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Review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2014)

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

The MacBook Air Is an established product and both the 11-inch and 13-inch versions have become Apple’s most popular notebooks as well as their ‘entry-level’ notebook models.

For 2014, not much has changed physically. A testament to how refined this product line is. Newer processors improve battery life while maintaining more than enough processing power for day-to-day rigours of modern computing.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is still one of the most outstanding portable computing solutions anyone can consider and has one of the most enduring battery performances in the market right now.

The new Intel-core Haswell processors enable up to 13-hours of use, my day-to-day use proved somewhere between 10-11.5 hours of web surfing, email, Facetime calls, Skype, moderate Photoshop work, Microsoft Word and Excel as well as watching Netflix.

The 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor may seem meager and a step back from previous versions but it does have Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz which means it sips battery life until it needs to kick up the processor performance.


 All MacBook Airs now ship with 4GB or RAM, which is managed thriftily by OS X Mavericks. I would opt for a build-to-order option with 8GB of RAM just because this helps while multitasking and creating videos. It also offers more room to grow for when OS X Yosemite comes later this year.

While I’ve always had a soft spot for the 11-inch MacBook Air, the 13-inch model feels like a better all-around laptop and the larger screen and longer battery life suit my needs better. I recently had to take a trip to Boston and while my main notebook is a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, I opted to take the 13-inch MacBook Air instead.

The Pro is usually good for around 5-6 hours of real world use and is slightly heavier than the Air but I’ve gotten used to the Retina Display as well as the no-nonsense performance and reliability of the Pro.

Truth be told, the biggest thing I missed from my Retina Pro was the Retina Display. The MacBook Air (SRT $1,099.00) covered all my needs while travelling and even rose to the occasion when my Porter flight was delayed (I had stashed my charger in my check-in luggage).

The Air enabled me to keep on working on some stories, edit some video and photos plus it had lots of juice left over for me to watch the first season episodes of Orphan Black as well as catch up on the latest play-by-play for the World Cup matches in Brazil.

Running my go to applications like Adobe Lightroom, Microsoft Office, Pixelmator, iMovie and Garageband worked smoothly. The 256GB SSD was more than ample for all the work files as well as various hours of encoded video I loaded to entertain myself on my trip.

Running OS X Mavericks, the 2014 MacBook Air is simply rock solid. The large glass trackpad is simply the best in the business and manages to enable multi-touch gestures accurately.

The new MagSafe adaptor, which magnetically connects the Air to its power supply, still disconnects all too easily at least compared to the first generation o MagSafe connectors, no biggie but it is something to get used to. 

All-in-all, the 2014 MacBook Air isn't just a great product for users, it is a great product for Apple and while costing more than competitors' similarly specced portables, owners will quickly realize the benefits of investing in a mature and well-rounded product that's worked out many of the issues of earlier versions.

The MacBook Air is also a great product for the rest of the PC industry. It remains the standard that many PC makers continue to aspire to, it was Microsoft's inspiration for creating the Surface Pro 3 (at least in the respect that they envied its popularity so much that they wanted to create something that could 'replace' it). An all-new design would have been nice this year but then why mess with something that has worked so well.

Rating: 4 out of 5

References (4)

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    Review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2014) - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective
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    Review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2014) - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective
  • Response
    Review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2014) - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective
  • Response
    Review: Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2014) - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective

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