Anandtech MacBook Air review and Mac Mail reviewed by me…

“Anandtech”: has done the first full Macbook Air review that compares the SSD performance. As an aside folks are asking me how the new SSD is on the MacBook Air. First, the system is completely quiet. Second, for normal use, like Internet browsing and reading email, it feels just as fast and responsive as my MacBook Pro. That is quite amazing as most ultraportables feel sluggish. Anand’s main point is that unlike the iPhone, the MacBook Air is an ultraportable with real tradeoffs. I actually don’t completely agree with his point in that the iPhone had everything that other smart phones had, it just does a few things better. The screen come to mind and the performance as well plus the user interface and the physical sturdiness and elegance. Funny thing is that I think the Macbook Air has the same attributes. The kind of curved shape, the really sturdy feel and finally the keyboard and screen are amazing. Like the iPhone, it does give up things. I just can’t stand the recessed headphone plug and have ruined plenty of plugs trying to smash it into the iPhone. To me anyway, the optical disk and the single USB ports really aren’t much of a tradeoff in modern environments. The only real issue is lack of Wifi in many places, so you have to carry a $30 Ethernet to USB adapter. I don’t use my optical for much anymore except kids DVDs when they are around. I personally rip everything to AVI or some other format.

He does a great review of “SSD”: and even shows you how to install one for yourself. “”: sells naked Samsung SSDs, so you can install them on all your computers. “Ludwig”: is right, as prices come down, I’d install them on everything I own. They feel faster but most importantly they are by definition completely silent, so having a laptop with no fans on is an amazing experience. I’ve found that unless the AV Clam Sentry is running, the Macbook Air fan never does go on in normal usage and that is wonderful. As an aside, DVNation sells the “Samsung MCCOE64GEMPP-01A”: for $1600, so it makes the $900 price for upgrade from Apple look like a real deal 🙂

h2. Performance

Well, the real world performance load times is pretty stunning which is perhaps why I like my Macbook Air with SSD although for compute read intensive tasks. Overall, the subjective point is that it feels faster because read performance of SSD is faster than write and most folks are reading.

| Launch Apps | 80GB 4200 | 64GB SSD |
| Photoshop CS3 | 18 sec | 6.9 sec |
| Word 2008 | 28.8 sec | 11 sec |
| System Boot | 54.4 sec | 32.5 sec |

h2. Battery life

They are getting battery life what I’m getting. That is about four hours plus. Now “Bill”: says he was getting terrible life of three hours so it is probably under heavy use. Here is what Anandtech has seen:

| Test | HDD | SDD | %Improvement |
| Internet + MP3 | 4:16 | 4:59 | 17% |
| DVD Playback | 3:25 | 3:56 | 15% |
| Download, XVID and Web | 2:26 | 2:42 | 11% |

They also compared it with other Apple laptop for Wireless Internet + MP3 playback:

| Machine | Time |
| MacBook Air SSD 1.8GHz | 5 hours |
| MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz | 4.5 |
| MacBook Air | 4.3 hours |
| MacBook Pro (2.0GHz) | 2.7 hours |

As an aside, I had not really used Mac Mail (technically called Mail 3.1) much, but must say it is the fastest Mail app I’ve used since Xenix Mail (now I’m dating myself!) at deleting, searching and finding mail. Makes Outlook look very sluggish and Entourage positively snail like. Even Thunderbird isn’t as good particularly for searches, like all mail from “Rich Tong”. It is as keystroke fast as searching for a song in a 20,000 song iTunes directory which is to say keystroke fast. I really recommend it for anyone with lots of mail. The main bummer is that I just can’t get Address Book sync to work with Outlook Web Access. There are no error messages I can find and I type the OWA URL in and it just won’t sync. So I’ll probably have to load Entourage just for the Address Book and iCal sync features in it.

The only other problem which I’ve seen too is that the MacBook Air takes a long time to charge. I’ve had four hours to get it to charge. It is interesting to see how bad battery life was for the first generation of MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo’s. I agree with that. Mine’s really does last about two hours.

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