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Apple Apple MacBook Air

Apple's MacBook Air Is Beautiful and Thin

Apple Apple MacBook Air (1.6GHz) Screen Size: 13.3 inches
Weight: 3 lbs
Processor Options: Core 2 Duo
Graphics Options: Integrated
The MacBook Air is a new 13.3" widescreen ultra thin notebook from Apple. The MacBook Air is only 0.76" thick and weighs only 3lbs. You can get an SSD drive and up to 1.8GHz LV Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The MacBook Air also has a new multi-touch feature touchpad with such options as "pinching" to manipulate on screen views.



[MacBook Air]

Apple finally has entered the subnotebook market, introducing a lightweight laptop meant to please road warriors. But, typical of Apple, the company took a different approach from its competitors. The result is a beautiful, amazingly thin computer, but one whose unusual trade-offs may turn off some frequent travelers.

The new aluminum-clad MacBook Air, which I've been testing for several days, is billed as the world's thinnest notebook computer. Its thickest point measures just three-quarters of an inch, which is slimmer than the thinnest point on some other subnotebooks. And it employs some innovative software features, such as fingertip gestures for its touchpad that are similar to those on Apple's iPhone.

Apple refused to make the most common compromise computer makers employ to create their littlest laptops. Other subnotebooks -- a category generally defined as weighing three pounds or less -- have screens of just 10 to 12 inches and compressed keyboards. The three-pound MacBook Air, by contrast, features a 13.3-inch display and a full-size keyboard.

It's impossible to convey in words just how pleasing and surprising this computer feels in the hand. It's so svelte when closed that it's a real shock to discover the big screen and keyboard inside.

But there's a price for this laptop's daring design: Apple had to give up some features road warriors consider standard in a subnotebook, and certain of these omissions are radical. Chief among them is the lack of a removable battery. So, while the MacBook Air will be a perfect choice for some travelers, I can't recommend it for all. It really depends on your style of working on the road and what features you value most.

The MacBook Air, which will be available next week, costs $1,800 with an 80-gigabyte hard drive and a generous two gigabytes of memory. A second model, with a faster, cutting-edge, 64-gigabyte, solid-state drive and a slightly speedier processor, costs a whopping $3,100. The $1,800 price for the main model isn't unusual in subnotebooks, which can easily top $2,000, although some competitors cost less.

In my tests, the MacBook Air's screen and keyboard were a pleasure to use. The machine felt speedy, even with multiple programs running. And the laptop has the same Leopard operating system, superior built-in software, and paucity of viruses and spyware that I believe generally give the Mac an edge. I was able to install and run Windows XP using the third-party Parallels software.

But then there are those trade-offs. The sealed-in battery means you can't carry a spare in case you run out of juice, and you have to bring it to a dealer when you need a new one. There's no built-in DVD drive. The thin case can't accommodate a larger internal hard disk. And the machine omits many common ports and connectors.

The MacBook Air

There's no Ethernet jack for wired broadband Internet connections and no dedicated slot for the most common types of external cellphone modems. That means that out of the box, the MacBook Air has only one way to get on the Internet -- through its fast, built-in Wi-Fi connection. If you're out of Wi-Fi range, you're out of luck, unless you buy an optional, $30 add-on Ethernet connector or a cellphone modem that connects via USB.

In fact, the MacBook Air has only three connectors: a headphone jack, a single USB port and a port for connecting an external monitor.

That single USB port is a problem, because so many peripherals use USB. You can buy a tiny, cheap USB hub that adds three more ports, but that's yet another item to carry.

The lack of a DVD drive is partly solved by some clever software Apple included that lets you "borrow" the DVD drive on any other Mac or Windows PC on your network, so you can transfer files or install new software from a CD or DVD. This worked fine in my tests, in which I installed several new programs from CDs on remote computers, but it requires disabling third-party firewalls on Windows machines. It also doesn't work for installing Windows on your Mac, for watching DVDs, or for playing or importing music. For those tasks, you need an external DVD drive. Apple sells one for $99.

In my standard battery test, where I disable all power-saving features, set the screen brightness at maximum, turn on the Wi-Fi and play an endless loop of music, the MacBook Air's battery lasted 3 hours, 24 minutes. That means you could likely get 4.5 hours in a normal work pattern, almost the five hours Apple claims.

But the MacBook Air has another downside: its screen height. Because of the larger screen, the lid stands higher when opened than on most other subnotebooks. So it isn't as usable as some competitors when the seat in front of you in coach on a plane is reclined.

