What Can a MacBook Air Do?
Just a few months ago you might have responded “what can’t it do?!" but a lot has changed over the intervening period. Portable computers have been proven to perform better and better, and with the excellent range of standard form-factor MacBooks the MacBook Air is looking increasingly left behind.
This doesn’t mean that the build is poor, only that you get the feeling that Apple is holding out. The 11 inch base model, for instance, comes with a 1.6 GHz (i5-2467M) dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3 MB shared L3 cache, rising to 1.8 GHz (i7-2677M) dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4 MB shared L3 on the higher-end model (there are two sizes of MacBook Air with 11 inch and 13 inch screens).
Meanwhile, you’ll find 2 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM in the 11" base model, rising to an optional 4 GB (the same as in the other models).
The real problem comes with the SSD. Using a solid-state drive was a master-stroke, something that has proven a popular piece of hardware allowing for fast and reliable booting and general use, however the limit on capacity – the most you can get on any model is 256 GB – by now is a joke. This is mainly due to the fact that Apple uses a specific connector type, but offering this level of storage when a new MacBook Pro offers up to 320 GB is just baffling. After all, if a buyer is willing to purchase a MacBook Air, surely stretching the price for a larger capacity SSD isn’t a problem?
Graphics-wise, the MacBook Air comes with an Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 256 MB DDR3 SDRAM (on the 11" base model) increasing to 384 MB, and the computer comes with the usual headphone jack, SD card slot, a Thunderbolt port and, unsurprisingly, two USB 2.0 ports. Clearly Apple are banking on Thunderbolt over the slower USB 3.0, despite the latter being backwards compatible.
You should be able to find the basic 11 inch model for $999, rising to $1,599.00 for the fully-specced 13 inch version.