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More MacBook Air 2011 Impressions

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lion-king

A week’s worth of time has passed since I got my hands on this MacBook Air. I’ve spent more time with the hardware, but more importantly, I’ve spent more time with the operating system.

Viewing Experience

This is the first laptop that I’ve ever used that is equipped with a 16:9 screen. It’s a very nice TN screen with decent viewing angles. While it’s not as nice as an IPS screen, it gets the job done.

The same goes with the aluminum trim surrounding the screen. It’s nice, but I would have preferred a dark trim like the MacBook Pro’s. It may not be fingerprint friendly, but it’s nighttime viewing friendly.

But my primary gripe isn’t with the screen quality or decor; it’s with the aspect ratio. I’m finding 16:9 a bit vertically challenged. I’ve already set the dock to auto hide, but having a bit more vertical screen space would have yielded a few more precious pixels to accommodate that permanent resident, the menu bar.

Lion Features vs. Time

While Mission Control and full screen helps alleviate much of the screen space issues, it only helps with a handful of applications. Many applications like Google Chrome don’t support full screen at all while others like Microsoft Word 2011 support it, but not spaces and Mission Control gesture transitions.

Unfortunately for me, it’s going to take some time for everybody else to catch up and incorporate these new features. But that’s not to say Apple is in the clear either. A number of their features could use a bit of refinement and enhancements as well.

Mission Control could use the ability to rename and a move spaces. The ability to close windows within Mission Control and App Expose wouldn’t hurt either. These window management improvements would go a long way into improving one of the weaker areas of the Mac OS X.

Window Management

Windows is superior at window management. It’s just so much easier to work with multiple windows at once with Microsoft’s latest OS.

I do not like how Mac OS X handles their “zoom” or whatever that + symbol is supposed to do in Mac OS X. I can understand closing a window (not programs) and minimizing programs, but not that green +. Sometimes it maximizes and sometimes it expands to some arbitrary width – there’s no rhyme or reason. To fix that problem, I decided to get Right Zoom which transforms that button to the standard Windows maximize and window mode button.

But I didn’t stop there. I also got my hands on BetterTouchTool and incorporated Aero Snap into Mac OS X. Now I’m using the best laptop OS with the some of the best features introduced into an OS period.

No Gaming Yet

Believe it or not, I haven’t played any games on my MacBook Air. The most processor intensive task I’ve done thus far was watching Flash videos on GiantBomb and Tested. (For whatever reason, Flash gives Mac OS X a real workout).

I’ve installed Steam – which isn’t as responsive as the Windows counterpart – and downloaded Plants vs. Zombies, but I haven’t launched it yet.

Convert?

Yes. From a purely productivity standpoint, a Mac OS X Lion laptop cannot be beat. Windows 7 is a fantastic OS and worked well enough for a laptop, but it wasn’t until I used Lion that I realized how much more efficient and easy a life on laptop could be.

Windows 8 may change things, but until then I won’t be going back to the Microsoft way of doing things on the laptop anytime soon.

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