Thursday, Jul. 31, 2008

MacBook Air

This machine is Steve Jobs' idea of the perfect companion for the traveling executive, and it's pretty much what you would expect out of Cupertino: a razor thin masterpiece of industrial design that, in ways large and small, favors elegance over practicality. To minimize unsightly ports it eliminates the Ethernet and Firewire slots. To maintain a profile slim enough to fit into an interoffice envelope, it does without a CD/DVD drive and sports a battery that can't quite make it from SFO to JFK on a single charge (yet can't be replaced by a fresh one). Still, this is the computer we would pack in our briefcase if we had our druthers. The screen is gorgeous. The keyboard is full-size and backlit for when the cabin lights dim. And with a built-in camera and mike, it doubles as a videophone for conducting face-to-face meetings without the jetlag.

List price: $1,799 ($799 extra for a solid-state drive)

Philip Elmer-Dewitt