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...

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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

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

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).

Recent Discussions

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

Login in order to review this product.

  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by KiwiC (Currently owns)

    I previously owned a chunky old Vaio, which served me well through Uni, but the Macbook Air has been a revelation for me.
    Design: Nothing else is on par with this for me, bar maybe the Lenovo U300s. Its simple, clean, and feels incredibly well built. Functionally, the keyboard is great for regular use, but as with most laptops i'd opt for a separate keyboard for any lengthy writing. As for the touchpad, everyone raves about it, and rightly so - the big thing for me is I don't notice i'm using it, theres no lag or anything, just you interacting with your stuff. Awesome.
    Software: I never really was super stoked for Lion after using it on an iMac (with a mouse, not touchpad), but now using it on the Macbook Air it really is fantastic, you just can get on with stuff and the OS never seems to intrude. I am, however, a bit underwhelmed by the Mac App Store - its convenient, but alot of the useful apps arent available on it. I dont really like Safari either, not for any particular reason, just Chrome is better for me.
    Battery life is really good, performance is great for what I do (open chrome, word, some games, itunes or 8tracks). Definitely a good laptop to get!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Keyboard 8
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 8
    • Performance 8
    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by florent (Currently owns)

    This is my 8th Apple Laptop and SO FAR, the Best Laptop I've ever owned.

    - Good Points:
    Extremely convenient to use
    Good Ratio Portable/Performances
    Screen Resolution
    Very Fast
    Light

    - "Could Be Better" Points:
    Battery Life
    Graphics
    Heat/ Noise
    Webcam

    - Bad Points:
    Seriously None

    - "Missing" Points:
    USB 3

    Final Word:
    Fully Satisfied (& it never happens).

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 7
    • Performance 8
    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by forbore (Currently owns)

    Ownership: ~3 months

    I bought a MBA in September for college and so far I love it. I have the 128GB build (i5 @ 1.7GHz, 4GB of RAM) and it runs great. The battery lasts for ~ 6 hours with about 8 tabs open in Safari and one other app. This is clearly the best laptop I've owned so far (2006 Macbook, 2009 MBP, and many PCs from Toshiba, Acer, Sony, Compaq, etc...). It's thin and fast, lightweight, and very convenient. I use Photoshop from time to time and it has no trouble handling it. The only things I can say against it are that it can become hot at times (common problem with MacBooks) and although the display looks great, the glossiness can be annoying when using it outside (coffee shop) or need a window.

    Pros:

    - Fast
    - Lighweight
    - Beautiful display
    - Looks great
    - Fast SSD
    - Lion has some really nice improvements over SL
    - Has the thunderbolt interface which although it isn't used a lot, it is still nice to have since it's way more future-proof than USB 3.0
    - Has the SD card slot unlike the 11" model
    - Not "expensive' compared to other "ultrabooks"
    - Internet recovery allows you to reinstall Mac OS X Lion from anywhere should your disk ever get corrupted

    Cons:
    - Small disk space compared to HDDs (but big compared to most SSDs)
    - Back corners are thin therefore they can easily be squished
    - Can cook eggs when playing games of HD videos (or Flash which is why I now use ClickToPlugin to disable Flash in Safari)
    - I seem to be having problems with Wi-Fi connectivity at times but that's maybe a problem with my computer
    - It seemed like the OS had been tampered with when I bought it since there were only about 12 user profile pictures available while there should easily be +30. Since I was also having problems with my battery (would only last 2-3 hours), I decided to wipe the system and reinstall it using the internet recovery system. Fixed everything.
    - Internet recovery can take a while with a slow internet access (had to go to an Apple Store since my internet was too slow and the download would eventually fail)

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by malstrom (Currently owns)

    This is the best notebook on the market. It has an amazingly thin design, a great keyboard and super high-res display. The trackpad is outstanding. The performance is great. With the i5 version (which I own), I can run Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Final Cut X, Aperture 3 (one at a time) with out any glitches or performance hits. And this is definitely the future of all notebook computers with out an ODD and with solid state memory. I never have had a need for an ODD and I think most people don't. If anyone is on the fence about this product then you should get it. Well worth the money.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 9
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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