Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, Summer 2011)
Manufacturer: Apple Part number: MC966LL/A
- More product information:
- Editors' review
- User reviews
- Product series
- Manufacturer info
- Bottom Line:
- The latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Air vastly outperforms its predecessor, and can finally be called suitable for mainstream use, instead of relegated as a niche product.
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as of 03/06/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $1,399.00
- Reviewed by: Dan Ackerman
- Reviewed on: 07/22/2011
- Released on: 07/21/2011
The good: The 13-inch MacBook Air has been updated with the latest Intel CPUs for better performance and battery life. Backlit keyboards make a welcome return.
The bad: The 128GB SSD drive is a lot smaller than a standard hard drive. This also starts at $100 more than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The bottom line: The latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Air vastly outperforms its predecessor, and can finally be called suitable for mainstream use, instead of relegated as a niche product.
Bliss, delight and peace (notebook nirvana)
by Elliott Minor on August 14, 2011
Pros: Boots almost instantly, great back-lit keyboard, ample storage with 256 GB solid state drive, OS X Lion, the most clarity I've ever seen on a laptop screen. The one laptop you'd like to take into the hereafter. Do yourself a favor, take a bite of this App
Cons: This is such a perfectly designed laptop, I feel guilty every time I pull off the little plastic protector on the magnetic power connector. I'm afraid I'll loose it, but I always seem to find it.
On a more serious note, the Safari browser seemed to crash
Summary: My granddaughter likes her new 13-inch MacBook Pro and one of my national guard buddies has been raving about Macs for years. I'm comfortable with Windows and Linux, but ...
Summary: My granddaughter likes her new 13-inch MacBook Pro and one of my national guard buddies has been raving about Macs for years. I'm comfortable with Windows and Linux, but wondered if I was ambitious enough at 69-years-old to tackle OS X.Some of my sentences were cut off in the original.
I'm glad I did. It's a very user friendly operating system. Early on, it was easy to find answers online - the type of file system, how to reformat an external hard drive to the Mac HFS+ file system, the availability of Tuxera NTFS software that allows me to access movies and TV shows stored on drives with the Windows NTFS file system, how to use Time Machine for backups.
My biggest question is, "Why didn't I do it sooner." Everything about my Air - and I'm sure this also applies to the Macbook Pro - tells me I've moved to a higher realm of computing - paradise..
Updated on Aug 14, 2011
I've switched from Safari to Firefox and had no more crashes.
The sentence "Do yourself a favor, take a bite of this App." App should be Apple.
Updated on Aug 16, 2011Just realized that it's totally free of what I consider crapware. Most of the PCs I've owned required an hour or two to get rid of software I didn't want. Even then, I was always left with the feeling that maybe I didn't get it all. I put crapware in the same category as spam, excessive television breaks for commercials and junk mail. Annoying.
8 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Light weight and lightning fast
by tlackner on July 30, 2011
Pros: Weighs little, does everything, very fast, good display, great battery life
Cons: Only 2 USB ports, keyboard not illuminated
Summary: I've been using "portable" computers since the original Compaq luggable PC. The MacBook Air finally seems to be the answer. First, it's light. That, of course, is achieved ...
Summary: I've been using "portable" computers since the original Compaq luggable PC. The MacBook Air finally seems to be the answer. First, it's light. That, of course, is achieved at the cost of things like a built-in DVD drive, so you wind up carrying some peripherals: for me, that's a superdrive, a 2-button bluetooth mouse, a couple of video adaptors, an ethernet adaptor ... But I put my bag on the scale the other day and even with power supply, pens, pad, etc., it comes in at less than 5 lbs. That's a long way from the 9 lbs my old MacBook Pro weighs. And that is a big deal when you're standing in endless airport security lines.
The battery life is phenomenal. It handles transatlantic flights effortlessly, although if you're working on graphic files or watching a couple of movies you'll want to add the magpower adaptor (assuming your seat has power).
The full size keyboard is a nice feature. The PC netbooks are hard for people like me (short, pudgy fingers) to use. And, speaking of PC netbooks and laptops, the MacBook Air has other strong advantages over them. One is that this is a computer, not a computer wannabe. It handles all my needs and runs all the software effortlessly, without resorting to stripped-down versions of MS Office and similar software. And, it does these things quickly. It is faster than my MacBook Pro or my PC tower, and far faster than my 15 month old PC netbook or my 3 year old PC laptop.
