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6 thoughts on “Apple MacBook Air MC968LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)

  1. Glenn R. Howes says:
    237 of 241 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Fast and Portable / 2GB RAM and 64 GB Might Be Too Low, July 25, 2011
    By 
    Glenn R. Howes (Nashua, NH) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC968LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    I’ve been waiting for a new computer for my wife, something that she can use both as her desktop computer attached to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and still take along on business trips around the world. Ideally, something she could throw in her big purse and go. The previous edition of the MacBook Air was close, but too compromised in terms of processor speed. The Air is perfect for her.

    At this writing, Amazon is selling two versions of the 11.6 inch MacBook Air, an i5 model with 2GB of RAM and 64 GB of SSD storage, and an i5 model with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage. You can order elsewhere a third model with an i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage–the i7 is the low voltage 2 core version. This review aims at helping the consumer decide if a MacBook Air is the computer for them, and if so, which one. Short answer is the i5/4GB/128GB model is probably the sweet spot of the lineup, but some people can get along with the 64GB model as a second computer, while others will need the ultimate and expensive model.

    The strengths:
    This computer is fast. The combination of a Solid State Drive (SSD) hard drive and an i5 (or optionally an i7 processor make this the fastest computer I’ve ever used, and I have a 2011 13″ MacBook Pro as my personal computer. The SSD gives it a qualitative responsiveness–application launching, task switching–which any spinning disk laptop will be unable to match. Quantitatively, it more than keeps up with its larger siblings in CPU intensive tasks. For example, my big laptop can compile a large, commercial application I maintain using Xcode 4 in 9 minutes 38 seconds, this tiny sub notebook can do the same in 9 minutes 5 seconds.

    This computer is portable. I went to the local Apple Store and compared the 11.6 to the 13 inch MacBook Air, and while the 13 is extremely portable it is not a good fit for a woman’s purse. This 11.6 can nearly get lost in a purse, I can imagine my wife hunting around for a few seconds trying to find it. It’s ridiculously small. The 11.6 is half a pound lighter than the 13 and a pound heavier than an iPad 2.

    Battery life when not under heavy load is good. I can web browse, and as long as I stay away from Flash websites, can do it for several hours. However, under load the 5 hours Apple promises for wireless web browsing becomes sub two hours. If the fan is on, the battery will not last, so it becomes time to figure out which page is running Flash, or which application is hogging all the CPU cycles. For example, I can drain the battery in about 2 hours 20 minutes watching full screen Netflix–which uses the Microsoft Silverlight plugin–over WiFi. I believe Apple no longer pre-installs Flash to pump up their claimed web browsing battery life claims. The larger Air has more room for a battery and thus has a longer battery life. The battery life of my MacBook Pro is certainly at least an hour or two longer under the same approximate load.

    The screen is beautiful and crisp. Color balance and contrast seem superior to that of my MacBook Pro’s (which isn’t bad either). Viewing angles are good but not the spectacular IPS angles of an iPad. I had been wary of dropping down to the 11 inch screen from the 13 inch of my MacBook Pro, but I think I could work all day at this size especially if all I were doing was web browsing or video watching. I wouldn’t want to edit videos or do long term software development at this size, but of course there is a Thunderbolt port and with the appropriate MiniDisplay adaptor I could attach it to any monitor. This will spend most of its life attached to a 21 inch LCD.

    The keyboard is thankfully backlit. Typing is reasonably comfortable, although I’d prefer another milimeter or two of key travel. Again, this will spend most of its life attached to an external keyboard so it doesn’t matter much but I much prefer the touch feel of my MacBook Pro.

    The trackpad is large and Lion ready for all your taps, pinches, swipes (one, two, three and more fingers). Apple is renowned for its trackpads and this is no exceptions. Perfect finger feel, no stutters, accurate tracking.

    Build quality. This is not some shoddy plastic netbook. The unibody construction is amazingly rigid and could be used to bludgeon an attacker in a pinch (and still keep on downloading).

