First impressions: the 2013 MacBook Air – 13″


I took a plunge and went for one of the new MBA’s that were announced this month. (I am claiming that my boys got it for me as a Father’s day gift.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone).

Of course, the design, the fit and the finish are outstanding. I got the 13” version, and I opted for the 8G memory on the system, so I had to wait until it built and was shipped from Foxconn. I gently unboxed it and fired it up.

Since I didn’t want to just migrate my user files from my current MBP, I have been selectively installing software, and copying files over. I am mostly done now, but I am sure there will be a few things that I set up and get tweaked.


  • This is fast. I worried that stepping down from a quad core i7 in my MBP to the dual core in this MBA would be a disappointment.  It isn’t. It is very snappy and instantly responsive.  I really haven’t been able to tell the difference.
  • Integrated Intel graphics. It has the HD5000 graphics built in. I am used to the discrete graphics on my 15” MacBook Pro’s, and I was worried about crappy performance.  Not an issue. It just works.
  • The battery life is superb. While I burned a charge with an external DVD drive plugged in (and USB powered to boot), after I got the big data migrations, and the software mostly installed, I am now expecting to get ~ 12 hours before I need to charge it again.  So far so good with that.

I took a big risk in going ultra portable.  I have historically favored the 15” MacBook Pro models, as it was a good fit for my lap, convenient to work with, and plenty powerful enough to drive anything I need. I know that I can’t fit all my data (mostly my huge music collection which with videos are ~ 140gig) and have enough room on this thing to be useful.

There are a few things I am worried about. Going from nearly a TB of disc space to about 1/4 of that will take some discipline. I did a good grooming of the essentials on my MBP before this arrived, and I am going to rely on DropBox to keep my “active” files synchronized between my systems. That said, I have nearly 200G free, and I will keep an eye on it, but not worry to obsessively.

I thought I could live with iPhoto for when I want to quickly dump photos off my camera. No can do.  I forgot how crappy iPhoto was (or my workflow has evolved to where I need Aperture), so I moved Aperture over to my new MBA, and I am sure I will not look back.  Perhaps the limited disc space will give me discipline to clean up and delete bad pictures. Now to delete iPhoto and reclaim 1.5G of disc space.

My goal is to use this as my everyday machine and keep my MBP hooked to the big screen on my desk.  I am very optimistic that this will be a successful strategy.

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1 comment

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  • Still using a 1st gen Air. Bombproof, love to get something new & shiny, but the old won’t die. Even the hinges are still solid after four years. Apple hates me.

By geoffand


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