Apple Macbook Air 13″ (2011) 1.8GHz Review

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Macbook Air
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Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.

23 Comments to Apple Macbook Air 13″ (2011) 1.8GHz Review

  1. That CAPS lock delay is a long time controversial feature in OS X.  While I do not know of anyway to permanently turn  it off I do know a quick & dirty work around that I use….
    Open System Preferences
    Click Keyboard
    Click Modifier Keys…
    Select your keyboard from the Select keyboard: list.
    Set the Caps Lock Key: to No Action.
    Press OK.
    Ensure your Caps Lock no longer works on your keyboard.
    Click Modifier Keys… again.
    Set the Caps Lock Key: to Caps Lock.
    Press OK.Now, the Caps Lock key works instantly for that keyboard.  Anyway, my 2 cents…

    • Excellent question. Likely because the guys at Geekbench either have a different standard of running the test (in terms of applications running, computer setup, etc.) than I do, or they have a different model. The tested model is a 1.8GHz i7 with 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. They could easily have tested on the 2GB model, or on a smaller SSD model, or both. Or, more likely, they tested differently enough to have a different value.

      However, based on their findings and other findings from myself and other benchmarks available online, I think it's safe to say that either the laptops Geekbench is using to test have different hardware specs which score lower, or they are running multiple applications during their testing, which would produce the same lower-score result.

  2. Interesting review, however, you may want to consider learning more about color accuracy or screen testing. These screens, while great for office use and web browsing (to a degree) are not great in terms of color accuracy and the lack of ability to differentiate black is a big deal. Compared to the pro's.. not good, compared to the ipad even, not good.

  3. Did you really criticize the keyboard for not being able to do something that will only effect people who don't know how to type? And even then, really? The caps lock is to slow?

  4. Just so you know the caps lock thing is an intended design to stop people accidentally triggering caps lock when typing fast, thus if you very quickly tap the caps lock it will not turn as OSX registered it as an accident, however if you press it any longer than a fraction of a second it engages.

    • That's fine, but it doesn't particularly help for fast typists. It's also a pet peeve of mine specifically, so others who don't care won't concern themselves with it.

      • Alexander Leonidis

        Believe it or not, it is much faster to type a capitol using conventional touch typing technique than the unusual three separate keystrokes method described in the article. For example, to type a capital “A” the author would first hit “CAPS-LOCK” then “A” – then hit “CAPS-LOCK” again to turn it off. How is this faster than the normal touch typing method of simultaneously holding down shift key with your right pinky while hitting the letter “A” with your left pinky!!! All done without even thinking once you've learned how to type properly!!!

        • Just a personal typing method. That's how I learned to type, and it's worked pretty good for me so far. With an average 100WPM typing speed, including hitting caps for all caps, it hasn't slowed me down. Holding down shift, in my experience, requires extra dexterity to hold the shift button down with one finger on either hand, and then typing the button meant to be capitalized, and letting go. Seems like more work to me than hitting caps, typing the letter, and hitting caps again. Hands don't move on the keyboard and there's never a which-hand-to-hit-shift-with moment.

          • That CAPS lock delay is a long time controversial feature in OS X.  While I do not know of anyway to permanently turn  it off I do know a quick & dirty work around that I use….Open System PreferencesClick KeyboardClick Modifier Keys…Select your keyboard from the Select keyboard: list.Set the Caps Lock Key: to No Action.Press OK.Ensure your Caps Lock no longer works on your keyboard.Click Modifier Keys… again.Set the Caps Lock Key: to Caps Lock.Press OK.Now, the Caps Lock key works instantly for that keyboard.  Anyway, my 2 cents…

          • That was brilliant. For the longest time, because of the way I type, I wondered whether I should switch back to a Windows-based machine (even though I’ve come to like OSX and really like this laptop), just because of this. Every time I typed on the Macbook I’d have this problem.

            Your simple solution works wonders. I’ve been writing the last hour using your solution and it is amazing. Now I can fully appreciate the laptop. Thank you!

  5. I just took the dive and ordered a 13″ with the 1.8GHz processor, and SuperDrive.  I'm hoping it's fast enough to handle some Wacom/Corel Painter duty.

  6. Once again a nice review.  I have ordered the 11″ and expect it to arrive soon and I choose to pay the extra for the high end i7 cpu.  

    I agree with another poster it was good to see a review that included windows 7 performance scores.  As even tho I may never install windows 7 there is a slim chance so I was curious.


  7. K4llsteve

    I can't tell you how useful this review is. Ever since the new MBA came out, I've been looking for an editor to put it through its paces in Win 7 and not just OS X. I completely agree with you that the every day feel of using an MBA and the pleasure of the design is justification for the price premium vs ultraportables like the Toshiba Portege. Yes, they are much cheaper, and yes they come with more ports, larger HDD, etc., but if the MBA outperform systems that outspec it, I'm sold.

    • I felt exactly the same, which is why I tested in both OSs. I've always used Windows-based laptops, but recently have needed more but didn't want to pay a ton for a giant machine. The MBA…I think the 13″ is probably too big for my everyday use, and that the 11″ may be a better choice, but I'm still really happy with it.

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