Engadget agreed with TechThoughts about MacBook Air.

engadgetmba.jpgAs much as Apple thinks their Air is better than everyone else’s, it was nice to see tech / gadget blog Engadget agree with what we already said:

But therein lies the rub. The Air simply doesn’t have the power to be many users’ primary machine, while also lacking many of the features considered necessity by business travelers.

It’s neither the best portable machine, or a decent primary machine. It’s not right for either- and it costs about $900 more than the MacBook. Shame on you Apple.

Just to continue to point out the negatives from their review (some of which I pointed out as well, including all the wasted space around the screen bezel and keyboard):

The bezel around the display is a little thick for our tastes, and the lid might not tilt back as far as we’d like due to the physical constraints of the joint design,

And the Mono speaker, which I pointed out is a big departure considering that other, smaller, lighter computers offer stereo speakers… and optical disks.

beneath right home row keys (k, l, ;, ‘) is the Air’s tinny mono speaker, which seems and sounds more like an afterthought.

What about integrated WLAN, like the TZ’s EVDO (Sprint)?

but it’s immediately clear the Air needed some integrated 3G, especially considering its lack of an ExpressCard slot.

Engadget continues:

But here we begin with the design sacrifices, and at the top of the list is the lack of a user replaceable battery… for others — especially those on the road for long periods of time without access to a power outlet — a deal-breaker. … using our normal tests … we got a mere 2 hours and 25 minutes. … nowhere near the 5 hours Apple promises

Apple also sees fit to require yet another specialized power adaptor as the power port location prohibits using all the adapters you already have. That’s just plain stupid.

But users of current generation adapters be warned: the Air’s MagSafe implementation won’t always work with your current MagSafe adapters simply because the angle and location make it physically impossible to accommodate when used on a table… The micro-DVI port is also not physically compatible with the mini-DVI port on your MacBook and previous Apple laptops,

Plus, like the iPhone, it seems that “design” got in the way of actual usability. (wtf!)

The USB port is recessed enough that, while we’re sure it meets USB Implementers Forum’s design spec, it realistically won’t accommodate most 3G modems without a USB extension cable, and some flash drives, as we learned yesterday. Even the headphone port had a difficult time accommodating our Shure E4C phones. We got stereo audio, but a high pitched hissing from not being fully plugged in and grounded.

So in addition to the two video out dongles you have to always carry around, and the USB hub (a dongle) you have to carry to plug in any flash drive or WLAN adaptor, now you need ANOTHER dongle to make your headphones work.

we think the Air’s external USB SuperDrive (which only works with the Air, mind you) is a necessity. There simply isn’t any way to transparently replace all the functionality of an optical drive yet

Uh, Apple, I thought you figured this out when you improved the headphone jack on the iPod Touch after the iPhone debacle. Apparently not. Let me spell it out for you.

USABILITY > pretty


On the one hand it proposes to be a no-compromises ultraportable, but on the other hand it compromises many… of the things road warriors want. We’re all about removing unnecessary frills and drives… but laptops are increasingly becoming many users’ primary — often only — machines,

And since the Air is so thin up there in Cupertino, I think they forgot that an ultralight PowerBook ought to have been:

  1. Very, very small, without all the wasted space and near-MacBook weight  (a tablet?)
  2. Slightly thicker with more capability, more ports, an optical drive.

The competition does this in lighter packages than the MacBook Air, with more capability, with near comparable costs. I see most PowerBook users who have been holding their breath for Apple’s next “tiniest” laptop now breathing a sigh of relief, and then getting a MacBook, or a smaller, lighter PC to be their road machine. Apple has dropped the other shoe. Some people will bite. The rest of us can continue to work as if the MacBook Air never existed.



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