"Great ultraportable laptop"4.5 starson by Rob Pettengill
Pros: Super thin and light, high rez screen, near instant shut down and wake, feels faster than my 2.4 GHz laptop
Cons: No 256KB SSD option in 11", miss the keyboard backlight
Summary: Don't be fooled by the lower processor speed, SSD and fast graphics chip more than make up for it. I have the 1.6 GHz/4 GB 11.6 inch Air and it is fully the equivalent of a mid-level full size laptop for my work.In addition to being amazingly light and sturdy, this machine is fast. I have the upgraded 4GB memory and 1.6 GHz processor. Running 1080p mp4 video locally the processor is 75% idle. Running HD flash from youtube with Adobe's unaccelerated decoder the processor is 20% idle with no noticeable skipping.
You can view 1080p H.264 video without dropped frames and the CPU is more than 75% idle. Startup & performance of MS Office apps is very fast. No problem running heavy duty software development tools like eclipse.
Users who need large amounts of local disk for applications like video editing or more than 2 cpu cores for multiple virtual machines won't be well served.
The near instant startup and shutdown are invaluable. The extreme light weight and thin profile make it very comfortable on a table or in your lap in a chair or on a couch. The 16:9 screen is great for reading ebooks using Amazon's reader in two column mode.
Build quality is fabulous and up to that of my macbook pro. I was thinking about an iPad as an option for more portability, but the 11.6" air feels hardly any heavier and not much larger as well as letting me do anything that I can on my macbook pro. My pro is now relegated to the desktop and I can't imagine ever buying a big laptop again.
Updated on Nov 14, 2010
MS Office apps open in a couple of seconds and are very snappy.
Adobe Photoshop opens in 3 seconds and is very quick at editing a 15 MP image. Adobe Dreamweaver flies. Eclipse (the java application development framework) opens in less than 5 seconds.
Batter life is a real 5 to 6 hours with light editing, web surfing, and email use with the display at half .
Overall the machine feels much faster than my 2.4 GHz Macbook pro. CPU intensive work like transcoding video is only ~60% as fast.
After a couple weeks of use, I'm ready to give up my big laptop for good. I'm looking forward to an all SSD Macbook pro line next. I can't imagine buying a laptop with a disk drive again.