The Register’s Stephen Dean says the first of the new MacBook Airs he was able to get his hands on was the 11-inch version, which is virtually identical to its recent predecessors – the only visual give-away being the addition of a tiny second microphone on the left-hand edge of the machine.
Of course, Dean notes the MacBook Air design e was impressive to start with, and set the standard for the modern Ultrabook even before Intel’s marketing department got around to inventing the term, and that it’s a delight to pick up in one hand and just admire the design and build quality.
Inside, the latest Air gets Intel’s new Haswell processor, a low-power 1600MHz dual-core Haswell Core i5-4250U clocked at 1.3GHz with DDR3 memory and a new flash storage sub-system that Apple claims is 45 percent faster than the one used in previous Airs.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is the nominal entry level price point of $999 or £849 for one with 4GB of memory, but the measly 64GB of flash storage on last year’s base model has been doubled to 128GB, which represents a defacto $100 price cut.
Haswell’s real strength, though, lies in its ability to improve battery life. Apple claims that the new 11-inch Air increases battery life from up to five hours to nine, and Dean says that doing word processing, intermittent emailing and web browsing he acheived a real world few minutes short of eight hours, so it really does provide all-day computing. The 13-incher manages about a third again longer.
However, Dean says that while the 11.6-inch display is bright and attractive, with rich colours and wide viewing angle, its 1366 x 768 is starting to look more than a bit dated compared to the many Windows laptops now offering a 1920 x 1080 resolution.
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