Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, Late 2010) review

Is Apple's latest 13in MacBook Air the best ultra-portable laptop ever? Read our review to find out.

Although this Air has a 13.3in screen, its resolution of 1,440x900 pixels is higher than the 1,366x768 resolution we usually see on laptop screens of this size, so more information can be viewed at once. We'd usually expect to see such a resolution on 15in or even 17in laptops. Text is still sharp and legible with wide viewing angles. It's very bright, even when brightness is turned down to conserve battery life.

The screen has a glossy finish to boost brightness and contrast. Although it's more reflective than screens with a matte finish, when placed under fluorescent strip lighting the resulting glare isn't as a intrusively distracting as the glare we've seen from other glossy screens.

Like other Apple MacBooks, the Air's power supply has a magnetised MagSafe connector. This disconnects easily when tripped over, instead of dragging the laptop to the floor or being wrenched out and potentially damaging the connector or the socket. MagSafe isn't a new feature, but it's one of our favourites.

One welcome, if minor new feature is the system restore USB flash drive. This makes much more sense than a traditional system restore DVD for a laptop that lacks a built-in DVD writer.

Verdict

The latest 13in MacBook Air isn't perfect. It's pricy, although cheaper variants with smaller SSDs are available, and it should really come with 4GB of RAM as standard at such a high price. Despite these flaws it's the best ultra-portable laptop we've seen thanks to its sturdy yet slender and lightweight design, excellent battery life, bright, high-resolution screen and large, comfortable keyboard and touchpad. If you can afford it and can live with its limitations, it's a great buy.

SPECIFICATIONS Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400, 1.86GHz Memory: 2GB 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 320M integrated Hard disk: 256GB solid state disk Display: 13.3in 1,440 x 900 pixels, LED-backlit screen Features: 0.3 megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Ports: 2 x USB2, Mini DisplayPort output, 3.5mm combo headphone and microphone audio socket Dimensions: 325x228x15mm (WxDxH) Weight: 1.33kg Warranty: 1yr C&R or customer carry-in warranty OS: Mac OS X 10.6 Part code: MC504B/A BENCHMARKS Image editing 79 Video encoding 52 Multiple apps 68 Overall 62 Light usage battery life 13h40m POWER CONSUMPTION Idle 10W Active 46W

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