MacBook Air 13 Inch (Mid 2013) Review

Video Review


First Impressions:
When I recieved my MacBook air I was thrilled! I had been waiting for about 1 week since I ordered a custom model with 8GB of Ram instead of 4GB. My Full specs are on the right. Another thing to make a note of is that this is my first MacBook. I have used iMacs at school or at a friends house but a Windows PC was always my main computer and the main computer for my family. When my laptop was getting out dated and I saved enough cash I began looking for a Mac but wanted to wait for a new air which I knew would be announced some time soon. My unboxing of the Air was not recorded since many of those were already online and to be honest mine was quite messy. I was amazed by how quick the boot time was; I literally waited seconds and then it was ready to be set up! After some use I am also amazed with the quality of sound. It is not professional sound by any standard; however, the speakers on the Air are actually under the keyboard and sound comes out through the keys, all in all when you think about the way sound is being projected it is pretty nice. The screen is not a retina but coming from a resolution of 1366x768p on a 15inch HP Pavillion the 1440x900p resolution of a 13inch monitor is just fine! I find it so amazing how portable this laptop is, to say the Air is thin and light is an understatement. I am not worried at all about portability with this at all, in fact I find myself being more portable than I use to be because of how easy it is to carry around this laptop. Overall my first impressions are quite positive.



Full Review (2 Weeks Later)

The OS (OS X)

I  have been a Windows user since the first time I touched a computer running Windows ME. I have used Macs at school and enjoyed it, however the OS was an incomplete version of snow leopard perverted with blocked applications and features so it was not a fair comparison. I also heard a lot about Macs from the Youtubers I watch and most of the comments were positive. So I decided to try it and in terms of software I was not let down! I had no problem understand the OS in a matter of days, Mountain Lion was just so intuitive. I also found that my productivity skyrocketed thanks to Mission Control. I had never multitasked so easily, and the three fingered gestures on the Magic Trackpad
helped my speed of switching. Although most people find Launchpad to be gimmicky I found it to be easy access to my applications since finder was not my favorite part of the OS. And that brings me to my last part of the OS I would like to talk about. Finder, OS X's version of File Explorer (AKA. Windows Explorer) is very lacking in my opinion. If there is one thing I find to be superior in Windows it is the file explorer. I have found the finder to be cluttered and lacking in some key features. I even had to look up keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste since the feature is not in the drop menu. However there are elements of the finder I do enjoy such as quick look. I am also looking forward to tabs coming in OS X Mavericks. Over all I find the positives out way the negatives and I have enjoyed OS X. I still run Windows 8 in a virtual machine from time to time.

The Battery Life

The Most liberating part of this laptop is its battery life. It is invigorating to not be tied to a plug all day or have battery anxiety when ever I leave the house. I use my Air on half brightness on average and if I am only using one or two applications at once such as Microsoft Word and Google Chrome I could get as much as 15 hours at a time. The bad news is that amount drops severely with the addition of more applications or by using more resource intensive applications such as Final Cut Pro or graphic intense games. Over all I find the Air's battery life to be an amazing  feature and selling point for this device!


The Size

The feature that makes a Macbook Air and Air is the form factor. This device is amazingly thin and light. Of course you could find the exact specs for the size on Apple's website, so I will not bother you with them. However I will tell you the results of this form factor. I have found myself taking this device with me more often. In the past my laptop was just too heavy to comfortably take it around with me where ever I went. So I would take either an Android or iOS
device and deal with the limitations. Now I am able to take this air almost anywhere as long as I know I will be able to use it on my lap or on a desk. And thanks to the wonderful battery life I do not need to worry about plugging in when I get to that place. In addition the Macbook Air does not have any internal moving parts since the storage is solid state. Because of the lack of moving parts I feel a lot more secure when moving around with this device. Over all the Air has become even more of my daily driver because I can take it anywhere I want to go! 


