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Is Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Summer 2011 good for office


The Good The 13-inch MacBook Air has been updated with the latest Intel CPUs for better performance and battery life. Backlit keyboards make a welcome return.

The Bad The 128GB SSD is much smaller than a standard hard drive. It also starts at $ 100 more than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The Bottom Line The latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Air is far superior to its predecessor, and may finally be called “mainstream” rather than a niche product.

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8.4 Overall

  • Design
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Support

Like most Apple products, the MacBook Air has gone into the annual update cycle, taking it from original niche product version to its new perch as the flagship line of Apple laptops. In doing so, we have also observed the continuous implementation of system components and capabilities for three generations.

New Apple Air models retain last year’s prices, the 13-inch model starts at $ 1,299, while dramatically upgrading processing power: a new second-generation Core i5 processor in the base 11-inch and 13-inch Air is a two-generation jump for Intel Directly from the old Core 2 Duo processors, the first generation of Core i5 / i7 chips has passed, and directly to the Core i second-generation 2011.

The physically new MacBook Air looks and looks identical to the one made since October 2010, with one notable exception. Both 11-inch and 13-inch models now include a backlit keyboard, a much-lost feature in the previous generation (in a CNET poll, 26 percent of readers cited the backlit keyboard as their own the most needed new feature of the MacBook Air ).

Related links
• Apple MacBook Air Fall 2010 (Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz, 128GB SSD, 13.3-inch)
• Samsung 9 Series NP900X3A (13-inch)
• Apple MacBook Air (11in, Summer 2011)

Thunderbolt was also added to both Airs, replacing the Mini DisplayPort (the new combo port also acts as the Mini DisplayPort output). It’s more new now than anything else with small accessories, but the future Thunderbolt Display, designed for use with laptops, seems intriguing.

The most obvious incomplete change to the MacBook Air line is the preinstalled OSX Lion software. If getting this new OS update is your primary goal, it’s available for any $ 29 Intel-backed MacBook – so there’s no reason to trade your latest-generation Air for now.

With 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD, 13-inch Ethernet is a better bet for seamless basic computing than the 11-inch version, which defaults to 2 GB of RAM and only 64 GB of SSD (with only about 48 GB of them available). The tendency for cloud storage makes it less of a problem than it could be, but you might want a little more breathing space.

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Now that it uses modern Intel processors, the MacBook is definitely a viable everyday laptop, not a special product – its performance was very close to the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2011 in most of our benchmarks, as well as battery life. similarly different.

Price as reviewed $1,299
Processor 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M
Memory 4GB, 1333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 128GB SSD
Graphics Intel HD3000
Operating system OS X 10.7 Lion
Dimensions (WD) 12.8 x 8.9 inches
Height 0.68 – 1.1 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 2.3/2.7 pounds
Category 13-inch laptop

Both the 11- and 13-inch versions of the MacBook Air have the same thickness, ranging from 0.11 inches to 0.68 inches, but extending over a larger 13-inch chassis, the 13-inch body always seemed particularly thin.

As with the 2010 version, which is not physically different at first glance, the rigid aluminum construction makes the air strong enough to just throw in a bag and carry with you without a protective case or sleeve. The benefit there is that the 13-inch air feels a little heavier than its slimmer body would lead to what you’d expect, especially when compared to the 11-inch version or iPad.

Although the keyboard and trackpad are the same (backlit) as on the previous 11- and 13-inch models, the use of new OS X Lion gestures may take some getting used to. The Sign language is now even more detached from Windows . For example, you no longer double-tap and drag to move a window: instead, just use three fingers to move the cursor over the title bar. The four-finger click to return to the desktop is for a function called Mission Control, which shows all active programs and alternate desktop screens. To get back to a clean desktop, you now squeeze it from your thumb and three fingers. There are several other new gestures, and fortunately, the System Settings menu shows animated examples of each one.

Our standard enthusiasm for the unrivaled Apple trackpad and excellent keyboard remains, and it concerns both sizes. Other notebook makers have also moved to larger Touchpad-style touch panels, but we haven’t yet found a touchpad that comes close to that for multi-touch gestures. The pad is again hung at the top, allowing the entire pad to press down, and we suggest going to the Settings menu and including all the push options for further ease of use.

Unlike the 11-inch MacBook Air, the 13-inch screen is not a 16: 9 screen. The screen area also lacks edge-to-edge glasses above the black bezel found in other MacBooks; instead, the screen is surrounded by a thick silver rim. We thought it made it less attractive than the MacBook Pro back in 2010, and it continues to be so.

On the plus side, the built-in display resolution is 1440×900 pixels, which is better than the current 13-inch 1366×768 pixel standard. The current 13-inch MacBook Pro has a lower resolution of 1280×800 and does not offer a higher resolution screen, meaning this Air has a 13-inch high resolution display that Apple can get (not exceeding, Sony Air Vaio Z converts the screen to 1 920×180 pixels into a 13-inch laptop, though at great expense).

