A handful of Chinese companies have been pumping out cheap knockoffs of the Macbook Air for at least a year or two. These notebooks tend to be thin, light, and feature keyboards and touchpads that look an awful lot like those on a certain pricey machine from Apple. But they also tend to be loaded up with Windows or Linux and bogged down by a relatively slow Intel Atom processor rather than the speedy Core 2o Duo CPU found in a Macbook Air.
Still, with the Air starting at $1499, it’s easy to see the appeal of these cheap lookalikes, which are often available in China and a handful of other locales for the equivalent of $400 or less. Now Shanzai.com is featuring the first-person account of someone who went the extra step and turned his knockoff into a real (kinda) Macbook by installing OS X.
The MacBook Air clone in question came from a store in the Philippines. It features a 13 inch display, Intel Atom N280 CPU, and GMA 950 graphics as well as a 3 cell, 3500mAh battery. Out of the box the WiFi card wouldn’t work with OS X Snow Leopard, but it was relatively easy to swap out the wireless card for a compatible model.
The end result is a $400 machine that’s pretty much a fully functional Mac. Of course, that’s not counting the price of OS X, which Apple doesn’t officially sanction installing on third party hardware. And the touchpad doesn’t work exactly that same was as a typical MacBook touchpad since there’s no support for two-finger gestures. You can see the laptop in action in the video after the break.