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Apple MacBook Air 13in (2012) review


The same flawless design, now with Ivy Bridge and more RAM – all at a lower price

Review Date: 14 Jun 2012

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £1,041 (£1,249 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £1308
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

We were desperately hoping the MacBook Air would get the Retina screen it deserves, but Apple has kept that upgrade for professionals. Instead, both the 11in and 13in MacBook Air models receive a modest spring clean for 2012, with new internals and a few tweaks to the port line-up. We have the 13in model on test.

Apple has opted to leave the physical dimensions as they were, so it’s still 17mm thick at the rear, tapering to almost nothing at the front. There’s now a USB 3 port on either flank, joined by Thunderbolt and the SD card slot on the right and the headphone socket on the left. The labels have moved to the near side of each port, making them easier to see where cables previously blocked the view.

Apple MacBook Air 13in (2012)

The MacBook Air now uses the new MagSafe 2 power adapter. It’s wider (and only compatible with the original MagSafe via a £9 adapter), and the cable now extends directly outwards rather than at a right angle on the old adapter. That means it can be pulled out from any direction when tripped, which is theoretically safer, but in our experience it now pops out at the slightest provocation.

The bigger changes occur inside, with the headline being the introduction of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, and we were surprised to see a rather large step forward in application speed. Powered by a 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U, it scored 0.68 in our benchmarks, up from 0.58 last year. The 4GB of RAM certainly helps, and there’s no doubt the new HD Graphics 4000 core also plays its part in several of our tests.

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User comments

Flawed test

Why not give it the exactly same tests as you do for windows?
If the test is not exactly the same and you do not state the difference it does not make me want to switch to Mac from Windows.

By curiousclive on 18 Jun 2012


It's almost the same, as close as we can make it - unfortunately not all of the applications involved in our benchmarks will run on both OSes.


By DavidBayon on 18 Jun 2012

gimme six

at £999 it's gotta be six stars! and I'm normally an Apple hater.

By gavmeister on 18 Jun 2012

Flawed test?

@curiousclive - sorry, but what a pointless comment. They are obviously 2 completely different OSs. even if you could run a cross-platform app or benchmark, the result would be dubious. Of course, you could do windows tests within a bootcamp session on the Mac but that would hardly say much about the Mac performance now, would it!

By andy1233221 on 19 Jun 2012

11" 1,7 or 2.0

Assuming you are not going to review the 11" Is there much difference between the i5 1.7 and i7 2.0 in real world performance ? where would I notice it ? Would it be better spent on biggger ssd or elsewhere

By MiniEggs on 27 Jun 2012

Boot camp or Parallels?

When you test the graphic performance using crysis do you use windows on Boot camp or via Parallels? Thank :)

By Flamingo1 on 24 Mar 2013

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