Summary: I wanted a light-weight, highly portable, bigger than a netbook with a SSD hard drive. I’d purchased a 2010 MacBook Pro 13″ and intended on putting in a 160GB Intel X-25m before the Air refresh. I’m glad I chose the Air.
The price is very reasonable for what you get: the most solid ultra-thin on the market. Between the flash memory, higher resolution screen and size/weight it is definitely worth the extra $100 to go from the 13″ MacBook Pro to the Air. The flash-based memory is very fast and extremely responsive. 12-15 second boot times, nearly instant launching of applications and fast read and writes make the Air feel many times faster than the Pro to the average user. My regular use consists of internet, media streaming, MS Office applications and IE based work applications which force me to use a virtual machine. The 4GB RAM option is a must if you intend to do serious work on the Air, honestly I don’t see why Apple didn’t make it the base configuration with a 6 or 8 GB option. I can smoothly run Windows XP (I don’t like the newer renditions) along with MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint, a silly amount of browser tabs, email, iTunes, etc; simultaneously. And while the difference in resolution doesn’t seem huge, it is… you have the same resolution as the base 15″ Pro and everything is still very readable. There is a lot more screen space than the 13″ Pro and I don’t think I could readjust to 1280X800. The screen is of typical Apple quality, that is to say excellent. It isn’t the best available but it is excellent indeed.
The 256GB model costs $300 more, which again is a very reasonable price for the increased memory: 256GB SSDs run about $300 more than their 128GB comrades. I simply do not need that much memory on a laptop, especially when a home server with TB-sized memory can be built inexpensively. Everything else on this model is the same except for the optional CPU upgrade.
There aren’t really any irritating or disappointing aspects to the Air as a laptop, everything is executed practically flawlessly especially at the user level where experience is always different than benchmarks predict. What is irritating (extremely so) is some of Apple’s decisions on options and pricing. The removal of the back-lit keyboard is unexplainable, it doesn’t take more thickness (previous renditions of the Air had it). If cost was the issue as Apple likes to maintain their ridiculous profit margin, they should’ve at least made it a built to own option! It isn’t hard to get used to the lack of it, nor do I ever look at the keyboard to type even in the dark (though it is nice for the function keys, not having to center your hands to know where keys are and also making certain key combinations) but why take away something so forward thinking and generally awesome? The most irritating aspect by far is the lack of CPU upgrade option for the 128GB model. There is no reason whatsoever for not offering it for both models and I seriously doubt the 256GB model is that more profitable to push it’s sales harder. I simply do not need that much space and I’m not paying for what I don’t need (like an optical drive!) but it sure would’ve been nice to get the faster CPU. The 1.86ghz CPU that comes standard works just fine, especially with Apple’s wonderful hardware and software integration along with the flash memory… but again it would’ve been nice to have the option. The matte screen option’s absence was to be expected as the 13″ Pro lacks it as well, but again the option would’ve been nice. I don’t see why it is so damned difficult to give people more options!
Overall I’m very impressed with my new MacBook Air. It has everything I want: sturdy, well utilized CPU; SSD memory; high resolution and not ultra-stupid-glossy display (it isn’t matte but it’s better than the Pro). It also lacks everything I don’t need or want: optical drive (seriously think about how often you’ve used yours, I think I burned a few CD’s before I had my car adapter for iPod), heaviness, thickness, moving parts! I would highly recommend it to anyone, though I’m sure in about a year Apple will do a refresh and add a bunch of the things I’ve complained about! I still wouldn’t wait though.