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MacBook Air (Mid-2013) Review Roundup
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: MacBook Air (Mid-2013) Review Roundup Reply with quote

MacBook Air (Mid-2013) Review Roundup
Friday, June 14, 2013
Posted by: Staff

Here's a roundup of the best reviews we've seen around of the new Mid-2013 MacBook Air. This includes reviews from Engadget, Macworld, CNET, Laptop Magazine, PC Magazine, Geek, Forbes, and TechRadar. And most of these reviews have been extremely positive, noting the system's improved battery life, Intel HD 5000 graphics, faster flash storage with PCIe, 802.11ac networking, and new dual microphones. So, check them out if you're interested in learning more about the new MacBook Air.

Engadget – "So, is this a case of a great thing getting even greater, or an aged product getting the bare-minimum upgrade required to keep it relevant? The truth lies somewhere in between, but it goes without saying that the MacBook Air isn't quite the straightforward buy that it has been in the past. While I/O performance and battery life definitely set it ahead of the crowd, and its overall design and keyboard / trackpad combo are as good as ever, that middling display resolution is evolving from an excusable omission to a proper handicap," writes Tim Stevens.

Macworld – "The new MacBook Air has a lot in common with its predecessor in terms of features and look and feel. While the improvements are mostly subtle, they succeed in making an already excellent product even more desirable. Under the hood improvements to the integrated graphics and flash storage help boost performance, while improvements found in the new Haswell processors help to improve battery life. Some may find the 128GB of the lower-priced system confining and I'd recommend the upgrade to 8GB of RAM for all users," writes James Galbraith.

CNET – "Apple keeps the latest MacBook Air updates on the inside, but greatly improved battery life and a less-expensive starting price make up for a lack of flashy design changes," writes Dan Ackerman.

Laptop Magazine – "The MacBook Air 13-inch is a marathon runner of a notebook, offering all-day battery life in a design that's just as sleek and ergonomically perfect as before. For $1,099, you also get blazing fast flash memory and much improved graphics performance. The only thing missing is a sharper display, although the Air's screen is still as bright and colorful as before," writes Mark Spoonauer.

PC Magazine – "The MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2013) is the system you want to be using if you need to deliver real work away from your desk. The fact that it can return such a long battery life while still using a mainstream processor is astonishing. Make no mistake, this simple score shows that laptops haven't conceded the battery life prizes to the mobile OS tablets yet. The MacBook Air 13 is close, but not quite perfect, since it lacks a built in HDMI-out port and the slower-clocked processor returns slower multimedia performance on benchmark tests than rivals. That said, due to its excellent battery life, portability, and its very good day-to-day performance, we have no qualms in giving the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid 2013) the Editors' Choice for ultraportable laptops," writes Joel Santo Domingo.

Geek – "As for the MacBook Air 6,2, so far everything is looking very good. The Air has been a no-brainer purchase for years now. It's been a great choice for anyone who needs a lot of battery life and doesn't want to carry around too much computer with them, and that's still true today," writes Sal Cangeloso.

Forbes – "The new MacBook seems at least as peppy as the 2012 model despite its more energy efficient Haswell processor. The new processor actually has a slower clock speed, but there is no hit in system performance. One reason is because the new Mac's solid state drive has faster flash memory and a faster PCIe connection between the memory and the rest of the system. This not only means faster disk access but has an impact on overall performance including speedier memory caching if the system runs low on standard random access memory and needs to offload to the disk. That process can be painfully slow on standard disk drives but extremely quick on the new MacBook's Air's solid state drive," writes Larry Magid.

TechRadar – "The 2013 MacBook Air has got cheaper (for the 13-inch), faster and will last longer. It's an improvement on an already terrific laptop and, though we always love to see a new design, the only thing we'd like to see dramatically different is the screen resolution. The specification is stunning and we're really looking forward to seeing how it copes in our battery life and performance tests," writes Dan Grabham.

Update: We added a new review from The Verge to the roundup.

The Verge - "We've been recommending the MacBook Air for three years straight now, so this is pretty simple: if you're a normal person shopping for a laptop, you should buy a MacBook Air. It does all the things you want a laptop to do, it does them well, and now it does them for 12 hours at a clip. At $1,099 for the base model, $100 less than last year, it's even a solid value compared to its best competition from Sony, Toshiba, and others - I'd jump up to the $1,299 model for the extra storage, but that's about it. Every other complaint about this machine feels like a quibble (sigh, Ethernet adapter) or longing for spec-bump upgrades that don't feel all that necessary yet (touchscreen Retina display, anyone?) But it's pretty hard to value any of those things over 12-hour battery life," writes Nilay Patel.

