Apple MacBook Air 13in
We were desperately hoping the MacBook Air would get the Retina screen it deserves, but Apple has kept that upgrade for professionals. Instead, both the 11in and 13in MacBook Air models receive a modest spring clean for 2012, with new internals and a few tweaks to the port line-up. We have the 13in model on test.
Apple has opted to leave the physical dimensions as they were, so it’s still 17mm thick at the rear, tapering to almost nothing at the front. There’s now a USB 3 port on either flank, joined by Thunderbolt and the SD card slot on the right and the headphone socket on the left. The labels have moved to the near side of each port, making them easier to see where cables previously blocked the view.
The MacBook Air now uses the new MagSafe 2 power adapter. It’s wider (and only compatible with the original MagSafe via a £9 adapter), and the cable now extends directly outwards rather than at a right angle on the old adapter. That means it can be pulled out from any direction when tripped, which is theoretically safer, but in our experience it now pops out at the slightest provocation.
The bigger changes occur inside, with the headline being the introduction of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, and we were surprised to see a rather large step forward in application speed. Powered by a 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U, it scored 0.68 in our benchmarks, up from 0.58 last year. The 4GB of RAM certainly helps, and there’s no doubt the new HD Graphics 4000 core also plays its part in several of our tests.