MacBook Air laptops are renowned for their combination of impressive design, ultra-light weight and unmatched performance. This new 13 inch MacBook 2014 version is not an exception. It not only has the apple’s elegant outlook but also it is powered up with all the latest technologies. If you are seeking a premium looking Ultrabook that doesn’t skimp on power, with latest Core i5 processor and a battery that lasts longer than 12 hours, this new MacBook Air is surely one of the best options out there.
Basically, the new 2014 version has almost nothing new, if you compare it with the earlier Air model, which is kind of disappointing. So far the improvements Apple made are, a small processor speed bump and a longer battery life, while the design, screen and all other basic features remained exactly the same. But surprisingly, the price of it is marginally lower than the previous versions, which is very unusual for Apple.
Anyway, if you are looking for a desktop replacement or something you are going to use 20 hours a day, maybe it is not a good choice. But if you care about the brand, design and performance; if you are looking for a lightweight premium Ultrabook. With the price tag of $999, this Apple’s ultraportable is the best laptop you can get with your money.
- Slim design
- Light weight
- Latest Haswell processor
- Runs cool and quiet
- Long battery life
- Low power consumption
- Great keyboard and touchpad
- Good webcam
- Decent performance
- Exclusive software bundle
- Cheaper price than usual
- Average quality screen
- No retina display
- Low screen resolution
- No touchscreen
- No HDMI and Ethernet support
- Poor graphics
- Limited storage capacity
- No secondary storage
- Very limited ports
- Not upgradable
- Brand: Apple
- Series: MacBook Air
- Model: 13 inch (2014)
- Processor: Intel Core i5 4260U
- Display: Twisted nematic (TN) glossy panel LED display
- Display Size: 13.3 inch
- Resolution: 1440 x 900 (16:10)
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD 5000
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR3 1600 MHz
- SSD: 128GB
- HDD: none
- Optical Drive: none
- Audio: Stereo speakers, two microphones
- Keyboard: Backlit keyboard without numerical keys
- Navigation: Multi touch touchpad
- Webcam: 1280 x 720 HD Cam
- Video Ports: Thunderbolt
- Audio Ports: Headphone
- USB: 2x USB 3.0
- Media Ports: 2-1 SDXC card reader
- Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
- Bluetooth: 4.0 wireless
- Ethernet: none
- Width: 12.8 inch / 32.5 cm
- Depth: 8.9 inch / 22.6 cm
- Height: 0.7 inch / 1.7 cm
- Weight: 2.9 pounds / 1.4 kg
- Battery: 54 Wh
- Battery Life: 12 Hours
- Operating System: OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)
- Warranty: One year RTB
- Base Price: $999
Apple never really changed the basic design of their MacBook Air series for the last few generations. But the laptops are just becoming thinner, lighter and more powerful. As usual, the 2014 version of the 13 inch MacBook Air has the aluminum unibody construction. The build quality is strong. With just 0.7 inch thickness, this beauty can take a decent amount of pounding. The color of the whole outer body is sliver and there is a glowing Apple logo on the lid.
The MacBook Air is very portable. It weighs only 2.9 pounds, so you can easily slip it into any bag without even noticing the weight differences. The corners are rounded, which is also a good thing since almost everyone will use the Air as an on the go laptop.
The keyboard of the MacBook Air is really great for a 13 inch laptop. The size of the keys and the space between the keys are ideal. The feedback of the keys is kind of catchy, which will give you comfort and good response over long stretches. The build of the surface and keys are strong. You can roughly use the laptop without worrying about damaging the keyboard. The decent backlit made it easy to read the keys regarding the light of the environment.
Just like the keyboard, the touchpad of the Air is smooth and flawless. The size of the touchpad is 4.1 x 3 inches. The pad not only has pinpoint accuracy and satisfying feedback but also it can perform all new multi touch gestures Yosemite operating system has to offer. You can control the laptop and do almost everything by only using the touchpad. To be honest, only because of this superb touchpad, you won’t feel the need of a touchscreen that much.
