The Buyer's Guide

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Apple MacBook Air 11-inch (mid 2011)

Apple MacBook Air 11-inch (mid 2011)

from  $1000+
product image
81 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
81

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

81 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
81

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

Not yet scored
 

User Reviews

90
rkarolak
You sacrifice upgrades and ports, but you get an excellent thin, light, and...read more
80
GF
I have loved using the macbook air, it is so light and slim that I sometimes...read more
80
muskeetu
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
Write a Review

Score Breakdown

 
90
Average user Score
 
90
rkarolak
05.11.15
You sacrifice upgrades and ports, but you get an excellent thin, light, and well-performing laptop.
 
80
GF
03.10.15
I have loved using the macbook air, it is so light and slim that I sometimes forget that I have brought it with me.However now I would not have the 11 inch model as my only laptop since although it is great to use, its screen is quite low quality and too small for all the time use.The battery life is the biggest upgrade from this model to the 2013 model so I would definitely go for the 2013 model if I was to get a new one.I run a advice website which give personalized advice using a quiz to find out what macbook is best for you, check out the quiz at:http://www.thamply.com/quizzes/macbook-finder/
 
80
muskeetu
10.24.13
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
80
Pie
06.04.13
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
90
talala
03.10.13
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
100
balintant
10.13.12
A gadget unicorn - Engadget
 
90
TobyRM
08.02.12
The macbook air is very fast, an amazing design and just overall a top class notebook. In my view tops any windows laptop purely because of all the little features such as a full touch glass touchpad and illuminated keyboard. The device is very thin, and when taking it out becomes very portable and is very light compared to other laptops with similar specs, it reminds me of carrying round my ipad 2. I was surprised how quite it ran with no noise at all being produced until the device become hot and the fans turn on (only happens when the vents have been covered) Only a couple of problems I've had such as the magsafe charger and usb are roughly the same size so when im not looking i tend to try forcing the usb into the charging socket by accident, also the RAM cannot be upgraded manually after purchase because they are soldered straight onto the motherboard.
 
90
j0ram
06.26.12
Most people are saying they love this machine but it has it's limits...it does, however, in my case it is in every sense a "portable" machine and a great one at that. I have an iMac that does the heavy lifting and needed something portable that didn't feel like carrying a brick. This machine is light (little heavier than an iPad), extremely fast, does a great job with iLife - it's everything an iPad isn't and more.
 
90
MMGN
06.21.12
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
90
hsverin
05.11.12
This is probably in my opinion one of the most useful machines for a true road warrior looking for the ultimate in mobility. I've been using PC and Mac portables for a while now and have 30+ years experience with computers and this is, as of yet, the most useful device for mobile work that I've come across. That being said there are a few constraints a buyer should be aware of beforehand.First of all: the screen. It's small (only 11.6") and resolution is a relatively standard 1366x768. This means that if you are often reading documents and articles, gathering information over the web or editing photos you will definitely feel limited by the smaller size of the screen. (This is NOT a computer for people with poor eyesight.) Another small thing to consider is that this screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Some older mac apps are designed for Macs using 16:10 screens meaning that some dialogue boxes were designed for a minimum vertical resolution of 800 pixels. Occasionally you may encounter an app with dialogue boxes that partially run off the screen when they are displayed on the MacBook Air 11. Minor niggle but worth mentioning since it's annoying when/if it happens. Otherwise the screen quality, brightness etc is great for web surfing, writing e-mails, watching movies etc.Second: the keyboard. It's also small. Not that I mind it much since I have relatively small hands but if you have larger hands you might want to consider the 13" version, sacrificing some portability for a little bit more space for your hands and wrists. If you have particularly large hands you might even find that you rest the bottom of your palms on the razor thin front edge of the unit making extensive typing an uncomfortable experience. As I said, it's not a problem for me but make sure that you try out the keyboard before you buy this machine. Otherwise the keyboard quality is great, with backlighting and no flex or creakiness at all.Third: the track pad. In order to accommodate the keyboard it's quite small, vertically, compared to the track pad on a MacBook Pro 13 or a 13 inch MacBook Air. If you are used to the huge glassy track pads on larger macs you might find that you occasionally encounter the upper or lower edges of the track pad when scrolling, pinching or moving the cursor from edge to edge on the screen. This, again, is no big issue for me and just took a bit of time getting used to. Not a major hindrance in my book but if the track pad is important to you then you might want to consider the 13 inch version.Just keep these three potential comfort issues, or minor niggles if you will, in mind and make sure you take a look (and feel) at a physical device before you make your purchase decision. Remember that this is probably not a machine for everyone, and definitely not the ideal primary machine for everyone, but if you don't mind the size constraints (after all, this machine was designed to be the ultimate ultraportable) it will probably be one of your best computer purchases all year.Also, do make sure you get the version with 4 GB RAM (as opposed to the baseline of 2 GB) as RAM is non-expandable on the MacBook Airs. You're basically stuck with whatever RAM your unit originally came with. When you install future O/S upgrades (or open a bunch of tabs in your web browser) you will probably appreciate splashing out the extra money for a larger amount of RAM.

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