Is the new 11.6-inch MacBook Air a netbook? Steve Jobs would become apoplectic if you called it one, and he’s right. Sure, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air has about the same form factor as a 12-inch netbook, but without any of the latter’s compromised build quality or lousy performance… even when running a netbook’s go-to operating system, Windows 7.
To prove the point, PC World recently put the 11.6-inch MacBook Air up against some of the best netbooks out there using their own WorldBench 6 software, which “runs systems through a timed gantlet of popular consumer applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Mozilla Firefox, compiles the results, and spits out an overall score. ”
The result? The 11.6-inch MacBook Air was more than one and a half times as capable of even the best netbook they’ve tested recently. Those results aren’t a surprise: Apple didn’t compromise much with the Air’s CPU, which is an underclocked Core 2 Duo as opposed to an Intel Atom, and that SSD really helps matters too.
Of course, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air gets about half the battery life as most of these netbooks, so it’s ultimately about what’s more important to you: all-day battery life for half the price, or performance, speed, design and minimal footprint with half-day battery life. That’s a pretty easy decision in my book.