I'd be lying if I didn't say I wish the new Airs had bigger, better-resolution screens and more ports. Still, unless you've got your heart set on a Retina Display, these new Airs are worth considering for that battery life alone. In practice, this Air has made practical improvements, and it's the workhorse to beat, mainly because of that impressive battery. Swap someone's MacBook Air with the newer model and he or she will never know the difference.
Cosmetically, it's identical to last year's version and couple of versions before that as well : same aluminum unibody construction, same ports, same 1,xpixel Consider that the MacBook Air is a laptop that's stayed largely unchanged and the inch version feels identical to the one that debuted in , and you have what amounts to a very conservative computer update. And yet, the Air's still one of the all-around best-feeling laptops.
Apple did its homework making the Air feel comfortable, and it's paid off with a long shelf life. The glass multitouch trackpad is still the most responsive out there, although the surface area on the inch Air is small and narrower, making four-finger gestures feel cramped.
The backlit keyboard is the same size and feel as on the inch Air, and still feels great, although the row of function keys are pretty shrunken down. The Air doesn't feel as wafer-thin, though. Last year's Sony Vaio Pro 11 trumps the Air on size and weight 1.
It still feels good to hold, but it's not astonishing anymore. The It's the only widescreen display in Apple's laptop arsenal, but you could have fit a larger screen in there -- the bezel is awfully wide. That's because it really has the base of a inch laptop, which is how it accommodates such a large keyboard. Interestingly, the inch Air's screen and bezel have exactly the same height and bezel thickness as on the 9. The Air's screen is wider.
The 1,xpixel-resolution display is admittedly very crisp and covered with a bit of antiglare coating. But all you have to do is stare at your Retina iPad display to see what a richer, higher-res display could look like. And many laptops now have higher resolutions: the Vaio Pro 11 has 1,x1,pixel resolution, and the What's new here?
The processor change is a small move forward in terms of performance. That's good, because the Air went with a lower clock speed and some slightly slower benchmark scores compared with the CPU in a Air. That said, any MacBook Air from the past few generations is more than powerful enough for everyday tasks, from Web surfing to HD video playback, and you're unlikely to notice a hands-on difference between models from , , or The Intel HD graphics in the Airs are a touch better than the ultrabook average.
There aren't as many great Mac games for benchmarking as there are on Windows, but the relatively recent game Tomb Raider ran at the laptop's native 1,xpixel resolution at It's not for "serious" games, but this tiny Air can play casual games better than you thought, but it's not designed to be a killer gaming laptop. The inch Air lasted an extremely impressive 12 hours and 3 minutes in our video playback battery-drain test, which was about 90 minutes longer than the version.
Note, however, that this offline video playback battery test has become much easier for laptops over the past few years, and a full day of online Web surfing and multitasking could cut that time significantly. But even if you only get two-thirds of our test time, it still means we've reached a point where you can charge up, leave the house for the day, and basically not worry.
The inch Air has an even better battery a whopping 16 hours on the same video playback battery test , but I'd argue that anytime you cross over 8 hours you're in a territory that's all gravy afterward. You're looking at a laptop that can get through a full workday. The MacBook Air, like the largely similar version, is all about battery life and portability. This inch laptop, nearly the size of an iPad, now lasts almost as long as one, too.
It could tip the balance in favor of the 11 for some. For others, though, an iPad plus keyboard might have replaced this already. Apple now has two major computing products in the inch-and-under category. It's got battery galore and no real performance compromises compared with the inch. It would be great to see the rest of the Air get redefined and redesigned someday in the future, bridging the gap between iPad and iMac. If you still want to use the small inch device for gaming and have some time and money, you can also attach external graphics cards via Thunderbolt.
More details on that are available in our article " external graphics cards. Our review unit is completely silent with light workloads. The heat-conducting characteristics of aluminum help in this respect. The fans will only start to spin under load and we can measure up to 43 dB A. The maximum fan speed of our review unit is 6, rpm.
As long as you do not stress the device or just browse the web, for example, the review unit hardly gets warm. The aluminum chassis will only warm up noticeably under sustained load. The hotspot of It is still no problem to type on the keyboard, despite the higher temperatures. All in all, the temperature development hardly changed. Even the nominal clock can often not be maintained. After the stress test we start Cinebench R15 and get the same score compared to a cold run.
