I was looking for a way to justify getting a MacBook Air ever since the product was announced. The main reason being the weight, size, the ability to open a terminal session to my hosted env and being able to get some coding done.
The iPad ticks the boxes for size, weight and battery life but is a pretty unpleasant experience for ssh and coding.
I’ve tried carrying around my MacBook Pro 17” on a daily basis and it just results in a a sore back, I’ve tried a HP Mini (see previous blog posts) and while it fits the bill in terms of portability the keyboard wasn’t really up to scratch for continuous typing and the battery life was shocking, on the plus side it was cheap.
Last weekend I finally gave in and bought the MBA from Myer Chermside. Why Myer you may ask? That is simple with the credit card I get an extended warranty and some insurance, I have a Myer One rewards card so i get about $20 back as a gift card and they will negotiate on price, 3% in fact (about $35 AUD, better than nothing) and there is no random clapping by the apple store employees when making a purchase.
The keyboard, it is lovely to type on and full size. The keys are where you expect them to be when coming from another mac so there is no need to relearn where to tap. This is really an excellent design feature of the MBA. The only negative with the keyboard are the function keys, they feel cheap and “plastic-y” in that they wobble when you press them at the wrong angle.
Its solid, just like the others in the MacBook range the Air is a uni-body laptop and it shows. There is nothing that feels flimsy about the case and you feel confident just to throw it in the bag and it wont be damaged.
The display is bright and easy to read at all viewing angles, not too much to add here beyond the expected high quality from the apple portables.
Video streaming over wifi of HD video was seamless and played without jumping or stuttering in VLC, however the home wireless is 802.11n so i would not expect to have bandwidth issues.
Battery life is yet to be seen, but first impressions are that it lives up to its expected 5 hours of productive life.
So far i am very happy with Apple’s sub-notebook.
I’ll include some more information about what its like get some development work done in the next post.