The Ultraportable MacBook Air instead of getting a downfall coz of the announcement at WWDC 2012 about MacBook Pro with its retina display, is at the top of the ultraportable range. The MacBook Air which is Windows powered ultrabook is a favourite proven design with a set of processors made up of Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips & also with a refresh to the spec sheet.
MacBook Air 13″ – Design:-
There is nothing to discriminate the MacBook Air from its prototypes except the design for the new MacBook Pro with retina display which Apple had saved earlier and now announced in the WWDC 2012. MacBook Air is still the good looking and distinctive ultraportables.
The profile is split between the left and right edges. The 13” MacBook Air includes a 3.0 USB & a second USB of 3.0, a headphone socket, a microphone on left side, thunderbolt and an SDXC card slot on right side of the profile. The 11” model is similar to the 13” MacBook Air but only lacks in SDXC slot.
To use older power supplies with new notebook one will need a $10 adapter, because there is a change in the 2011 power connector with the 2012 model of MacBook Air. MacBook Air 2012 model uses the same MagSafe 2 port but slimmer and wider.
While opening the lid one would find the same bare display, having no glass cover layer on top & large multitouch trackpad with a backlit keyboard. MacBook Air is the lightest and the most portable notebook in the market with 0.68” thick when closed and 2.96 pounds (For 11” it is 2.38 pounds).
MacBook Air – Specification:-
MacBook Air is basically changed in terms of its internal components and most of its external component is unchanged.
With the new MacBook Pro, Apple brought the following changes:
For 11” model of MacBook Pro:-
- Intel’s 3rd Gen Core processor
- 1.7 GHz dualcore Core i5 ( 2.6 GHz Turbo Boost)
For 13” model of MacBook Pro:-
- Intel’s 3rd Gen Core processor
- 1.8 GHz dualcore Ore i5 ( 2.8 GHz Turbo Boost)
Both of these model comes with an option of Core i7 upgrade and a 2.0 GHz dualcore Core i7 with upto 3.2 GHz Turbo Boost.
Both of the model uses Intel HD Graphics 4000 & the onboard GPU paired with Ivy Bridge processors. You can only drive 1 external display in MacBook Air and there is no discrete graphics as it is in MacBook Pro. In terms of battery life portability , mobile users had to compromise. And if one plans to do HD video editing or gaming then the limitations becomes clear about the HD graphics 4000 chipset.
It includes double the memory as that of the 2011 model, i.e, 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L standard memory & 8 GB with $100 upgrade. MacBook Air haves a storage capacity of 64 GB flash memory on 11” and 128 GB on 13” model, which could also be doubled for $100 and $300. For $500 one can get it upgraded to 512 GB. It is almost impossible to upgrade the MacBook Air because of the soldered RAM and proprietary flash storage system. So its better to pay proper attention while going through its specifications at the time of purchase only.
The Webcam is the other noticeable feature which changed from 2011 Air to 2012 with a better FaceTime HD camera having 720p, 1280x720resolution. 11” MacBook Air have 1366x768resolution and 13” MacBook Air have 1440×900 resolution. No one knows when one is going to see the Retina Display Version of MacBook Air and nor about the IPS panels which haves broader angles to view.
MacBook Air 13″ – Performance:-
Apple and Intel are confident enough that their Ivy Bridge would strike the best market. Basically it becomes a matter of compromise with ultraportable in terms of their power consumption and portability. The following review runs on 4 GB memory and 1.8 GHz dualcore i5-3427U:
|13” MacBook Air ( Mid 2012)|
|Operating System||Mac OS X 10.7.4 (Build 11E2702)|
|Motherboard||Apple Inc. Mac-2E6FAB96566FE58C MacBookAir5,2|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3427U|
|Processor ID||GenuineIntel Family 6 Model 58 Stepping 9|
|Processor Frequency||1.80 GHz||Processors||1|
|L1 Instruction Cache||32.0 KB||L1 Data Cache||32.0 KB|
|L2 Cache||256 KB||L3 Cache||3.00 MB|
|Memory||4.00 GB 1600 MHz DDR3||FSB||100.0 MHz|
|BIOS||Apple Inc. MBA51.88Z.00EF.B00.1205221442|
MacBook Air scored 6,743 in a synthetic test of processor and memory performance conducted by Geekbench. It is 1,000 points higher than that of 2011 1.7 GHz Core i5 and also 400 points higher than 2010 MacBook Pro with Core i7 processor.
|Test score – 13” MacBook Air (Mid 2012)|
|Integer||Processor integer performance||5163||6743|
|Floating Point||Processor floating point performance||8828|
|Stream||Memory bandwidth performance||6941|
|Mac OS X x86 (64-bit) – Mac OS X 10.7.4 (Build 11E2702)|
|Test Score – MacBook Air 4,2 ( 2011)|
|Integer||Processor integer performance||4539||
|Floating Point||Processor floating point performance||7577|
|Stream||Memory bandwidth performance||5231|
|Mac OS X x86 (64-bit) – Mac OS X 10.7 (Build 11A2063)|
Now it is the turn to test in terms of processor and graphic components which is a test of 3D rendering & OpenGL named as Cinebench test. MacBook Air scored lowere than machines with discrete GPUs ,i.e, 2.56 points for CPU and 16.41 fps for OpenGL. In X-bench testing MacBook Air showed 347.67 score in terms of flash storage and high-speed low-voltage RAM which is just 143 points less than the new MacBook Pro with retina display.
MacBook Air runs multiple browser windows, multimedia playback, email app., & image editing in a very effective manner. Intel brought 60% improved graphics performance than the GPU and also faster HD video clips exported by iMovie than the last generation model. To import an 8 minute long 1080p video it takes 15 mins.28 secs. To export the same video it takes 33mins.35secs. The new MacBook Pro took 12mins 5secs. to import the same video 20mins 48secs. to export the same video. Its better to go for a notebook with discrete GPU if you are planning for a larger amount of video processing. Go for MacBook pro with retina display or get an external video processing dongle for MacBook Air ( like from Elgato).
Consumers are guaranteed for a free update to OS X Mountain Lion (when it will launch in July) but for now they would get the new MacBook Air with OS X Lion.
MacBook Air 13″ – Battery:-
The 13” MacBook Air has a runtime of 7hrs and 11” MacBook Air has 5hrs runtime. It can play a 2 hour long video with brightness set at 50%, with WiFi & Bluetooth turned on and with continuous browsing. And it can play a looped video for 6hrs 18mins. before its battery runs out.
MacBook Air 13″ – Conclusion:-
MacBook Air lacks in terms of retina display. Still its available in the new MacBook Pro but it is quite expensive to go for this new edition. Entry to the MacBook Air Club has been reduced by Apple, which is $999 for 11” and $1,199 for 13” model.
It provides extreme portability and higher performance with an addition of USB 3.0 and HD webcam and haves a very negligible impact on its runtime instead of a heavy processor.
Apple has done justice with its users by launching this ultraportable MacBook Air which is much more flexible & cheaper.