We use the tools FurMark and Prime95 for the Windows stress test. The processor clock is reduced to MHz and stays much longer at this frequency. Similar to Mac OS X we ran a benchmark immediately after the stress test for a comparison. The consumption is very low with values between 2.
The Windows results are much higher with 5. The predecessor already had some issues with the Watt power adaptor under load because the power consumption is higher than the nominal output. The current Broadwell version of the Air 11 starts the measurement under maximum load stress test at The last value can be explained with the throttling under load that we determined in the Temperature section.
The lower clocks also result in lower power consumption. The manufacturer equips the small inch device with a 38 Wh battery and advertizes a WLAN runtime of up to 9 hours. Our MacBook Air lasts around 8. A direct comparison with the 9 hours of the predecessor is not possible because we slightly adjusted our Wi-Fi settings for the test. The Apple MacBook Air is still some kind of evergreen in the notebook world, despite the lack of innovation.
As expected, the new components inside the chassis are very convincing and the performance was increased compared to the predecessors. Although the display is still not a Retina model and only has limited viewing angles, you get good results for the brightness distribution, the luminance and the contrast. The biggest issue, however, is the significantly increased price in the Euro region, so we cannot recommend an upgrade for owners of previous MacBook Airs.
The higher price in combination with the outdated HD resolution does affect the appeal of the Air In the end, the Apple MacBook Air is still a very convenient office and multimedia notebook, which has a good mobility thanks to its battery runtime and the dimensions.
Apple refreshes its MacBook Air-series with current Broadwell processors. This does improve the performance noticeably, but something is missing — innovation. Apple Broadwell. Intel Core iU 2 x 1. Broadcom Apple homepage MacBook Air Series. Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.
AdobeRGB coverage. CalMAN: Grayscale without calibration. CalMAN: Grayscale calibrated. The glossy display Viewing-angle stability. Windows 8. Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit. System Performance. PCMark 7 Score. Storage Solution. CrystalDiskMark 3. Sequential Write: AS SSD. Access Time Read: 0. Access Time Write: 0.
Copy ISO: Copy Program: Copy Game: Score Read: Points. Score Write: Points. Score Total: Points. Graphics Card. Gaming Performance. System Noise. Noise Level Idle. Stress test Windows. Stress test Mac OS X. Power Supply max. Energy Management. Power Consumption. Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here.
The floor plate doubles as a service hatch. Proprietary 'pentalobe' screws prevent people without a rare screwdriver from opening it. In addition, the screw heads are extremely delicate and easily damaged. Hence, a visit to an Apple repair shop is recommended to get the cooling system fan cleaned. Apple only offers a warranty period of 12 months , where other manufacturers in this price range usually offer 24 months the duration of your warranty may vary depending on the country you live in.
Various resellers offer cheaper warranty extensions, but depending on the underwriter, your warranty could be tied to that store, so read the fine print. Input devices have not been altered from last year's model. Details of the back-lit chiclet keyboard and the glass touch pad can be found in the first review of the Apple MacBook Air The small MacBook Air has an Format and glossy finish of the screen point to consumers as the target market.
MacBook Pro notebook displays use a ratio, offering slightly more vertical space. After the update, there is still no non-reflective display available for the MacBook Air and neither is an option for a higher resolution. Asus offers a comparable There are no signs that Apple has any plans to improve the MacBook Air's resolution. External screens can be connected over the DisplayPort interface, which also supports audio transmission. Combined with the low black value 0. Luckily, the vertical drop in brightness is not very noticeable in everyday use.
The subjective impression confirms the mostly positive picture drawn by our measurements. Colors are displayed brilliantly and sharpness is alright. If one also works with the new Retina MacBook, a significant difference is noticeable, because its display offers a pixel density of DPI. A pixel count of 1. There are no surprises with the displayed color space. The sRGB reference fails to be matched and the display is at the same level of its predecessor.
In spite of its glossy display surface, the MacBook Air can still be used outdoors , thanks to the display's good brightness and contrast. Display contents are still readable in direct sunlight, though color representation suffers a bit. By comparison, there are many low-cost panels that are unusable outdoors.
