So Apple released their 2013 MacBook Air just over a week ago and, on the exterior, not a thing has changed. Why should it? It is no secret that one of the longest standing rivalries between Apple and Samsung is alive and well and, coincidentally, the two most attractive ultrabook designs are easily the MacBook Air and that of the Samsung Series 9. What’s unique about this sometimes tumultuous relationship, that has literally seen millions of dollars awarded one way only to go back again, is the fact that Apple relies on Samsung components first and foremost and consistently gets the best of Samsung out to the consumer, even before Samsung does.
THE TRANSITION FROM PC GUY TO MAC GUY
I have to admit that up until about a year ago, I was the ultimate PC guy, only having ever dabbled in Mac waters a few years back when I was challenged to create a dual boot Win/OSX system because someone said it couldn’t be done. It could. Today I rely heavily on my iPAD which, surprisingly, didn’t get shelved after I purchased my Samsung Note II. Anyone who travels as I do knows that a hard mounted iPAD is the ideal solution for staying connected in any vehicle.
My love of the MacBook Air was build solely on its construction. On receiving the first that we happily reviewed on our sister site, The SSD Review, I wouldn’t have believed anyone could have pried it from my hands. Well, that is until my number one son e-mailed me (while boarding his flight to school in Australia of which we had just dropped him off at the airport) and wrote that he hoped I wouldn’t mind his borrowing of such for the next two years away.
The MacBook Air is constructed as if it were a work of art, seemingly void of any components that one could have desired in addition to those already present on the final build. It is solid, very light, most likely the thinnest of it’s kind and it’s ingenuity includes such things as Thunderbolt and a magnetic power connector, negating that necessary purchase of additional adapters as we have done several times in the past.
Our 2013 MacBook Air was shipped from Shanghai, China and pre-configured before we even knew it was on its way. It’s basic configuration has been enhanced with a 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz, 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM and a 256GB SSD. It’s exterior is a plain and unmarked cardboard box which is probably done to prevent package misplacement while on route. Inside is a very attractive white box with the MacBook Air side view on top and branding along the sides and bottom.
The top of the interior packaging slides open to reveal the MacBook Air, sealed in a clear plastic sheathe, along with the power assembly and literature beneath. This brings us to a necessary consideration of the MBA which is that ports that one might need, such as Ethernet, aren’t available and external connector purchase may be necessary through Apple. It would have been nice to find one or two within the package but we understand that these are add ons and not necessities of this MBA.
Something rather unique is that there are actually two plugs supplied with the unit. The normal plug is the typical 6′, however if you need a longer plug, the the longer adapter can be attached for a power adapter of 12′ in length.
As we said earlier, the exterior appearance is no different than the previous generation MacBook Air and all upgrades are internal. This ultrabook is the first released with the new Haswell chipset. Haswell is all about mobility and this chipset has more of a place within portable systems than it does a desktop. In fact, most desktop users won’t see much of a difference whatsoever. What the mobile user will see is more than a triple in battery life when comparing to most of today’s system and HD5000 graphics that really make portable gaming possible.
The 2013 MacBook Air is available in 11″ and 13″ sizes and the standard pre-configured builds consist of 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GH, Intel HD Graphics 500, 4GB memory and a 128GB flash storage module (SSD). The price for these is $999 for the 11.6″ and $1099 for the 13″ size. From there, a visit to the Apple website enables custom configurations that can include the CPU being upgraded to a 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz for $150.00, memory upgrade to 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM for $100.00 or SSD swap from 256GB to 512GB for an additional $300. In order to configure a custom system, the buyer must start with pre-configured 256GB SSD MBA selections that cost $1199 for the 11″ and $1299 for the 13″.