The month of October 2011 has been a monster when it comes to dealing with Apple.  My 24″ Cinema Display died.  Two iPhone 4s beauties arrived.  I have a new 27-inch Thunderbolt Display in tow and a sweet, 11-inch, MacBook Air in hand along with all sorts of other extra accessories like the Magic Trackpad, SuperDrive for MacBook Air and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard.  I feel as if I’ve been living in the online Apple Store and the 14th Street Apple Store in Manhattan has become my third home.

I wanted a MacBook Air since they first appeared a couple of years ago.  I like my notebook machines to play a role as my sole computer and the MacBook Airs — until now — have always been underwhelming and underpowered.  Sure, they looked great, but they were slow and more novelty than serious workhorse.

That all changed when Apple allowed some pretty keen built-to-order specs for the tiny, 11-inch, MacBook Air — like upgrading to a dual-core 1.8 GHz Intel i7 Core and a 256GB Flash drive — I bit on those upgrades and in exactly seven days I had a new MacBook Air straight from China.  Apple now uses FedEx Home for deliveries — and I hate it — the good old days of only two years ago had all accessories and computers from China shipped via FedEx for 10:30am delivery.

The first thing that strikes you about the MacBook Air is that it really is tiny and thin and knife-life.  Love it.  I knew I wanted to go small.  I wanted the 11-inch display instead of the 13-in display and I do not for a moment regret getting the tinier screen.

Spec-ing out the MacBook Air didn’t appear to be much of an upgrade for my 13″ SSD MacBook — but I knew it would be half as heavy and have twice the storage — I didn’t care if the MacBook Air processor felt just as fast as my MacBook or not.

In using the MacBook Air, it feels twice as fast as my MacBook in every way.  Graphics load faster and cleaner.  Software starts up and responds quicker.  It’s a fast machine and, on day four of owning it, I am in love with it forever.

The built-in display rocks.  It is clear and the type is easy to read even with my aging eyes.  1366 x 785 is a perfect size for reading and writing.  My Thunderbolt display tops out at 2560 x 1440 and it looks delicious!

The Flash drive is pleasingly robust.  It is definitely faster than my first generation MacBook SSD.  I also have twice as much room to breathe and move around now, too.

Here are the insider specs on my 256 SSD drive.  I like having TRIM support included:

Unfortunately, memory is not upgradeable.  Fortunately, I opted up for 1333 MHz DDR3 memory — so I’m as fast as I can get on this particular MacBook Air:

The one, glaring, disappointment in this MacBook Air is the sound chip.  It is just horrible.  It packs no low end.  There is no depth or color in the music it reproduces. I guess I was pretty spoiled by the booming base and overall aural resonance of my MacBook.  Since I’m writing this review in Boles Blues, I want to make sure than any musician reading this knows you don’t want a MacBook Air for any sort of sound work.  Even listening to music is now a painful experience because my ears know what I’m missing.

If you’re in the market for a new computer — and if you want one that is light enough to carry around with you all day — then you cannot go wrong with the new line of MacBook Air machines from Apple.  They’ll quickly become the delight of your eye — but not your ear.


  1. Good laptop sound is rare — I know HP did one off the top of my mind with speakers by the same company that does the excellent Beats by Dre — good sound. Sounds like you have a fantastic computer otherwise!

    1. I reinstalled my SIS iWOS plugin for iTunes and the sound is a bit better. That’s encouraging.

      The computer is crazy good. Worth every penny and the price was surprisingly reasonable.

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