Viewing angles are as expected from a good quality TN panel, comparable to the larger MacBook Air 13 and its predecessors. The display remains stable even with narrow horizontal viewing angles. While opening the display lid, problems with the vertical angles become visible. The image inverts noticeably with narrowing angles from above. We did not detect the same problem in the opposite direction, but overall, the display loses some of its luminosity.
This CPU has a base clock of 1. In comparison to previous Intel processors, the new chips are manufactured with the new 22 nm process, using Tri-Gate transistors. These save energy while providing better performance. Further, these processors include an integrated HD GPU, which we have tested extensively in a separate test.
Upon request, components can be upgraded before purchase. RAM is soldered onto the mainboard, and flash storage is on a proprietary circuit board, making future upgrades either very expensive or impossible, so the desired configuration must be chosen before purchase, depending on the customer's individual requirements.
To create a wide base for comparison, we used Boot Camp to install Windows 7 bit , as usual. Accordingly, we can run the standard selection of benchmarks, rather than just Mac benchmarks. The Intel Core iU reached a decent score of 2. A comparison with older versions of the MacBook Air 11 from and illuminates the performance increases Intel has achieved.
In this section, the behavior of Turbo Boost as well as the power saving functions of the CPU is important. Under Windows, the 2. This is also true when running on battery. HWiNFO on the other hand showed constant values between 2. Because of the battery runtimes we measured details on those later , we have to assume that SpeedStep fails to activate in a Boot Camp installation of Windows.
To evaluate overall performance, Futuremark's system benchmarks offer themselves, so we continued testing in Windows 7. The MacBook Air scored a good points in PCMark 7 , which places it in the upper third of the benchmarks in our database. As we mentioned earlier, system performance never hinders everyday use. Thanks to the quick SSD storage , load times are short and operation is fluid. Considering the hardware configuration though, the notebook is not generally suitable for more demanding photo or video applications.
In the CineBench R10 benchmark, Windows produces a better score. Results in the more recent CineBench R In GeekBench , Max OS X scores points, which puts it almost points ahead of Windows, though the notebook runs fluidly with either operating system. There's a further benchmark called Xbench, which evaluates overall performance of all components, similar to Futuremark's system benchmarks. The results of this benchmark can vary a lot, so we are listing averages from at least 5 measuring runs.
Our test unit comes in slightly below the results of the MacBook Air 13 Mid Overall, the results don't stand out. Cupertino's own Mac OS X has been given more care with optimization, which makes it the recommended main operating system to use on this notebook. You could also use Windows inside a virtual machine, if you don't need much performance for your windows applications.
Popular vendors for virtual machine software on the Mac are VMware and Parallels. Aside from our test unit, which is equipped with 64 GB integrated flash storage , Apple offers up to GB. The flash chips are soldered to a proprietary bar-shaped circuit board, which makes subsequent upgrades difficult, due to availability issues. Standard sized 1. Access times AS SSD are low as expected; with spinning hard drives, they are the biggest performance bottleneck.
This is confirmed with the 3DMark 06 result of points. Beyond the benchmarks, we took a look at a few games under Windows. Only simple titles like FIFA 12 will run fluidly at higher detail levels. Modern blockbusters like Alan Wake are unplayable.
So, this notebook is not good enough for even casual gamers. With minimum details and low resolution x , the early regions can be played well. With medium settings at x, the game starts to stutter already. In more demanding scenes you'd likely have problems.
After a short time, the processor's clock was already throttled down to MHz in Windows. Before that, it had reached over degrees Celsius. Due to the high-speed cooling fan rpm , these temperatures fell after about 15 minutes, but the clock speed remained throttled.
Immediately after completing the stress test, we ran 3DMark 06 , which resulted in a lower score points than after a cold start points. Other than that, Turbo Boost resumes working at up to 2. As mentioned before, the energy-saving function SpeedStep is apparently not functioning in Windows, aside from overheating the CPU.
Apple only ensured this function to work on Mac OS X. Running Mac OS X , we detected no throttling , Apple apparently can't be bothered to make Windows run equally as well on its computers. After 50 repeats to test processor and cooling system for weaknesses, results remained constant.