PC laptops and netbooks all come with another disadvantage: the jumping cursor. You're typing away and suddenly notice that the cursor isn't where it's supposed to be. Instead, it has gone back several paragraphs - or pages. This seems to be a problem endemic to PCs, because every PC laptop and netbook I've used has suffered from it. Not so with the MacBook (Air or Pro). Cursors go where you tell them, and stay there. Think about the difference between a puppy (PC) and a well-trained dog (MacBook).
The display is stunning. No other word for it. It's as good as a free-standing monitor, although you'll want a larger separate monitor if you plan to use the MacBook Air as an office machine.
Disadvantages: relatively small storage space (hence the superdrive) and only 2 USB ports for all those peripherals you're carrying plus the flash drive someone at the meeting wants to plug in. Four-port USB hubs are small and lightweight, and I carry one of them right beside my mini-powerstrip. You don't have a travel powerstrip? Maybe the best single investment I ever made. Now I don't have to move the furniture in half the hotel rooms I stay in. But these weigh little, and certainly weigh less than building them into the computer.
In short, it's only taken 25 years for me to find what I wanted: a full-featured, truly portable computer. At last, I'm the one who's envied in the coffee shops and security lines. And, from the boss's perspective, my productivity on the road is the same as in the office. Although maybe that isn't such a good thing.
6 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
The Best Apple Option, the best mobile Option
by mxidis88 on August 14, 2011
Pros: Thin and Light. Excellent Battery Life. Love the backlit keyboard and bright screen. Large trackpad is the best ever made especially when using OS X Lion.
Cons: I'll let you know when I find one...
Summary: I have spent the last month and a few thousand dollars(I got a big scholarship this year and had money to throw around) testing out some of apple's ...
Summary: I have spent the last month and a few thousand dollars(I got a big scholarship this year and had money to throw around) testing out some of apple's top computers. I've used everything from the 11" 2010 Air to the newest 13" Macbook Pro and I've finally settled on the 13" 2011 Air. This is the perfect combination of size and power for someone who is tired of carrying around a 7 lbs. beast.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Fast, light, sleek.
by n2dablue on August 1, 2011
Pros: Blazing speed (I opted for the 13" 1.8GHz i7), backlit keyboard, touchpad and gestures have no rival, nice long battery life, relatively loud speakers. It's been on my bare legs since unboxing and there is very little heat.
Cons: Ole Steve got a little more of my money than I'd liked. It's pricey.
Summary: If you're looking for a great laptop for travel, this is it. Don't let the lack of a CD/DVD drive stop you. I bought the external SuperDrive ...
Summary: If you're looking for a great laptop for travel, this is it. Don't let the lack of a CD/DVD drive stop you. I bought the external SuperDrive for that.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Finally, a laptop as capable as it is portable
by johnl97 on October 29, 2011
Pros: Design, screen, trackpad, Mac OS, speed
Cons: Nothing much, although battery could be better
Summary: Being a PC user, I would have never even thought of owning a Mac a few years ago, but with a good experience using the iPad, I decided to try ...
Summary: Being a PC user, I would have never even thought of owning a Mac a few years ago, but with a good experience using the iPad, I decided to try an Apple laptop out. I had difficulty deciding between the MacBook Pro and the Air, but I went for the Air because of its portability. When I received the laptop, I found that I got more than portability.
First of all, it's the design is fantastic. It's truly amazing how such a capable computer can fit in something like the Air. I doubt any other computer can come close to this, even with the hordes of ultra-books trying steal it's design (Asus Zenbook), the aluminum build and precision is unmatchable.
At first, the low-power i5 seemed to have measly power in comparison to other laptops, but when you actually use the computer, the processor, coupled with a speedy SSD and Mac OS, ends up being quicker than many more powerful PC's I have owned.
Furthermore, after using the gestures, I can't really get used to a PC's trackpad anymore. The accuracy is phenomenal, and the gestures are very useful for key tasks.
However, the battery life isn't the promised 7 hours. It probably lasts 5 hours on moderate usage, at optimal settings. In order to squeeze 7 hours out of it, you really have to tweak the settings to an uncomfortable level (too low brightness).
Overall this is one of the best laptops I have ever owned. It's well worth the money, and isn't too expensive (for an Apple product). You really can't beat something so powerful and portable.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Good but not superbly excellent yet. See cons.
by Liboriopasq on January 22, 2012
Pros: Light, good screen quality, responds well, fast. No hard disc moving to malfunction. Pad setup... great response and feel when moving fingers across the pad and the two finger touch scroll is great.
