MBA11-34L_MBA13-34R_Pages-iPhoto_PRINTWhile it certainly wasn’t the biggest story out of WWDC, Apple’s new MacBook Air notebooks are garnering rave reviews.

On the surface, not much has changed with Apple’s line of ultraportables. The Air still sports the same display, ports and form factor. According to Macworld‘s benchmarking, the computer’s new Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics card brings a performance boost to GPU-intensive tasks.

The big change comes with battery life. Because the Intel Haswell processor is more energy-efficient, early reports seem to show that Apple was low-balling its claims of 11 hour battery life. The Verge claims that the 13-inch Air lasted more than 13 hours in their battery tests, and PC Magazine reports the 13-inch Air clocked in over 15 hours on a single charge.

However, heavy Photoshop users may not find the new Air quite to their liking, as the 1.3 GHz clock speed needed to save power means that the new model performs less well on CPU-intensive tests like applying filters in Photoshop.

That being said, it seems like the verdict is clear: if you’re a Mac user who values portability and battery life and you don’t mind a slightly slower processor, it might be time for a fresh Air.

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  • Mike Mathieu

    I just upgrade to the Ultimate version of the new Macbook Air from a 6 year old original version of the MBA, and I’m very happy. It really is weird to go the whole day on wifi and not have to think about your power chord. We got a new Airport Extreme at the Front Seat office that supports 802.11ac and I was getting 52mbps to my desktop over wifi. Impressive.

  • guest

    Or buy any number of PCs that are coming with Haswell, since that’s what is primarily driving the batter life increase.

    • guest

      And of course that explains why Apple laptops have dominated PC laptops for years on battery life? Please.

      • Learn how to read

        No. What is says is that most of the incremental benefit here is due to Haswell, not Apple h/w or s/w.

        • guest

          Well, that would appear to be contraindicated if you compare (as WaltM just did today) the MBA 13″ vs the new Sony Vaio Ultrabook.

  • Michael Hazell

    15 hours on a single charge huh? Well, even though I hate Apple I must admit that I’m impressed.

  • ricrude

    What’s the use of long battery life if you’re stuck with Intel integrated graphics. I’ll stick with my Alienware Mx11 with a NVidia GPU. Of course after two hours I’ll be looking for an outlet.

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