Apple MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013 Haswell Review

Apple MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013 Haswell Review

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Lisa Gade reviews the Apple MacBook Air 13″ mid-2013 with 4th generation 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 Haswell CPU with Intel HD 5000 graphics. The 13.3″ Air starts at $1,099 US with the 1.3GHz Core i5, 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig PCIe SSD drive. You can get it with 8 gigs of RAM and higher capacity SSD drives. It has a 1440 x 900 display, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and a backit keyboard. It has the same design as the outgoing model.
Read our full written review here:

this is Lisa from mobile tech review today we're going to look at the 2013 MacBook Air 13-inch this is the first Mac with Haswell inside is it fast yes it is is the battery light really phenomenal particularly so we're going to look at it now so here it is the latest generation MacBook Air 13-inch mid-2013 one of the first ultra books on any platform Windows Mac you name it to actually have the new fourth generation Intel Haswell CPUs inside while everybody expected improvements in performance particularly graphics we haven't always seen that so much with Haswell so far in ultrabooks a little bit of an exception here because of the Intel HD 5000 graphics we'll talk about that a bit but huge leaps and bounds and battery life of course Apple also increased battery capacity over the previous generation MacBook Air which already had really an amazingly large battery for 4 device that this is this thin and compact it takes up most of the space inside actually the battery packs here we're up to 70 150 milliamps of battery inside that is a lot folks a lot of ultrabooks have around 5,000 or so so that explains in part why this guy gets very good battery life the other reason is the interesting thing about has well if you get the Intel HD 5000 graphics instead of the 4400 graphics what you're getting is a slower clock CPU now assume you're not doing something graphically intensive particularly with 3d graphics the GPU is not doing much so you've got a CPU that's running at a slower clock speed and not using as much power why did Intel do that so they could get the thermal requirements down so it doesn't get too hot and so it wouldn't use too much power so for example the the base MacBook Air 13-inch and the 11 inch model has a 1.3 gigahertz CPU inside with Intel HD 5000 graphics too versus what we've seen so far say on the sony vaio pro 11 and 13 inch models where they've got faster clock speed 1.6 gigahertz core i5s but the 4400 HD graphics so you can see where the trade-offs going on right there the good news in terms of benchmark numbers on this Mac even though we have solar clock speeds things are looking good but a particular interest here this is the core i7 option 1.7 gigahertz core i7 dual core CPUs can only get dual core cpu's an ultrabook so that's what you got right here so yeah we've seen a lot of information about the core i5 and how they do but not so much for the core i7 and that's what we're here to tell you about so far battery life still looks to be stunning on this even though we've got the faster clock speed and the somewhat more demanding CPU inside and right now a hundred percent the Mac is predicting 12 hours of use so far it's not lying that's pretty darn amazing that's outdoing spent every notebook on the planet the 1.7 gigahertz model has the core i7 dish 4650 you if you see the 50 you at the end that means it has Intel HD 5000 graphics instead of 4400 for these ulv CPUs if you get the core i3 you're going to be getting the i5 – 40 – 50 you and that's the 1.3 gigahertz turbo boost at 2.6 our core i7 has turbo boost – 3.3 gigahertz on Geekbench – which is a cross-platform tool for benchmarking pretty popular use on Macs we scored 82 97 that's quite good that even beats out our sony vaio Pro running upon 1.6 gigahertz core i5 also has well and that guy scored 70 666 so there you go definitely competitive power here and yeah this is dream come true I remember the first generation MacBook Air it was gorgeous it was portable as ever look how thin this is same as ever but it was underpowered now using this doing everything up photoshopping here got office on here no problem holds up doesn't feel slow at all yet it's as ever incredibly thin gorgeous all-metal build quality aluminum right here Finn with the signature taper look two point nine six pounds so pretty much the definitive ultrabook sizes intel's term that came after is for windows pcs actually they're running on ulv cpus with thin designs and intel internals and the ports here you're looking at mostly the same that we have a display port right here that's also a Thunderbolt port combo so you can drive DisplayPort monitors you can drive Thunderbolt equipment including Apple's own Thunderbolt Display it supports that just fine certainly the Intel HD 5000 graphics is powered with powerful enough to drive that easily along with the internal panel if you won't have both running two USB 3.0 ports intelligently put one on each side so they don't get in each other's ways if it happens to be something kind of bulky there is one right there so we have another one right there there's a 3.5 millimeter combo headphone jack MagSafe 2 connector for charging and back on this side again we have our SDXC card slot right here no HDMI on this but you can get a dongle adapter that goes from mini DisplayPort to HDMI so not too big a problem there same stuff you expect to see on the bottom hasn't changed at all whole lot of little pentalobe Torx screws holding the bottom on rubber feet here not really designed to be upgradable Ram is soldered on this just as it was with the last generation MacBook Air you can order with either 4 or 8 gigs of RAM it uses the new PCIe SSD drive new new interface new form factor in theory that would be upgradable that's about it inside other changes for internals now you have Wi-Fi a total of an AC that faster standard and apple just released a new airport extreme that supports that and I'm sure other wireless access point manufacturers are going to start releasing their stuff in droves soon enough usual light up Apple logo on the back and inside this stuff hasn't changed the same excellent oversized glass trackpad here backlit keyboard nice contrast black keys white lettering on them you can see it backlighting works and stages is easy to see nice tactile feel and the keyboards the thin machine so you're not gonna get a lot of key travel here but I find it pretty easy to type on power button is one of the keys on the keyboard right here and you're looking at the same 1440 by 900 despite that apple's been using on previous generation MacBook Airs that's all hurts a little bit in terms of the specs for now that we have a lot of Full HD ultra books on the market on the windows side of things not that this is a unclear or unattractive looking display you can see how colorful it is right here you can see the stripes and the Zebras pretty well and the detail on the grass so certainly nuts are not a horrible display and viewing angles are quite good even as we turn it sideways like that you can see colors are not shifting brightness is not shifting too much so even though it's not an IPS panel you have to go pretty far off angle where you start losing it so I'm nice enough display yes it's not full HD but you know there's a couple of reasons probably for that number one Apple doesn't want to stop on