Cons: Needs one more USB port. Does not have ethernet port... must use USB. Does not fit well in the other world of PCs. I do contract work for mining, petroleum and construction companies, mostly outside the U.S. with connection issues. See summary.
Summary: This is a great portable work machine. I'm glad I purchased it, even at the high Apple price range. I went the whole enchilada and got the Air, iPad ...
Summary: This is a great portable work machine. I'm glad I purchased it, even at the high Apple price range. I went the whole enchilada and got the Air, iPad and upgraded my iPhone. I've yet to take advantage of the iCloud. Not sure I want my stuff out there on someone else's server for some bored techie to break into and browse through my files, especially my client stuff. I know, I know, password and all that stuff but they know how to break through the codes.
What seems to be a major downside are connection problems and a shortage of support from other manufacturers. Specifically, I am on a remote mining project where the client has a LAN setup that performs poorly and Apple users are having more problems than the PC users. There seem to be some quirky things going on that the IT guys cannot sort out. There are several other Apple users here and we all have the same problems. Specifically: the client has Xerox printers and there is not an updated Apple driver available. The IT guys have tried to download several times only to eventually find a note at Xerox that the latest Apple system is not supported... thus, no print capability. We all with Apple find that we are having difficulty with connectivity both with wireless and ethernet connections. The PCs are not having this problem. It seems if the signal is weak none of the Apples will get a good connection. The IT guys have worked with us to no avail... eventually one IT guy who seems experienced and competent said, "Apple just does not do well in the corporate business world." I don't know if that's true, but three of us here on site seem to be struggling all together. We all believe there are gremlins hidden in our MacBooks that react in the other PC world.
Another downside is the extra gear you have to carry because of the unavailability of ports and Apple's own connectivity differences. A special adapter is needed to connect ethernet. That's such a common connection I can't see why Apple would not have that included... the entire world has not yet gone wireless and in some cases companies do not want wireless for their own security reasons. The Air, iPad and iPhone all have different connecting devices for charging. Seems to me they could make them all the same and my bag would be lighter.
Anyway, it's a good machine but needs some improvements.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
The best ultra book on the market and then some
by thinktech on December 3, 2011
Pros: * Solid as a rock. Born out of single piece of aluminum.
* Great look and feel
* Light as a feather.
* Keyboard is awesome and lights up!
* Track pad is second to none.
* Instant startup from sleep mode.
* Magnet attachment for power.
Cons: * Too many dongles. Don't forget your monitor dongle for client presentations if you do that thing.
* Nothing else. This is the tech that says we are in 2012!
Summary: I have gone through two other ultra books before finally giving in an getting the Mac. I am a PC user that was simply fed up. The Samsung Series 9 ...
Summary: I have gone through two other ultra books before finally giving in an getting the Mac. I am a PC user that was simply fed up. The Samsung Series 9 was my first choice but had a lot of problems from acting quirky overall to a terrible wireless network card. The wireless card DID NOT WORK! Make sure they fix this if you get one. Also, mine was not just a driver issue. Then I went to the Asus Zenbook. What another disaster. The keypad does not register unless you hit the keys dead center and the track pad is like being in the WWF. When I returned the Asus I copied the same sentence to a word doc 10 times and challenged anyone in the return department to cut and paste a sentences to the bottom of the page using one hand... and impossible feet to accomplish in under 10 seconds. The Zenbook was beautiful, so I guess using it was like fighting with the hot girl you dated but could never get along with! So I ended up with my Mac Air loaded with I7 dual processors and 256GB off SSD. Parallels works great on this computer with more then enough horsepower under the hood to keep multiple operating systems like windows and OSX humming along. It works and its very cool. You actually start viewing computing, operating systems and the cloud differently from the Mac platform. Check out ICloud, Drop Box and Parallels to get a feel fro what I am talking about. If you use windows get this baby and if you are upgrading a previous Mac don't think twice. Happy computing!
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Best Laptop I have owned
by swabbie568 on September 19, 2011
Pros: - light, high quality build
- fast start up
- beautiful build
Cons: - The price is a bit steep, but if you want quality you pay for it
Summary: I have been a windows user forever, this is my first buy of a mac. I did not make a mistake with this one. It has been a terrific experience ...
