The Revamped Apple MacBook Air

Apple recently refreshed their MacBook Air series of laptops. If you're a Mac lover seeking an ultraportable option, but the iPad won't cut it, these new thin-and-lights should have you excited.
By , Last updated on: 12/3/2014

If you're looking for the thinnest, lightest laptop that money can buy, you've come to the right place. The original MacBook Air notebooks were already wafer-like, but Apple just made them even thinner and lighter than before, and gave them a significant hardware update to boot. The new generation comes in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch varieties – both are barely half an inch thick and they weigh just 2.3 and 2.9 pounds, respectively.

Intel Core 2 Duo processors power these svelte notebooks. Lower-cost models come with a 1.4 GHz version, and a 1.86 GHz version upgrade is available as well. These processors don't seem very impressive at first, especially considering that some $700 PCs pack Core i5 chips these days. But with Apple's streamlined operating system, software packages, and solid-state storage, the Core 2 Duos have a lot more pop in practice than they seem to have on paper.

While the switch to solid state (also known as flash memory) means that the MacBook Air has a reduced capacity in terms of pure storage compared to hard disk-based machines these days (between 64 and 256GB, depending on the model), the Air is much more efficient because of it. Startup is snappy and programs load faster, even simultaneously. In terms of battery power, these notebooks advertise about 7 hours of battery life, but a safer bet might be anywhere in the 5 to 6 hour range. That's still very good – ultra-portable laptops should be able to run most of the day, after all – and the solid state drive is a big factor.

In my opinion, the best part about the new MacBook Air is the price. While the previous generation started at about $1500, this new series provides some more affordable $1000 and $1200 options. Still pricey, but gorgeous engineering doesn't come cheap. They're stylish, powerful, incredibly portable, long-lasting, and they come packed with Apple's famous iLife suite of productivity tools. Good stuff. I think the best bang for your buck is the 13.3-inch MC503LL, which packs the 1.86GHz processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive.


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