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June 15, 2013

New Macbook Air (Mid 2013 Model) Review

So now WWDC 2013 we have had time to digest everything that went on. With most of the focus being on the software upgrades that OSX and iOS got the news of the new Macbook Air was a little bit overshadowed. The new Macbook Air sports the same design as previous editions but boasts a huge battery life, just the thing you will need to keep you online all day. The iconic design of the Macbook Air is still as light, if not lighter, than an iPad with a keyboard case, and yet still strong with the aluminium case.

The specs of the new Air are:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 Haswell, 1.3GHz (Turbo boost up to 2.6GHz)
  • Graphics/display: Integrated Intel HD5000, 11.6-inch display, 1366x768 (2560 by 1600 pixels on external display)
  • Memory: 4GB, 1600Mhz LPDDR3
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Ports: 2-USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, audio out, dual microphones
  • Camera: 720p Facetime camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 39WHr, 9 hours 
  • Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
  • Width: 11.8 inches (30 cm)
  • Depth: 7.56 inches (19.2 cm)
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg)

We will take a look at the new Macbook Air's battery life and see if any other compromises need to be made in order to obtain up to 15 hours of usage.

First things first, we shall take a quick look at how the Macbook Air 13-inch performs amongst the competition. In this test run by PCMag, the Air really did shine over and above it's competitors reaching well over 15 hours worth of charge, something you may expect to see in a phone or maybe even a tablet, but to see this in a laptop is quite impressive. This means that the Macbook Air 13-inch now has over double the battery life of it's nearest Windows 8 competition, and really dictates what a portable machine really is. Many other tests on the battery life seem to represent that 10 hours is a more realistic life that the battery will last, but Apple have stated that upon its release in the fall, OSX Mavericks will only improve on this statistic. Benchmarking on the new Macbook Air has also revealed improvements to the SSD read/write speeds with reports that boot time has been shaved down to 12 seconds from 18.
Some tasks perform even faster on the MacBook Air than on the latest MacBook Pro, especially graphics-intensive functions.
The design of the Macbook Air is unchanged, which has annoyed some but pleased others. I'm sure Apple have said to themselves "If it's not broken then don't fix it", and I would say that this is true amongst the Macbook Air line up as many enjoy the ultra slim aluminium design. The mid-2013 models are packed with that extra battery life but also come with the new line up of Haswell processors from Intel. It's great we have seen a refresh of this line up and the winner after all is the ultra-portability of the Airs and this is only bolstered by extended battery life.  It would have been nice to see the new lineup sport retina displays (something many of us expected), but the screen is still crisp and bright as always. Due to the ultra-portability of the laptop protection is always key when you are able to carry it around like you would an iPad or an iPhone. Much like your iPhone there is now a plethora of Macbook Air 13 cases to keep the most prised possession safe.

Overall it is clear that as always Apple is setting the standard for how laptops should perform. With the new Macbook Air 13-inch it can go anywhere with you, while packing the juice to keep up. The design is beautiful as ever and something that will be a real head turner. Yes, you can go and buy something cheaper but would it really fulfil all the needs that the Air seems to? Apple has upgraded the MacBook Air in the best way possible. It has significantly improved three critical components to yield the best performance: memory speed, SSD speed, and graphics speed. It's done that while keeping the 11-inch model's price the same as the previous generation, and while knocking $100 off the price of the 13-inch model. The Macbook Air has become such great value for money, despite the price tag  just due to the fact the value is so high because it is the market leader.

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