Apple 11-inch MacBook Air review

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Better battery life, brilliant build quality and an amazing keyboard, but a higher resolution screen would have been nice


11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.1kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-4260U, 4.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, OS X 10.8

Just as with the 13-inch MacBook Air Apple has decided that, externally, the new 11-inch Macbook Air didn't need any work. It has a point, as the aluminium case still looks gorgeous and there's no real way of making it thinner or smaller without damaging build quality or usability. Instead, the changes fall into two important areas: you get a battery-saving Intel Haswell processor and a bigger SSD for less money.

Battery life is one of the most important aspects of any laptop, but it's particularly important in the 11-inch Macbook Air. It weighs just 1.1kg and is small enough to fit into practically any bag, so it's designed to be carried anywhere you go. With last year's model we managed eight hours of use in our light-use battery test, although putting a bit more strain on the laptop realistically brings that figure down to less than five hours.

11-inch MacBook Air

When you've got the best laptop case, there's little point in changing it

With the 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-4250U 'Haswell' CPU in 2013 model, things are different. This CPU has been built to conserve battery life, with a special low-power state that draws very little energy when the computer's not doing anything. As a result our light-use battery test let this laptop last 14h 33m, which is simply incredible.

As our test means that the laptop hasn't got a lot of work to do, we ran a new battery benchmark, which plays a 10m-long video every 30m. In this test, we found that the laptop lasted 5h 54m. That's still impressive and means that for general use the 2013 11-inch Macbook Air should last a good two-hours or so longer than the 2012 model.