MacBook Air 13-inch: Features
The ports and sockets on the new Air are identical to last year’s model, apart from an extra teeny-tiny hole on the left edge. This is a second integrated microphone designed to help with noise cancellation. So as usual with the Air range there’s no Ethernet connection. To wire your laptop in to the internet, you need a USB adaptor.
When the MacBook Air was first revealed, this was laughed at by rival manufacturers, though now many super-slim Ultrabooks have the same solution.
More importantly, one of the under-the-hood changes on this year’s model is the improvement of wi-fi to 802.11ac, so faster wireless internet is a possibility and wired Ethernet may be less frequently needed. It would be nice if Apple bundled the cable with the machine but at least the £50 price drop from last year means you may feel you can justify the extra expense.
MacBook Air 13-inch: Performance
One of the main pluses of a storage system that’s entirely SSD – standard on the MacBook Air now for several years – is that it’s mighty fast to wake up from standby. Earlier models took a few seconds. This was pretty quick, though it’s amazing how soon you found yourself twiddling the trackpad impatiently during this short wake-up period – the mouse cursor wasn’t instantly available.
Now, when you open the lid, the mouse is working as fast as you can touch it. It’s a saving of just a few seconds, that’s all, but it transforms the experience from good to great.
The model we tested had 128GB of flash storage, a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip. It is fast. You can get faster configurations, but for most people this will move more than fast enough. Not least, that’s down to the 4GB of onboard RAM. You can opt for double this, though that pushes the price up of course.
Of course, this isn’t a real match for the pricier Pro which either comes with an optical drive or a Retina display, but the joy of the slim, light Air is hard to be overstated.