MacBook Air with OS X Mavericks: Like getting a new system

The MacBook Air with Haswell technology is a nice, fast laptop. After upgrading to OS X Mavericks it is even faster.

Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I bought a MacBook Air when first announced due to the Haswell technology. It was a good purchase as the MacBook Air was faster than a MacBook Pro without Haswell, while getting tremendous battery life. 

This week Apple released OS X Mavericks as a free upgrade and promised many things, among them longer battery life. An OS upgrade that can extend time away from a power outlet is hard to pass up so like many I upgraded both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

This upgrade has been nothing short of phenomenal on the Air. Apple wasn't kidding when it said battery life would improve with Mavericks, but that isn't the best part. My battery life is indeed increased to 10+ hours, an hour longer than it was prior to the OS upgrade. That alone is fantastic but it's not the primary benefit.

The MacBook Air was already fast, even faster than my MacBook Pro with a processor with double the speed (pre-Haswell). I have never felt the Air was slow or laggy in any respect.

With Mavericks installed the MacBook Air is faster across the board. Everything I do is instantaneous and really fast. It is such a big difference that it is noticeable the entire time I am using it. To see a performance boost of this type would normally only be seen with a hardware refresh.

One area in particular that is faster is the new Safari browser in Mavericks. I have been a long-time Chrome user but have been using Safari since the upgrade. I have been blown away how fast the new Safari is in Mavericks. Everything I do in the browser happens instantly. It is now much faster than Chrome, and I never felt Chrome was slow. It is obvious that Safari has been optimized for Mavericks.

It's not just me, friend and colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes (@the_pc_doc) confirmed on Twitter he's seeing the same fast speed in Safari.

I am very happy with OS X Mavericks. The faster performance coupled with the longer battery life is like getting a new system. That this could be done solely through an OS upgrade is outstanding, and kudos to Apple for making this happen.

I recently upgraded my ThinkPad Tablet 2 to Windows 8.1 and see a marked improvement as a result . As good as that upgrade has been for system improvement, it's nothing close to what I see with OS X Mavericks. 

What I'm seeing on the MacBook Air is not a one-off fluke, I am also seeing consistent performance gains on my MacBook Pro with the Retina Display. That system doesn't have Haswell inside, so Mavericks is boosting older systems, too.

OS X Mavericks is not just a new version, it's like getting a new computer.

See also:

New MacBook Air: Haswell ups the game (review)

OS X Mavericks: What a modern OS upgrade should feel like

Windows 8.1: Makes the ThinkPad Tablet 2 even better

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