MacBook Air 2012 review

MacBook Air 2012 review

T3 4
  • The new Apple MacBook Air 2012 offers the latest PC tech, including third-gen Intel Core processing, Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connectivity  

    MacBook Air 2012 review

    Love

    • Ivy Bridge Power
    • USB 3.0 connectivity
    • Incredibly thin

    Hate

    • Ageing design
    • No SD card reader
    • No wired internet

    Back in 2008, Apple made laptops cool again by unleashing the super-skinny MacBook Air.  The slimline beauty was made even thinner in 2010, and the 2012 version – which is on review here – is the latest iteration of that design.

    Packing the latest Intel Core processing power, alongside nippy DDR3L RAM, SSD flash storage and ultrafast connectivity, the new MacBook Air 2012 - available as 11- and 13-inch versions -  has not only the looks but the power to once again dominate the ultraportable notebook market.

    But this time around, it does face stiff competition at least. Apple seemingly kicked off a slimline laptop revolution with the MacBook Air, and if you haven't heard the word Ultrabook by now, you soon will have.

    The shops are now packed with svelte laptops, with the likes of the Asus ZenBook UX31, the HP Envy 14 Spectre, the Dell XPS 13 and the Acer Aspire S3 wowing buyers with their impressive spec sheets and their skinny chassis.

    But has the new MacBook Air still got enough about it to lead the pack? To find out we took the smaller ii-inch Air model for a spin.

    MacBook Air: Build

    While we welcome the new hardware inside the MacBook Air, we can't help but feel that the 2012 models are more evolution than revolution.

    That's not to say that we don't love the Air's beautiful design – it's impossible not to. But, as this is the third time that Apple has wheeled out exactly the same chassis, we are slightly underwhelmed.

    There's only so long the wow-factor can last and, two years down the line, the awe surrounding the MacBook Air has definitely diminished, especially when you consider the wealth of new design ideas hitting the Ultrabook market.

    But, and it's a big but - the MacBook Air design and build is still one that the new Ultrabook brigade strive for. Sure, there are a lot of refreshing new ideas in the laptop arena, but more than a handful of Ultrabooks are clearly trying to emulate Apple's famous design.

    Despite its age, it's easy to see why. At 300 x 192 x 17mm it's tiny. Even tinier when you consider the graded base which helps the Air hit a ridiculously lean 3mm at its thinnest point.

    The 11.6-inch model that we reviewed weighs just over 1kg as well, making it the ultimate portable PC (the 13-inch model weighs just 270g more).

    The keyboard that we know and love from the MacBook family, with its isolated backlit keys, is back – alongside the brilliant track-pad which supports a plethora of multi-touch gestures.

    • Apple MacBook Air 2012 preview
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ma/xs_MacbookAir2012_lead_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ma/xs_MacbookAir2012_1_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ma/xs_MacbookAir2012_2_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/ma/xs_MacbookAir2012_3_624.jpg
    • Video
      Asus Zenbook VS Apple Macbook Air

      ASUS are taking on the Cupertino giant with their new ultra-slim Zenbook, but is it really better than the Macbook Air?

      02:01
    • Video
      Apple MacBook Air 2012 preview

      Thinner and packed with more power but what else lurks inside the Air 2012?

      01:11

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