Summary: I have been a windows user forever, this is my first buy of a mac. I did not make a mistake with this one. It has been a terrific experience from the day I took it out of the box three weeks ago. It is light, fast and I have found so far the the 128g SSD has not been a limiting factor. The i5 processor is more than adequate for what I use it for. So far the experience has been great.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Planned Obsolescence: MacAir deflates after 21 months.
by lduke1 on December 19, 2012
Pros: Worked great for a year and a half
Cons: Then it imploded! See below:
Summary: Bought my MacAir about 21 months ago. Suddenly, for no reason, the screen starts graying out every 15 minutes, telling me I need to re-boot. After some searching on Google, ...
Summary: Bought my MacAir about 21 months ago. Suddenly, for no reason, the screen starts graying out every 15 minutes, telling me I need to re-boot. After some searching on Google, I identify this as a "kernal" error that sometimes indicates a RAM problem. After several memory tests I'm sure that the RAM has gone bad on the system. Since it is soldered to the logic board, the whole board would need to be replaced. (If I just had to replace the RAM, an easy, inexpensive fix. This is not the case with the RAM soldered to the logic board. I understand this is also what they've done with the new RETINA units, so buyer beware). The unit is out of warranty, so the repair would cost around $750. An irate call to Apple tells me if I DO have it replaced, they only warranty the work for 3 months. Not feeling overly optimistic about my chances. This is what we call "planned obsolescence." 21 months...I've had flip flops that lasted longer. And my old reliable PC is looking better than ever. Signed, A Used-to-be Mac Fan
Light as a feather but heavy on performance and speed!
by chesbeau on March 27, 2012
Pros: Light weight; performance; take anywhere; beautiful design.
Cons: I don't look forward to the day when $ervice will be required. Warranty is a must!
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Part number: MC966LL/A
- Description: The MacBook Air is proof. It's designed around all-flash storage for better responsiveness and reliability. It features a trackpad with full multi-touch support. And though it's incredibly thin and light, its large battery gives you portable power. Chief among it was the precision unibody enclosure. That same engineering process comes to the MacBook Air display. Just like the main enclosure, the display housing is crafted from a single piece of aluminum, with all the structural elements machined directly into it. Total unibody construction means a less complex design with fewer parts. That makes MacBook Air exceptionally thin and light, yet still durable enough to handle the rigors of everyday use.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- System Type Notebook
- Operating System Apple Mac OS X Lion
- Notebook type HD display,
Processor / Chipset
- CPU Intel 1.7 GHz,
- Number of Cores Dual-Core
- Cache 3 MB,
- 64-bit Computing Yes
- RAM 4 GB
- Max RAM Supported 4 GB
- Technology DDR3 SDRAM
- Speed 1333 MHz
- Floppy Drive None
- Hard Drive 256 GB,
Flash storage SSD
- Storage Removable None
- Optical Drive None
- Hard drive type Solid state
- Min Operating Temperature 50 °F
- Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
- Humidity Range Operating 0 - 90% (non-condensing)
- Max Altitude Operating 10000 ft
- Type 13.3 in
- LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
- Max Resolution 1440 x 900 ( WXGA+ )
- Widescreen Yes
- Image Aspect Ratio 16:10
- Features Glossy
Audio & Video
- Graphics Processor 384 MB,
Intel HD Graphics 3000
- Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
- Max Allocated RAM Size 384 MB
- Camera Yes
- Sound Stereo speakers , Microphone
- Type Backlit keyboard,
- Features Multi-touch touchpad
- Wireless 802.11n,
- Technology Lithium polymer
- Installed Qty 1
- Capacity 50 Wh
- Run Time 7 hour(s)
- Voltage Required AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
- Output 45 Watt
Connections & Expansion
- Slots Memory,
SD Memory Card
- Interfaces 2 x USB 2.0,
- Interfaces 2 x USB 2.0 - USB 2.0,
1 x Thunderbolt port,
1 x MagSafe power,
1 x Headphones
- Memory Card Reader Card reader ( SD Memory Card )
- Software Included Apple iCal,
Drivers & Utilities,
Apple Address Book,
Apple DVD Player,
Apple Mac App Store,
Apple Mission Control,
Apple Image Capture,
Apple System Preferences,
Apple Time Machine,
Apple Mac OS X Chess,
Apple Mac OS X Mail
- Features Aluminum enclosure
- Cables Included Power cable ( 1 pcs.)
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 12.8 in
- Depth 8.94 in
- Height 0.68 in
- Weight 2.96 lbs
- Service & Support 1 year warranty
- Service & Support Details Limited warranty - 1 year,
Technical support - Phone consulting - 90 days
- ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes
- EPEAT Compliant EPEAT Gold
- Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 4.6
- Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2012) 4.5
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