By this point, the MacBook Air has been reviewed, re-reviewed, taken apart, dissected and benchmarked until the persons doing so are sick of it. It turns out that the premium price paid for the SSD (solid state drive) version of the MacBook Air isn’t worth it. Unless you want average performance at a premium price.
In addition to the SSD, the MacBook Air also features a processor running at 1.8GHz instead of the “standard” 1.6GHz version. The faster processor and supposedly faster SSD didn’t deliver the performance gains one would expect from a $1,300 upgrade usually nets.
Read and write times to the SSD were better than the standard hard drive model but there was no noticeable gain during “average” use. The processor is only 200MHz faster than the standard model and while it did have fewer “spinning balls” it was not a great improvement.
Where ArsTechnica was thoroughly disappointed was in battery life. The SSD MacBook Air lasted between (hours : minutes) 2:10 and 2:52. During the test, it was used for what most people would use a laptop for, browse the web, listen to music and download files. The display was set to the lowest brightness setting.
Apple likes to advertise a 5 hour battery life on the MacBook Air. This is clearly not the case, unless you turn off WiFi, BlueTooth and just twiddle your thumbs while staring at a display that’s set on lowest brightness.
A possible explanation is a bad batch of batteries and given Apple’s history, that’s not out of the question. I’d like to think that Apple just overstepped its predictions with the MacBook Air and the product is just, as we like to say around here, “full of air” meaning not useful to anyone, their mother, grandmother, son, grandson, daughter, granddaughter, father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin, extended family or their pet(s).
Once all is said and done, a PC laptop with better specs (except size and weight) and about the same battery life clocks in at about $1,000. I can easily get two hours of battery life and some change out of my HP DV6770SE and I have a dedicated graphics card. How about them apple’s, Apple? Well, at least the MacBook Air fits inside a manila envelope, just, wow.