Is Apple’s 2013 MacBook Air the Absolute Best and Untouchable by Ultra Standards Today?

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

At first glance, one might overlook the 2013 MacBook Air as just another in the long line of ultras available today.  We can even state that there hasn’t been any exterior changes since the last release and cover our eyes in disgust simply because its a….MAC!  There has always been a clear ‘line in the sand’ between those on the PC side and those favoring Mac, sort of a Hatfield and McCoy type relationship.  When push comes to shove though, this article relies solely on the features that set the 2013 MBA apart from the crowd, features that are somewhat mindblowing by today’s standards.

MBA BB Compared Height

We failed to mention just how thin it is, backlit lighting, multi-touch oversized glass trackpad, silent island style keyboard, dual USB 3.0 ports or even that the MBA retains an SD card slot where so many others are doing away with this feature. Definitely worthy of mention is that the MBA pictures shown in this report were taken the day prior to writing and this MBA has been handled and thrown around more than most ultras might ever be, yet still retains its ‘brand new’ look and feel.

MBA KeyBoard

As much as we can say about such things as the 2013 MBA MPCIe SSD performance, 802.11ac WiFi, ThunderBolt, over 12 hours battery life, and MagSafe 2, Apples key to success here has to be the inclusion and easy installation of Windows via BootCamp.  Where many might have thought this to be a crease in the Mac armor, it actually plays out to be a very wise move because it opens the door wide open for those that prefer PC systems.  Myself, I use Windows 7 most often for every day tasks where more intensive graphics work is best suited for OSX Mountain Lion.  The beauty, of course, is that you can have the system always boot into the OS of your chosing and then move to the other, as needed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Is Apple’s 2013 MacBook Air the absolute best and untouchable by ultra standards?  Right now it definitely is and, for any competitor interested in catching up, they have one heck of a task in front of them.  Personally, I don’t see this sort of package being equalled any time soon and, when it happens, you have to know that the MBA will come out with a retina touch screen to sweeten the pot.  Even if another could drum up something relatively similar, they would have to also envision an OSX BootCamp variation for the PC and then licencing of just the OS becomes a real headache for the consumer.

Apple

Last but not least, pricing remains to play a vital role in purchase and Mac has been able to put all that we see here within the grasp of the typical consumer at less than $1000.  I don’t see how anyone could match that with these features.  Well, nobody except Samsung of course?  Isn’t it a bit unusual that Samsung components form very vital parts of such popular devices as the MBA, MBP iPAD and iPhone, yet they still hold true to their Hatfield and McCoy relationship, costing each other millions in law suits and legal fees each year.

Check Out MacBook Air Pricing at Amazon.

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Cape Dave
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Cape Dave

I totally agree. I think it is the very best Ultra out there. And I also hail from die hard PC land. When they went to Intel cpu’s, that was a huge game changer. I still hated, but not as much. Then, like you said, when Bootcamp became the standard, and I saw how well Windows ran, and the hardware had matured to an amazing degree, well, I type this in Win 8 on a Mac Mini. I still think Win 7 / 8 is a better OS, but there are things I like about OSX. Just not daily user.

Michael Kelley
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Michael Kelley

Woah. Sorry but the Lenovo x1 Carbon Touch beats the pants of the Mac Book. i-7, Win8 PRO, 180GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 8GB ram for $1649

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thanks for replying Mike but I can’t say as I agree. I can put that same i7 with 8GB RAM, HD 5000 and then up the SSD to 256GB for $100 less. Now, add the increased performance and battery life 12hrs) of the MPCIe design, not to mention MagSafe2 and so many other benefits and there still isnt any comparison by hardware alone. Got a great contact that can get me any updated X1 if need be.

iCrunch
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iCrunch

Exactly. And then there is the Thunderbolt port, which opens up the MBA to ridiculous speeds and flexibility (thanks to daisy-chaining). For example, if you, say, needed 4 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, eSATA and/or FireWire for any legacy devices you may have, you can just grab a Thunderbolt dock. I’ve used TB since mid-2011 and can only say “Wow!” at both the speeds of external RAID arrays and reliability. These Thunderbolt chains actually do work. I definitely didn’t expect a brand new technology (at the time in 2011) to be as stable as it was and has been… Read more »

Jim
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Jim

How are you getting an i7 into the MBA? The Apple site shows only i5 variants?

