You're paying a premium for the super-slimline design, but this latest version of the MacBook Air provides much improved performance and battery life that will ensure that it earns its keep when you're travelling.
Extremely slim and light; excellent build quality; flash memory and improved graphics provide strong performance improvements.
Very expensive; no Ethernet, FireWire or optical drive.
£1,349 (256GB storage); £1,099 (128GB storage)
1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM (4GB maximum), 128GB or 256GB flash memory, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics with 256MB shared memory, LED backlit display with 1,440 x 900 resolution, Mini-DisplayPort video interface, built in microphone and webcam, two USB2 ports, headphone jack, SD card reader, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 2.1.
There's no denying the sheer elegance of the MacBook Air. Its sleek, metallic design leaves most of its rivals in the ultra-portable laptop category looking like misshapen lumps of plastic.
Unfortunately, this streamlined design has always come with a pretty hefty price tag even by Apple's standards, while its performance has historically been little better than that of an entry-level laptop costing half the price.
This fourth-generation model is still expensive, but Apple is at last starting to deliver significant performance improvements.
There are now two versions of the MacBook Air, including an entirely new (and really rather cute) 11in model priced at £849 that will probably find its way into a few handbags and trendy shoulder bags.
However, we tested the 13in model, which is equipped with a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB DDR3 RAM.
The processor speed is actually unchanged from the last version of the MacBook Air, but the price is £50 lower and a number of other key components have been significantly upgraded.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is the fact that the entire MacBook Air range now uses flash memory rather than conventional hard disks.
Our review unit was equipped with 256GB of flash storage and priced at £1,349, but you can cut that down to £1,099 if you're prepared to drop the drive to 128GB.
The use of flash storage has a number of benefits, the first being that it has allowed Apple to streamline the unit even more, shaving it down to a mere 17mm at its thickest point (compared to 19mm previously) and reducing the weight to 1.32kg (previously 1.36kg).
We also found that it starts up faster, taking about 20 seconds to boot initially and waking from sleep almost instantly.
The MacBook Air also gains a new graphics chip in the form of the Nvidia GeForce 320M, giving 3D performance a boost.
When we ran PCMark Vantage, the combined effect of this graphics card and the new flash storage wasn't hard to spot, and the MacBook Air produced a ridiculously high overall score of 19,254.
This is more than twice the score of the previous MacBook Air that had the same 1.86GHz processor.