Reviews

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, Late 2010) review

In the second part of our coverage of the new MacBook Air range, we take a look at the new 11in model. Is this sleek and small ultra-portable laptop worth its high price? Read our review to find out.

Price
£850

We've already reviewed the 13in version of the MacBook Air, Apple's 1.33kg ultra-portable laptop. That model isn't the lightest, smallest Mac laptop available though that honour goes to the new 11.6in version which weighs little more than 1kg. It's more comparable in size and weight to the iPad or a netbook than it is to any other ultra-portable laptop we've seen. Carrying it around all day is almost effortless and its low height means it's more comfortable to use in cramped spaces, such as an economy-class airline seat.

Like the larger 13in model, this new Air isn't just very light, it's also eye-catchingly thin. The tapered design is just under 2cm thick at its chunkiest point and less than half a centimetre thick at its thinnest point. Despite its slender, lightweight build it feels rigid, robust and very well-made thanks to its aluminium construction.

A few compromises have been made to achieve this very low weight and slender profile. Unlike the 13in model, there's no memory card reader so if you want to copy data off SD cards then you'll need to occupy one of the two USB2 ports with an external memory card reader. Like all previous Airs, there's no built-in Ethernet or optical drive, although Apple sells a portable USB DVD writer and a USB-to-10/100Mbit/s Ethernet adapter separately.

More disappointingly, there's no built-in 3G. Not only is 3G internet access increasingly a necessity, not an optional extra, for frequent travellers, a dongle would occupy yet another precious USB port.

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