MacBook Air 2013 vs 2012: Performance, Battery Life, Price and More!

MacBook Air (Mid 2013)
MacBook Air (Mid 2013)
MacBook Air (Mid 2013)

Apple MacBook Air 2013 has been announced during WWDC2013 and available immediately. The new MacBook Air (MBA) looks and weight identical to the old MBA, the changes are inside. New MBA uses Intel fourth-generation Intel core processors “Haswell” with Intel HD Graphics 5000, faster SSD, supports WiFi 802.11ac.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of changes, does it? Let’s check out each feature and compare with previous MacBook Airs.

Intel Haswell Inside

New MacBook Air (Mid 2013) is the first Apple computer with Intel fourth-generation Intel Core processors, code name “Haswell” with Intel HD Graphics 5000. It replaces Ivy Bridge processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000 used in old MBA models.

The clock speed drops to 1.3GHz for all new MBA models, thus requires less power. Previously, it was 1.7GHz for 11-inch MBA 2012, and 1.8GHz for 13-inch MBA. Anyway, the max turbo remains 2.6GHz.

Much battery life

Apple says new MBA is “all-day battery” – up to 12 hours of battery life for 13-inch MacBook Air and 9 hours for 11-inch MacBook Air.

In Macworld lab test, 11-inch MacBook Air lasted 6 hours and 6 minutes and 13-inch MacBook Air lasted 8 hours and 18 minutes.

The results are much better than MacBook Air 2012 models: 11-inch MBA was only 3 hours and 34 minutes; MBA 13-inch was only 4 hours 55 mins.

Better graphic performance

The new MacBook Air Haswell processor build-in Intel HD Graphics 5000 which is, say Apple, 40% faster than HD Graphics 4000 used in previous MBAs.

MacBook Air Cinebench OpenGL chart
MacBook Air Cinebench OpenGL chart

A Cinebench OpenGL benchmark tested by Macworld shows that new MBA is up to 30% faster than its predecessor.

Faster SSD

Instead of using SATA SSD, new MacBook Air uses PCIe based SSD (same as new Mac Pro 2013), AnandTech reports. Two PCIe 2.0 interface in new MacBook Air capable of 1GB/s data transfer speed. A disk performance test reveals read/write performance of nearly 800MB/s!

Depending on the drive, general maximum transfer rate for SATA SSD is ranging from 100MB/s to 600MB/s.

Doubled space, Dual microsphones

Noticed that Apple has doubled MacBook Air 11“ model storage capacity from 64GB to 128GB, and from 128GB to 256GB for high-end MacBook Air 11”. The storage space for 13″ models remain unchanged.

New MacBook Air now comes with dual microphones to help noise cancellation and improve sound quality.

Also, WiFi 802.11ac gives you up to 3 times faster performance when connected to a 802.11ac router.

MacBook Air performance: 2013 vs. 2012

New processor, better graphic, faster SSD… Do they mean that MacBook Air 2013 has better overall performance than MacBook Air 2012?

MacBook Air Speedmark 8 chart
MacBook Air Speedmark 8 chart

Not really. Do not forget that new MacBook Air has slower processor clock speed. In fact, both generations earn identical Macworld’s Speedmark 8 scores. The major advantage of MacBook Air 2013 over MacBook Air 2012 is, you guess it, “all-day battery life”.

MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Lineup

Check out the following table for the new MacBook Air (Mid 2013) lineup models and prices in Malaysia.

MacBook Air Mid 2013 lineup
MacBook Air Mid 2013 lineup

Available configurations are 1.7GHz dual-core i7 processor, 8GB RAM. High-end models are configurable to 512GB SSD.

New price for MacBook Air 2012

With the new MacBook Air announced, Apple resellers are clearing their old MacBook Air 2012 stocks. The following is the MacBook Air 2012 price list from Machines Apple Reseller:

  • MacBook Air 11″/1.7/i5/4/64GB (MD223ZP/A) RM2,699
  • MacBook Air 11″/1.7/i5/4/128GB (MD224ZP/A) RM2,849
  • MacBook Air 13″/1.8/i5/4/128GB (MD231ZP/A) RM2,999
  • MacBook Air 13″/1.8/i5/4/256GB (MD232ZP/A) RM3,599

It is RM300 different for MBA 13“ models and up to RM750 different for MBA 11” models (doubled SSD capacity, remember?).

LiewCF’s Buying Advice

If long battery life and better graphic performance are not worth few hundred bucks for you, then grab the MBA 2012 while still available.

If you would like to use MBA for the next 5 years, I would suggest you max up the RAM to 8GB because it is not upgradeable after purchase. (MacBook Air SSD is upgradeable)

If you are looking for a second notebook while travelling, the 11″ MBA is a good choice. It is lightweight, powerful, long battery life machine at RM3000.

The 13″ MBA is good enough to be your only computer, or even a desktop replacement (connect to external display). But I will wait for the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013) announcement first.

You can buy new MacBook Air now, shipping in Malaysia from Mid July.

The Best Windows Laptop is… Apple MacBook Pro!

Apple MacBook Pro is best windows laptop
Apple MacBook Pro is best windows laptop
Apple MacBook Pro is the best windows laptop

If you are looking for a best performance and reliability Windows laptop, you should consider Apple MacBook Pro. No joke!

Soluto, an online PC management service, released a report which awarded Apple MacBook Pro 13 (US$1,129.98) as the “Best Performing Windows Laptop” based on a combination of crashes, hangs, BSoDs, boot time and background processes.

The result certainly please Apple fanboys and become another reason/excuse to buy an Apple laptop.

