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.

Speed facts

We tested the MacBook Air's £1,199 configuration—a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor with an 80GB hard drive (and a little help from our friends at Macworld.com).

As you might expect from the slow clock speeds of its processor and the slow speed of its hard drive, the MacBook Air is quite a bit slower than the other MacBooks.

Its Speedmark score of 124 is the lowest score we've recorded for any Intel-based Mac laptop, but it does handily beat our PowerPC laptop reference system, the 1.67GHz PowerBook G4. The MacBook Air is also clearly the slowest currently shipping Mac model.

Users who must rely on their portable systems to do processor-intensive tasks as fast as possible should be warned: the MacBook Air is not remotely as fast as the MacBook, let alone the MacBook Pro.

But for general uses, we rarely noticed that the system was slower than a MacBook.

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