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Review: MacBook Air, Sony NEX-5

More interesting Apple gadgets camera and a camera.

     Print Edition: Feb 6, 2011

The future of laptops
The second-generation MacBook Air from Apple is as close to personal computing perfection as you can get. What more could you want from a portable computer? It has a great form factor which feels even better thanks to the aluminium unibody shell. It weighs next to nothing and the 11-inch screen is big enough for most purposes. Yes, from a performance standpoint, the machine is not in the same league as its MacBook Pro brethren, but it gets most things done fairly well. In fact, it is a lot better than competing Windows-powered Netbooks, even the better ones such as the Sony Vaio X-series.

The lack of an optical drive is possibly the only negative point. The only thing that can put you off buying a MacBook Air is, of course, the iPad. A 64GB capacity Wi-Fi iPad costs $699 (Rs 31, 450), cheaper than the MacBook Air with a similar storage capacity. But an iPad and a MacBook Air have completely complementary roles.

Sure, later this year you will see cheap replicas of the design by various manufacturers. Apple has managed to accomplish an amazing fusion between form and function.

+ve: The best small form-factor computer ever made
-ve: Pricey, no optical disc player

Price: 11-inch MacBook Air starts at Rs 60,900 (1.4GHz processor, 2GB memory, 64GB storage) 13-inch MacBook Air starts at Rs 79,900 (1.86GHz processor, 2GB memory, 128GB storage

The digital camera, reborn
The mirrorless format has taken the digital photography world by storm over the past year. While it has some disadvantages over conventional digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras, Sony has tried to change the rules of the game with its two new products, the NEX-3 and NEX-5. The NEX-5 has full-HD recording ability and a lighter and highquality magnesium body and is an excellent product.

NEX-5 is incredibly light and that should help users of smaller digital cameras. Plus it throws in the biggest benefit of DSLR cameras - interchangeable lenses. Sony offers a 18 to 55mm kit-lens, but the new mount of the NEX series means that you cannot use the older Sony Alpha lenses without an adapter. The NEX-5 uses the same type of sensor as the entry-level DSLR cameras and in terms of navigation and the ability to set up pictures, it is closer to regular point-and-click Cybershot digital cameras than Sony's Alpha DSLR range.

+ve: Light weight, interchangeable lenses, good pictures
-ve: Not a DSLR replacement, rather a stepping-stone

Price: Rs 39,990

Compiled by Kushan Mitra

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