    The weaknesses:
    Storage size is cramped, especially at the lower price points. I think the 64GB model targets users looking to keep all of their documents, images, videos, music in “the cloud” and while I’m sure people will live in the cloud in the future,…

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  2. E. Kim says:
    74 of 75 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Beautiful, Mobile, and Fast, July 26, 2011
    By 
    E. Kim
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC968LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    INTRODUCTION
    I had considered buying the previous generation MacBook Air (pre July 2011) but just couldn’t quite force myself to spend the money on machine that still used Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPUs (despite the fact that the older Airs were still actually quite speedy). Apple was using the then newer generation Core i5/i7 CPUs on their other computers.

    So when Apple updated their Airs with Intel’s significantly faster Sandy Bridge i5/i7 CPUs, I became interested again. But, which size would be best for me?

    11″ VERSUS 13″
    I’ve been struggling over this decision on which size 2011 MBA would be better. It’s the usual dilemma with the 13″ boasting pretty much better specs and battery life than the 11″. Then I thought, well, the 13″ is ONLY 2″ larger diagonally, and ONLY weighs a “little” more (and ONLY costs a “little” more).

    But the reality (for me) is that for a truly mobile device, like an iPad, only the MBA 11″ has a shot at being mobile. The MBA 13″ is great and certainly more mobile than a conventional MacBook Pro 13″, but the MBA 13″ is still IMHO more of a portable, than a mobile laptop.

    The MBA 11″ is actually mobile.

    Once I realized this, there really was no longer a comparison to be made. They are two different devices. One being mobile and the other very portable. I have a 2011 MBP 17″ which is my ultimate portable, and now my 2011 MBA 11″ is my mobile computer.

    PROS
    1. Extremely fast CPU – The MBA 11″ comes with a Sandy Bridge 1.6 gHz dual-core Core i5 CPU (or a 1.8 gHz dual-core i7 directly from Apple). Despite rumors to the contrary, the Turbo Boost and hyper threading capabilities were NOT turned off in the Core i5 CPUs. Geekbench benchmarks show extraordinary speed increases. The previous generation MBA 11″ 1.4 gHz Core 2 Duo produced 2024 on Geekbench, while the 2011 MBA 11″ now produced 5040 for a 149% increase. This speed even rivals the 2010 MacBook Pro 17″ which scored 5423! The 2011 MacBook Air 13″ uses a slightly faster 1.7 gHz dual core i5 which scored 5860.)

    2. Extraordinarily small! The MBA 11″ measures 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.68 inches, while the MBA 13″ is 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 inches. This means that the 11″ is “only” 1 inch shorter and “only” 1.3 inches less deep, but in reality, when you hold up both machines, the MBA 11″ feels like a completely different machine. My wife uses a 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ which has a similar footprint to the MBA 13″. The MacBook Air 13″ still felt too much like a laptop, albeit an extraordinarily thin and light one.

    3. Extraordinarily light! The MBA 11″ weighs 2.38 pounds (while the MBA 13″ weighs 2.96 pounds and an iPad 2 weighs 1.35 pounds I actually sometimes hold the MBA like an iPad while reading in bed because it’s so light. If you are seeking just a light, portable laptop, then the weight of the MBA 11″ or 13″ would be great, but if you (like me) are seeking a truly mobile device, then even fractions of a pound matter. The MBA 11″ weighs less and is consequently the better choice, but as amazingly light as it is, even lighter would be better. Its doubtful that a mobile device will ever exist that would be considered too light.

    4. High-speed Thunderbolt (i.e. Lightpeak) port offering bidirectional 10 gigabits/s throughput – Thunderbolt technology is far more revolutionary than USB 3.0 or eSATA. Thunderbolt is NOT limited to the use of a storage device. An external LCD can be attached. Although I use the MBA 11″ as my mobile device, it may be acceptable as a primary computer if one attaches an external LCD display and a high-speed Thunderbolt drive. Supposedly an external Thunderbolt hard drive would be nearly as fast as an internal hard drive.

    5. Everything is solid state! This MBA feels more like a true “mobile” device since it is fully solid state with its solid state drive. I am far less worried about damaging this versus other laptops I’ve owned in the past.

