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.

With the keyboard and display set, then, there are only two other ways for the MacBook Air to distinguish itself from its cousins: thickness and weight.

Despite its diminutive size, the MacBook Air doesn't feel fragile; the keyboard feels solid, as does the Air's entire bottom half. We noticed a bit of flexion on the top of the laptop - the portion behind its screen - but even there the MacBook Air felt sturdy.

There's no way to tell how this laptop will fare in high-stress situations, but it certainly feels durable. That brings us to the MacBook Air's thinness. This product was undoubtedly designed specifically to be as thin as possible, with an eye toward making the marketing claim that the MacBook is "the world's thinnest notebook".

There is no denying that the MacBook Air's thinness makes it visually striking. But we're not convinced of the utility of that thinness. Other than allowing Apple to declare the Air the current winner of the race to design the thinnest laptop, it's not clear what the loss of a few millimetres really gives you.

It's not going to gain you much working room when you're wedged in an economy airline seat behind someone whose seat is fully reclined.

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