For years and years I have been trying to get the ultimate lightweight mobile PC, I have tried UMPCs, Netbooks and Tablet PCs and never exactly found the right devices for me. The closest that I came up to now was my HP 2710 Tablet PC which has served me well for the last few years but its starting to get a bit tired and slow. So when I saw the new Macbook Air I knew it could be the perfect PC for me. A year ago I wouldn’t have considered the idea of having an OSX product but after having the iPad and knowing it would be a great devices for running Windows I have jumped in and got an 11″ Macbook Air.

First of all I am really impressed with the hardware. the build quality is far better than any PC I have ever owned, only Sony seem to get close. Its hard to pick on a single part of the build that makes it so nice but the keyboard, trackpad and display are fantastic. The small screen size doesn’t bother me as I am used to the 11″ Tablet PC and for development I have a big Sony Notebook, the screen resolution is 1366 by 768 and very clear. The aluminium case feels sturdy and strong yet its really thin and light and feels a long way from the plastic feel of my netbook.

After getting started with OSX it feels a bit strange and unfamiliar but it doesn’t take that long to workout where most thing are but I think its going to take some time to find the right applications. One of the complaints Microsoft often gets is the number of updates Windows 7 needs when talking a new system out of the box and OSX seems exactly the same, there were loads of updates.

Anyway the first thing I did was get Windows 7 up and running via Bootcamp. I had to connect an external DVD drive to burn the Bootcamp driver disk for Windows and then boot from a Windows 7 CD, 20 minutes or so later I had Windows 7 up and running with all the correct drivers and it works great. The native performance of Windows 7 on the Air is great and I am really pleased with it, I soon had it working with my Windows 7 Homegroup and could watch recorded TV from my other Media Center machines on it.

The next thing I tested was VMWare’s Fusion, with Fusion you can run the Bootcamp installation of Windows as a virtual machine in OSX so you can have both operating systems running at once. I wasn’t expecting to much from this way of working but I was really impressed with how well it worked, again I could stream TV shows from my other Media Center machines without any issues. Once you put it in to full screen mode is exactly the same a running it natively but you can quickly switch back to the OSX desktop if you need to. Fusion enables you to share folders with OSX so its really easy to share data between the the systems.

As I sit here and type with the Air its easily the nicest device I have ever used to write on and is one of the best notebooks I have ever ran Windows on. It’s going to be interesting to see how I get on with OSX, somethings seem strange compared to Windows(like no right mouse button). So I keeping an open mind on OSX, having Windows 7 running in Fusion and Bootcamp means I can have the best of both worlds and keep running Windows Media Center.

The battery life with normal usage seems about 4 -5 hours so will be a good replacement for my Tablet PC for covering CES.

As I continue to use it I will write about my experiences , but so far I am really impressed. Now I need some tips on what OSX application to look at..







0 thoughts on “First Impressions of the Mac Book Air”
  1. This is a great write up of your first impressions and coming from you (a devout windows user) it tells me a lot. I am toying with the idea of getting a MacBook Pro to run Windows for work and OSX for home. Thanks for the insight!

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