Reviews are already up for Apple's newest thin kingslayer—and they're good! Very good. We've rounded up the bits you need to read below.
Laptop Mag (11-inch)
It's cool and pretty quiet…When you bump up the brightness to 100 percent, you almost forget that you're looking at an 11.6-inch screen…The laptop notched a very good 60 frames per second in World of Warcraft on native resolution, although the effects defaulted to low on autodetect. When we cranked up the settings to max, the action slowed to an unplayable 22 fps…On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi on 40-percent brightness), the laptop lasted 4 hours and 46 minutes…As an ultraportable, the Air is superior in almost every way.
For sheer portability and performance, nothing can beat the 11-inch Air…The large keyboard and trackpad (the same glass version found on other MacBooks) both work well, although the function keys at the top are very small…It does boot up very, very fast—faster even than an iPad…The new 11-inch Air was very close in performance to the $1,199 entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro…if you're looking for a small, fast MacBook and don't mind paying a higher price for superior design and performance, the 2011 11-inch MacBook Air is flat-out the fastest ultraportable we've ever used.
Consistently snappy…Every time I load Photoshop and find it ready to go in about five seconds, I smile. I keep trying to stumble across a task or two that will prove that an Air is just too wimpy for some folks, but I've failed so far: it's even okay for the not-terribly-sophisticated video editing I do in iMovie…I also regret the absence of a slot for SD memory cards on the 11″ model; if it had one, I might pick that even more portable Air over its 13″ friend…Mostly, though, I think that these are the terrific portables that Apple set out to build.
The battery life is excellent. Apple says the 13-inch model should last 7 hours during regular web usage, I've been seeing just shy of that after heavy usage…It's really fast and it handles OS X Lion extremely well…I have not been able to test the Thunderbolt port yet because there simply aren't enough devices out there on the market yet…With just the right combination of portability and power, it is hands-down the best computer I've ever owned.
PC Mag (13-inch)
Its brilliance and sharpness are surpassed only by the number of pixels it packs in…As for the...ports, the Air has the bare minimum…The Air 13-inch (Thunderbolt) is perfectly adept at running any video and photo editing software package, compiling a huge database, or watching a 1080p video clip… The MacBook Air 13-inch can take on moderately-intensive 3D games (at medium settings) and run a 30-inch external monitor without skipping frames…A formidable player in the ultraportable space. But if its looks haven't seduced you yet, your money will go a lot further with the Toshiba Portege R835-P50X and Acer Aspire AS3830TG-6431.
A legitimate machine, not just a sultry looker…The keyboard...has a better feel. Keys are more springy than before, more solid and responsive than the somewhat loose, flappy ones on the last generation…It continues to impress when it comes to contrast, brightness, and viewing angles…It's still no gaming rig, but it is the sort of machine you wouldn't think twice about trying to do some serious business on…The 2011 MacBook Air addresses nearly every concern anyone could lob at its predecessor.