The MacBook Air was not so much divisive as despised when first announced. Here was an outrageously gorgeous laptop, yes--sleek and thin beyond what anyone had thought possible--but at a serious price. No optical drive. One USB drive. Paltry battery life. A poor screen. An underpowered processor. And all for a very, very high asking price.
This was an instance of Apple working out the kinks in the first generation. Now, a few generations later, the MacBook Air is bar none our favorite consumer laptop
. The tech has caught up to the concept: Now, we can fit a powerful processor, all-day battery life, a respectable amount of flash storage, and a great screen into that same tiny package. Even better, the price has gone down, even below $1,000.
The lack of an optical drive, which seemed so offensive in 2008, seems perfectly fine now. Who needs it, with Netflix, Hulu, and the rest? The laptop is now so light, and with such great battery life, that it's in many ways the most portable laptop we've ever seen. The flash memory is fast, reliable, and sturdy. This computer just works, and in 2011, it works very, very well.