MacBook Air revisited: 12 weeks in

Summary:Apple upped its game by including the latest Haswell processor from Intel in the current MacBook Air. After almost three months using the Air, this details how it's held up.

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Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

When Apple announced the newest MacBook Air a few months ago, I immediately ordered one even though the last thing I needed was to add another laptop to my ever-growing stable of gear. What pushed me over the edge was the inclusion of the Intel Haswell processor which was not available in other laptops at that time. 

My review of the Air almost three months ago gushed over the performance of the Haswell and rightly so. The Haswell gives good performance while extending the battery life significantly. 

See related: New MacBook Air: Haswell ups the game (review) | The new MacBook Air with Haswell on the way | MacBook Air and Pro: No touch screen required (unlike Windows 8)

So how has the MacBook Air held up over the past 12 weeks?

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MacBook Air art from etsy.com -- Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

In a word, superbly. I noted in my initial review of the MacBook Air that due to the Haswell and other speed improvements Apple put in the Air that it regularly outperformed my MacBook Pro with a faster (non-Haswell) processor. I am happy to report that the performance of the Air is still as fast as can be. Things happen instantly on the MacBook Air and using it is a real joy.

The battery life of over 9 hours I first reported is still the case, and I've gotten used to it. This long battery life is normally only found on low-powered Atom or ARM processors (or giant laptops) so it's amazing to get it on a fast Core i5 processor. Battery life is so good that I can't remember the last time I checked the battery status while out and about. I no longer think about remaining battery when out for long days, and that is liberating.

There's nothing you can complain about having good battery life and performance when it's contained in such a svelte package. The MacBook Air isn't much bigger or heavier than the iPad in a keyboard case.

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I own a couple of Windows laptops that each has a touch screen but I don't miss it when I use the MacBook Air. After heavy use, I still find the touch operation on OS X (touchpad only) to be better than that of Windows 8, even with a touch screen on the Windows laptops.

I'm using the current version of OS X like everybody else and not the beta version Mavericks. I'm hoping Apple makes the touchpad operation even better and doesn't screw up what's obviously working so well for me.

I'm not complaining about Windows 8, I find it to be a good touch operating system . But when I use the Air with the touchpad I find operation to be totally natural. I regularly find I am doing swipe operations on a Windows 8 trackpad and when nothing happens I realize I'm doing OS X gestures. That indicates how natural those gestures are when I want to do them all the time.

I am very happy with the MacBook Air almost three months in. The hardware is fantastic, performance is great, and battery life is wonderful. It's one of the best laptops I've ever purchased, if not the best, and I'd happily buy it again.

I also like my other laptops and the platforms they run, I use them a lot too. Just to head off the inevitable "you like the MacBook Air so you hate everything else" responses.

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Laptops

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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