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.

Making do with less

In order to make the MacBook Air small and light, Apple has had to remove features once considered standard on all Apple laptops. This model is the first in recent memory to have no built-in CD/DVD drive and no FireWire ports. Its internal storage is limited, and its connection to peripherals has been reduced, too.

In order to take advantage of the MacBook Air's light weight and small size, users must be willing to sacrifice some of the features that they previously took for granted.

Let's start with the MacBook Air's lack of an optical drive. If you're someone who lives or dies by the ability to burn or play back CDs or DVDs, you'll find this to be a major drawback.

Apple has, to its credit, exerted quite a bit of muscle in an attempt to make the Air's lack of an optical drive a non-issue. In addition to selling the external SuperDrive add-on for £65, Apple has added a feature called Remote Disc that allows the MacBook Air to take over the optical drive of another computer (Mac or PC) on your local network.

Although Remote Disc is a nice addition, it has limitations. It's meant for installing programs and copying files, and doesn't work as a remote DVD player or CD ripper.

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