Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013 video review

Andy Vandervell



Read the full Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013 review

Apple has once again laid down the gauntlet to its rivals with the 2013 update of the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air. Superficially it's the exact same design, which is good news as the 1.35kg aluminium body is slim, stylish and robust. It's still, to our eyes, the most attractive and refined laptop in its class. The major differences this year are the processor, graphics and battery life. Intel's new Haswell processors are more efficient which, combined with a higher capacity battery, lets the the MacBook Air last over 10 hours of web browsing on a full charge in our tests. And we're certain it could last longer, too, up to and beyond Apple's claimed 12 hours of mixed use. Intel's HD 5000 graphics, meanwhile, are a serious step-up from the previous generation of integrated graphics. That doesn't mean the MacBook Air is transformed into a gaming laptop, but it does mean you can play more recent titles at reasonable settings, while older titles like Half-Life 2: Episode 2 run smoothly at high settings. Like previous MacBook Airs, the keyboard is backlit. It's great to type on thanks to crisp and responsive keys, and its matched by the wonderful glass-topped touchpad that's so smooth you'll barely notice it. Physical connections are limited to a couple of USB 3 ports, a Thunderbolt and mini Display Port combo connection, and a memory card slot. It's enough to get by one, however, and in a forward looking step Apple includes the new, faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and Bluetooth 4.0. The only real disappointment is the screen. It's a good quality one with good colours, clean blacks and a wide viewing angle, but its 1,440 x 900 resolution is a shade disappointing. It's not quite a deal breaker as we still recommend the MacBook Air, but Apple definitely missed a trick here.

More Laptop Videos

It's not me!

June 21, 2013, 6:00 pm

I don't think its Thunderbolt 2......


June 21, 2013, 7:18 pm

No surprises. I can wait until the next iteration.


June 21, 2013, 9:50 pm

Decreasing clock speed from 1.7 GHz to 1.3 GHz means 23.5% decrease in clock speed !! not 15% decrease as shown in this article.


June 22, 2013, 8:25 am

"Apple sets the standard once again"

Not really, you need to actually test the new Sony Vaio Pro 13.

I'm a MacBook Pro Retina 2013 user myself, but no way I would buy this new Air over the Pro 13.


June 22, 2013, 9:59 pm

You're totally right. I'm better at words than maths it appears.

Hamish Campbell

June 24, 2013, 1:26 pm

Don't want to give an indication on what areas it wins up against this?


June 25, 2013, 1:30 pm

We've got the Pro 13 in at the moment, so we'll have a review soon. I'm not reviewing it, but there are a few key differences. It uses the slower Intel HD 4400 graphics and doesn't have 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and I don't personally think the design or build quality is anything like the same. However, it's got a 1080p screen and some other things the MacBook doesn't.

Alejandro Gonzalez

June 26, 2013, 1:56 pm

i think that the pros you are describing are not enougth, the vaio have less weigth, better resolution, better performance options despite the graphic card(u wont game in this laptop and for office stuff no more power is required) in a bolity laptop o ultrabook the key points are size and weigth nothin else matters most


July 1, 2013, 5:52 am

Yes the Pro has got the slower HD4400 but it does allocate more RAM to graphics than the Air, resulting in a comparable performance.

802.11ac, a nice touch but how many people have a suitable router?

Design/build quality? By and large a matter of opinion.
Other things the MacBook doesn't have- Touchscreen, HDMI, NFC, smaller footprint, 30% lighter, longer battery life when using the sheet battery, WIFI router built into the charger (to allow Ethernet use), cheaper (but still expensive), faster charge and boot times.

So the Mac is better in 2 marginal respects but inferior in the rest?

And if you want 15 hours battery life look at the Vaio Duo 13


July 1, 2013, 8:32 am

Our review will be live very soon.

Rory Quinn

July 9, 2013, 8:30 am

Should a RAM upgrade be considered?

