Apple’s often imitated but never bettered ultra-portable laptop puts in a strong, though not faultless, performance with this mid-2013 release, the sixth-generation of the MacBook Air.
It offers significant improvements in its solid state storage speed, graphical power, battery life and wireless capabilities, but the processor’s clock speeds actually take a backward step. But as we’ll see, for most real-world applications, the MacBook Air 2013 matches or out-performs its predecessor.
Like most recent MacBook Air refreshes, the mid-2013 update brings us four new models; two with 11-inch screens and two with 13-inch displays. All use Haswell 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processors, replete with Intel HD Graphics 5000, the latest version of Intel’s integrated graphics chipset. They also all run the OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system, although this will change to OS X Mavericks when available.
The aluminum unibody design is still very slim — 0.68-inch at the thickest point — a once-astonishing feat that has lost some of its shine, since a few Windows competitors have gone slimmer, like the Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 (0.51 inch) and the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus (0.54 inch). But the oh-so-portable MacBook Air doesn’t exactly look hefty, either, weighing just 2.91 pounds. Again, a few competitors have shaved the weight down further, but the difference in millimeters and fractions of an ounce is almost imperceptible.