MacBook Air Hands On: First Impressions

Although the latest updates to the iLife suite were pretty impressive (I'm definitely using that new movie trailer feature), and the forthcoming Lion OS sounds exciting, Steve Jobs' "one more thing," the 2 new MacBook Airs, kind of stole the Back to the Mac show. Who does not love new hardware!? And having voted for new MacBook Airs in our recent event poll, I left Cupertino satisfied.

Being there in person was worth the trip, as I got to play around with both the 13.3- and 11.6-inch models. Find out my thoughts on the new MacBook Airs after the break.

The LED backlit screens on both models are crisp and clear and are said to come with more pixels than even the newer MacBook Pros. That's pretty amazing.

Both Airs come in at less than 3 pounds, but that does not mean that they're flimsy. The new MBA is sturdy, feeling much like the MacBook Pro in touch, but looking like a thin wedge of cheese. Mmm, cheese.

The keyboards are comfy to type on, with the 13.3-inch model coming with a full-sized keyboard, and the 11.6-inch model being slightly smaller. It feels like you're typing on a MacBook Pro, but the only downside is that the keyboard Is not backlit, so you're pretty much out of luck if you're stuck typing in the dark. Get a lamp!

FaceTime was a breeze to use, firing up right away, letting me chit chat with a friendly iPhone 4 owner. It's like iChat, but mobile!

Both MacBook Airs come with a MagSafe power connector, 2 USB ports, headphone jack, and a Mini DisplayPort, while the larger 13.3-inch model also comes with a SD card slot to easily upload your pics. There's still no Ethernet port, or optical drive, but you can buy connectors for an additional price if you need them. Best part, both models come with Wireless-N, which ensures you are getting super fast wireless connections.

Final Thoughts
I will admit it — I'm pretty infatuated with the new MacBook Air. A few years ago, Steve Jobs nixed the possibility of an Apple netbook, but the smaller Air comes pretty close — the compact design ensures I can take this baby anywhere and not strain from the weight of it. But the heart of the MacBook Air beats for the traveler. It's definitely not meant to be a workhorse where you are heavily editing photos and video and the like, but is perfect for someone who's willing to pay for a lightweight machine to tote in their carry-on, or just needs a smooth and sleek computer to have around for daily computing, blogging, word processing, or writing up term papers.


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