Elijah Kurk

July 16, 2013, 9:10 pm

The pro is not cheaper, it is $150 more expensive... The sheet battery doesn't weigh a lot, but it is very bulky. There is a point of diminishing return when concerning weight, the carbon fiber ultrabooks are lighter, but they flex more, and 3 pounds is already very light. I'd rather have thunderbolt over hdmi, that way I can use my 1440p screen at full resolution, since ultrabooks sure as hell don't have dual link dvi. Hdmi 1.3 and up support higher res, but not many monitors have that support.

Andrew Pennebaker

July 23, 2013, 4:53 pm

Was this review for the completely standard, i5 model? Were any upgrades included in the model reviewed?


July 26, 2013, 4:23 pm

In the uk the pro is much cheaper than the air, at all price points. The difference gets greater as you increase the spec, in part because apple charge so much more for the same components, eg sony charge £40 for 4gb extra ram, apple charge £80 for the same ram...


July 26, 2013, 4:25 pm

To date i have only connected my laptop screen to a larger monitor when working with Flash or very large excel files.


July 28, 2013, 1:52 pm

It doesn't have a touch screen. How can a laptop with no touch screen be 9/10 unless a touch screen is of no value? I don't particularly care about touch screens myself but a lot of people do. You are obviously and Apple fan and just can't see beyond that.

Matt Burns

August 31, 2013, 12:12 pm

Ultimately even though the PC show better specs, they just dont work like Macs. SSD logic technology delivers higher speeds in caparison, and even with the reduction in clock speed, the benchmark test came out 3% difference for double the amount of battery. Ultimately though...OS-X will not clog up, slow down and die like my Sony Vaio I7 work laptop has.... a few times now (its like a cart and horse to a rockaet as my PC loving friend told me when he used my Mac)! Oh and when i do to sell in a couple of years, i will get a lot more for the Mac than the PC. These are just facts.


September 22, 2013, 12:06 pm

OS X is not made for touch screen unlike Windows 8. So what is the point of the Mac having a touch screen? Just because it doesn't have a touch screen it doesn't mean the rating needs to be lower.


September 22, 2013, 12:16 pm

Have you looked at the user reviews of the Pro 13? A lot of users have complained of wi-fi issues. Many have said connection is very unstable and keeps getting disconnected while using the internet. Sony to date still haven't solved the problem.

Performance tests between the air and pro 13 are virtually identical, and that is because of the better/quicker SSD on the Air. The only + side to the pro 13 is the 1080p display and that is it. But it is a no brainer to see why apple stuck with the 1440x900 display. They wanted to build a laptop with a long battery life.


September 22, 2013, 12:23 pm

Yes and if you want to get the battery sheet, it costs.

Battery life without the sheet is around 6-7 hours which is nearly half of what the Mac Air provides.

The base model of the pro 13 is £859 but that is without the touch screen. Touch screen is an additional £80.


November 1, 2013, 3:38 am

very nice machine; I just got one. In reality, the battery life, SSD hard disk and portability are really really nice things to have.


December 2, 2013, 9:22 pm

I'm also inclined to think the Macbook Air doesn't have Thunderbolt 2.

Apple doesn't say anything about Thunderbolt 2 in the Macbook Air on, and its not the kind of company to shy away from boasting about tech advancements (even if they're not all that advanced). On the Macbook Pro site Thunderbolt 2 is portrayed gloriously among the MBP's features. "the most advanced I/O gets 2x faster", in proper Apple-style.

Would be great if you rectified this (if of course we turn out to be right), otherwise people might be disappointed after buying the machine, and that would be a shame.

Otherwise, good review. Thanks.


February 18, 2014, 1:27 pm

Im a MacBook Air owner - and have consulted widely with others - I would not recommend - it has shocking wifi - always network time out issues - disconnects for no reason and will reconnect - even with reboot - no solutions to this problem - happens everywhere - all wifi locations


November 7, 2015, 9:27 pm

bad wifi signal?! you mad i connect with signals that others can't and an all round beautiful system!

comments powered by Disqus