Outwardly the MacBook Air has hardly changed since its release. But on the inside, it's rocking Ivy Bridge for better graphics and performance, with a far more practical 256GB SSD. With all these spec boosts, the Air might just be the ultimate all-rounder.
Design and build
Other Ultrabooks, like the Acer Aspire S5, may be lighter but with its satin finish and impeccable build quality, the Air is still the classiest out there. And despite its processing prowess, it's absolutely silent – even under heavy load.
Performance in use
We tested the 256GB 13in version of the new Air and liked the six-hour battery life, responsive keyboard and the fact that there's none of the heating problems that plagued earlier Airs. The 2012 models now also have new Intel Core i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge processors, improved Intel HD 4000 graphics and two USB 3.0 ports.
We better mention now that the 2012 MacBook Air isn't cheap, especially if you want more hard drive space or a faster processor. For now, the extra cost is defensible, but with more pretenders to the skinny laptop throne on the way, price could ultimately become its Achilles' heel.
Versus Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display
The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is now more portable and more powerful than any previous Pro. It's also loads more expensive, though, and while our hearts might say 'Pro', our minds (and bank managers) are saying 'Air'. That's why it keeps the coveted top spot. Just.
Apple MacBook Air 13in (2012)
The Air hangs on to its position as the best lightweight laptop to beat – for now