    6. Extremely fast cold starts and shutdowns thanks to the solid state drive and OS X.
    7. Great, full-size keyboard AND keyboard backlighting is back again! While this may seem like a minor point, the previous generation Core 2 Duo Airs did not have the backlighting.

    8. The battery life between the 11″ and the 13″ was only found to be 36 minutes shorter for the 11″ (and NOT the 2 hours claimed by Apple) for light usage by Anandtech […]. The battery life is Apple (conservatively) rated at 5 hours (compared to 7 hours for the MBA 13″ and also 7 hours for my MBP 17″). Apple’s battery life ratings have become much more stringent in the past few years are much closer to real world usage. I am indeed able to use my 11″ for about 6 hours with light usage, which is much better than Apple’s claimed 5 hours.

    9. Tremendous, typical Apple build quality. The MBA feels like a piece of solid…

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  3. Y. Zhou says:
    42 of 43 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    lion’s air, July 26, 2011
    By 
    Y. Zhou
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC968LL/A 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    hi there

    i am not going to go into a deep review, as there are already a lot of reviews out there covering the same things. but I will talk about special things that other reviews may not have covered. I personally have owned the 2010 11″ and 13″ airs, and I currently own the 2011 macbook pro 15″ and 2011 11″ air. the 15″ is about 2x the processing power as the air (according to geekbench), but it lacks an SSD for faster daily tasks.

    — on Engadget, they recently covered that the 11″ air has a faster SSD than the 13″ ones. not a difference you’ll notice but still a nice excuse to purchase a smaller one 🙂 (it was something like 240mbps vs 180mbps estimated)

    — the battery life on the 11″ is actually down from the previous generation by about 30 minutes on battery saving settings. Last gen can get about 7 hours, this one is just over 6 (about 25% brightness, web browsing only). Also, air’s battery life plummets if it does moderate to heavy processing (flash, photo/movie editing, gaming), the pro’s battery life goes down, but by much less.

    — online benchmarks show that the 2011 11″ air is about 2.5x faster in processor speed than the 2010 model. however, if you never used an i5 or i7 processor before, know that you will also be able to multitask a lot better than the old core2duos. for example, you can edit in iMovies and photoshop at the same time (something that will lag the crap out of the old generation).

    — DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE SCREEN SIZE. with Lion, applications can take advantage of its fullscreen function. For example, for many native applications like Safari, Mail, Calendar, etc, you can fullscreen them and they’ll take up the entire screen, however, they dont actually take up the main desktop screen, but a whole new screen on its own. if you have multiple fullscreen apps, you can use 4 fingers to flick between them, fast and efficient. I owned the last gen air 11″ with 10.6 SL, and it was a bit frustrating having multiple windows open, i usually have to minimize most of them. Now, you can browse in full 11″ screen, and use 4 fingers to flick to check your mail.

    — keyboard and trackpad have more of an “umfph” feeling to them. a bit more resistance than the older models. the 2010 air was my first mac, and i was disappointed a bit by the light and cheap feeling keyboard, but the 2011 made it right.

    — FYI, if you never owned a macbook, the “instant on” feature is actually in all the unibody MacBooks and Pros, but they are just a bit slower than the air’s. so don’t think of it as a feature only the air has, it’s just a bit faster.

    — you can’t change anything in the air once bought, unlike the pro.

    — screen quality is actually worse than the Pro line up. Yes the air has more pixel density, but the vertical viewing angle is pretty bad. it is NOT made of the same screen as the Pro and iPad (IPS), however, it is a matte screen so a much better screen in the sun. i owned both the 11″ and 13″, the viewing angle problem was much more noticeable on the 13″ just because the screen is bigger. I always found myself adjusting the 13″ screen every time i move a bit.

    — 2gb ram is enough to run lion just fine.

    — sound seems to be slightly louder on the 13″ vs 11″. 11″ sound is TINY. i always turn it to max whenever i’m watching videos. headphones are a must.

    — if you are deciding between a pro vs air, in general, i would say go with the pro if you do professional work with photo/movie editing, hardcore gaming (at least 15in), or if you plan on buying or already have a tablet. go with the air if you are a light user, want a tablet replacement. Owning an air and a tablet is a huge waste of money.