The 2. Since Apple uses flash storage, only cooling fans remain as a source of noise. During normal office use , the notebook remained quiet as fan noise remained below ambient noise. So the Even with short periods of load using Cinebench R The fan noise was only noticeable with the ear close to the exhaust. Taking components to their limits with FurMark and Prime95 in our stress test did get the fan going, reaching a maximum of 44 dB A.
Now the notebook is clearly audible, but the constant, low-frequency sound is subjectively not annoying. Comparing data, the current model is slightly louder, but one has to consider measurement variations. Overall a convincing performance, topped off with swift fan speed reduction after tasks have been completed. Case temperatures reached are also an important point, when considering the purchase of a new notebook. When idle , the aluminum unibody only warms up slightly , reaching at most Wrist rest and keyboard remained below 30 degrees, which does not interfere with use.
Under constant load , excess heat increases considerably and parts of the case become unpleasantly hot. Especially the area above the keyboard gets very hot with a maximum of The slightly protruding keys also heat up, but not to the point of becoming unusable. The wrist rest remains a bit cooler at 35 degrees Celsius. Having the notebook on your lap can get very uncomfortable with full load for longer durations.
Apple did not change the good stereo speakers. They are mounted left and right at the edge of the wrist rest and offer surprisingly good sound. Most computers this size, especially netbooks, only offer rather poor speakers. Testing with various types of music, we had no complaints, considering the size. Sound emanates through the keyboard and is not overly heavy on treble. Bass actually does exist, even if not particularly strong. Better sound can be had through the 3. Small cases don't offer much room for large batteries.
So the MacBook Air continues with its integrated lithium polymer battery with a capacity of 35 Watt hours. During normal office use, power draw is between 4. The MacBook Air 11 Mid used up to Even the larger MacBook Air 13 Mid uses less power than the predecessor of our test unit. Looking at Windows measurements, it shows once more that Apple won't put much effort into optimizing the Boot Camp step child; it uses a maximum of Under load , power draw increases, of course.
The peak value is reached at Here, Windows power consumption, at We start with the Reader's Test , which simulates the simple reading of a text document. In this case, we did not use the Windows tool Battery Eater. We simulated it with a script under Mac OS X at the usual settings of minimal brightness lowest level, but not deactivated and all wireless radios deactivated, which probably turns out a better result, when using the native, optimized OS.
After a convincing 9 hours and 52 minutes, the MacBook's battery finally called for help from a power outlet. The MacBook Air 11 Mid , sporting the same battery had to furl its sails 90 minutes sooner. Here, Intel's efficient new hardware pays off. By comparison: the MacBook Pro 13 Mid with Apple promises up to five hours of wireless surfing. In our test, we managed 5 hours and 45 minutes. The inch Air weighs six-tenths of a pound less than the inch model, and would fit inside the larger machine with an inch or so to spare on either side.
And it is small, noticeably more so than the inch Air. Of course, at 0. Small is good. The second diminutiveness-related loss is a shrunken palmrest and trackpad. I found myself sitting closer to it, hunched over 12 inches away from the screen, staring into the bright display. This is the ongoing story of the inch Air: tiny computers require tiny sacrifices. Though its Even battery life is great without being quite as good as the larger Air.
I got 10 hours, 23 minutes on the Verge Battery Test, which cycles through popular websites and high-res images at 65 percent brightness, while in Safari. In Chrome, that number was 8 hours, 51 minutes. Both are class-leading numbers, except when compared to the larger Air and its astonishing plus hours of longevity. Performance is otherwise roughly what I expected — very slightly better gaming and graphics performance, and better compatibility with the latest Wi-Fi standards thanks to a small upgrade from Apple.
But it's basically identical in everyday use — it's fast and smooth, though there's the occasional stutter and scrolling jump — and nearly equal in GeekBench scores as well 6, on the current model. Since they both run the same 1. Or even between Haswell and Ivy Bridge, except for that ridiculous battery life. There's exactly one reason you should buy the inch MacBook Air: you want the absolute smallest computer you can buy, and you don't want a Windows PC.
The latest inch Apple MacBook Air might be one of the smallest ultraportable laptops on the market, but its powerful Intel Core i5 processor. The inch MacBook Air's trackpad is big and very responsive; the clickable buttons are easy to press and subtle with their sound. The full. The inch Air weighs six-tenths of a pound less than the inch model, and would fit inside the larger machine with an inch or so to spare on.