Review: MacBook Air 11" 2012

Uploaded by duncan33303 on 07.07.2012

Hey guys, this is Austin and today I’m here with a review of
the 2012 MacBook Air 11”. I was a big fan of the previous
generation Air and the latest model brings some solid
improvements but are they worth it? Externally the computer
looks nearly identical to the last Air which isn’t a bad
thing at all. The build is entirely aluminium with a wedge
shape that gives it one of the thinnest profiles of any laptop
you can buy. Best of all the 11” Air is still totally usable
as the keyboard and trackpad are full sized. While the 135
pixel per inch display can’t touch the 220 PPI on the Retina
MacBook Pro, it remains very good for a laptop of this size.
Powering the screen is a Core i5 or Core i7 processor with
Intel HD 4000 graphics. As the latest ultra low voltage CPUs
from Intel you’ll find that there’s plenty of performance
while still running cool and being easy on the battery. I won’t
go too in-depth on the performance but if you’re interested in
the details feel free to check out this video I made measuring
how fast the Air is and what kind of games it can handle.
Just like the last two versions the MacBook Air comes standard
with an SSD. I’ve talked about what SSDs are all about before
but to sum up quickly a solid state drive is a collection of
chips that replaces a normal spinning hard drive. An SSD is
generally more reliable as there are no moving parts to break
and are around four to five times faster. In the real world
this means the Air is extremely snappy. The computer boots in
just over 13 seconds and programs fly open much faster than
with a mechanical hard drive. For an 11” laptop battery life
isn’t half bad. With watching a few HD YouTube videos,
writing this review in Google Drive and listening to music
I was able to get just over five hours on a charge.
One thing that’s entirely unchanged from the last Air is
the keyboard and trackpad combo. The backlit keyboard
is great, bordering on excellent if only it had a bit more
travel. The trackpad on the other hand is basically perfect
and is right up there with the MacBook Pro as the best trackpads
I’ve ever used. It’s large for any computer but especially for
an 11” laptop and the glass surface works very well with the
various multitouch gestures in OS X. Speaking of OS X as of
recording this review the MacBook Air comes preloaded with
10.7 Lion. If you’ve used any recent Mac you’ll know what you’re
getting however very soon OS 10.8 Mountain Lion will be out.
Newer Airs will come preloaded with this but if you buy one with
Lion you’ll get a free upgrade once it’s available. There are
some slight changes with the ports. On the left side you’ll find
MagSafe 2 for charging which works exactly the same as before but
with a new thinner magnetic connector. Beside that is a USB 3.0
port and there’s also the headphone jack and a microphone. On the
right side is the Thunderbolt port that doubles as a Mini
DisplayPort along with your second USB 3.0. I mostly use the Air
as a portable video production machine and it works well here.
Obviously you wouldn’t want to spend all day using After Effects
on it but it can absolutely handle a decent amount of editing.
Another thing that’s very important to me is how quiet it runs as
the Air is usually how I record my audio. The last gen kicked the
fan up pretty quickly however thankfully the new Air with the
Core i5 stays silent for much longer, the fan only firing up audibly
when doing heavy lifting. You can order the Air with quite a few
options. The basic configuration costs $1000 for 4GB of RAM, a
Core i5 and 64GB SSD. $100 more will get you 128GB of storage and
another $100 will double your RAM to 8GB which is the Air I’m using
now. You can also order a Core i7 for an additional $150 and bump the
SSD up to 256GB or 512GB for $300 and $800 respectively. The options
you choose are up to you but one important thing to keep in mind is
that you really can’t upgrade the laptop after you buy it. The RAM is
completely non-removable and the SSD uses a special connector so it’s
best to get any upgrades upfront. You can always want more in products
and the Air is no exception. While the extreme thinness is great I would
gladly trade a few millimeters for an included SD card reader and another
USB port. The battery life is solid but nothing spectacular and while it’s
more than fast enough for 98% of users having a bit more power could make
editing better and gaming more viable. All that said, the MacBook Air is a
fantastic computer. The size is perfect for me, the keyboard and trackpad
are phenomenal and with both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt you won’t lack
anything for high speed connectivity. With the new Ivy Bridge processors
and the option to get 8GB of RAM my wish list is steadily disappearing.
While it’s not a massive upgrade from the last generation I can easily say
that the 2012 MacBook Air remains an excellent choice. If you’re interested
in more on the MacBook Air feel free to check out my unboxing as well as
take a look at the gaming performance and speed test here. If you enjoyed
definitely be sure to leave this video a thumbs up and if you’re interested
in more videos like this be sure to subscribe!