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John Ryan "Kat is the Brains!" (London, UK)

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Apple MacBook 15.4-inch  Laptop (Intel core_i7 2.2GHz, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X)
Apple MacBook 15.4-inch Laptop (Intel core_i7 2.2GHz, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X)
Offered by mobile phone island
Price: £1,319.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely top end monster of a Mac. Beautifully designed and incredibly fast!, 20 Dec 2014
06 - Mac Book Pro. 2.6Ghz i7, 16Gb and 256Gb disk -

If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Macbook, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light, and I hardly notice it when I carry it around. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 2.2Ghz Core i7 processor (Absolutely top end!)
* 16Gb of memory
* 256Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually an incredibly fast SSD (Solid state drive)
* 15.4 inch screen backed with Intel Graphics Iris Pro - FANTASTIC RETINA display 2,880x1,800 pixels

I have to say, the smaller 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection this model (256Gb) is much more sensible. At 16Gb of memory you’ll be able to run almost anything on this monster of a machine.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 2 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Dedicated HDMI output for an external monitor
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDSX Card Reader

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly, and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook 13.3-inch  Laptop (Intel core_i5 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM, Mac OS X)
Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Laptop (Intel core_i5 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM, Mac OS X)
Offered by Digital Deals UK
Price: £1,074.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly fast, beautifully designed, you won't be disappointed, 20 Dec 2014
05 - Mac Book Pro. 2.6Ghz i5, 8Gb and 256Gb disk -

If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Macbook, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light, and I hardly notice it when I carry it around. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 2.6Ghz Core i5 processor
* 8Gb of memory
* 256Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually an incredibly fast SSD (Solid state drive)
* 13.3 inch screen backed with Intel Graphics Iris 5100 - FANTASTIC RETINA display

I have to say, the smaller 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection this model (256Gb) is much more sensible. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 2 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Dedicated HDMI output for an external monitor
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDSX Card Reader

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly, and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook 13.3-inch  Laptop (Intel core_i5 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB Memory, Mac OS X)
Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Laptop (Intel core_i5 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB Memory, Mac OS X)
Offered by BaffzTronics (Same Day Dispatch by Royalmail or Parcleforce Next Day Special delivery/Express 24. T&C Apply)
Price: £925.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, beautifully designed and fast with an amazing screen!, 20 Dec 2014
03 - Mac Book Pro. 2.6Ghz i5, 8Gb and 128Gb disk -

If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Macbook, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light, and I hardly notice it when I carry it around. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 2.6Ghz Core i5 processor
* 8Gb of memory
* 128Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually an incredibly fast SSD (Solid state drive)
* 13.3 inch screen backed with Intel Graphics Iris 5100 - FANTASTIC RETINA display

I have to say, 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection I’d advise the 256Gb model. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 2 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Dedicated HDMI output for an external monitor
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDSX Card Reader

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly, and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/B 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) Style: 13.3-Inch Size: 128 GB
Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/B 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) Style: 13.3-Inch Size: 128 GB

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, beautifully designed and fast. Worth the cash!, 20 Dec 2014
If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 128Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually zippy SSD
* 13 inch screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

I have to say, 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection I’d advise the 256Gb model. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It’s apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it’s actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there’s little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you’re a serious road warrior it’s a bonus, but otherwise it’s literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Offered by Smartco
Price: £849.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, light and fast. Worth the money!, 20 Dec 2014
If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 256Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually zippy SSD
* 13 inch screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDSX card slot

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It’s apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it’s actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there’s little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you’re a serious road warrior it’s a bonus, but otherwise it’s literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Laptop (Core i5 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB HDD, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger)
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Laptop (Core i5 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB HDD, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger)
Offered by BaffzTronics (Same Day Dispatch by Royalmail or Parcleforce Next Day Special delivery/Express 24. T&C Apply)
Price: £840.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully designed, incredibly thin and fast - I love it!, 20 Dec 2014
If you're like me, you'll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here's why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It's incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It's astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it's all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here's a summary of this device:-

* 1.4Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 256Gb of "hard disk" - it's actually zippy SSD
* 1,440x900 pixels on screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDXC Card Slot for photos

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed "Mag Safe" magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don't come with a wired network connection - it's assumed you'll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it's nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you're constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the "System Preferences" window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It's hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It's so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There's a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don't get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It's apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I'd have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it's worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they're a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they're available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in "the cloud".

