Road test: 2014 MacBook Air

Road Test: 2014 MacBook Air

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE -

Ap­ple has silently up­dated its MacBook range of per­sonal com­put­ers, adding sub­tle changes to the lineup and mak­ing Fin­week’s top-rated busi­ness ma­chine even more ap­peal­ing. The new ver­sions are it­er­a­tively im­proved and nudge al­ready strong prod­ucts just that lit­tle bit closer to per­fec­tion. The big fire­works will come next month when the next big iPhone an­nounce­ment is ex­pected, but the un­sung hero in Ap­ple’s line-up is the MacBook Air.

The Air has be­come a sta­ple for ex­ec­u­tives, es­pe­cially those who travel. It’s always been light­weight and sleek but now it has for­mi­da­ble pro­cess­ing power and un­be­liev­able bat­tery life, too. The new ver­sion also comes at a lower price in­ter­na­tion­ally, al­though it sadly hasn’t been priced ac­cord­ingly in South Africa.

Buy­ers should be aware that there is still stock of the pre­vi­ous MacBook Air f loat­ing around in the mar­ket, how­ever, so one should make sure that you’re get- ting the mid-2014 ver­sion.

The Air is ar­guably the per­fect busi­ness lap­top. Its mod­est In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor is more than beefy enough for busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions and the bat­tery life is phe­nom­e­nal. Get­ting through a full day of work is easy. In fact, I re­cently went on an overnight busi­ness trip and didn’t even re­alise I’d left my charger at home. The Air eas­ily made it through my f light, an af­ter­noon of work, some email­ing, chat­ting and doc­u­ment work in the even­ing and an hour-long pre­sen­ta­tion the next morn­ing at a con­fer­ence I was speak­ing at. There was even enough bat­tery left for a movie on the f light back home.

If your de­mands are more sub­stan­tial, for ex­am­ple, pro­fes­sional video edit­ing, then you’ll want to go for the more ex­pen­sive MacBook Pro with Retina Dis­play range – but even mod­er­ately de­mand­ing pro­cess­ing work is now doable on a MacBook Air and you can con­nect an ex­ter­nal dis­play i f you need more screen real es­tate. I know soft­ware en­gi­neers who do their de­vel- op­ment work on th­ese ma­chines, in­clud­ing their com­pil­ing tasks.

The mid-2014 mod­els will also re­ceive the free up­date to OSX Yosemite later this year – the next big up­date to the Mac op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Since Ap­ple’s op­er­at­ing sys­tems are now gratis you don’t have to worry about buy­ing new hard­ware just be­fore a launch. If OSX isn’t your cup of tea, you can eas­ily in­stall Win­dows and run it na­tively, as you would on any generic PC. Only with far more style.

You just won’t find a bet­ter lap­top than this for the price, al­though you could get some­thing en­try level for al­most half as much. But it wouldn’t per­form as well, have nearly as good bat­tery life and it sure as hell wouldn’t

look or feel any­thing as good.

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