I’ve had my MacBook Air for about two weeks now so I thought it was time I do a review. Of course, I haven’t yet put this baby through the college experience yet, so I’m not certain how that’s going to pan out, but I’m pretty confident. Let’s go.
Display: 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy display
Resolution: 1440×900 pixels
Depth: 0.11 to 0.68 inch thin
Weight: 2.96 pounds
Up to 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor (upgrade)
4GB or 8GB memory (upgrade)
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB flash storage (upgrade)
Intel HD Graphics 5000
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Differences between 2012 and 2013
On the exterior, the two MacBooks are virtually the same save for two tiny holes next to the headphone jack for… more advanced headphones and microphones, apparently. Also, the dimensions have not changed. Thank goodness, because if the Air were any thinner it would be considered a weapon. However, the inside is completely different. Due to new Haswell chips the MacBook Air now has up to 12 hours of battery life!
Despite the selling point of 12 hours of battery, I find that if you’re actually actively working, the Air has significantly less—perhaps around 8~10 hours. But that being said, 8 hours is amazing for a laptop! And the full charge time is very little, around one to two hours. If you’re just watching movies on the Air, it’s likely you can get around 12 hours.
There are three possible upgrades you can pay for to speed up your Air. In order of importance they are 4GB to 8GB of RAM, a 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 to a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor, and 128 to 256 or 512 GB of flash storage. I got the first two upgrades, but passed on the increased flash storage because 1) I don’t plan on loading up my laptop with movies and I think 128GB at a time is sufficient for college, 2) it’s the least important in terms of speeding up your Mac, and 3) if I do need more storage space, I can get a 300GB external hard drive for just $100 whereas 128GB extra built into the computer costs $200. Despite not having the third upgrade, my Air is insanely fast! Most applications take less than a second to open. The only time I got the spinning beach ball of death was when I opened iPhoto for the first time and accidentally tried to import thousands of photos at the same time.
Although the MacBook Air does not have retina yet, I find the display just fine. I’m not one of those people who can make out individual pixels from a reasonable distance from the screen. Also, I’m coming from a Dell Vostro laptop which has fewer total pixels than the MBA, despite having a larger screen.
What I Like
- Syncing! Calendar, Notes, and Reminders are all so useful to sync.
- Multitasking gestures. There are a lot of new ones since the original white MacBook, the last Mac I owned.
- User friendly. Extremely.
- So light. Easy to move around, a perfect computer to bring to bed and watch movies on.
- 2 USB3 ports. Strange, I thought it only had one until just now. But if two isn’t enough for you, here’s a cheap 4-port USB hub from Walmart! I got it in red.
Why I Chose Air Over Pro
I was all set to buy a MacBook Pro mainly because of the retina feature and the fact I thought being bigger, it would have better processing power. Here’ s why I opted for the Air last minute.
- Thin and lightweight. Much easier for carrying across campus.
- Insane battery life. Perfect so I don’t have to lug my charger with me from class to class and search desperately for a socket in the middle of class.
- With the two upgrades, the Air is actually insanely fast! Just don’t try to do heavy duty work like video editing or League of Legends.
What I Don’t Like(ish)
- Since the original white MacBook, Apple has added an alerts banner, so now when I click at the top right, I don’t get spotlight anymore. But it’s not a big deal—I’ll definitely get used to it. And it’ll probably come in handy in college when I have so much going on I can’t keep it straight.
- No retina. Again, not a big deal. I would definitely jump at the chance to buy a rMBA but non-retina is perfectly fine for me.
- No built-in DVD player. This was also a big negative when I was deciding between Pro and Air, but I finally realized that I had to get rid of all my Chinese bootleg DVDs anyway. And if I need to run engineering equipment it’ll probably be on my Dell.
I have absolutely no regrets on buying the MacBook Air. It’s incredibly convenient in terms of both physical aspects and function for me. Again, I haven’t put it to the college test yet but I’ll be doing a follow-up report once I do!