Update 2: We also added a new reviews from TechCrunch and Pocket-lint to the roundup

TechCrunch - "The new MacBook Air isn't a dramatic change, but it is a very good one. I've fallen in love with Apple's Retina displays, so if I have one complaint about the computer it's that there's no ultra-high resolution display, but incorporating that kind of screen in this generation would've likely meant trading a big chunk of that new battery life away, and also increasing the price tag by around $400-500. For those who value the portability, flexibility and economy of the Air above all, the 2013 edition definitely hits all the right notes," writes Darrell Etherington.

Pocket-lint - "New internal hardware helps the MacBook Air maintain its position as one of our favourite notebooks. We're still happy with the 2012 MacBook Air, but there's enough here to make us want to upgrade: the improved performance and particularly that battery life, is a real driver to keep the MacBook Air in favour," writes Chris Hall.



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have be a little more interested if they had moved the screen resolution to at least 1980 x 1020. A little change up in the overall design would have been nice too. Its battery life, SSD performance and wireless specs are all admirable though. Which might even get better in the battery life department with Mavericks.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm impressed with their battery life, but I'm going to see what does with the next rMBP and pricing.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the roundup! Most handy.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Added a new review from The Verge to the roundup.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Glen; great to have the url's all of these reviews handy in one post!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome guys!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to know rather or not to start a new thread. I have no experience with MacBooks. Is there a way to use it and tell it to not consistently trickle charge the battery? If my usage would be 90-95% at home where power is available I would prefer that it act like a PC laptop without a battery installed and run from power adapter to ensure longer life of battery...
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STL Mark wrote:
Hard to know rather or not to start a new thread. I have no experience with MacBooks. Is there a way to use it and tell it to not consistently trickle charge the battery? If my usage would be 90-95% at home where power is available I would prefer that it act like a PC laptop without a battery installed and run from power adapter to ensure longer life of battery...

I don't know a way of doing that one. That kind of functionality is built into the hardware and it's a non removable battery. I don't think you have to worry about leaving it plugged in either. It's erratic charge cycles that are harder on battery life. I would suggest leaving it plugged and then running it down to 0 when your on battery. Don't start charging it up again at 50% for example. You can also keep an eye on your cycle count, which is rated at 1000 for newer MacBooks. That's almost three year's worth of charging it up everyday and running it down for 6-12 hours. After that, you can get them to replace it for about $125 dollars. I just wouldn't be consumed by it. Enjoy it!

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1519
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Apple

Exercise Your Machine
Lithium-ion polymer batteries need to be used for maximum performance. If you don’t use your device often, be sure to complete a charge cycle at least once a month. Click the links below to add regular reminders to your iCal calendar.

http://www.apple.com/batteries/


p.s. yes you probably should have started a new thread. No big deal though as a big part of the reason people will be interested in the new Air is due to battery life, so it's fairly related.

Usually after 5 or 6 posts we spin off to another topic anyhow Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just when I was out, they drag me back in...

I'm seriously thinking about getting the top-end 13" MBA now. I had wanted a Retina screen, but the reported battery life has me interested. I'll probably just wait to see what Apple does the Pros first, like someone else mentioned, but then it's time to move. Just having an iPad doesn't cut it for me anymore.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still have some questions about Haswell, Retina displays, and battery life. Meaning what would've happened to battery life if they had chosen to move to the better screen. What would the hit have been? I probably would've been more interested in getting one with less battery life and the better screen. To me, that seems like the better trade-off than just going for ultimate battery life.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just added new reviews from TechCrunch and Pocket-lint the roundup.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be inclined to upgrade to the 1.7GHz Core i7 Haswell after looking at these benchmarks from Macworld.

http://www.macworld.com/article/2042347/lab-tested-ultimate-macbook-air-2013-holds-its-own-against-the-macbook-pro.html

It's spanking the 13-inch rMBP in most tests, as well as handily beating the 1.3GHz Core i5 model. Not a bad upgrade for $150.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the market for a new MBA, and seeing these benchmarks, it's a tough call as to whether the extra speed of an i7 is worth $150 to me. I don't do anything on a computer that requires a lot of horsepower, but the faster processor might be useful in the future. One thing for sure; I wouldn't worry about its extra energy draw on this machine, given its incredible battery life.
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