Now that the new MacBook Air has been released, it almost puts the old one to shame. Sure, you could recycle it as I did with my old laptop, by defenestrating it from a top-storey window. But it is far more fun to wedge two sticks of dynamite between the keyboard and the lid.
Do not try this at home, kids. Always try these things at your grandma's house instead.
On a serious note, while I take into account Chris Dawson's view on "the cheaper the better" for students, for those at university and of (at least we hope) a level of higher maturity, the new MacBook Air is a solid design. For the price plus academic discount, this new design will offer far more than simply durability.
Although the hardware specifications are not fantastic for high performance computing, graphics and video editing and gameplay, it is Apple's equivalent of the netbook. And with netbooks come productivity; something university students could always do with.