In many ways the story of the MacBook Air is the story of a series of compromises, all made in order to fit an entire Mac in a 1.3kg package that's 4mm thick at its thinnest point.

It's clear that Apple's engineers followed a specific set of design constraints for the MacBook Air. By retaining the dimensions of the regular MacBook, the MacBook Air can offer a full-size keyboard as well as a generous widescreen display.

The MacBook Air's keyboard, backlighting apart, is the same square-keycapped design featured on the MacBook. And its 13.3in, 1,280-by-800 pixel display is identical in size to the one found on the MacBook.

However, the Apple MacBook Air's screen is notably different because of what's lighting it from behind: a light-emitting diode (LED). The LED backlighting is extremely bright, but what's more impressive is that it immediately snaps on to its full brightness. The MacBook, in contrast, starts out somewhat dim and gradually increases in brightness.

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