It wouldn't be Computex without some KIRF Apple products. And what we have today isn't quite a MacBook Air. But it's amazingly close. The N2-A, as it's known in the OEM underground, is one of the most impressive MacBook Air lookalikes we've seen -- and one of the cheapest. $74,500 will net you 500 of these lovely 13.3-inch bundles of almost-Mac goodness, which comes out to just $149 apiece. The THD (Thread Technology Co.)-made clamshell comes complete with an LED-backlit 1366 x 768 LCD, 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 1 gig of DDR3 RAM and 8 gigs of SSD storage. There's also built-in 802.11b/g/n WiFi (we're a bit devastated about the lack of 802.11ac), and the option to add a 3G dongle or Ethernet adapter via the pair of USB 2.0 ports. As you may have gathered from the image, there's a full-size QWERTY keyboard and a familiar, yet incredibly mediocre trackpad, along with a 2-cell 4200 mAh battery (rated to 8 hours), an SD card slot, a not-so-MagSafe 110-240-volt AC adapter, a headphone out, mic in and an HDMI port.
In typical MacBook Air fashion, the N2-A is very thin and quite light (1.55 kilograms or 3.4 pounds) -- it's not as svelte as a top-of-the-line ICS tablet, but it's manageable for sure. While it may look perfectly fine on camera, the device's build quality certainly isn't up to Apple's standards -- but then again, it doesn't cost $1,000+. After a few busy trade show days, the trackpad was noticeably scratched up, with plenty of other blemishes around the silver case to boot, along with some warping here and there. The N2-A wasn't hideous by any stretch, even upon close inspection, but any Apple newbie would be able to recognize that this didn't come out of Cupertino, even before noticing the missing Apple logo and the added Windows key (it's there to support the nearly identical N2-C, which adds a dual-core Atom processor and Windows 7 support).
ICS felt quite snappy, though without a touchscreen you're forced to use the unimpressive trackpad, which wasn't responsive enough for regular use. (You can always sacrifice portability and use a USB mouse instead.) Overall, the N2-A is a pretty slick device -- not to mention quite a bit of fun. Don't expect to see this KIRF in any stores in the US -- you'll need to order 500 units or more directly from THD to take advantage of that $149 price tag, though we may see the Android laptop make its way to the public through third-party channels, perhaps with a retail price of about $200. For now, you can take a closer look in our meaty gallery below, or in the hands-on video after the break.
THD N2-A KIRF MacBook Air running ICS hands-on
Dana Wollman contributed to this report