Apple MacBook Air (2014): Performance

May 21, 2014 by Jamison Cush Reads (92,648)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Apple MacBook Air frontPerformance

The MacBook Air NotebookReview tested sports an Intel Core i5 4260U CPU clocked at 1.4 GHz, , along with 4GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 onboard memory. It’s configurable up to a Core i7 with 8GB of RAM, which add $250 to the price combined

It’s obvious Apple intended the MacBook Air to be a portable and powerful productivity machine (Microsoft’s answer seems to be the Surface Pro 2), and it’s perfectly suited to that task. The 2014 MacBook Air will easily handle large and complex spreadsheets, unwieldy office docs, and sophisticated presentations, in addition to video streaming, heavy web browsing, and video chats. It’s very far from a gaming rig (it sports Intel HD Graphics 5000), but it can run a handful of mainstream titles, if only to pass the time.

The base model has a 128GB SSD, but 256GB and 512GB options are available.

Our Apple MacBook Air 11-inch review unit was sent with the following specifications:

  • 11.6-inch display (1366 x 768 resolution, LED backlit, glossy)
  • OS X Mavericks
  • Intel Core i5 (1.4GHz dual-core, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000
  • 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
  • 128GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • No internal optical drive
  • 802.11ac, /b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 720p FaceTime HD camera
  • 38‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 11.8″ x 7.56″ x 0.11 to .68″
  • Weight: 2.38 lbs.
  • Starting price: $899
  • Price as configured: $899


GeekBench 3 Multi-Core Results: (Higher scores mean better performance)geekbench3chart


Heat and Noise

Good luck trying to get this notebook hot. NBR testers taxed the MacBook Air well beyond what any average user may inflict on a daily basis, and it remained quiet and cool, with only a slight temperature increase on the back center portion of the MacAir bottom. The fan is also very tough to trigger, and absurdly quiet when it finally kicks on. Most users won’t even notice it. Also, Apple hid the cooling vents just below the display lid. Again, most users won’t even notice them either.

Battery Life

The MacBook Air lasted between 4 hours and 13 minutes and 4 hours and 30 minutes in multiple tests, all while continuously streaming video over Wi-Fi at max brightness before setting off the battery alert. Add a few minutes more, and that’s about the absolute minimum users can expect out of it. That translates into approximately 8 hours of average usage with a lower display brightness, give or take.

That’s very good for a thin-and-light laptop this size with this powerful a processor, but it doesn’t come close to the iPad and other ARM-based devices, which are not nearly as powerful, however.



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  1. orlando_medeiros

    I made the switch from my MBA to a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and I absolutely love it! The 2-1 form factor makes sense to me. I don’t know why anyone would want a tablet and a laptop just to do various tasks. My Y2P folds 360 degrees into a 13.3 inch tablet which is ideal when I am on the go or just sitting back reading. The weight may be an issue for some people, but 3lbs is very light and not a problem for me.

  2. drmanimakhija

    I would never buy another apple product or recommended it to anyone after this macbook. It not just that the charging port of my macbook malfunctioned 5 times and the motherboard was replaced 3 times and the service centre told me that the new magnetic charging port malfunctions because it gets carbon because its magnetic ( means its bad technology and hardware and this new macbook’s is supposed to do even more stuff than just charging); but also the fact that the apple care call centre assured me on the 4th time it stopped that they would replace it if it happens again. It did happen again and they did not replace it. They lied to me and again changed the motherboard for the third time. On top of that I was told that they are changing the motherboard as they cannot locate the problem and they don’t know what is actually wrong. Later after complaining I was offered a replacement. And the last time I was told that they would replace it when the warranty expires after 6 months. But when the day actually came they went back on their word and are not replacing this machine which has repeatedly malfunctioned and does not enjoy the trust an apple product comes or I should say “is promised to come with”. But I can testify that the company has gone back on their promises not once but twice.

    It is not the “best and the most advanced” machine but a bunch of lies.

    Moreover I used to boast of being an apple user and now people laugh at me at my workplace. They don’t want to get machines which use up all their monthly leaves and take them to service centres 5 times for the same problem. It is just a shame!!!