MacBook Air - First Impression

Alright, so, I don't have any experience actually using a Mac, so I didn't even bother using the software, I'll stick to talking about the hardware. Lets start with the weight, 3 pounds sounds like a lot for something that is so thin, but I've had analog notebooks (as in paper) that were only marginally thinner but still weighed more.

At its thickest point I think it might be thinner than just the screen portion of my laptop, it is so thin, and when it closes, there isn't a latch per se, but it closes firmly, quietly, and gently, so you don't feel like you are going to break it every time you close it. There are precisely 4 ports on the whole of the MacBook Air, the MagSafe adapter, the mini-DVI connection, the single USB port, and the audio out.

The screen looks amazing as you'd expect from Apple. Also, the gestures not only work, but are instantly recognized unlike some other implementations I've seen where it takes forever for the machine to recognize you are performing a gesture or you have to hit a toggle switch for it to work. I mean, I've never seen multi-touch gestures like this in a touch pad, but I've seen other related implementations. The keyboard is large and well spaced out, it's easy to type on. And the added features of the Wireless N and Bluetooth are nice in combination with the 2 gigs of memory and the Intel Core 2 Duo.

Now for the bad, first off, if you do any power user tasks, you'll definitely want to go ahead and pass, this is not meant for you. There's no FireWire, as a PC user, that's not that big of a deal, but as I understand it, a lot of things you use with a Mac operate with FireWire. There is no expansion slot, such as ExpressCard/34, so that means with the lack of FireWire and ExpressCard, everything has to be done via USB, of which there is a whole one port, I really think they should have built wireless USB into this thing.

The battery isn't user replaceable, sure, replacement is free and the battery is only $129. However, that means that after 5 hours you have to break out a large external backup battery or find a place to plug in because 5 hours is it, there is no changing your battery out in the field.

You can't upgrade the memory or the hard drive on your own either, I know that generally you'd order whatever you wanted from Apple when you ordered your product as their prices for such upgrades are highly reasonable, but not being to upgrade at all on your own kind of sucks. While I am on the subject, a 64GB SSD drive upgrade for a cool G is ridiculous, I know that for an SSD drive that size, installed that, that price is cheap, but it's still ridiculous.

Personally I can deal with the lack of an optical drive, the lack of just about any/all expansion ports, and the fact that you need a dongle for just about everything. But a laptop coming from a largely media-centric company and having a meager 80GB in storage space is the most disappointing thing to me. I mean they have 160GB HDDs in the iPod Classic, and if I had to guess, the HDD in the Air and the HDD in the 80GB iPod are exactly the same, so why can't they offer a 160GB version as well?

The bottom line? If I got one for free, I'd take it, love it, stroke it, and call it George. If I had to pay for it though, I'd take that $1800 and either add a little to it and get an MBP or by a MacBook, a spare battery, some other necessary accessories/software and still have beer money for a month. There is no way you'll catch me buying one of these, not till they upgrade it with enough new features to make it worth while.