The Macbook Air has come a long way from since the day Steve Jobs wowed the audience by pulling it out of a manila envelope not too long ago. It has become the go to notebook for students, journalists, and people from all sorts of professions wanting the ultimate portability with as little compromise as possible. I’ve owned a variety of laptops and tablets over the years trying to figure out what the “sweet spot” is in getting work done on the go. Sure there are several thin and light ultraportables but you always sacrifice either performance, battery life and sometimes even both. Or you can take a tablet with you but there are some things you just can do on a tablet! And finally, there are several occasions where it has been inconvenient carrying around a 15-inch notebook which can be a strain hopping from airport to airport.
This year’s Macbook Air boasts 12 hours of battery life thanks to the new Haswell processor in their new line of notebooks making this a winner in terms of design, portability, battery life and performance.
For the longest time, this has been my usual on the go setup and what I carry in my laptop bag when I go traveling. The Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro served me pretty well for most of the year but it did have a handful of annoyances. One of them is the Retina screen itself – although absolutely gorgeous, not every application has been optimized for the Retina display such as Microsoft Office. Sure they patched it to make it useable but some of the screens and icons still don’t look right. Also, a lot of my work involves taking screenshots of reports, graphs and dashboards – when I did that on the Retina MacBook Pro, the screenshots are overblown for people who don’t have the Retina display. Also, there was some stuttering and lag on some websites with several images and photos such as Flickr which was a known problem. The new Haswell based Retina, however solves the stuttering problem but not the overblown resolution. I am also contemplating whether or not I should get an iPad Air since I don’t really take it out on the go as much and mainly use the tablet for reading and watching movies in bed. If I wanted to do some serious work, I can just open up my Macbook Air. If I wanted to send out a quick email, I can do that on a smartphone so that pretty much leaves the need for carrying around a tablet out of the picture. I’m not sure if have a need to carry around an iPad Mini or even the upcoming Retina Mini anymore which adds a half-pound to my bag.
Did I get two MacBook Airs? No. One of them is a 13-inch 2012 model that belongs to my wife but you can’t really tell because the packaging is pretty much the same!
This is the 2012 Macbook Air 13-inch, but we are not here to talk about that. Just wanted to show you that not much has changed design wise. Plus this photo looks better than the other photos I have taken of the Air 😉
I usually go for the high-end version of the notebooks. Probably unnecessary but I do plan to make this a long term investment!
Unboxing a new toy is always fun. I always like how Apple packs everything so neat and tidy…
Brand new $1800 laptop sitting on the edge of my desk looking like it’s about to fall over!
And finally here it is in all it’s glory! Love the size and the weight of being only 2.96-lbs! What i do miss from having the Retina Macbook Pro is the screen and the standard HDMI port. Also, the Macbook Pro felt a lot more solid because it was a little bit thicker and the weight difference between the two wasn’t that much. However, in terms of performance, the new 2013 Macbook Air performed noticeably better than the Ivy Bridge 13-inch Retina Pro and the issue with the laggy display is not present. I can have several browser tabs open, play music off of iTunes radio, have the entire Microsoft Office Suite (yes, all of them including Powerpoint, Excel, Word, Outlook, and Communicator), Parallels running Windows 7 and I have no slowdown whatsoever. I wouldn’t really use this for gaming but the Intel HD5000 integrated graphics card does a decent job running Starcraft II, Diablo 3, and Call of Duty 4. Anything more intense than that will stutter. It’s very easy to pull this out of my bag, open the screen and then start working whenever I need it. No need to worry about boot up times, slow startups and most importantly, I can leave the power adapter at home since this can last all day.
My new mobile gear for a home away from home…
San Luis Obispo Apple Farm Inn – my home away from home! You can accomplish just about anything with just a laptop and a smartphone. Tablets and portable gaming devices are just luxury items to me now.
I really like the new Macbook Air 13-inch. If I wanted another month for the new Haswell Retina 13-inch, I would have highly considered it but the overblown resolution for screenshots might have annoyed me anyway and steer me towards this. For most consumers, this is THE laptop to pickup if you are in the market for one thanks to it’s excellent overall performance (non-gaming), design, portability, reliability and battery life. The only reason why I would not recommend this is if you have reasons for not using a Mac or need a dedicated Windows machine. Other than that, for most of us who need a good all purpose notebook, you can’t go wrong with a Macbook Air.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
- Excellent overall performance
- Really good entry price
- 12 hour battery life works as advertised
- Light and portable
- People will be wishing for a retina screen
- It would be nice if there was an option to add dedicated graphics but that may be wishful thinking!