Apple MacBook Air 13 (mid 2012) review: Apple MacBook Air 13 (mid-2012)

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great build quality. USB 3.0 makes for a good boost. Industry-leading touch pad. Backlit keyboard. Dual-band Wi-Fi.

The Bad Base model storage a bit small for the current day.

The Bottom Line The new 13-inch MacBook Air might not be the huge revision we were hoping for, but it's still an excellent laptop borne out of years of refinement.

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After the big excitement of the Retina display turning up on a MacBook Pro, we had hoped that the MacBook Air would have at least received a tiny screen-quality upgrade.

Connectivity

  • USB 3.0: 2
  • USB 2.0: 0
  • Optical: None
  • Video: Thunderbolt
  • Ethernet: none
  • Wireless: dual-channel 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0

It wasn't to be — what we got was a third generation Core processor, USB 3.0 ports, a new MagSafe connector and an updated webcam, but the form factor stays the same, as does the use of a 1440x900 TN-based screen. It also doesn't help that the default storage levels are small, particularly on the 11-inch version, which still starts with a 64GB SSD. The 13 starts at 128GB SSD, which is a bit better by today's standards. It's possible to upgrade to a 256GB or 512GB SSD, but this will add considerably to the price. Considering the ever-dropping price of flash memory, it seems Apple's a little behind the curve here.

That's not to say that the MacBook Air isn't excellent — it most certainly is, it's just that, more than ever before, it's feeling the heat from the Windows competition. Samsung's Series 9, with a 1600x900 PLS screen is the perfect example. When Windows 8 happens, with its rash of IPS-based laptops and whether they be convertible or not, Apple's lead will be diminished, yet again.

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Where to Buy

Apple MacBook Air 13 (mid 2012)

Part Number: CNETApple MacBook Air 13 (mid 2012)

Typical Price: $1,924.00

See manufacturer website for availability.