    — I would personally recommend the 1.6ghz, 4gb, 128ssd 11″ macbook air. I believe that is the most useful and “bang for the buck” you can get vs the rest of the lineup. but everyone’s preferences are different.

    All in all, my only complaint about this air is the price. the $1200 macbook pro 13″ vs the $1200 11″ macbook air, the air has a better hard drive, but thats it. it’s using less material to make, a slower processor, smaller battery, small and worse screen, less ports, i would think Apple can price it less than the macbook pro. basically, less everything, but paying the same price because it has a good design. thats my 2 cents at least. $899 for the entry model would shut me up :)

    Hope this will help you decide.

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  4. Wayne N says:
    242 of 255 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Comparison to the 2011 Macbook Pro 13″ and a Wifi Drop Problem (resolved), July 29, 2011
    By 
    Wayne N

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC965LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    Update November 7, 2011:

    *There was a firmware update for the MBA that I applied after the 10.7.2 update and it seemed to fixed the wifi drops.
    I’ve been testing it for 2 weeks and so far so good!

    Things I like:

    + Light weight; 2.9 lbs (1.3 kg). You can easily hold it with one hand – the MBP 13″ is noticeably heavier at 4.5 lbs.

    + Solid build quality like the MBPs. Chassis is rock solid, no keyboard flex, screen housing is rigid, and the lid has minor flex.

    + Better ergonomics than the MBPs; the palm rest edges don’t dig into your wrists like the edges on the MBPs do.

    + Same great multitouch trackpad and the backlit keyboard makes a return.

    + The screen is a pleasure to use with it’s high resolution (1440 x 900) and semi-gloss finish.
    There is no glass cover so there will be dramatically less reflections compared to the screen of the MBPs

    + 18 second boot ups and 3 second shut downs. Resumes from sleep within 3 seconds.

    + The two USB 2.0 ports are on opposite sides of the laptop (less clutter than MBP)

    + Speakers are surprisingly loud; they can fill up a small room.

    + Runs extremely cool and it’s so quiet that you’ll wonder if the fan is running at all.
    I can definitely feel heat ~ 87 degrees F on the MPB 13’s underside after 6 hours of use
    where as the MBA 13’s underside stayed relatively cool.

    + Runs Windows 7 just as cool and quietly. (I installed Windows 7 via flash drive)

    + Performance is almost identical to the MBP 13″ 2011 on everyday tasks because the Core i5
    CPU can turbo boost to 2.7 GHz and the SSD allows for instant application launching.

    + Gaming: it has the same Intel HD Graphics 3000 as the MBP 13″ 2011. I was able to run
    Starcraft II smoothly at low settings on native resolution. Medium settings also ran nicely but
    you get less FPS during large battles. League of Legends ran smoothly at medium settings
    30 FPS flat) on native resolution.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Things I don’t like:

    – *IMPORTANT* Wifi drops constantly on my unit (skip to the bottom to read more)

    – The keyboard is shallower and has less travel than the MBP keyboards (you’ll get used to it
    within a few days)

    – The screen has less color gamut than the MBP 13’s screen. This screen covers only 46% of
    sRGB color spectrum where as the MBP 13’s screen covers 77%. For image editing,
    I would use an external monitor.

    – The vertical viewing angles aren’t so great. One minute tilt of the screen causes colors to shift
    dramatically (for example: a purple color can change from lavender to light blue as you tilt
    the screen backward or forward). Again, I would use an external monitor for tasks in
    which accurate colors are mission critical. For everyday use it’s not noticeable and is
    actually easier on the eyes than the glare-prone screens of the MBPs.

    – Not all models come with the same SSD. There are 2 variations; a Samsung SSD and a
    Toshiba SSD. The Samsung SSD significantly outperforms the Toshiba SSD in
    benchmarks (check the AnandTech review)
    To check what SSD you have, click on the Apple logo -> About this Mac ->
    more info/system report -> then look on the left hand side and click on “Serial- ATA”.
    If your SSD’s serial number starts with “SM” it’s a Samsung and a “TS” means it’s a
    Toshiba.

