Review: 2013 MacBook Air

The latest MacBook Air from Apple is both a minor and a major update. While that may sound strange, let me explain. First of all, my previous laptop was...

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The latest MacBook Air from Apple is both a minor and a major update. While that may sound strange, let me explain. First of all, my previous laptop was the 2011 MacBook Air which has served me well while travelling across the globe. The size and weight making it the true ultra-portable and also the option to Bootcamp to Windows 8 made it even better.

The new version of the MBA in 2013 basically has the same exterior, so close that it’s difficult to tell them apart on a table. The true differences are inside that super sexy body. Housed inside this year’s version is Intel’s latest sensation, the Haswell or 4th generation processor.

So impressive is Haswell’s efficiency, that Apple claim up to 12 hours of battery life. In real world use, you’ll get between 9-11 hrs in Mountain Lion. If you do Bootcamp with Windows 8, that number drops by a couple giving around 7-8, which in most instances, will still get you through a full work day.

When Apple usually do a hardware refresh that is no more than internal updates, we discover it through a press release or their site, but they made a big deal about this at WWDC for that single reason.. battery life. Sure there’s Intel 5000 Graphics and stereo speakers now along with 802.11AC and USB3.0 but the hero and reason you’ll buy this is battery life.

I can’t tell you how important this feature is. To some extent I’ve lost interest with processor and RAM specs as the performance of modern chips will get most tasks, even HD video editing done in an acceptable amount of time. Just like your mobile phone, the best specs don’t matter if your battery is flat.

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Recently at Computex in Taiwan, Intel and their partners had their coming out party for the new chips. Unfortunately, almost all of the products announced don’t ship till Q3 or Q4. Apple do things a little differently than most, the day they announced the 2013 MacBook Air, they started selling it.

After using Windows 8 so much on Surface RT, Surface Pro and the Asus Vivo Tab, I seriously believe that my next laptop purchase was going to have to have a touchscreen. When it came to the crunch, availability of that super efficient Haswell processor and the resulting battery life improvements actually mattered a whole lot more to me, so I bought one.

Now let’s get to software. Many walked away from WWDC believing that the claimed 12 hours on the 13” model was some magic from new optimisations at the software layer. While OSX 10.9 Mavericks should make things even better, the figures were for what ships on the device.. Mountain Lion.

Overall this is absolutely a buy from me. This is my road warrior, my portable productivity machine and now something I can use without constantly running for the plug every couple of hours. It’s sad, but most people experience true mobility through their phones, while their laptops are left at home on the charger. If you’re studying, then make sure you check out education pricing for your institute and you could have do some upgrades like 8GB or RAM and a 256GB SSD for similar money.

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This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.
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