MacBook Air: All day on one charge

Posted on by Mike Evans

The notebook is not dead. Apple's duo of MacBook Airs, the 11in and 13in, build on the success of the old model and offer what users have been demanding: More speed, storage and long battery life. The new Intel Haswell ULT processor is the key to the extended battery life but the Airs also offer much faster graphics and more efficient use of power. OSX Mavericks, when it arrives in the autumn will further aid battery life because of its improved resource management.

Battery life is not just incrementally lengthened, it has been almost doubled. The smaller model now gets nine hours instead of the five hours of the last Air. The 13-incher will squeeze a very impressive twelve hours from its larger battery, up from seven on the old model. This is a real progress and will be appreciated by all travellers. For the first time, a MacBook can offer all-day battery life to compete with tablets and phones.

Wake up time, the bane of the computer user, has dropped to a ridiculously fast one second thanks to new all-flash storage which is said to be 45 percent faster than before. Wifi speeds have been trebled when communicating with the new AirPort Extreme which features 802.11ac technology.

There is good news on the price front. The 11in Air now gets a 128GB SSD, twice that in the old model, at the same price as before, $999. The larger model with the base 128GB disk comes in $100 cheaper than before, at $1,099, and you can grab a larger 256GB SDD for only $200 more.

Is it worth upgrading? This depends entirely on the age of your Air. If you are behind a generation or two it is certainly a good time to invest. On the other hand, as in my case, my 11in Air is only six months old and I will give this upgrade a miss. I use it mainly for travelling, primarily for writing and other non-intensive processes, so I reckon I can get by until the next major upgrade. I will just have to live with the relatively poor battery life.

UK Prices start at £849 for the 11in with 128GB and £949 for the 13in with similar memory. Again, for the benefit of readers outside Europe, these quoted prices include a 20 percent sales tax. In some countries, in particular the USA, tax is added at checkout.

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