PC Magazine: MacBook Air 'Expected to Sell Like Hotcakes'

PC Magazine has published an in-depth preview of the MacBook Air, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses before concluding that it stacks up well against its sub-notebook competition and can be "expected to sell like hotcakes." Writer Cisco Cheng notes: "Apple fanatics have been calling for something that can actually be classified as an ultraportable ... Finally, Apple has answered with the MacBook Air."

Mr. Cheng points out that competing ultraportables, such as those from Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba, all integrate optical drives in laptops weighing less than three pounds, but none of them can compete with the MacBook Airis 13-inch screen size, which he notes "is just as bright as a MacBook Pro 15-inch LED when the two are next to one another." He also says that the new laptopis touchpad is the largest he has seen on an ultraportable, but the highly-touted gesture functionality doesnit work in every application. "Apple is still working on some gesture kinks, which is one of the reasons why the MacBook Air is shipping in two weeks," he wrote.

Moving on, the writer found the rest of the features "underwhelming, for the most part." Mr. Cheng cited the single USB port, as well as the lack of Ethernet connectivity and the missing cellular modem, as areas that he found lacking. However, he said that was offset "by some impressive performance parts," in particular, Appleis decision not to use Intelis ultra-low-voltage processors -- "the same parts that bogged down the Sony TZ150N, the Panasonic W4, and the Toshiba R500 over time," he wrote.

Finally, Mr. Cheng said that the MacBook Air comes with "a compelling price point when compared with the $2,000 price tags on the Panasonic W4, the Sony TZ150N, and the Toshiba R500." He characterized the trade-offs Apple made as "respectable compromises," and said that while there is room for improvement, "the MacBook Air will captivate millions based on looks alone."