The new 13 inch MacBook Air of Apple looks and feels almost the same as the last year’s model. But the improved chipset promises 12 hours of battery life along with enhanced graphics performance and a compatible router will provide the users with faster Wi-Fi speeds too. It seems Apple just turned its best-performing laptop into a more powerful, efficient one. The design of the MacBook has not been changed since their introduction in 2010, but it is still one of the leading machines in terms of design and usability. While the multi-touch glass trackpad is way ahead of its Windows competitors, the backlit keyboard works like a charm.
The Outlook: 99 Percent Same
The single design change Apple made into the new MacBook Air is replacing the single mono mic on the left side with dual stereo mics. Apple noted that the dual microphone system will enable adaptive voice detection and noise cancellation. There is also a headphone jack, a MagSafe 2 power socket and a USB 3 port on the left. On the right, there is another USB 3 port, accompanied by an SDXC card slot and a Thunderbolt port. The 720p FaceTime camera will do its job, but the 1440*900 display looks pretty basic compared to those of Chromebook Pixel, latest Windows laptops and even Apple’a Retina devices. However, the display is still bright and sharp enough for everyday jobs.
The Hardware And The Impressive Battery Life
The very impressive battery life of the new MacBook Air is enabled by the new Haswell chips of Intel, which is expected to spread all over the industry within a short period of time. Interestingly, Apple did manage to outnumber the battery life promised by Intel itself. Keeping the immense battery power aside, the performance sector is a different story. The base model of the new Air, priced at $1,099, features a Core i5, 1.3GHz processor, lower than the 1.8GHz chip of the previous model. Though Apple claims the lower clock speed is compensated by the efficient Haswell chip, the benchmark results did indicate a slightly lower performance. The base model comes with only 128GB of storage, which could be made 256GB by paying $200 more.
According to Apple’s statements, the new Air will provide 40 percent increase on the graphics performance. Games like Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Portal 2 worked perfectly at their native resolutions. Nonetheless, consumers should not consider the Air as a gaming laptop and therefore, should not change their previous model basing on the graphics aspect. If the new Air is connected with an 802.11ac supported router, the Wi-Fi speeds will be considerably faster, even 3-times faster! Apple is offering two such routers currently, the Airport Extreme and the Time Capsule, priced at $199 and $299 respectively.
The Bottom Line
General users looking for a new laptop should consider the new MacBook Air as one of their potential choices. While the base model is $100 cheaper than the previous year’s model, it is competitively priced against those of Toshiba, Sony and others. The lack of Ethernet adaptor, no major specification upgrades or the comparison with touchscreen Retina display might score some points against the machine, but none of them could beat the 12 hour battery life. And that is the most powerful argument for considering the new MacBook Air.