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Macbook Air 2014 review

Apple's latest 11in Macbook sees a £100 price drop despite performance boost
Fri May 09 2014, 13:54

Product Apple Macbook Air (2014)
Specifications 11.6in 1366x768 resolution LED backlit widescreen display, dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor with Intel HD Graphics 5000, 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory, 128GB or 256GB SSD storage, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt port, Magsafe 2.0 power port, dual microphones, headphone jack, integral 38Whr lithium polymer battery, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks operating system, 300x192x17mm, 1.08kg
Price From £749

HARDWARE DESIGNER Apple quietly added some new additions to its Macbook Air range at the end of April, revealing that while these latest models have seen a boost in performance, it has also knocked £100 off the price of the cheapest model.

This means that you can now get an 11in Macbook Air from £749, a model that comes with an upgraded dual-core Intel 1.4GHz Core i5 processor. We've got our hands on one to see how it stacks up.

The 2014 Macbook Air design is identical to that of last year's model, but this is not a bad thing. Of course, the standout thing about the 11in Macbook Air's design is its size - likely the reason buyers would opt for the 11in model over the larger 13in version - with the device weighing just 1.08kg. This means that the laptop is barely noticeable in a backpack or handbag, and makes it one of the most portable available.

While the design is nothing new, the latest Macbook Air still got heads turning, with friends commenting on the skinny design - with the laptop measuring just 3mm at its thinnest point - and the overall premium look and feel of the device.

Apple 11in Macbook Air 2014 weights 1.08kg

As we noted in our review of Apple's 2013 11in Macbook Air, despite the small size of the laptop, the keyboard is one of the best available. The trackpad is superior too, although for those not used to using a Macbook, its gesture-based controls might take a while to get used to.

The 11in Macbook Air isn't as fully-equipped with ports as some Windows devices, due to the small size of the device. However, you will find two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt connector and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

Despite its lack of a dedicated display port or an Ethernet port, the Thunderbolt port should go some way to pleasing buyers, providing data transfer speeds that are up to 20 times faster than traditional USB ports. It also allows the 11in Macbook Air to connect to Ethernet and VGA, HDMI, mini Displayport and DVI devices via adapters, for those looking to hook their laptop up to a wired network or a monitor, though not both at once.

Despite speculation that Apple was planning to configure 2014 Macbook Air models with a Retina display, unfortunately it didn't, with the latest 11in model having the same LED-backlit 1366x768 resolution display as its year-old predecessor. While we're disappointed at the lack of Retina display, such an addition likely would have bumped up the price of the laptop significantly.

11in Macbook Air display on 2014 model

As you'd expect, like last year's model, we found that the display offers sharp and bright colours, and isn't as reflective as other, similarly-priced laptops on the market. However, to a user of an iPad with Retina display or an iPhone 5, the lack of a Retina display is noticeable.

The ambient sensor is a nice touch, as it automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen and lighting of the keyboard, meaning that you can use the Macbook Air in a dark room and still easily see all the keys and screen.

Next: Performance and software.


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