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it's actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there's little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you're a serious road warrior it's a bonus, but otherwise it's literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you'll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don't worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you'll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the "hash" sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing "Option 3" instead of "Shift 3". As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it's illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I'm used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can't upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it's a bit disappointing you can't upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I'd have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it's hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you'll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you're aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you've moved from Windows to a Mac, you'll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MD760B/A 13.3 inch MacBook Air Dual Core i5 , 1.3GHz, Turbo Boost 4GB Ram ,128HDD, Intel HD Graphic 5000 2 x USB 3.0 Mac OX and iLife
Apple MD760B/A 13.3 inch MacBook Air Dual Core i5 , 1.3GHz, Turbo Boost 4GB Ram ,128HDD, Intel HD Graphic 5000 2 x USB 3.0 Mac OX and iLife
Offered by Right Click
Price: £746.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly light, thin and beautifully designed. Worth the money!, 20 Dec 2014
f you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 128Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually zippy SSD
* 1,440x900 pixels on screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

I have to say, 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection I’d advise the 256Gb model. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDXC Card Slot

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It’s apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it’s actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there’s little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you’re a serious road warrior it’s a bonus, but otherwise it’s literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Laptop (Intel Core-i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB PCIe-based Flash Storage, Mac OS X Mavericks)
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Laptop (Intel Core-i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB PCIe-based Flash Storage, Mac OS X Mavericks)
Offered by Nano Electronics
Price: £740.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, light and fast. Definitely worth the money!, 20 Dec 2014
f you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 128Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually zippy SSD
* 1,440x900 pixels on screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

I have to say, 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection I’d advise the 256Gb model. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera
* SDXC Card Slot

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It’s apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it’s actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there’s little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you’re a serious road warrior it’s a bonus, but otherwise it’s literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple MacBook Air 11-inch Laptop (Core i5 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB HDD, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger)
Apple MacBook Air 11-inch Laptop (Core i5 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB HDD, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger)

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, light and fast. Definitely worth the money!, 20 Dec 2014
02 - Mac Book Air. 1.3Ghz i5, 4Gb and 256Gb disk - mid 2013 model

If you’re like me, you’ll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here’s why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It’s incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It’s astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it’s all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here’s a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 256Gb of “hard disk” - it’s actually zippy SSD
* 1,366 x 768 pixels on screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

I have to say, 128Gb is not huge, and if you’ve a large video, photo or music collection I’d advise the 256Gb model. You should be OK with 4Gb of memory though unless you plan to run an awful lot of programs simultaneously.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed “Mag Safe” magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don’t come with a wired network connection - it’s assumed you’ll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it’s nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you’re constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the “System Preferences” window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It’s hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It’s so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There’s a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don’t get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It’s apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I’d have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it’s worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they’re a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they’re available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in “the cloud”.

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it’s actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there’s little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you’re a serious road warrior it’s a bonus, but otherwise it’s literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you’ll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don’t worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you’ll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the “hash” sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing “Option 3” instead of “Shift 3”. As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it’s illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I’m used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can’t upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it’s a bit disappointing you can’t upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I’d have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it’s hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you’ll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you’re aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you’ve moved from Windows to a Mac, you’ll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


Apple 11-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Apple 11-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Offered by Wowcamera
Price: £780.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, light and fast. Worth the money!, 20 Dec 2014
If you're like me, you'll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for the Mac Book Air, and here's why.

