Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, mid 2011)

Verge Review

The original MacBook Air was more of a status symbol than a computer. Sure, it was a functional laptop that could glide into a manila envelope, but the $1,799 laptop was, by and large, a secondary machine — it trailed behind other ultraportables in performance, lacked some essential ports (it only had one USB port and there was no SD card slot), and packed a small and slow hard drive. For most, the sacrifices were just too many to justify for the high price. If I think back, they were...

Read the full review

Basic Specs

Laptop type Ultraportable
Thickness 0.68 inches
Weight 2.96 pounds
Operating system Mac OS X
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
CPU brand Intel
CPU family Sandy Bridge
Graphics type Integrated
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 3000
The Verge Battery Test 6 hours 53 minutes

Recent News

No recent news about Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, mid 2011).

Recent Discussions

view all

Tech Specs

Hardware

Laptop type Ultraportable
Width 12.8 inches
Depth 8.94 inches
Thickness 0.68 inches
Weight 2.96 pounds
Color Silver

Software

Operating system Mac OS X
Notable apps OS X 10.7 Lion

Display (base)

Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
Display surface Glossy
Technology LCD
Backlight LED
Resolution (X) 1440 px
Resolution (Y) 900 px

Keyboard

Type Chiclet
Backlit Yes
Number pad No

Mouse

Type(s) Trackpad
Multitouch Yes
Multitouch points 4

Processor (base)

CPU brand Intel
CPU family Sandy Bridge
Model Core i5-2557M
Cores 2
Clockspeed 1.7 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 2.7 GHz

Processor (max)

Brand Intel
Family Sandy Bridge
Model Core i7-2677M
Cores 2
Clockspeed 1.8 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 2.9 GHz

GPU (base)

Graphics type Integrated
Integrated GPU brand Intel
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 3000
Dedicated VRAM size 384 MB

Memory

Base RAM size 4 GB
RAM type DDR3
Base RAM speed 1333 MHz

Storage

Options Flash Memory (SSD)
Base drive type Flash (SSD)
Base drive capacity 128 GB
Max. config SSD 256 GB
Card reader Yes
Card reader support SD

Audio

Speakers 2

Webcam

Video resolution VGA

Sensors

Ambient light Yes

Port options

USB 2
Thunderbolt 1
3.5mm mic / headphone combo 1

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi options 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
802.11n frequencies 5GHz, 2.4GHz
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0

Battery

Size 50 Wh
Chemistry Lithium Polymer (Li-Po)
Removable No
Quoted time 7 hr

Benchmarks

PCMarkVantage 10134
3DMarkVantage (IGP) 1748
3DMark06 (IGP) 4195
Just Cause 2 11.32
The Verge Battery Test 6 hours 53 minutes

Recent News

No recent news about Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, mid 2011).

9.1

Average User Review

of 14 total reviews
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 9
  • Keyboard 9
  • Touchpad 10
  • Display 9
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 8
  • Battery life 9
  • Software 9

Login in order to review this product.

  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by ohumeid (Currently owns)

    It's an awesome machine. Solid, simple and fast. The right speakers makes they keys vibrate at maximum volume at some frequencies. It can be annoying sometimes but the speakers are still better than the ones found in an average laptop. The battery life is very good, especially considering the thickness of this MacBook. in short, this is a mature product and it sets the bar high.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 8
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by geelmeel (Currently owns)

    Best computer I've ever owned. The screen is much better than that on the MacBook Pro 13. The speed of everyday performance is spoiling. Using other machines that have traditional hhds seems slow. The weight is awesome. I wish the battery life was better, but still better than most laptops. Great machine overall. Double thumbs up.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Slurpy (Currently owns)

    Traded by 2010 MBP for the 2011 13' Air. Easily the best laptop, and the best computer I've ever downed. Insanely good build quality, brilliant keyboard, brilliant trackpad, unbelievably thin and light. The SSD is fantastic, handles everything I throw at it including working with large files in the CS5 suite. 95% of the time its utterly silent. Screen is gorgeous. Backlight keyboard is useful. Battery life is fantastic. 10.7 is rock solid and the new multitouch gestures are a joy to use. Price is very reasonable compared to what you're getting, and the competition. I can't even think of how I would improve this thing. Bravo Apple. Bravo.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 10
    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by 1001001 (Currently owns)

    My Powerbook sadly croaked (absolutely loved that machine!). That was my sign that it was time for a new Apple laptop. In a way, it was perfect timing as my lifestyle changed so much from that time I got my Powerbook. For one, I no longer was doing video and photo editing. Two, my job was constantly on-the-go. So it was only natural that I go look at the Air. I also took a look a the Samsung Series 9 (that black brushed-metal finish is gorgeous!), but by a hair I went with the MBA because I already had a Windows laptop.

    I scored a 10 for design and touchpad quite simply because the MBA is no doubt the industry standard. The battery life score of a 9 was because my Powerbook would, at best, last 4 hours. The MBA would get around 8 hours (I'm one of those Powerbook users that tried everything to eek battery life. That carried over to the MBA). While the display is not matte (c'mon Apple), it was not as bad in sunlight as I thought it would be and indoors the colors were great. The boot up and launching of applications really amazed me - it's not instant-on, but pretty fast. And compared to my old Powerbook and my Dell XPS, this laptop did not scorch my pants nor sound like a nuclear reactor.

