Apple MacBook Air 11-inch Review

For those who think even a 13-inch ultrabook is too big to carry with them at different places, 11-inch MacBook Air, the least expensive and (nearly) smallest model in Apple’s lineup, could be what those users are looking for. Though it weighs less than 2.5 pounds, the 11-inch is powered by Intel’s 5th Gen core i5 processor and the faster flash storage. The 11-inch MacBook Air can give you 9 hours of backup on a full charge.

Image Source: Mac World

Image Source: Mac World

Here is our review on the 11-inch MacBook Air.

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Apple MacBook Air 11-inch

Apple MacBook Air 11-inch

Design

Like the larger, 13-inch model, the design of the 11-inch MacBook Air has remained the same for several years now. There’s nothing wrong with it — it’s spawned countless imitators — but given that the 12-inch MacBook is at least available in a few colors, we’d like to see the Air’s design updated.

Image Source: Stuff.tv

Image Source: Stuff.tv

At 2.38 pounds, the 11-inch Air is slightly heavier than the 12-inch MacBook (2 pounds), but is lighter than the 2.6-pound Dell XPS 13. While the MacBook Air’s 11.8 * 7.56 * 0.11-0.68 frame was at one time the smallest in Apple’s portfolio, it’s been eclipsed by the even smaller 11 * 7.7 * 0.14 -0.52 inch MacBook. The XPS 13 (11.98 * 7.88 * 0.33-0.6 inches) is only slightly larger than Apple’s 11-inch ultra-portable but packs in a larger, 13-inch display.

macbook-air-11-specs-ports-2014

The MacBook Air has has two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port and one headphone jack. The XPS 13 has an SD card slot, which the Air lacks but that’s still much more than the 12-inch MacBook, which has just one USB-C port.

Keyboard and TouchPad

The MacBook Air’s backlit keyboard remains as excellent ever. We much prefer it to the ultra-shallow keys on the 12- inch MacBook’s keyboard that hardly gives you feel of typing on a keyboard instead you feel as if you are typing on a touch-pad. Air’s keyboard is much comfortable for typing long documents.

Image Source: Apple.com

Image Source: Apple.com

However, unlike the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pros, the Air does not have Apple’s new Force-Pad, so you can’t deep-press to look up something on the webpage. Nut that hardly matters as the Air’s glass touch-pad executed every gesture and swipe smoothly and accurately.

Display

The MacBook Air’s 11.6-inch display comes with a resolution of 1366 * 768 pixels. For an 11-inch display, this resolution works very fine. However, if you’re opting for a larger display, you deserve more pixels.

Image Source: Mac World

Image Source: Mac World

As per the Laptop Mag, with a brightness of 370 nits, the 11-inch Air outshines the 12-inch MacBook (322 nits) and the XPS 13 (298 nits), but was slightly dimmer than the Lenovo ThinkPad X250.

However, the brightness of the Air’s display can show only 67.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut, making it a less colorful screen than those on the XPS 13 (91.7 percent) and the 12-inch MacBook (101.8 percent). Still, the X250’s display was even worse, at just 64.3 percent.

The Air’s color accuracy also leaves something unexpected. With a Delta-E score of 4.2, it’s less accurate than the 12-inch MacBook (1.2) and the X250 (1.18) — numbers closer to zero are better — but is much better than the (non-touch) XPS 13’s score of 8.1.

Graphics

As per the Laptop Mag, the integrated Intel 6000 Series graphics in the Air were able to power World of Warcraft to a just-playable 32 frames per second, with the resolution at 1366 * 768, and with effects set to Good. While that’s better than the MacBook (27 fps), it’s well below the XPS 13 and X250, which managed 41 and 42 fps, respectively, at the same settings.

Performance

The 11-inch MacBook Air is powered by a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-5250U processor that comes with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB flash storage, the same as in the base model of 13-inch Air, and more powerful than the Core M processor in the 12-inch MacBook.

As per the Laptop Mag, the 11-inch Air scored 5,800 on Geekbench test. That’s more than 1,000 points higher than the average (4,523), the 12-inch MacBook (4,631), the XPS 13 (5,530) and X250 (5,259), both of which also have Core i5 processors.

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Image Source: Laptop Mag

On Spreadsheet test, the Air nailed the competitors, taking just 3 minutes and 55 seconds to pair 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice. That’s more than 30 seconds faster than the 12-inch MacBook (4:33), and more than a minute faster than the XPS 13 (5:02) and X250 (5:07).

However, the 12-inch MacBook has faster flash memory than the 11-inch Air’s 128 GB storage. The 12-inch MacBook transferred 5 GB of multimedia files at a rate of 254.5 Mbps, while the 11-inch’s speed was 188.5 Mbps. Still, that’s faster than the ultra-portable average (182 Mbps), the X250 (108.3 Mbps) and the XPS 13 (87.7 Mbps).

Battery Life

On the Laptop Mag‘s battery test (that includes web-surfing via Wi-fi at 100 nits of brightness), 11-inch MacBook Air lasted 9 hours and 23 minutes which is far away than the epic 14 hours of the 13-inch MacBook Air, nor the 11:42 run-time of the XPS 13. It is more than an hour longer than the ultra-portable average, and 20 minutes longer than the 12-inch MacBook (8:43). The Lenovo X250 lasted just 7:39 on its 3-cell battery, but hit 15:12 with its extended 6-cell battery.

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Verdict

The price for 11-inch MacBook Air starts from US $899 which is approx Rs 60,000.

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook gets more attention due to its high-res display, but the 11-inch Air is a more practical solution for students and those who want a highly portable notebook. Its performance, keyboard and battery life hit all the right notes for a sub-3-pound ultra-portable.

As much as we like the 11-inch Air, for the same $899 you can get the Dell XPS 13, which has a larger and crisper screen in a similarly sized body, and much longer battery life. But if you prefer using a Mac, the 11-inch Air is a good value.

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Apple MacBook Air 11-inch

Apple MacBook Air 11-inch

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