Jim
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Jim

Ahh…regional issues 🙂

Dimitrios
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Dimitrios

I am a dedicated Windows user but I totally agree that the new MacBook Air has many advantages that the PC competiotion has to catch.
Only one BIG drawback though: screen resolution!
It just needs a full-HD display or even better e retina display then it would be perfect in my opinion

Les@TheSSDReview
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Agree totally! This is where I definitely don’t like the way Apple does things. I believe this is one of the clear dividers that separates MBA and MBP. On one hand you can get an amazinbg display, whereas on the other, you get MPCIe and all that comes with it.

Antonio Avila
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Antonio Avila

Hey, I have several questions and I hope you guys can answer this.

Does windows 7 run exactly as it should?
or should I be aware of some drawbacks?
(I still prefer the windows version of word and excel.) I been a PC guy my whole life and I am still running a very old lap top. (http://www.cnet.com/laptops/fujitsu-lifebook-a6025-core/4505-3121_7-32552138.html) I might FINALLY make the jump to a MBA.

Nice read BTW.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes Win 7 runs as it should…and then some with Flash. The ONLY intricacy that took a bit of time was getting the touchpad set up just right but there is nothing that cant be found on the net.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Actually I should clarify..BootCamp includes an installation assistant that has all the drivers to match up the hardware with Windows 7. Windows 7 is nmot included and you need to supply that for the installation process. It is a very easy setup. One complete, you will find that there are a few things that still need to be fine tuned, such as the way you use the right mouse key and whatnot, all of which can be fixed to mimic how they are used in Windows.

Antonio Avila
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Antonio Avila

That is good to hear. Luckily I have win 7 on a USB stick ready for installation. Have you tried installing win 8? My college gave me the win 8 upgrade codes but I do not know if that is a good idea since it is relatively a new OS. Would you recommend holding off to wait and see what apple releases this month before I buy a MBA?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The 2013 MBA is solid and won’t be updated any time soon so if I was topurchase, there would be no reason to wait. If you might consider the jump to MBP, they have to finish the transition in that system sooner or later, but it is not an ultra. As for Windows 8, I find it to be a very poor OS when not on a touchscreen. I have Windows 8 on a system right behind me with a 27” touch screen and it, for the most part, never gets used whatsoever. If you do buy, please consider following… Read more »

Antonio Avila
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Antonio Avila

Thanks for your input!

iCrunch
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iCrunch

Yes. Windows 7 (and now 8 as well) are officially supported by drivers made by Apple! (Yes, you read that correctly lol). Parallels Desktop 9 was just released for existing licensees, and the virtualization software’s latest and greatest is about to be released to the public on Sept. 5, meaning you can have your cake and eat it, too, and run Windows and OS X side by side without having to reboot. This is one example where 16GB of RAM is not overkill. You could run Office 2010/2013 for Windows side-by-side Office 2011 for Mac, if you wanted to. Until… Read more »

Antonio Avila
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Antonio Avila

I hope I do like OS X because to some people $1,000+ might not be much but to me it is!

16 GB? So you have a MBP? I thought MBA could only support 8GB?

talonts
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talonts

Dude, site suggestion – if you’re going to left-justify everything, DO NOT put the social media bar on the left side. I’m reading this on a 13″ MBP (Bootcamped in W7 right now), and I shouldn’t have to maximize the window to read the text that the social bar is covering up.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Its on the right side…better? Thanks for letting us know.

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