in today's world, especially in the IT industry, one should be very comfortable using Windows, Mac and more and more Unix. If you can administer 2 or 3 of these platforms, you're not going to be unemployed. Finally, if you really and truly *hate* one platform- all of which have pros and cons- go see a therapist. Seriously! In today's strange world, we are leaning towards electronic communications over interpersonal contact and communications. I'm scared. I like technology but I don't like what it's doing to our species.

Derteufel
Derteufel

I have both, and there are things I like more bout each, and there are things that one does better than the other. Im not hurling the epithets, but you described yoursefl as a "fanboy". The reason these seem to exist is because some cant stop talking and trying to prove something, just as you seem to have here.