INSIGHTS and ANALYSIS
As you can see, though the MacBook Air costs more, it is way behind the MacBook Pro 2.6 in performance. I know it's thinner and lighter but if you think the two are in any way close in performance, you are mistaken. Not only is the CPU in the MacBook Pro much faster but the graphics processor (GPU) is also much faster.
I don't just mean that the MBP runs games faster. Take a look at the last graph above. That's the speed at which both laptops render Core Image effects. The MacBook Pro is 7.5 times faster. Being addicted to speed, that was the last straw for me. Thin might be "in" but speed is what I crave.
But the distinctions are more than about speed. For example, when I ran the Halo benchmark, I realized that there were was no support in the MacBook Air's integrated GMA X1300 for advanced shaders such as transparency and reflectivity.
Finally, I found the single USB port to be "punitive." Not only is it a slow interface but having to share it between the the Verizon Wireless broadband USB modem, USB SuperDrive, and USB external drives was such a hassle. I know you can do many things via AirPort wireless including installing software from a remote SuperDrive, but that can be painfully slow -- even with an 802.11n netwok. I am just too used to having speedy internal slot-load SuperDrives and speedy FireWire ports as standard equipment in my laptop.
BTW, though the flip open port "door" is clever, two of our three USB jump drives could not be inserted fully into the USB port due to clearance issues.
I know there are USB Hubs. A very good one is the new SypderHUB from FirmTek which adds FireWire and eSATA connections. But the whole idea of the laptop is to be unencumbered and self contained -- especially on the road.
I acknowlege that the MacBook Air is a sweet setup for many of you with "normal" needs. It's not a bad laptop. Just not my cup of tea.