MacBook Air 1.86GHz [2008] full review - Page 3

The competition

There’s no doubt that the new MacBook Air is a serious improvement over its first iteration. And let’s recall why the MacBook Air exists in the first place: it’s designed to be the lightest Apple laptop in existence, sacrificing speed, functionality, and value in order to be a svelte three pounds and razor-thin.

The MacBook Air is most definitely not a laptop for people who want the fastest laptop or the one with the best value. Even with its speed boost it’s still the slowest MacBook in Apple’s product line, slower than the white £719 MacBook that’s a holdover from the previous generation of low-end plastic Apple laptops. The integrated Nvidia graphics processor, while an impressive update, is actually a throttled-back version of the chip used in the new MacBook models. And for the same £1,799 you’d spend on a top-of-the-line 1.86GHz MacBook Air with 2GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, you could get a 2.5-kilo MacBook Pro with a bigger screen, a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and an additional, faster graphics Nvidia 9600M processor.

So as before, the MacBook Air exists for people who are willing to spend money and sacrifice power in order to get the lightest laptop imaginable. There’s just one catch: it’s got more competition than it used to. When the MacBook Air was introduced, it was two pounds lighter than the MacBook and offered some pro styling (aluminum case, backlit keyboard) that the MacBook didn’t.

Placed next to the updated MacBooks and MacBook Pros, the new MacBook Air no longer looks significantly more stylish than other MacBooks

But the new MacBook models have changed. They’re now clad in aluminum, offer the backlit keyboard as an option, and—most importantly—weigh half a pound less than the previous MacBook models, putting the new MacBook only a pound and a half out of reach of the MacBook Air.

NEXT: Macworld's Speedmark 5 testing

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