Performance

So the oddest part of the Air is the fact that it actually has a performance drop from the 2012 model to the 2013. The drop is mainly because of the drop in processor GHz. This is important because the new Haswell processor is much better with battery life because it is the next generation of Intel processors. Over all I did not notice a performance problem however I am coming from a very old HP laptop with an Intell processor two generations older. And do not worry about over all performance because graphics certainly have an improvement! A new generation of processors mean a new generation of graphics, the Intell 5000 to be exact. No matter what the all models of the
Macbook Air and the 13 inch Macbook pro with retina display. Even though integrated graphics are not as good as a separate graphics card, I was able to edit video, edit photos, and play games. The Best part, performance wise, of this Air is the new PCI based flash storage. The new drives are FAST! Applications launch with in one or two seconds an I could not go back to a hard drive. In fact the flash storage in this laptop is even faster than the past Macbooks and it shows. If you want to see the amazingly fast loading times on this laptop take a look at the video review.



The Design





The Macbook Air has had the same legendary design since the very first model. It is an amaingly thin wedge shape which is great for portability and the Air has an aluminum unibody. The all aluminum design looks very professional and is very sturdy! The air has a metal ring around the screen rather than edge to edge glass; some people feel that this looks cheap but I disagree, I find that both edge to edge glass and an aluminum ring look very nice. Some people say that Apple is lazy for having the same design for so long and that it is a downfall for this device however, once again I disagree. If you have a great design why change it just for the sake of changing it. When the design of the Air is outdated I have no doubt it adapt but this is not that time. All in all the Air is beautiful as well as powerful.

The Display


Well we start to see less perfection as we move on with the device and the screen is the beginning of this decline. We all know that the display on the air is not a retina display. The good news is the display is still exceptional. The display is has 128 PPI which is only 4 pixels less per inch than the iPad 1 & 2. In addition the Air is on average farther from your eyes than an iPad. Viewing angles are not perfect on this device; from the sides I found the angles to be quite good however the vertical angles leave something to be desired. Now I am coming from a display with about 90 PPI so I find the Air to be just fine display wise however if you are use to a retina display you will probably see pixels.



The Sound


This is definitely the biggest downfall of the Air. The speakers of the Air have some major problems and this is new starting in the 2012 version of the Air. At this time Apple decided to add the speakers underneath the keyboard rather than have speaker grills around the keyboard. Even though this is a clever way to hide the speakers it ruins sound quality. They are definitely loud and they
attempt to get a wide range of sound. The part that annoys me the most is the crackling that periodically occurs with high frequencies and when I am listening to voices and they say a word with an "S" or a "P." The headphone jack is fine though so I will do fine when the low speaker quality is too much to handle.




The Keyboard and Trackpad

Even though the hardware beneath the keyboard is terrible the keyboard itself is great. There is not much to ask for in a keyboard, basically you want well sized keys, backlit, and finally a good trackpad to go with it. The Macbook air
delivers all of these things. Speaking of the trackpad, even though the trackpad was a little different at first and I found inverted scrolling a little weird I found myself adapting and growing dependent to this trackpad. Apple is known for a having a great trackpad with amazing multitouch commands and I found them to be very helpful. Personally I love the 3 fingered swipes for mission control and could not live without them!

Conclusion
I will most certainly be keeping the Macbook Air plan to be very happy with it for years to come. And considering the $1,552 price tag I better be satisfied. I still have not shown off my Air to too many people but I plan to in the coming weeks of summer. Take a look at the video review above as well!

Update: 1/27/14
Sadly the Air has not help up perfectly over the months, performance is still great and I could never go back to a hard drive but the storage ran out sooner than expected. The biggest disappointment for me has to be battery life, the rumor that the more you use and charge a battery the shorter its life, is looking more true every week. When my Air was new it had up to 15 hours lite use and 9 hours heavy use; now those numbers have decreased. I am lucky to get 9 hours lite use and about 7 hours of heavy use. Everything else on the Air is the same, the speakers are terrible, the screen is not amazing but it is good enough, and the keyboard and trackpad are the best ever!

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