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and want a techie comparison best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It's incredibly thin and light at just 1.4Kg (just over a bag of sugar), and I hardly notice it in my case. The unibody design, carved out of a single peice of brushed aluminium gives this device a firm but incredibly light-weight feel, with a huge track-pad and beautifully made back-lit keyboard - great for typing in bed when it's dark. It's astonishing really, that a device this thin is so rigid - it just screams top build quality and beautiful attention to detail.

Just like the iPad Air - this really is "a thing of beauty".

Apple make a point of not comparing the numbers, (it's all about the experience not just a comparison of numbers) but here's a summary of this device:-

* 1.3Ghz dual core intel i5 processor
* 4Gb of memory
* 256Gb of "hard disk" - it's actually zippy SSD
* 1,366 x 768 pixels on screen backed with Intel HD Graphics 5000

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe 2 power plug.
* 1 x Thunderbolt port - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x super-fast USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* 720p front facing web camera

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you do get what you pay for,. This includes the cleverly designed "Mag Safe" magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

These machines don't come with a wired network connection - it's assumed you'll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it's nice to have the future proof design.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages or documents (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), or (just like the iPad), use three fingers to scroll through your running applications. This is a fantastic feature if you're constantly switching between two apps, for example a web page and a document, or a web page and your mail application.

Open the "System Preferences" window and you see a short video illustrating how you can configure the options. It's hard to over-state the benefit of the track-pad. It's so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There's a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course you don't get a CD/DVD drive - but all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one (I found several on Amazon for as little as £26 - and it means you can leave it at home).

Battery life is quoted at something silly (9-12 hours), and I generally get an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), before I started get a warning - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It's apparently 1,366 x 768 pixels, and looks just stunning. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I'd have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music wirelessly to a bluetooth speaker. it's worth noting, you can now stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

I get to test an awful lot of wireless bluetooth speakers, and they're a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your Mac, iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* £25 - Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* £40 - ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* £60 - Audio Dynamix Atom V2 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* £90 - Audio Dynamix Pulse V2 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* £129 - Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* £160 - Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* £250 - Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* £400 - Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker. Unlike the others, this is mains only, not rechargable
* £700 - Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

But back to the Macbook Air. In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

Of course if you need it, you can always buy Windows, Excel and Powerpoint for the mac (additional cost).

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they're available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in "the cloud".

Of course one of the considerations is which size to buy, 11inch or 13 inch. Well, for my money, it's actually a really close call. You see while in the past there used to be a significant speed difference, now the only real difference is literally screen size and an extra half kilo of weight. On the 13 inch Macbook Air you also get an SDXC card slot (a bonus if you take/transfer a lot of photos), but otherwise there's little difference. The battery life on the 13 inch is quoted at 12 hours (up from 9 hours), so if you're a serious road warrior it's a bonus, but otherwise it's literally down to size.

Be aware as well, you'll also certainly find this Macbook Air is an American rather than a UK model (hence the discounted price). Don't worry, Apple do provide world-wide warranty, and it makes no difference to your support contact, but you will find it as a USA rather than an English keyboard. Again, not to worry. Look down at your keyboard. Over the 3 you'll find a £ sign. On the American keyboard, this is the "hash" sign. Can can however always get the £ symbol, by pressing "Option 3" instead of "Shift 3". As with all US shipments it will come with a standard charger with both the US and UK plug (it's illegal to sell electrical devices in the UK with a UK plug) - so think of that as a bonus. The power is auto-sensing - which means it will work world-wide, in the UK, USA or Europe.

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I'm used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can't upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it's a bit disappointing you can't upgrade the internal disk or memory.

On balance - I'd have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it's hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you'll be selling it on eBay in three years time to replace it.

However, as long as you're aware of the limitations, go for it. This is a truly beautiful device, and will give you years of sheer pleasure. Believe me, once you've moved from Windows to a Mac, you'll never go back.

I do hope this review was helpful.


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