If you value thinness, and a large screen and keyboard in a subnotebook, and don't watch DVDs on planes or require spare batteries, the MacBook Air might be just the ticket. But if you rely on spare batteries, expect the usual array of ports, or like to play DVDs on planes, this isn't the computer to buy.

Nokia 6555 review: 3G with a flip

Key features

  • Stylish slender clamshell
  • High-quality 2-inch QVGA 16M color TFT display
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • UMTS and EDGE support
  • microSD memory card support up to 4 GB
  • Good music player
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP profile
  • microUSB connector and 2.5mm jack

Main disadvantages

  • Shiny surfaces suffer fingertips
  • Loose hinge and the "cracking" back cover
  • Only 1.3 megapixel camera with rather basic interface
  • Memory card slot under the battery
  • No FM radio
  • No video calls support
  • microUSB port is still not widely popular
  • No headphones and memory card in the retail package

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Nokia 6555

Nokia 6555 is a midrange 3G-enabled handset, joining the clamshell ranks of the Finnish company. The form factor inevitably brings back memories of the likeable push-to-open Nokia 6131. Nokia 6555 lacks the auto-open functionality but the 3G support is one of the strong points of this stylish clamshell.

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Nokia 6555 in hand • tall but comfortable

Beautiful Phone

The first thing about Nokia 6555 to sure make an impression is its elongated silhouette. Compared to 6131, Nokia 6555 is 8 mm taller and 4 mm narrower, keeping the same thickness. The actual dimensions are 99.6 x 44.3 x 19.6 mm, at a weight of 97 g. We are testing the black variety, but Nokia 6555 is also available in sliver, red and beige. The colors only vary on both the front and rear framing; the middle glossy sections on the face and the back of the handset are always black. Enclosed in handsome chrome-colored accents, they do contribute to the stylish looks and feel of the device, but are critically prone to fingerprints.

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Official pictures of the other color versions

The phone is all made of plastic. Those expecting elite expensive materials could be disappointed but after all it's a midrange handset, which by the way looks above its class. The glossy finish and the mirror external display are nicely highlighted by the chrome accents, which do enhance the elongated shape of Nokia 6555.

We couldn't help reminisce of the KRZR K3, which is a true looker. The 6555 is another Nokia clamshell, along with the N76, to feature a chin at the foot of the lower flip in the style of the Motorola RAZR bunch and its offshoots. In Nokia 6555 the chin is reclined to match the etched end of the flip, giving the handset its sharp profile in both open and closed position.

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Nokia 6555 all around • not slim at all • a-la-Motorola chin

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A cushion for the flip below the keypad • Nokia 6555 is a tall clamshell

Three connectors are placed at the sides of the handset. At the bottom on the right is the charger plug, while the 2.5 mm headphone jack is at the top. The microUSB port is on the left, along with the lanyard eyelet. The side of the flip features the dedicated camera key and the volume rocker. The whole threesome offers good elevation and tactility.

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Volume and shutter keys on the flip • microUSB port • 2.5 mm headset jack

The whole rear panel is the battery compartment cover. It features the same chrome-colored accents as the front and, when the flip is open, the chrome lines join in one oblong shape. The battery cover removes easily, but could've been a lot more solid. A little extra pressure will result in audible creaks. Underneath is the reasonably capable 1020 mAh Li-Ion battery, quoted at 300 hours in stand-by and 390 minutes talk time.

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Chrome accents join in open position

Under the battery are the SIM bed and the microSD card slot. The memory card is not hot-swappable; the handset has to power off before inserting or removing the card. Nokia 6555 supports microSD cards of up to 4 GB capacity, but none is shipped with the handset.

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The entire rear panel gets removed • in the hinge area the handset looks sliced off


The midrange clamshell Nokia 6555 offers standard equipment and above-its-class elegance. Other than the looks, the two quality screens and the comfortable keypad are indisputable advantages. As to functionality, there are no surprises. But then, the price tag promises none. The downright drawbacks are the lack of FM radio, the 1.3 megapixel camera and the thrifty retail box.

Today's market seems flooded with handsets of similar functionality, so Nokia 6555 is in for a challenge. The clamshell design and the attractive looks will be the key features to set it apart. Even inside the Nokia family, it will be facing serious competition. Nokia 6131 continues to enjoy good demand, while 6267 offers a 2MP camera with LED flash, music player controls on the flip, video calling, VGA video recording and FM radio. It does lack however the finesse of Nokia 6555.

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Nokia 6267: better equipment, less style

Nokia 6555 is already available in all of its color versions. Maybe underpowered here and there, Nokia 6555 still has the attraction of affordability, style and 3G.


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