Apple displays are always crisp and bright, with great off-axis viewing, but if you find them too glossy, only the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pro models have anti-glazing options. the speakers, as is the case with previous MacBooks, are surprisingly quiet and not great for playing music to the crowd – but great for solo streaming.

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Apple MacBook Air (13-inch) Average for category [13-inch]
Video Combo Mini DisplayPort/Tunderbolt port VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone jack Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion Combo Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port None
Networking Ethernet (via optional USB dongle), 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive None DVD burner

Even with a pair of USB ports and an SD card slot, this remains a fairly spare set of connections compared to other 13-inch laptops. However, this is a significant improvement over the first MacBook Air that had only one USB connection.

There is some concern that Apple is listing MacBook Pro models on its website with SDXC card slots for high-capacity SD cards, and is only listing the on-air card reader as an SD card. We tried the 64GB SanDisk SDXC card in a MacBook Air card reader and the system recognized it to be the right size and was able to access the files on it. But if you want to get a massive SD card to expand the small 128GB SSD built into the air, keep in mind that the card slot leaves the SD card hanging halfway through the system, so it’s not suitable for full use. Instead, you will need to upgrade to $ 1599 to get 256GB of storage.

With the transition to the current generation of Intel Core i5 processors, the performance of both the 13 and 11-inch MacBook Air has gone through a big jump. In our benchmarking test, the 13-inch 1.7 GHz default Intel Core i5-2557M almost evenly matched the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2011, which does not have the ULV version of the same Core i5 second generation. The 11-inch ether was pretty close behind, and the 2010 version of the Air was much slower. Air support was its solid-state hard drive, as well as the fact that some of our landmarks use Mac-friendly applications such as Photoshop and iTunes, and we have always seen that Apple laptops work particularly well on them.

With the change of processors, you no longer get the 320M Nvidia as a not very discrete GPU. Instead, like most Windows laptops we’ve seen this year, the graphics are powered by Intel’s integrated HD 3000. This is definitely better than the integrated graphics Intel used to deliver, but we’ll miss the part of Nvidia that was simply better for gaming. In Call of Duty 4 (unfortunately, still considered a modern game on Mac), we got 19.7 frames per second at 1440×900 pixels and 32.1 frames per second when we dialed AA and ran it at 1280×800 . Air will do some basic games, but don’t expect to launch, for example, Civilization V (one of the few recent high gloss games we can come up with on OS X) in extremely high resolution with all the eye candy. on.

Juice box
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Summer 2011) Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.18
Sleep (10 percent) 0.59
Idle (25 percent) 4.55
Load (5 percent) 31.7
Raw kWh 25.31
Annual energy cost $2.87

At the moment, Apple has been on top of our battery life charts for so long that any drop in the length of time will be considered a big scandal. Fortunately, however, the 13-inch Air runs more than 100 minutes longer than its predecessor, and even a few minutes longer than the 13-inch MacBook Pro (though this difference is small enough to be statistically insignificant). In our test for battery travel on video playback, the new 13-inch Air worked for 6 hours 46 minutes. It’s also about 80 minutes longer than the similar 13-inch Samsung Series 9.

Apple’s service and support is always a double-edged sword. Apple includes a one-year warranty on parts and labor, but only 90 days of phone support. Upgrading to a full three-year AppleCare plan will cost an additional $ 249, and it’s almost a must-buy, given the branded nature of Apple products. Support is also available through a well-stocked online knowledge base, video tutorials and customer service emails or through personal visits to the Apple Genius Bars retail store, which, in our experience, has always been frustrating.

Apple’s new MacBook Air version in 2011 is a major step forward in both hardware and concept. With the advent of the $ 999 long plastic white MacBook, Air is now the main entry point for potential Apple laptop buyers. The parallel is clearer in the 11-inch version, which starts at the same $ 999, but unless you need a larger hard drive or optical drive for a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the new 13-inch air should be your first stop for this screen size.

Multimedia Task Test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
13.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
23313-inch Apple MacBook Pro (Spring 2011)
239 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
253 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
71913.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
926 Samsung 9 Series NP900X3A
1,094 Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Image Processing Test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (Spring 2011)
78 13.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
85 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
103 Samsung 9 Series NP900X3A
13913.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
149 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
199 Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A
Apple iTunes Coding Test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
13.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
9813-inch Apple MacBook Pro (Spring 2011)
99 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
11013.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
176 Samsung 9 Series NP900X3A
226 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
266 Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A
Video Trial Video Play Video (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
13.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
40613-inch Apple MacBook Pro (Spring 2011)
402 Samsung 9 Series NP900X3A
32213.3-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
298 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011)
276 11.6-inch Apple MacBook Air (Fall 2010)
263 Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A

Annual cost of energy consumption
13.3-inch Apple Macbook Air (Fall 2010)
$2.44 11.6-inch Apple Macbook Air (Fall 2010)
$2.66 11.6-inch Apple Macbook Air (Summer 2011)
$2.70 13.3-inch Apple Macbook Air (Summer 2011)
$2.87 Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A
$2.88 Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A
$3.4213-inch Apple Macbook Pro (Spring 2011)

Learn more about how we test laptops.

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