Reviews

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch) Review

The updated 11-inch MacBook Air is a great laptop for many reasons. It offers great performance and battery life at a low price tag. For users who like the 11-inch MacBook Air, this could be their best option.

The 11-inch MacBook Air is the cheapest and smallest Apple laptop on the market. Although it is lighter than 2.5 pounds, the 11-inch Air now holds a 5th generation Core i5 processor and flash storage that is twice as fast.

Apple’s 11-inch Air lasts more than 9 hours on a charge. Is the Air an excellent value for consumers who want enough space and are on a budget?

Pros

  • +Strong performance
  • +Small, light design
  • +Above-average battery life
  • +More ports than 12-inch MacBook

Cons

  • Low screen resolution
  • Staid design
  • No SD card slot

Key Specification

BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
BrandApple
CPU1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-5250U
Company Websitewww.apple.com
Display Size11.6
Graphics CardIntel HD Graphics 6000
Hard Drive Size128GB
Native Resolution1366×768
Operating SystemOS X Yosemite
Ports (excluding USB)Headphone, Thunderbolt 2.0, USB 3.0
RAM4GB
RAM Upgradable to8GB
Size11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68 inches
Touchpad Size4.1 x 2.5 inches
USB Ports2
Video Memory1.5GB
Weight2.38 pounds
Wi-Fi802.11ac

Design

The design of the 11-inch MacBook Air has stayed the same for several years. The 12-inch MacBook is at least available in different colors, so we’d like to see the Air’s design updated. The 11-inch Air weighs 2.38 pounds, whereas the 12-inch MacBook weighs 2 pounds and the Dell XPS 13 weighs around 2.6 pounds.

Now, the 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68 inch frame is no longer Apple’s smallest option for a laptop, but it’s still pretty impressive in comparison to the ultra-thin MacBook line.

The XPS 13 (11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33-0.6 inches) is only slightly larger but has a larger display screen of 13 inches than Apple’s 11-inch ultraportable, which packs in an 11-inch display screen. This Air device has two USB 3.0 ports and one Thunderbolt 2 port, so it’s great for people who are constantly on the go. You’ll find an SD card slot in the XPS 13, but it doesn’t have the USB-C port or other features that you’ll find with the MacBook.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Air’s keyboard is still excellent. I prefer using it over the MacBook’s ultra-shallow keys; typing with it feels more natural and comfortable. The MacBook and MacBook Pros have a forced, which makes it easier to look up something on Wikipedia. The Air doesn’t have these new features included, but the Air’s glass touchpad performs every gesture and swipe accurately without problems.

Display

The Air’s 11.6-inch 1366×768 display still works for me. It may not be the best 1080p display, but you’re getting an 11-inch screen for this resolution. I generally prefer to have a 1080p screen. Some laptops do offer it, such as the Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X250.

The 11-inch Air was brighter than the MacBook (322 nits) and XPS 13 (298 nits), but it wasn’t as bright as the X250. However, the Air’s display cannot show 67.4 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, making it less colorful than other 13-inch ultrabooks like the XPS 13 (91.7 percent) and the MacBook (101.8 percent).

The Air has a lower color accuracy score than the MacBook and the X250, with 4.2 Delta-E, numbers closer to zero are better and is poorest in comparison to other laptops when compared to its (non-touch) XPS 13 which has an 8.1 Delta-E score.

Performance

The 11-inch Air is similar to the 13-inch model in terms of specifications, except for the processor and RAM. The 11-inch Air scored 5,800 on Geekbench. It’s more than 1,000 points higher than the average (4,523), and it’s also hundreds of points above the dozen other computers all of which have Core i5 processors.

On our spreadsheet , Apple Air had the fastest time of all. It paired 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice in 3 minutes and 55 seconds. The MacBook took 4 minutes and 33 seconds to do it while the XPS 13 took 5 minutes and 2 seconds, and the X250 took 5 minutes and 7 seconds.

Final Thoughts

The Apple MacBook Air 11.6-inch (MJVM2LL/A) laptop is one of the smallest ultraportable laptops in this market, but it has a long-lasting battery life and powerful Intel Core i5 processor that help it stay ahead of its competitors. It also gives users advanced connectivity options like Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C than older models.

You can buy it if you need to replace an older MacBook Air or ultraportable. But, you may not necessarily need to buy the latest model with it. The MacBook Air is still our Editors’ Choice for midrange ultraportable laptops. It has a larger screen and battery life that you can get for a few extra dollars.

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