    Now I scored an 8 for software because Lion is good, but there is just some UI things that make it cheesy (open iCal or Address Book as an example) or gimmicky (I barely use the iOS-style application launcher). The new Finder is love/hate. Another application I use a lot, iTunes, has become bloated. But the positives outweigh the negatives: the OS was easier to setup and get going than previous iterations, FULL SCREEN APPS IS AWESOME, Mission Control is good (took a bit to get used to), pinch-to-zoom is surprisingly useful and its fairly polished overall (I still think a clean Windows 7 is better OS overall). If there was a real weakness, it would be the keyboard. It's good but not the best out there.

    So why the 10 overall? To be honest it's more of a 9.7 if I had to nitpick. The reason is no laptop has fit my on-the-go lifestyle like the way this laptop has. It's light compared to my other laptops and many times I've been able to just whip it out, flip it up, and get working in under seconds (about 20 seconds if I turned it off). Yet, it's powerful enough and the battery is great.

    I'm excited for the new crop of ultra books and curious to see where Apple takes theirs next. Until then, this is my laptop of choice.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 8
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by lukeemery (Currently owns)

    Excellent laptop; thin, speedy considering, good design, superb trackpad, almost immaculate screen clarity. However, it is uncomfortable for my wrists, the keyboard is a little cheap (plastic), and gets really noisy when the computer is put under stress. The software is very nice and easy to navigate, but unfortunately I cannot port some of my software like my adobe suite without having to purchase them again.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 8
    • Keyboard 9
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 7
    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by sonelone (Currently owns)

    The MacBook Air 2011 is a pretty awesome laptop. While it is not as powerful as the Vaio Z, the far lower cost helps sell it. My biggest problem with it is probably the fact that it could be used as a secondary frying pan. Seriously, the bottom gets really hot. Just fire up an HD YouTube video, flip the computer over, and start cooking. Other than that, it is a pretty good device, although still a bit too expensive. Many ultrabooks are coming out with similar specs and builds for much less, so the MBA is definitely still a bit overpriced.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 9
    • Keyboard 9
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 8
    • Performance 8
    • Heat / noise 6
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by sephiap (Currently owns)

    Users of the previous generation MacBook Air likely hate this iteration of the machine, with fair justification. It is, to all intents and purpose, the machine they should have had when this shape was introduced. As it stands, it is simply the best 'ultrabook' form factor device currently available, but don't confuse that with the best laptop available.

    Firstly, the device is light. Real light. I carry it in a backpack to and from work (around 12km per day) and have no issues whatsoever doing so. Further to this, the battery life is excellent for non-intensive usage - being a software developer, writing code all day is about as pretty non-intensive as you can get. This is the i7 model and I average between 5 - 6 hours with wifi and constant usage.

    Many people praise the highlights of the Air so I won't go over them too much but, instead, forewarn of the limitations of the device in this review. The display is sharp and bright but blacks are represented poorly, being a greyish tint when displayed (likely the reason this display hasn't been implemented on the 13" MBP). The keyboard is very usable but the keys are, simply due to the depth of the machine, shallow to type on which can feel a bit weird if you're used to hammering keyboards as I am.

    The graphics performance of the HD3000 / i7 combo is admirable for its size but, realistically, you aren't going to be doing much gaming here. With resolution and quality down I can achieve playability in Portal 2. In fairness, this is not what the machine was intended for - what it is intended for it performs very admirably in consistently. 1080p MKVs and streaming are no issue. Sound is loud but very focused on the upper frequencies with bass response being (expectedly) MIA.

    If you are doing anything above and beyond word processing, web surfing you will find that the machine gets seriously hot, jet-like loud and battery life drops like a lead zeppelin.

    Overall, this is an awesome device but it is most definitely a second, luxury device. I can't shake this feeling that I'm temporarily using a 3/4 size guitar whilst my main axe is at home, waiting whilst using this device. It is definitely the best in its class right now, but I think we will see better soon.

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 8
    • Keyboard 8
    • Touchpad 9
    • Display 9
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by kwiiboy (Currently owns)

    Honestly, you can't beat the hardware on this machine. It is so sleek and so beautiful and has current gen. processors to back it up. Even if dislike the Mac OS, you can run Boot-Camp and use it as a Windows machine. Battery life is really great however Flash, as expected, will nom-nom-nom the battery. 10/10

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 10
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Daan (Currently owns)

    My first Mac and loving it so far.

    Great design, amazing performance for such a portable machine and killer battery life.

    Less great are the keyboard (very shallow but understandable due to the thinness) and the display (good resolution but very reflective).

    All in all the best ultraportable out there right now. Although the keyboard got some getting used too, it is definitaly not a deal breaker. Highly recommended!

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 9
    • Keyboard 7
    • Touchpad 9
    • Display 8
    • Performance 8
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by asnarain (Currently owns)

    A great machine which can easily replace most of the chunkier notebooks out there including the core-i5 macbook pro 13.3 inch. Also, gives a great battery life and unmatched portability. I think the display is the maximum the Macbook Air can get if you want to save battery life. Nobody wants a mind blowing display and the battery just lasting for about 1 hour right? Tends to get a bit slower when running 3-4 heavy flash sites on Google Chrome and some apps along with it but not that noticeable as compared to the 2008 Macbook Air which couldn't handle opening a single flash-heavy site. On the whole i would say this notebook is great for people who are on-the-move and want to take a nice,speedy computer along with them.(Those webcasts and video chats are a breeze on this.)

    The Breakdown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • Design 9
    • Keyboard 9
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5345_tracker