Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air now arises with much high-speed storage, excellent battery life and slightly augmented performance in other areas. On the other hand, its display and design are beyond dated. Let’s dig in deep for the specs and features in our Apple MacBook Air review.
What Do We like?
- Excellent battery life
- Nippy storage
What We Don’t?
- Dated design
Highlights of Apple MacBook Air Review:
Before you dive into the detailed Apple MacBook Air Review; here, we have compiled some of the highlights of Apple MacBook Air Review for you. Let’s take a look at each of them below:
- The 2017 iteration of the MacBook Air ($999) appears very similar to the 2008 original.
- The 13-inch aluminium MacBook Air, available only in silver, measures 0.68 by 12.8 by 8.94 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.96 pounds.
- On the left side, you’ll find a headset jack, two microphones, a MagSafe 2 power port, and a USB 3.0 port. On the right are an SDXC card slot, a Thunderbolt 2 port, and a second USB 3.0 port.
- Storage options include the 128GB SSD of our MacBook Air review unit, as well as a 256GB option for an additional $200 or a 512GB drive for a $400 upcharge.
- Wireless connections use either 802.11ac Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0. A one-year warranty is included, and Apple also offers a $249 three-year warranty that includes reduced-price repairs for accidental damage.
- The fifth-generation Intel Core i5-5350U processor on our MacBook Air review unit runs at 1.8GHz and is supported by 8GB of RAM.
- Its 54Wh lithium-polymer battery clocked in at 16 hours and 28 minutes on our rundown test during MacBook Air review.
In June 2017 Apple renewed the processor on its 13in MacBook Air from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz – not a huge improvement as the processor is the equivalent generation as the MacBook Air adopted when it was last significantly modernized in 2015 – but the MacBook Air continues to be a great choice for an entry-level Mac laptop.
The MacBook Air is the laptop you notice in coffee shops, libraries, offices, favourtudent digs all over the world. Apple might have forgotten it in favor of the sharper-screened 13in and 15in MacBook Pro and dinkier 12in MacBook, but the still love the lightweight, entry-level Air.
Apple isn’t declaring its most current MacBook Air update a “new” model, but to differentiate it from its contrarily very similar Early-2015 MacBook Air we’ll name it the Mid-2017 MacBook Air.
The tech giant hasn’t modified the Air much at all because it triumphed the laptop world in 2010 with its sharp, wedge-shaped case – which still seems great, in our view. There were some trivial processor and port developments in 2015, but since then the single real updates have been upticks on the processor speed and a good doubling of the default memory (from 4GB to 8GB). Read on Apple MacBook Air Review to learn more about it.
It’s still available in just the one silvery color, unlike the 12in MacBook (Silver, Space Grey, Gold, or Rose Gold) or 13in or 15in MacBook Pro (Silver or Space Grey). Let’s explore more in the Apple MacBook Air review.
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Here we present the spec sheet in Apple MacBook Air review.
- CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000
- RAM: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
- Screen: 13.3-inch, LED-backlit glossy widescreen display (1440 x 900)
- Storage: 256GB PCIe-based flash storage (configurable to 512GB flash storage)
- Optical Drive: Not included
- Ports: Two USB 3.0 ports (up to 5Gbps); Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20Gbps); MagSafe 2 power port; SDXC card slot
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible; Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
- Camera: 720p FaceTime HD camera
- Weight: 1.35kg (2.96 pounds)
- Size: 32.5 x 22.7 x 1.7 cm (W x D x H)
One influence of the MacBook Air versus the 12-inch MacBook is its more extensive selection of ports. On the left side is a MagSafe two connector for apt power, one USB 3.0 port, and a headphone jack. On the right side is a Thunderbolt 2 port, another USB 3.0 port, and a full-sized SDcard slot. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro multiplies the number of Thunderbolt ports equalled to the Air, and appends HDMI.
macOS Sierra is the variant currently shipping with Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air. It doesn’t distract too much from the visual style of its forerunner, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, but it does advance a series of new features such as Siri, Continuity between your Mac and iOS devices and Apple Pay for facilitating online purchases.
Sierra has since been superseded by macOS 10.13 High Sierra, though it doesn’t come with it out of the box – you have to download and install it yourself, for free. There aren’t numerous significant enhancements by way of macOS High Sierra, save for better safety, VR support down the road and improvements to the Photos app.
Design and build
It’s hard not to like the typical MacBook Air design that’s continued mostly unchanged over the past few years. Unlike the other devices in the MacBook series; there are no colour choices available – it’s silver aluminium or nothing – but we don’t feel this limits its value at all. It still has the impressively thin dimensions as earlier generations, measuring just 17mm at its thickest point and weighing only 1.35kg – not bad at all when you examine its internal specifications.
The backlit keyboard, which hasn’t been received the “butterfly” switches treatment given to the new 12in MacBook Retina, has excellent tactile feedback although is perhaps just a little rattly, the keypress action is nonetheless pleasing, and there’s enough travel to make it comfortable to type on for extended periods.
The touchpad works exceptionally well, with no Windows-based laptop able to match the precise feel of Apple’s design. Taps and clicks are effortless while gestures such as two-fingered scrolling, back and forward browser commands and two-fingered “right-clicks” are reliable, accurate and instantaneous. It makes navigating the macOS Sierra operating system incredibly easy.
Connectivity and Thunderbolt 2
There are two USB3 ports – one on the left side and one on the right side- as well as a 3.5mm headset jack, an SDXC card reader and a Thunderbolt 2 port. This is the first prominent upgrade to the MacBook Air, which was earlier equipped with a Thunderbolt connector.
