SPECIAL NOTE – QUICK START GUIDE
The MacBook Air Quick Start is deserving of special mention as it is 10 pages of information yet only two single sided pages are needed to get the system up and running. The rest is done on screen without any effort whatsoever.
The remainder of the guide covers such things as exterior features, accessories, multi-touch gestures as well as OSX software utilities such as Launchpad, Mission Control, Safara web browser, Mail, iTunes, iCal, FaceTime, iPhoto, iMovie, the Mac App Store and iCloud. Trust me when I say we will get into more detail on a few of these before report’s end.
The MacBook Air Ivy Bridge is a new release as of Jun 2012 and available in 11″ and 13″ models with prices starting at $949 and $1189, respectively. Our review model contains a 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-3667u Ivy Bridge processor that can reach 3.2GHz in turbo mode, 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM, a 256GB SSD and it runs Intel HD4000 graphics very well through its 1440×900 pixel gloss display.
It’s OS is OS X Lion 10.7.4 however, not mentioned within the package and not published very well by Apple, is the ability to upgrade to Mountain Lion on release in July absolutely free for those buying Apple systems after June 11, 2012. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why I wanted to get a head start on my OSX education as Mountain Lion will contain features such as Dictation which allows speech recognition and eliminates the need for keyboard use. Apple is even hinting that Dictation is so user friendly that it will work in other software such as Office. Add to that other things such as Facebook integration, Game Center and Power Nap where your Mac updates even while asleep and Mountain Lion is sure to be a hit.
MACBOOK AIR BUILD
Having had just about every Ultra available in my hands at one time or another along with a number sitting behind me that are in constant use, I have to say that the build of the MacBook Air is, by far, the best Ultra experience yet. At 2.9lbs, 0.68″ at it’s thickest point and 12.8×8.94″, it is heavier, thicker and wider than my much favored Toshiba Z830 that has seen the world with me over the last several months. It is the collective of all of the little things, however, that make the MacBook Air’s build what it is.
To start, the MBA is machined like no other Ultra we have felt yet. First off, the build is very solid with all edging very smooth and the lid, although being firm, opens perfectly and succeeds in the ‘One Finger Top Lift Test’. Unlike the Samsung and a few other ultras, one does not see fingerprint residue as the exterior casing is an aluminum and of a satin style finish which has a great grip.
We mentioned the MagSafe 2 which is found on the left side along with a USB 3.0 port, and headphone jack. On the right is a SD card, another USB 3.0 port and the new Thunderbolt port. As much as it is nice to see Thunderbolt, it is refreshing to see a build using only USB 3.0 as so many ultras still use USB 2.0 as well.