The most portable laptop on the planet now comes with the specifications to match the stunning design. The MacBook Air is likely to tempt even the most loyal Windows user, although price is still a barrier
Stunning form factor, unmatched portability, great keyboard, OS X Lion
Pricey high-end configuration, no SD slot in 11in model
As reviewed - 11in LED-backlit display, 1366x768 resolution, 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 256GB flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Thunderbolt port, 79 keys, Mac OS X Lion
Apple launched the first MacBook Air back in 2008 and although it turned heads with it's ground-breaking chassis and the wallet-busting price, the performance wasn't the best.
Fast forward to 2011 and the Air range has grown in popularity and Apple has made a number of refinements to the design and boosted performance significantly.
The main upgrades to the Air come in the form of the Intel Core i5 and i7 chips together with revamped Mac OS X Lion operating system.
Designed to thrill
Despite the hardware upgrade, it's still the design that manages to wow. Such is the quality and beauty of the Air that it drew praise from all corner of the office including staunch anti-Apple users.
The dimensions of 300x192x17mm and weight of 1.08kg, allow the Air to retain the crown for the most portable laptop in the face of stiff competition from Windows-based offerings such as the Samsung Series 9 and Asus U36.
Even though the MacBook Air is stick-thin, build quality is superb and extremely sturdy. This is somewhat unsurprising though all Apple's products such as the iPhone and iPad retain that premium quality.
V3 got its hands on the high-end 11in MacBook, which had some beefy specifications. Apple packed in a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM into the chassis, making it up to 2.5 times faster than its predecessor.
The 11in screen has an LED-backlight and comes with a maximum resolution of 1,366x768. We think that Apple could have stretched the size to 12ins, but the sharp colours and brightness of the display more than makes up for the lack of size. The ambient sensor is also a great touch as it automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen and lighting of the keyboard.
Another key area where the MacBook Air surpasses the majority of its Windows-based counterparts is the keyboard and trackpad.
We’ve reviewed larger devices such as the Toshiba Satellite Pro C660-171 and Acer Iconia Tab W500, which have been let down by truly atrocious keyboards. It is very impressive that Apple has managed to pack in a 79-key island keyboard that is well proportioned, and other manufacturers should take note.
The trackpad itself is huge and is more than adequate to carry out the swiping and pitching gestures comfortably. The only real downside is the click-anywhere feature, which can be a little bit inconsistent.