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
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.
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.