Video: Hands on with the MacBook Air - Macenstein

Video: Hands on with the MacBook Air

Our good buddy Xavier over at got to spend a good half hour with the MacBook Air, and posted his initial thoughts, as well as this video walk through.

Overall Xavier was less than impressed, and found that quite a few shortcomings would prevent him from ever recommending the MacBook Air as someone’s primary notebook. That being said, however, he admits he’ll likely pick one up as his secondary machine.

One point Xavier made I thought was particularly interesting, especially for someone such as myself who is not overly familiar with the other offerings in the sublaptop field the MacBook Air hopes to one day dominate:

“During the keynote Steve Jobs kept comparing the MacBook Air to Sony’s TZ series. He didn’t mention that the Sony TZ series has an internal DVD burner and can get up to 12 hours of battery life. Or that you can order the TZ series with a 64GB solid state drive AND a 250GB hard drive. The Sony TZ also has a full compliment of ports and plugs including three USB ports, a FireWire port, ExpressCard slot, Ethernet port and more.”


It does kind of bring up the issue of whether or not form should dictate function. Check out Xavier’s whole review of the MacBook Air here. Looks like we’ll have to wait a couple weeks to get our hands on one to see whether or not we agree.

10 Responses to “Video: Hands on with the MacBook Air”
  1. Kev says:

    You can get an external DVD burner, or you can use the MacBook Air software and use any Mac or PC with that software and use their DVD or CD burner, wirelessly.

    12 hours of battery life, but is that with or without wireless and other things running? The Air gets 5 hours running wireless, which is comparable to any of the other MacBooks. Plus the Air does not give in on the processor, which can allow the TZ to have longer battery life.

    Why is there a need for both the SSD and an internal HD? The internal one, even 80GB, is fine still. Some may find it too small, but for most people, I think 80GB is quite enough. And to get the smaller size over the TZ, the 1.8″ hard drive is necessary. Soon the larger versions of those will also get thinner, so we could see larger a larger capacity available soon.

    There is also no need for all those ports and plugs for most people. If you need more USB ports than one, get a tiny mobile USB hub and you’re set. But again, most people most likely will not need more than 1 USB port. Plus consider all the wireless capabilities of the Air, ethernet is unnecessary. I’ve yet to find a use for my card slot on my Powerbook, in my 4 years of owning it.

    Sure it’s not a pro machine, but that isn’t its purpose. It may be a good secondary machine for a lot of people, but for some it will also be a great primary computer. I would actually consider getting one and using it in conjunction with a new iMac.

  2. Darren says:

    The TZ, it should also be mentioned, is slow as a dog when running VIsta.

  3. Rowlings says:

    Darren, that could be vista’s fault, not Sony

  4. mangochutney says:

    The design is stunning, absolutely beautiful.

    LED backlight, backlit keyboard, full aluminium body, size, weight, all superb.

    But *MEH!* to; only one stinking slow USB-Port, internal battery, mere 80GB 1,8″ 4200rpm HD, nothing user-upgradable.

    It is a beautiful companion for an iMac or a Mac Pro, nothing more.
    I want to see some benchmarks, comparing the slowest current MB with this MacBookFoleo.

    I will get a white MB then, I’m a bit disappointed, admittedly

  5. rabid Doug says:

    Is Xavier high???!!!

    The base mobel TZ has a much slower 1.06 processor, a crappy teeny keyboard and a smaller 11 inch display but only .3 lbs lighter, and its UGLY!!!. I’m generally a Sony fan, but this can only be had with Vista, and I’ve played with one at a Sony Style store – performance is very sluggish. And all this for $2099 – $300 MORE than the Air.

    The SSD dual drive premium TZ is $3,699, And the DVD drive is EXTERNAL ONLY on all models.

    Xavier is UNQUALIFIED to render an opinion.

  6. Darren says:

    Rowlings – oh trust me, I’d love to blame Vista, but the fact is that it wasn’t Vista’s fault in this case – it was Sony’s selection of hardware inside the TZ that was the problem: it has a woefully underpowered processor (1.06GhZ) and shipped with 512MB of RAM. Loading (any) program was a painful process. Thunderbird, for example, took well over 2 minutes from first launch to GUI display.

    For the record, this was a Vaio TZ-150N owned by the VP research at the university I work at. Small? Yes. Light? Absolutely. Useful? No.

  7. MutantDan says:

    You know, I don’t entirely agree with the statement that the MacBook Air can’t be used as a primary laptop. I don’t really see it being used as someone’s primary computer (unlike me with my MacBook), mostly because of hard drive space, the one USB port, and the lack of ethernet, but if you already have a Mac (even a Mac mini), the MacBook Air would be the perfect machine for something like Back to My Mac.

    I think, though, that the lack of an ethernet cable, optical drive, etc. would limit its popularity at Universities. Given a USB hub, the SuperDrive (maybe, maybe not), and a USB-to-Ethernet adapter, it could be used as a primary notebook for school. The hard drive might still be a limiting issue, though. Admittedly, I don’t see why Apple didn’t use the 1.8″ hard drive they used with the iPod Classic 160GHz or at least had it as an option.

    Who knows, though? I chose my first Apple computer (a Power Macintosh 6500 from 10 years ago, but I got it last January) as an extension of my Microsoft hatred. After using it, I fell in love with Mac OS Classic (I also realized that my elementary school used Macs before they were forced to use Windows machines [now they’re using Linux, so they’ve run the whole gamut]). Admittedly, I had an interest in Apple computers before that and had been trying to arrange it so that I could get a MacBook. Upon arrival at school, I realized just how popular they are here. Most of them had never used a Mac before but bought one because of the design and because of the size, both of which the MacBook Air have going for it. The only thing to be said is that if you manage a Mac store in a college town, you had better start carrying USB hubs, USB-to-ethernet adapters, and the SuperDrive (or any other USB powered external optical drive). And you had better stock them within two weeks 😉

  8. Xavier says:

    @Doug. I’m not saying the TZ is perfect, but it does bug me how Jobs is comparing it to the Sony products. There are TONS of things the TZ has that the MacBook Air doesn’t. I own a TZ, and used to have an SZ (Sony’s 13.3-inch slim model).

    The TZ has integrated WAN, a full compliment of ports and slots. Maybe you should check yer facts before accusing me of being high, but all TZ’s configured with a single drive come with an internal DVD burner.

    If Jobs really wants to be fair, he should compare the MacBook Air to Sony’s SZ series, which is ridiculously faster. It can be configured with a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and both integrated graphics and and NVIDIA card for the best of both worlds (you can switch between them for performance or power saving).

  9. MutantDan says:

    And how much does that cost? That would be expensive for just about any notebook, let alone an ultraportable one, particularly one released by Sony. (We all know that Sony tends to jack its prices up. 😉 ) Seriously, though, that would be an expensive notebook, and I’ve heard people complain about how expensive the MacBook Air is going to be.

  10. Xavier says:

    The TZ starts at $2,099 w/o a SSD. The SZ is only $1,399, but can go up to $2,700.

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