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Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 11:05 am PT (02:05 pm ET)

Consumer Reports declares Apple's new MacBook Air top of class

Consumer Reports, the organization that caused a stir by not recommending Apple's iPhone 4 due to alleged antenna issues, has taken the opposite stance on the new MacBook Air, giving it top honors.

The consumer advocacy group this week revealed that the new 11.6-inch $999 MacBook Air and its larger 13.3-inch model are the best notebooks in their respective classes. Access to the full report, including scores, requires a subscription.

Digital Daily revealed that the new 11-inch MacBook Air earned a score of 67 points out of 100. That was well beyond the next highest ranked notebook, the Toshiba Satellite, which garnered 51 points.

The larger, more powerful 13-inch MacBook Air earned 78 points, edging the 76 points assigned to the Toshiba Portege. Consumer Reports reportedly found the performance, display and ergonomics of both new MacBook Air models to be the best features on the thin-and-light notebooks.

On the negative side of Apple's new ultraportables, Consumer Reports said the versatility of both models is "fair," while the speakers on the 11-inch model were said to be substandard. The new MacBook Airs were also dinged for their prices, which came in more than double that of their competitors' comparatively less-powerful hardware.

The MacBook Air's high marks from Consumer Reports are a stark contrast from the iPhone 4 controversy earlier this year, when the publication reversed its initial recommendation of the iPhone 4. The company conducted independent testing in a controlled environment, where it found that the iPhone 4 was subject to signal loss when held improperly.

Despite its change of stance, the organization still ranked the iPhone as the best smartphone available. The company also criticized Apple for ending its free case program for new iPhone 4 buyers, suggesting that the Cupertino, Calif., company was "putting the onus" of a "design flaw" on consumers.

For more, see AppleInsider's own positive take on the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air models in our extensive review, published in October. Readers can also find significant discounts on the new notebooks in the AppleInsider Mac Pricing Matrix, included below:

MacBook Air
11-inch MacBook Airs
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/128GB) $839.99 $814.79* $839.99+ $854.99 $839.00! $84.21
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a on order* $979.00+ n/a $979.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,079.99 $1,088.79* $999.99+ $1,044.99 $999.00! $99.01
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,144.59* on order+ n/a on order! $54.41
11" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,379.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,479.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/128GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,029.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/256GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,229.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,529.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a on order* $1,149.00+ n/a $1,129.00! $20.00
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,309.49* on order+ n/a $1,329.00! $39.51
11" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,581.09* $1,629.00+ n/a $1,629.00! $67.91
11" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/128GB) $806.99 sold out $819.00+ sold out $192.01
11" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/256GB) $949.80 on order* $899.00+ sold out $239.20
MacBook Pro
13-inch MacBook Airs
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/128GB) $989.00 $921.49* $899.99 $899.99 $899.99 $100.00
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a $1,042.74* on order+ n/a $1,079.00! $56.26
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,129.99 $1,105.79* $1,139.99+ $1,139.99 $1,139.99! $93.21
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,231.89* $1,299.00+ n/a on order! $67.11
13" Air (1.40GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,479.00! $20.00
13" Air (1.40GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,546.18* on order+ n/a $1,579.00! $52.82
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/128GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,129.00! $39.32
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/256GB) n/a on order* $1,349.00+ n/a $1,329.00! $45.32
13" Air (1.70GHz/4GB/512GB) n/a on order* n/a n/a $1,629.00! $54.32
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/128GB) n/a $1,183.39* $1,249.00+ n/a $1,229.00! $65.61
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/256GB) n/a $1,377.39* $1,419.99+ n/a $1,429.00! $71.61
13" Air (1.70GHz/8GB/512GB) n/a $1,668.39* $1,749.00+ n/a $1,729.00! $80.61
13" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/128GB) $908.00 sold out sold out sold out $191.00
13" Air (1.30GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,109.89 sold out $999.00+ sold out $300.00
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