Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

Summary:The upcoming MacBook Air -- Apple's netbook -- could be the most cost effective, efficient laptop for the busy academic lifestyle.

Looking at the expected specification of the upcoming revised MacBook Air, one can only deduce that, this multi-platform capable device could well be the perfect companion for students.

Though the specifications for the new MacBook Air have not been confirmed, it looks likely that it will include:

  • Ultra-low voltage Intel Sandy Bridge Processor
  • High-speed Thunderbolt ports
  • Mac OS X Lion pre-installed
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 128GB/256GB solid-state hard-drive drive
  • 4GB RAM

That alone is enough to make even the most die-hard Windows fan drool, surely?

I can tell you now, as soon as they are released -- looking likely to be next week -- I will be taking one for myself. As I look towards postgraduate study, I cannot think of anything better on the market to complement my studies than a dual-booting MacBook Air.

(Image via Flickr)

Netbooks are, despite my past assertions, perfect for the travelling, cross-campus venturing, busy and productive students.

For students, who are often on the go for many hours of the day, and find as a basic requirement for any portable device, the ability to run all day without the need to recharge, a netbook is perfect.

While iPads could fill this void, the need for a productive QWERTY-keyboard is necessary for those writing essays on the go. Though I have no doubts that the iPhone is ideal for short messages, even with a wider and larger keyboard, the iPad is still lacking luster in the student market.

I will make a bold statement and say: if the specifications are correct (and multiple sources are confirming this to be the case), then the new MacBook Air -- even the 11" smaller model -- is the most powerful laptop for its size and weight on the market, now and ever.

The thing with laptops is that it takes only one hardware difference to change a product's model number. It makes it confusing, frankly.

The new MacBook Air will be -- as with the previous range of MacBook devices -- in date and powering above other devices on the market.

Though it sounds somewhat academic -- excuse the pun -- to have a similar device with the same, or slightly better specifications, one knows that Apple will produce a certain level of guaranteed quality. It will neither hum nor hiss, and the fan will not whirr aimlessly nor shall the device become so hot on one's lap that it decreases sperm count over time.

It just "does" what it does -- with one major difference.

The dual-booting Boot Camp enabled Windows slash Mac OS X will fit both kinds of student: the Windows productive student, and the Mac OS X creative student.

The price, however, is one of a contentious issue.

With academic discount, at around $800 for an Apple-branded netbook, which will without doubt last you the academic year if not longer -- may not be cheap, but is surely an investment for months down the line.

Whether or not you are an Apple fan, the MacBook Air could well be the most cost effective, efficient and sturdy solution for the busy academic lifestyle.

But hey -- just my two cents at the end of the day.

Related content:

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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