Canadian Apple benchmarking specialist and developer of software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Unix (Geekbench, Wiinote), Primate Labs, has posted an abbreviated performance comparison of the new MacBook Airs that Apple released last week.
The outfit used Geekbench 2 scores from the Geekbench Result Browser for all of the MacBook Air models, as well as the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro models (which Primate Labs deems the most logical comparison outside the Air lineup).
Also included are scores for the iPad. Note that that Geekbench 2 only measures processor and memory performance, and not the benefits of faster video cards or storage devices.
Speed-wise, results are about what you would expect, with the 2.66 and 2.4 GHz MacBook Pros in the vanguard, the former with a Geekbench score of 3655, the 1.4 GHz 11.6-inch MacBook Air trailing the laptop field at 2026. The other six laptop models included (scores for 1.6GHz and 2.13GHz MacBook Airs, configurations that are $100 build-to-order options for the 11.6- and 13.3-inch models respectively were not tallied) are arrayed in between in an order you would logically intuit, with the iPad trailing badly with a score of just 453.
Based on score comparison, Primate Labs' John Poole categorizes the new 11-inch MacBook Air as either a much smaller and slower (by 60 per cent) MacBook Pro, or a much faster but larger iPad, albeit still small enough small and light enough to seriously consider as a portable platform alternative to the MUCH slower iPad, but not fast enough or offering a big enough screen to serve as a primary laptop.
On the other hand, the 13-inch MacBook Air provides about 80 per cent of the latest 13-inch Pro's processor performance in a slightly more portable case.
You can check it all out at primatelabs.