their retina line or product so there has to be a reason for you to pay more for those driving bigger displays uses up more power if they want this guy to be like the record holder for how long a notebook can run well they're not going to do something give you a super duper high-resolution display here and also it's more taxing on the CPU and the GPU and for those who start out with at one point three gigahertz core i5 with Intel HD 5000 graphics yeah you don't want to push it too much and to see just how sharp or not chopped fonts look here's our website mobile tech ranee we're going to check out a review so you can see a whole lot of text and photos as well and given that's 128 PPI and to say it looks really quite nice it's not hard on the eyes at all now if you're used to a Retina Matic you're going to see the difference certainly but for the rest of us who have not been using retina max a lot it looks just fine to me and really when it comes down to if you try to decide you want to retina Mac you want a regular MacBook Pro do you want a MacBook Air what do you need or do you need something that's incredibly portable with really long battery life then you need the MacBook Air do you want something with a gorgeous despite you're willing to spend some more money $300 or more and carry something around that's more than a pound heavier then you're getting into the retina territory for the 13 inch to 15 inches obviously even heavier than that and then for those of you who aren't a tight budget bee you need a full feature all-around or kind of Mac maybe with an optical drive full mobile CPUs and that's your regular MacBook Pro so let that be your guidance and for those of you who really want a game look at something like the MacBook Pro it's and dedicated graphics inside because dedicated graphics are still where it's at if you want to play something beyond casual games and for those of you who are primarily looking for Windows machines here we have the Sony Vaio Pro 13 the direct competitor also running as well this with Intel HD 4400 graphics it's not too big a deal honestly either a 4400 or 5000 either they're going to get you playing Crysis 3 with great frame rates or anything like that but you can see pretty much the same size same footprint a lot of the same feature a little faster clock speeds available on the Sony but now you're looking similar form factor right here and I'd say we're gonna have a snack number between these two in particular but overall if you want to run Windows I would say you're better off just getting Windows machine if you want to run Mac OS then get the MacBook Air why do I say that I mean there are those of you who are going to run something like parallels because you don't have great demands for performance for your windows apps but for those of you who have bootcamping and bootcamp drivers are not yet available for our air typically those drivers are known as good really particularly when it comes to battery profiles and power settings you don't get as good battery life for example and yeah you know you get the idea get the machine that was meant to run the OS that you want speaking of operating system this comes with Mac OS 10 mountain lion and you get the usual launcher here that forgot your applications you get your latest iLife suite so you get your iPhoto iMovie all those things pre-installed built in our 128 gig SSD ma which is what we have here with 4 gigs of ram has about almost 100 gigs free out of the box which is pretty darn nice a lot of space to work with there after installing Adobe CS 5.5 Adobe Creative Suite 5 full office suite various utilities we still have about 86 gigs free so that's nice pretty roomy let's test out some gaming we're going to try out Diablo 3 running that the native Mac version not running this for Windows let's see how it does and so here are the settings that it wants to go if we're going to let it give this a try this is 1440 by 900 which is native resolution and you can see our texture quality is high our shadow quality is medium where physics is high our cluster density is high with anti-aliasing turned on and I bet this is going to be too much for it but we'll find out so first off you can hear that fan really kicking up so if you're going to play a demanding game like this even a Mac can get noisy apples often shyam turning up those fans when they need to they will so you can see our framerate here in this bottom corner right now it's at 25 and we're not really doing much of anything but our cellular pretty darn crazy and as we run around the environment we're sticking pretty pretty well at a twenty six or so going down a little bit to the 20s our 20s let's say we can find somebody to fight with here aha and now our frame rates going down to about 21 so that's actually not too bad but let's see if we can make things a little bit better by reducing settings a little bit let's turn off anti-aliasing and go with physics low cluster density medium we will go with lower texture quality lower shadow quality we'll go to no and now look at that so we have everything from pretty much lower settings it's not so pretty anymore but we're 41 40 frames per second so much more playable and fluent looking so that gives you an idea of what the intel HD 5000 graphics can do with a 1.7 gigahertz intel core i7 on the MacBook Air really this isn't a machine that you're going to buy to be a serious gaming machine anyway but it's nice to see that you've managed to do some of this so that's the habló 3 on the Haswell macbook air 13-inch so that got the fan roaring a bit it really wasn't burning hot on the bottom and it only took about two and a half minutes for to calm down and be absolutely silent again after playing Diablo 3 so I'm not too bad therefore he managed with that pretty darn good now we're going to check out what a video looks like this is a Full HD video obviously is going to scale down to fit on this display and you can hear the speakers which are quite nice that's about half volume and our volume is at about 60% looks great plays very sounds right oh nice and yes it's an apple product you can run iTunes on just fine and play iTunes video and iTunes HD video not a problem at all and now we're running adobe photoshop cs5 point 1 here this part of the 5.5 suite and we've got a jpg image here that is 7 Meg's in size we can test that speed real quick on I'm sure it's going to do absolutely fine but we're going to try something like reduce noise because that's often a little bit slow as I think a lot more about that than it does what it sharpens and that's pretty quick for an analysis there actually isn't much noise in here so this may actually make the photo look worse who knows and it's chugging along it is still Channel oh there we go done now that's one of the slower filters that you can use granted so if we want to do something more commonly most people are going to do an unsharp mask which you really shouldn't do after you do a reduce noise but that's okay that's just about instant we want to do something like an image rotation 90 degrees clockwise that's just going to be pretty darn quick so overall I'd say that's quite nice there's your Photoshop running on the MacBook Air 13-inch so that's the 13-inch MacBook Air mid 2013 with the Haswell CPU refresh and Intel HD 5000 graphics same industrial design we've seen since about 2010 but it's aging well it's still one of the most attractive looking ultra books on the market I'm Lisa from mobile tech review be sure to visit our website for the full review and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel

24 Replies to “Apple MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013 Haswell Review”

  1. Bill Overbeck

    Best laptop I've ever owned. I got it from school from the started and then bought it when I graduated. It taught me 3d modeling and game scripting. Really powerful computer for its size and the battery charges fast and drains slow. Great stuff. The only bad thing has to be the small ssd but that's what external hdds are for.

  2. Calvin Bottoms

    my 13'' mid 2013 MBA has a wider keyboard than that one and it doesn't have a sd card slot. I wasn't even sure the MBA had a fan. I never heard it at all.

    i don't like the look of the macbook pro

    also I game on windows and play on linux. my macbook is really good for browsing, writing and stuff. plus it looks awesome.

  3. Dimepag Barrell

    Remember to use Safari browser when using battery power.. Chrome uses 2-3 times more CPU than Safari. Even when playing youtube. Safari seems to use GPU acceleration more efficiently than Chrome. With Screen brightness about 25% and Safari browser I can get insane 13-14 hours out of my 2014 Core i5 MacbookAir.

  4. Jalen Pettus

    This machine practically saved me with school. I was able to get everything done and I had a great computer. Still saving me now

  5. Aaron Ball

    would you rather have the faster i7 processor or the additional 4gb of ram if you are mainly using it for taking notes in college, and sufing the web. I have a different laptop for photoshop/video editing etc. 

  6. Abbath Ahamed

    Great review as usual! I have been a Windows user my whole life and I'm serious considering getting an MBA since I'm gonna be on the move a lot. I wanna know how the lifetime on this is…can anybody tell me how long I can expect to use this without it starting to slow down after a while

  7. Laurence Leonard

    Display kills it regrettably, just got one of these for free though so going to hang on till next years pros

  8. Damon Salvatore

    i really tight on budget and i will buy this but can i run facebook games on it? like war commander and city ville?

  9. Nanoman

    Guys and gals, currently (06/18/14) best buy has a sale and a deal for the current MBA model (early 2014) for college students. After the sale of $100 off to the normal public and adding the $150 off to college students, the price for the 13 inch base model (I5 128GB SSD and 4GB memory) the price would be $811(tax included). Cheers.

  10. reluctantkitten

    Really appreciate this review… well done. You went through Diablo 3, video playback, and photoshop.. I don't think you could have made a more perfect review. Exactly what I was looking for.

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