According to Soluto that the reason MacBook Pro scored well is because every Windows installation on Apple laptop is a clean installation – no PC manufacturers’ crapware.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch on Amazon.com

Interestingly, the MacBook Pro 15″ Retina scored worse (Ranked 6th) than MacBook Pro 13″, despite that the former has newer and better hardware and both use clean Windows installation.

Using Windows on MacBook has its disadvantages, such as setup BootCamp, buy & install Windows, driver issues, and keyboard not mapping for Windows.

How about non-Apple laptops?

Aspire E1-571

Acer 15.6″ Aspire E1-571 won the 2nd place in the list. The result has surprised Soluto team because the Acer E series laptop is entry-level notebook. Nevertheless, Aspire E1-571 is the 2nd most reliable Windows laptop. Price was not taken into account in the report.

You could buy almost 3 of those for the price of one MacBook Pro 13″3, so this is a superb option for budget-minded businesses who like big laptops (15″6).

In the top 10, Apple notebooks proudly gained 2 spots (1st and 6th). Acer got the 2nd and 5th (Aspire V3-771). Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is the 10th.

I would say Dell is the biggest winner because Dell laptops won 5 out of 10 spots with Dell XPS13 at 3rd place.

By the way, some famous laptop brands did not make to the Top 10: ASUS, HP, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba are not in the list. I wonder what’s these brands standing in the Top 50 of Best Windows Laptop.

Cheaper and Faster MacBook Pro with Retina Display in Malaysia (2013 version)

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display

Just a day before the Valentine’s Day 2013, Apple dropped the price of MacBook Pro with Retina Display and boost the processor speed. Also, you can save few hundred bucks by buying the 2012 old stock.

All the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (from here I refer them as “MBP Retina”) get CPU speed boost by 0.1GHz, except that 13-inch MBP Retina with 128GB flash keep the same processor speed. 15-inch MBP Retina with 512GB flash also get RAM upgrade from 8GB to 16GB.

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Buying a Cheap Windows 8 Touchscreen Notebook Under RM2000

Erin and her Acer Aspire V5

ACER Aspire V5
ACER Aspire V5

This is a true story. I helped my cousin-in-law to buy a Windows 8 touchscreen notebook under RM2000 budget.

My 21-year-old cousin-in-law, Erin, was looking for a new notebook after her ex-notebook’s AMD CPU burned. Knowing I am a tech blogger, she sought for my advice on buying a notebook.

What’s your notebook budget and usage?

When buying a computer, my advices are setting a budget, listing down your computer usage and the “good-to-have” features.

Erin’s budget is under RM2000 (~USD666). She will use the notebook for light tasks such as web surfing, listening music, watching video, plus some office works. A slim and lightweight notebook (Ultrabook) is preferable. Card reader and DVD drive are good to have. Touchscreen is a bonus.

Windows 8 tablet under RM2000

Erin was checking out Windows 8 tablet. Two Windows 8 tablets that’s under RM2000 in Malaysia are Dell Latitude 10(RM1980) and ACER Iconia W5 (RM1699, without keyboard dock).

I don’t recommend Windows 8 tablet to her because, according to her usage, a 13-inch notebook with faster CPU and more disk space is more value for money and more suitable to her.

RM2000 Windows 8 notebooks

We spent hours at Plaza Low Yat surveyed many notebook models of different brands (HP, DELL, ACER, ASUS, LENOVO, etc).

With RM2300, you can buy a decent Windows 8 notebook with Intel i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard disk + 32GB SSD, and dedicated graphic processor.

That would be the basic of my ideal Windows notebook, but RM2300 has exceeded Erin’s budget. Passed.

There are quite a number of notebooks under RM2000 (Windows 8 and Windows 7) as well. Generally, they have cheaper CPU (AMD, Intel i3, Intel Pentium) and don’t have dedicated graphic processor.

ACER Aspire V5

In the end, Erin decided on ACER Aspire V5. I can felt that she fall in love to the notebook at the first sight. ;)

The notebook is in silver color, it is not metal but feel more tough than cheap notebook plastic body. The keyboard is backlit!

ACER Aspire V5 has a few models. The one I refer here is V5–471P–33214G50Mass (what da genius model name!). It is a slim profile 14-inch Windows 8 notebook powered by Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard disk. Complete with HDMI port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 ports, VGA and network combo port. Weight about 2.1KG.

Despite the slim body, ACER Aspire V5 has build-in DVD drive! The real surprise is.. dang! dang! 10-points touchscreen! So far, this is the only notebook under RM2000 we checked comes with touchscreen.

You really like to have a touchscreen for Windows 8 user interface.

We bought ACER Aspire V5 (model: V5–471P–33214G50Mass) at RM1900. We also paid RM50 for Acer SuperCare 2-year Extended Warranty (total 3 years warranty for the notebook).

The extended warranty pack priced over RM100 but the shop sold to us at only RM50… That’s a steal!

LiewCF’s Two Cents

Since the Windows 8 release in November 2012, many Windows 8 devices are now available in the market, from budget to luxury.

I was wrong. Windows 8 notebook is not expensive at all.

In this example, the ACER Aspire V5 is basically perfect for students and home users. The touchscreen feature in a budget notebook really make the model stand out from the crowd. Thumb up for ACER!

For myself, I would spend RM300 more to get a higher specs notebook, even it does not have a touchscreen. Notebook with touchscreen is fun but it does not help to improve my productivity like the better hardware.

Have you buy a Windows 8 notebook? Which model and how much? Tell us in the comment.

Tips on How to Save When Purchasing a New Laptop or Desktop Computer

desktop computer

desktop computer

If you have plans to purchase a new laptop or desktop computer, you certainly have your work cut out for you. Quality is extremely important, but at the same time you don’t want to spend too much money when you are on a tight budget.

However, where there is a will, there’s a way, and this includes finding the right computer for you that you can find for a price that is just right for you.

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