MacBook Air: What would you sacrifice for portability?

Summary:The Apple MacBook Air is extremely portable--it's so slim it fits inside a manila envelope. But the portability requires you to sacrifice some expansion and connectivity options:No PC card slot: You won't be able to slot in a 3.

The Apple MacBook Air is extremely portable--it's so slim it fits inside a manila envelope. But the portability requires you to sacrifice some expansion and connectivity options:

No PC card slot: You won't be able to slot in a 3.5G Mobile Data PC Card or any other PC Card because it doesn't have a PC Card or ExpressCard slot. All peripherals must be connected via the USB interface.

No Ethernet port: You can't plug an Ethernet cable directly into the MacBook Air. You need to use an Ethernet adapter for USB. If you travel often, it may be a hassle to connect the MacBook Air to the hotel's wired network.

No CD/DVD drive: You need to use an external drive to access CDs and DVDs. The MacBook Air provides a CD/DVD drive-sharing software that allows you to access another PC's CD/DVD drive over the wireless network (with permission of the user at the PC of course). If you're surrounded by strangers who won't share their CD/DVD drives, then you're out of luck.

Only one USB socket: If you need to connect more than one USB device at the same time, you'll need to use a USB hub.

Non-removable battery: You can't swap the battery for another if you run out of power.

So while the MacBook Air is highly portable, you may end up carrying many more peripherals like a 3.5G modem for USB, Ethernet adapter for USB, external CD/DVD drive, USB hub and so on. Think about this before you buy a MacBook Air.

Signing off from Sydney airport, and wishing I had something as portable as a MacBook Air, but without the compromises.

Topics: Hardware

About

Lee Lup Yuen is passionate about mobile phones and PDAs, as he is constantly buying new gadgets and programming them in J2ME, .NET, Symbian and AppForge. He has developed commercial applications with mobile technologies like SMS, MMS, WAP, 3G video streaming and location-based services.

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