    – I personally get 5 hours of battery life max on a single charge while surfing with 10+ tabs open on safari; I got
    ~7 hours doing the same tasks on the MPB 13 2011. My activities included watching
    YouTube videos, viewing flash content on tech and news sites, reading/writing email,
    and using AIM.

    – No FaceTime HD Camera (720p) as on the MPBs. The quality difference is, unfortunately,
    very noticeable.

    – The integrated microphone is located on the side of the laptop instead of on top of the keyboard
    as on the MBP. During Skype calls, my buddies told me that my voice sounded muffled
    when using the Air. Using a headset with a mic, I was able to improve the sound quality.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Conclusion: Which one should you get?
    As a college student, I would recommend the Macbook Pro 13″. The Air is more than capable of being a primary machine because of it’s superb performance and overall very good screen. For everyday tasks, it should be snappy and a pleasure to use. However, students will get a $100 discount on the Pro while the Air only…

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  5. Alex Green "alx779" says:
    78 of 83 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Looks, Speedy Laptop. Gets hot and loud under moderate CPU load., August 15, 2011
    By 
    Alex Green “alx779” (Toronto, Canada) –

    I have been using my new 13″ Macbook Air, 256GB, Core i7 for just over a week and here are my impressions…

    First, the good stuff…

    – The industrial design is absolutely gorgeous and rock-solid. The laptop is thin, light and pleasure to look at.

    – Screen is 13″ but the resolution is comparable to that of most 15″+ laptops. Perfectly usable for graphic/software development. While Macbook Air uses (supposedly) an inferior TN panel compared to Macbook Pro, I did not find a drastic difference between the two (I also own a 17″ Macbook Pro). The Air has slightly smaller viewing angles and perhaps not as good colour reproduction, but the differences are subtle. Also, there’s a lot less glare on Air’s “glossy” display compared to glossy Macbook Pro.

    – Performance is great, in some cases it bests the Quad Core i7 17″ Macbook Pro, thanks to its SSD Drive. Startups/shutdowns are super fast and the applications open/close almost instantly. Having said that, do not expect to do any serious gaming on this little guy. The built-in Intel graphics chip has hard time handling even 5 year old games and is actually slower than nVidia chip on the previous generation Air.

    – Expect to get about 4-5 hours of mixed use out of “7 hour” battery. That’s what I average while doing some Photoshop and web dev work, browsing, listening to music and viewing a few video clips.

    Now, the negatives…

    Well, it’s one negative really, but it is something I find extremely annoying. The laptop gets VERY hot when CPU usage approaches 50% and the fan kicks in full-blast at 6,000+ RPM.

    I first noticed the excessive noise when I was transferring my data and applications from the time machine backup upon initial setup. The fan stayed on entire time, CPU temperature was approaching 90C while being only 30% utilized.

    I continued to experience high heat/fan noise issues throughout the week. Sometimes it was during routine web browsing where some of the websites contained Flash elements. Starting Windows XP in Parallels would immediately set the fan in motion, again, sometimes hitting 6,000+ rpm. Playing Civilization IV, a fairly old game, had fan going full blast entire time with CPU again reaching 90C. Apple’s own “Cosmos” screensaver brings the CPU temperature up to 80-85C and the fan up to 4500-5000rpm. The most annoying thing — none of these tasks were taxing the CPU at more than 50%!

    I did a fair bit of research on this issue. There are multiple discussions on Apple, MacRumours and other forums about excessive heat and fan noise. Also, many report increased heat on their older Apple laptops after upgrading to Lion, so perhaps (fingers crossed), there’s a patch on the way that will improve thermal management somewhat.

    The thought about returning the Air for refund did cross my mind, but I decided to keep it in the end. I am not a gamer and doing my work (web/mobile development) is not very taxing on the CPU, however, I do not think it is unreasonable to expect relatively quiet operation on such premium laptop with only 50% CPU usage. I can only hope that Apple is listening and looking to remedy the problem.

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  6. iGlaswegian "Z.S" says:
    82 of 88 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Best Macbook to date, August 12, 2011
    By 
    iGlaswegian “Z.S” (Scotland) –

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC965LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    Customer Video Review Length:: 7:19 Mins

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