The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Using Intel's advanced Core i5 and i7 Sandy Bridge processors the new Air is incredibly powerful. These chips give it more than enough horsepower to comfortably outclass anything other than the early 2011 MacBook Pros. With Solid State Drives, the perceived speed of the new Air is faster than the MacBook Pro. Boot times are lightning fast. The Air only lacks power when asked to perform resource hungry work like digital editing. For all routine tasks, the latest Air demolishes my previous 2010 13" MacBook Pro. It's fair to say that it is all the computer that 99.9% of users will ever need.
Despite all this power, it doesn't get too hot. All in all, it is very easy and comfortable to use. Hard core gamers may bemoan the lack of a discrete graphics processor, but the inbuilt Intel GPU is perfectly adequate and it is certainly no worse than the previous generation of MacBook Pro which was a respectable gaming platform. Call of Duty 4 and Civilization V can both be played without enduring intolerably slow polygonal rendering. Screen quality is excellent.
The 13" Air runs MS Office flawlessly. It's great for surfing the web, watching movies, managing pictures in iPhoto and video chatting. The way in which you can perch it on your lap while sitting on a sofa makes it ideal for writing, reviewing email and doing countless other stuff in a relaxed way. It really makes you wonder why all computers aren't built this way. Since the form factor hasn't changed since 2010, suffice it to say that the Air's ergonomics are peerless.
There are two downsides. One is that the hard disk is only 256 GB in size. I think the minimum acceptable size is now 500 GB and ideally 1 TB or 2 TB. If you own a lot of media, this machine may run out of memory quite quickly. I am very surprised that Apple hasn't made a 500 GB SSD available as BTO upgrade for the Air as it has for the 13" MacBook Pro. I guess this is due to cost.
The other problem is that battery life seems less than the late 2010 model, I got 7 rather than 8 or 9 hours. This is a disappointment, but isn't a deal-breaker. You expect a certain loss in battery life when you get a much more capable chip.
In short, this is a truly great personal computer. It marks the fact that we've now reached a point in time where processor power is no longer dependent on chip size. The latest processors are capable of being squeezed into the thinnest enclosures, allowing small and light machines to perform tasks that only a few short years ago would have required a slab of plastic and metal weighing almost 10 lb. This is progress.
The OSX 10.7 Lion operating system is a work of genius. Launch Control, which enables you to review and launch all Apps via a single click, is a very clever refinement. So too is Mission Control, which replaces Expose and allows you to wade through a mass of open windows and applications to find the one you need. Lion also comes with a new Apple email programme which works well. In Safari, I like the way you can now slide pages with your fingers just as if you were turning pages in a book. Nice touch. Hundreds of other interface tweaks make this a no-brainer upgrade.
I'd go as far as to say that the latest 13" Air is so good, it makes the 13" MacBook Pro redundant. It is definitely the benchmark for future systems to beat. When you get as much power in a machine this slim, the incremental power you get in a 13" MacBook Pro doesn't seem worth it toting around in a machine that weighs so much more.
If you need a new machine now, this is undoubtedly the one to buy.
Processor 1.3GHZ INTEL CORE I5 Memory RAM 4GB Hard Drive Capacity 128GB OS Apple OS X The ... more
new MacBook Air is thin light and durable enough to take everywhere you go and powerful enough to do everything once you get there. Fourth-generation Intel Core processors and Intel HD Graphics 5000 deliver high performance while using less power. So you get remarkable battery life up to 12 hours on the 13-inch model and up to 9 hours on the 11-inch model 1. And with up to 45 per cent faster flash storage compared to the previous generation and new 802.11ac Wi-Fi for up to 3x faster wireless 2 the new MacBook Air is quicker and more responsive than ever.Apple MacBook Air Product DescriptionProcessor Dual-core Intel Core i5 1.3GHz Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz 3MB shared L3 cacheMemory 4GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM Configuration 1 x 4GB onboardHard Drive 128GB FlashOptical Drive NoneSoftware Operating system Apple OS X Mountain LionDisplay 13.3-inch diagonal LED-backlit glossy widescreen display support for millions of coloursGraphics Intel HD GraphicsAudio Stereo speakers Dual microphones Headphone port Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphoneInput Devices Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 US or 79 ISO keys including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys inverted T arrangement with ambient light sensor Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control supports inertial scrolling pinch rotate swipe three-finger swipe four-finger swipe tap double-tap and drag capabilitiesNetworking WLAN 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking IEEE 802.11abgn compatible Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technologyPower Supply Up to 12 hours wireless web Up to 10 hours iTunes film playback Up to 30 days standby time Built-in 54-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery 45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management MagSafe 2 power port Line voltage 100-240V AC Frequency 50Hz to 60Hz Operating temperature 10 to 35 C 50 to 95 F Storage temperature 25 to 45 C 13 to 113 F Rel