Well, the MacBook Air 11.6" is incredibly cool, most of the time running close to body temp. Not much use as a hand warmer. It will get warmer if you're watching videos since the processor has to work harder, but it's still not bad.
Too small? Nah.
|MBA and 1/4" hardboard pad|
I wouldn't bother taking the board on trips. After all, the whole point of getting the small MBA is for its lightweight design.
|11.6" on hardboard|
No CD/DVD Drive
Nope, you can't watch DVDs on this laptop, at least not without buying the optional external MacBook Air SuperDrive for $79. I haven't missed it so far. You can "borrow" a CD/DVD drive from another Mac or PC using Apple's Remote Disk feature. I used it to install some software, but couldn't get an older version of Quicken to work, nor does Windows install by remote disk. Not a deal breaker for me since there are usually other ways now that so much is online. And if not having the optical drive helps chop a couple of pounds off this unit, I'm willing to make the trade.
Daily Use Report
My main worry was about the smaller screen size compared to my 13" MacBook. I did notice it initially, but after a week of daily writing (some days for several hours) I don't notice it at all. It's like this is normal. Part of this is due to the higher screen resolution, which provides more info onscreen. Of course it's all a bit smaller, but it doesn't bother me.
I write with MS Word 2011, iTunes (gotta have tunes!), a browser, NoteBook (by Circus Ponies), and Pages (iWork by Apple), all open at the same time. Usually I also have Mail, Evernote, maybe another browser, and perhaps Excel (timeline for my book). Honestly, I can launch just about every application I have and the machine still keeps humming along just as fast as ever. I think it's using the fast Solid State Drive as backup RAM, but the SSD is so incredibly fast that I don't even notice it.
I did pay to get the upgraded model: 128 GB SSD drive (up from 64 GB), 4 GB RAM (2 is standard), and the 1.6 GHz processor (up from 1.4 GHz). These upgrades were $100 a pop. But I tried the lower end model in the stores and launched everything I could, then copy/pasted a Word doc until it reached over 1,000 pages and tried a few Saves, disk copies, etc. It still screamed. I was duly impressed.
My primary reasons for getting the upgrades were, 1. I'm using this as my main machine, not just a travel notebook, and 2. Apple has the new OS coming out next year, Lion, and it's possible it might benefit from more RAM and a faster processor. You can't upgrade either on these machines. And 3. I have a pretty large iTunes library and 64 GB SSD didn't give me enough headroom. Right now with everything installed, I'm using 75 gigabytes, so I definitely needed the larger drive.
I'll be glad to answer any questions about the MacBook Air. Just leave a comment or drop me an email.