The connectivity feature of the MacBook Air is pretty basic and simple. They probably made it this way to keep it slim and light. But if you are a dedicated laptop user, you will face some problem as there are no VGA, HDMI, Ethernet or USB 2.0 ports.
Though the new MacBook Air is jacked up with various latest technologies, the display feature of the laptop is not something to be proud of. As you can see in the specs, it has a 13.3 inch LED backlit glossy widescreen screen with the usual Apple MacBook aspect ratio of 16:10.
As Apple used twisted nematic (TN) technology for the display, the viewing angle of the screen is limited but it is wider than regular TN screens. The average brightness of the display is 285 nits and average contrast is 280 cd / m2 with the ratio of 600:1. The native resolution of the display is 1440 x 900 pixels, which is slightly better than commonly used 1366 x 768 pixels resolution. Anyway, as seen from the statistics, the screen is not what we call “premium”. However, the brightness, contrast and resolution of the MacBook Air are better than average ultraportable laptops.
The built in speaker of the MacBook Air is basic and generic. They are located right beneath the keyboard. Though the sound is loud enough, it’s quality is not that great. But as this laptop is meant for outdoor use, with a good headphone you won’t feel the lacking.
Though the design is still unchanged, the internal hardware has been upgraded. The new MacBook Air offers an Intel core i5 processor combined with Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 128GB flash drive.
As you can see in the specs, this MacBook has the Intel core i5 4260U CPU. It is an ULV (ultra low voltage) dual core processor based on Haswell architecture, but since it supports hyper threading technology, these two cores can actually handle four threads in parallel. The base clock speed of the processor is 1.4 GHz, but with the turbo boost, you will be able to get a maximum clock speed of 2.7 GHz. Also, because of the latest Haswell technology, this processor is capable of providing great performance while consuming only little power (15W of maximum power consumption to be exact).
On the other hand the integrated Intel HD 5000 graphics is not very professional and isn’t meant for serious gaming. Though it is significantly better than the previous HD 4000 and HD 4400 models, the actual performance is kind of bottlenecked because the graphics processors dip into the system RAM for their memory. The GPU supports DirectX 11.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.0 and supports up to 2560 x 1600 pixels on an external display. When I tested the Mac version of DOTA2 on it at native resolution (1440 x 900) with default graphics settings, I got an average of 35 FPS.
The storage of the Air is a PCIe-attached solid state flash drive of 128 GB capacity. The average read speed of this SSD is 700MB/s and write speed is 450MB/s which is comparatively better than average SSD read/write speed (500MB/s and 440MB/s) but surely it could be better. Also, sadly there is no secondary storage and 128 GB is for sure not enough in today’s world. So in case you need to carry more data, you will have to rely on external storage.
The 13 inch MacBook Air features a 54 Wh lithium-polymer battery which Apple claims to last 12 hours. When I tested the capability of the battery, I was thrilled as the performance of the battery was even better. It lasted roughly 13 hours while I watched movies, played musics and surfed the Internet over Wi-Fi. To be honest, this 13 inch laptop is the most enduring laptop I’ve ever tested.
Once the purchase is made, you will not be able to upgrade your MacBook anymore. However, you can customize it a bit while you are buying. For an extra $100 you can get extra 4 GB RAM and make it a total of 8 GB. Also, you can exchange your 128 GB flash drive with a 256 GB one for $200 and get a 1.7 GHz core i7 CPU instead of 1.4 GHz core i5 for $150.
As the design is almost same and there is no new feature, my suggestion would be not to waste money on it, if you already have a recent version (2012-2013) of the MacBook Air. However, if you are in need of an Ultrabook and going to buy one anyway, you must consider getting this 13 inch beauty. With an updated Intel processor, ultra portability and incredible battery life, no laptop in the same price range ($999 USD) can match the 2014 version of the 13 inch MacBook Air.