Apple MacBook Air 11.6-inch is ahead of the game

Apple has once again created a computer, which you’ll lust after in the same way homer simpson lusts after donuts.

Published: Sat 8 Jan 2011, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:04 PM

perhaps you will also make the same sound as homer when you see the smaller version of apple’s latest macbook air for the first time. there is of course also a 13-inch model but it’s clearly the smaller,11.6-inch version that stirs up the most emotions in us.

But let’s put emotions aside for a moment and look at the specifications. The 11.6-inch display has a wide screen aspect ratio (16:9), making it great for watching HD movies, and at 1,366x768 pixels it produces crisp graphics, not unlike iPhone 4’s high resolution Retina Display. Not everyone will be happy though as Mac OS X’s interface elements, like buttons, will look smaller than what you’re used to.

The display sits in an aluminium bezel and together with the rest of the MacBook Air it’s amazingly thin. Despite that, it feels surprisingly sturdy and I feel there is no need to worry about it coming apart. It does feel a bit chunkier than the previous Airs, even though it’s not, which is probably because the of the sharper corners, flat sides and only slightly curved bottom.

Given the updated design, Apple can now fit in two USB 2.0 ports, a MagSafe connector, headphone jack, and Mini DisplayPort. You won’t get an SD card slot though, that’s reserved for the larger model.

With the previous MacBook Air generations you could choose flash storage over the typical hard drive but in the new Air it’s all flash. This is the way it’ll be soon on all portable computers so in this regard Apple is ahead of the game.

In performance you might be surprised because the small 11.6-inch runs very well even in demanding tasks. This is no doubt due to the combination of the 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and NVidia GeForce 320M graphics system. For most daily tasks the Air feels very snappy and you should have no issues with performance.

Apple has also worked on the battery life. There’s an “instant on” technology, which means the computer just snaps back to life when you open the display. It can also survive for up to 30 days in a special standby mode. In terms of useful battery life I reached about three and a half hours watching a movie full screen, which is considerably better than the previous generations.

I’m disappointed that Apple has removed the keyboard back light in the new Air but other than that the keyboard is in typical Apple-fashion a great typing experience.

Let’s face it, you could a portable computer for much less than the Dh 4,999, which is where the starting price for the MacBook Air 11.6-inch, but you wouldn’t get anything nearly as desirable. Apple’s latest notebook looks great, has more than adequate performance and much improved battery life.

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· Magnus Nystedt is a frequent technology commentator and blogger. You can read more of Magnus’ work at

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