The contrast between the two is plainly a speed upgrade: connected devices now have 20 Gbps of bandwidth to play with instead of 10Gbps. The peripherals you can connect, remain unchanged: high-speed storage (such as RAID arrays) and high-resolution monitors (with Thunderbolt or DisplayPort inputs). But with this new, improved performance; huge files such as ultra-HD/4K video will be comfortable to manage when streaming to your MacBook Air and concurrently to write it to another drive. Up to six devices can be attached over Thunderbolt (using an external hub) simultaneously; as per our test in Apple MacBook Air review.
Thunderbolt 2 will be of particular importance to business that uses external storage for large files, such as media companies and firms with reams of data on the external hard disc that requires being filtered through at high speed.
Elsewhere, you still get 802.11ac wi-fi connectivity, great for connecting to the modern networks with greater coverage and higher speeds than 802.11n. There’s no gigabit ethernet connector, but you can purchase a Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet connector direct from Apple for £29, or a bit budget elsewhere on the web.
We were baffled to see that Apple hasn’t expanded the resolution of the Air’s 13.3in screen. The 1,440 x 900-pixel resolution is still entirely usable and things on screen look relatively sharp. But they need the detail and crispness you receive on higher quality displays such as those in employment on the MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 13.
Colour coverage persists an issue, with just 70% of the sRGB range served by the TFT panel. This lack of colour performance is balanced imperceptibly by a very bright backlight and matt screen that makes this laptop fit for use outdoors and in bright office conditions. Viewing angles are sub-par, though, individually when adjusting the screen vertically. It would have been nice to have higher quality or higher resolution panel in the Air, and at this price, it’s starting to look a little bit lacklustre.
MacBook Air 2017: Ports and Slots
The new Air features the same side ports as the 2015 model. Find out what you get in Apple MacBook Air review.
- Two USB 3 ports (up to 5Gbps) for the usual peripherals.
- One Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20 Gbps) for supplementing a larger display or faster external hard drive.
- MagSafe 2 power port – still the best as per our MacBook Air review, and much needed on the newer 12in MacBook; which employs its single USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) port for power and peripherals, and so needs a £69 ($69) Multiport Adapter if you need more than one at a time.
- SDXC camera card slot
- 5mm headphone jack
If you have so many of standard USB peripherals then the Air supports these out of the box. The MacBook and MacBook Pro models need newer USB-C accessories or £19 ($19) adapters.
It flaunts the same excellent 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible) as the top-of-the-range MacBook Pro.
Performance, Storage, and Battery Life
As you might anticipate from what is now undoubtedly the entry-level device for the MacBook range; the Air doesn’t have the top-of-the-line specifications highlighted in the MacBook Pro or new MacBooks according to our Apple MacBook Air review. For instance, it still has a fifth-generation ‘Broadwell’ line dual-core Intel Core i5-5250U chip; whereas the later notebooks have Intel’s seventh-generation ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs. You can upgrade the Core i5 chip to a Core i7, though.
It works at a base clock speed of 1.8GHz – up from 2015’s 1.6GHz – and you can also use Turbo Boost; a unique feature from Apple that efficiently enables you to overclock the processor while still operating at a safe temperature. The device comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage as a measure. If you need extra oomph, though – and you have £150 going spare – you can enhance this to 512GB.
At the time of MacBook Air review, the 13in MacBook Air operates macOS Sierra out of the box.
Sierra was released in June 2016, with Apple ditching the ‘OS X’ moniker at the same time. It brought Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, into the harbour and let the software to implement complex file queries in natural language.
You can also utilize your Apple Watch (assuming you have one) to unlock your PC and there’s also support for Apple Pay as well as a Universal Clipboard function, which works across Apple devices.
MacBook Air 2017: Price
The MacBook Air is the low-cost new Mac laptop you can purchase, starting at £949/US$949 for the 128GB model. The 256GB Air is valued at £1,099/$1,199 – so you spend an extra £150/$200 for the more capacity. Add a further £150/$200, and you get 512GB of storage in the custom build option.
The 8GB of RAM isn’t upgradeable, but the processor is, as explained above: pay £135/$150 more for the 2.2GHz i7 processor.
MacBook Air 2017: Software
You get a ton of exceptional Apple apps, including the likes of FaceTime for free video calls with other Apple devices, and the office apps (Numbers spreadsheet, Pages page layout, and Keynote presentations), plus photo archiving, movie making and music making and listening apps.
Photos; iMovie; GarageBand; Pages; Numbers; Keynote; Siri, Safari; Mail; FaceTime; Messages; Maps; Notes; Calendar; Contacts; Reminders; Photo Booth; Preview; iTunes; iBooks; App Store; and Time Machine (backup).
Our Point Of View:
The 13-inch MacBook Air is Apple’s entry-level laptop; starting at £949 (US$999). It might lack the super-sharp Retina display of the Macbook and MacBook Pro models. But, its screen and performance are fine for most daily uses. It possesses enough USB ports and other slots to make it more serviceable out of the box than the more limited, USB-C-only 12-inch MacBook or Pro. And according to our Apple MacBook Air Review; its Wi-Fi is the same high standard as even the top-of-the-range MacBook Pro. If you want raw power go for the Pro. If you want the small Mac laptop there is, look at the 12-inch MacBook. But, all in all, notwithstanding it not changing many years after year we still love the MacBook Air for its design, price, size, and features.