MacBook Air review (13-inch, mid 2012)
The last time we reviewed the MacBook Air, we didn't have a whole lot to compare it to. Sure, there was the original Samsung Series 9, but it was more expensive, at $1,649, and ran off a standard-voltage processor, often at the expense of battery life. Companies like Lenovo and Toshiba already had deep experience making ultraportables, but those notebooks generally weren't as light, or as skinny, as the Air. A year ago, too, Ultrabooks, as we now know them were little more than a concept as far as the computer-buying public was concerned.
Today, there are 110-plus Windows-based Ultrabooks on the horizon, leaving consumers with an overwhelming smorgasbord of thin, shockingly powerful laptops. Apple, for its part, has stuck with the same Air design we liked so much the first time around, though it's refreshed the lineup with speedier Ivy Bridge processors and traded those USB 2.0 ports for 3.0. Additionally, the Air can now be configured with more RAM and roomier storage. Oh, and the 13-inch version now starts at $1,200, down from $1,300. (The 11-inch version still goes for $999 and up.)
That sounds promising, making an already-excellent laptop faster and less expensive. Still, with so many comparable products on the Windows side, we have to wonder, does Apple really continue to define the category or have other companies narrowed the gap? Let's find out.
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