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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Apple Macbook Air 2014 – specs, price and what’s new

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on July 2, 2014

For many, the Macbook Air might well be the best ultra-portable available these days. It doesn’t pack as many features as some of the top ultrabooks you can find in stores, but it does provide a well balanced experience for an attractive price. And that’s basically how I would summarize the 2013 Macbook Air in very few words.

There is a 2014 model now though, but it’s not the major update some of you might have expected. No, it’s just a marginal bump from last year’s version, corroborated with a price cut. And that actually makes these Early-2014 Macbook Airs an even better bundle than they were before.

Hardware aside though, the 2014 Macbook Airs are almost identical to their predecessors, which means that they keep the aluminum body, the backlit chiclet keyboard, the decent numbers of ports, the huge battery life, the software package and the screens.

In other words, these new Apple laptops are not the much awaited Retina Macbook Airs, but I’m confident we’re going to see those later this year. So stay tuned.

Anyway,let’s have a look at the complete list of specs below for now, and then I’ll take you through what’s new on these 2014 MBAs.

Apple Macbook Air Early-2014 Specs

GeneralTypeultraportable
AnnouncedApr 2014
Start Price999
Official pageApple
BodyDimensions0.7 inches (h)
Weight2.96 pounds
ColorSilver
Detailsaluminum body
DisplayTypeTN TFT non-touch
Size13.3 inch, 1440 x 900 px
FeaturesOSMac OS
ChipsetIntel Haswell
CPUCore i5-4260U / Core i7-4650U line
GPUIntel HD 5000
Memory4-8 GB DDR3
Storage128-512 GB PCIe SSD
Ports2x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, card-reader
ConnectivityWi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.0
Sensorsambient light
WebcamFacetime HD, dual microphones
Speakersstereo
BaterySize 54 Wh
Estimated Life12 hours
InputKeyboard TypeChiclet
BacklitYes
Pointing deviceClickpad
Other aspectsiPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote preinstalled

What’s changed on this Early-2014 Macbook Air edition

As I mentioned before, this update basically brings new processors inside the MBAs. We’re still talking about Intel’s Haswell ULV line, with Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs bundled with Intel HD 5000 graphics. However, the base version of the MBA packs a newer Core i5 processor (Intel® Core™ i5-4260U), clocked at 1.4 GHz (slight bump from the 1.3 GHz i5 in last year’s base model), with TurboCache up to 2.7 GHz (2.6 GHz on older model).

In practice, you’ll hardly seen any speed improvements over the older version, so if you already have a 2013 Macbook Air, there’s absolutely NO reason to upgrade to this Early-2014 edition.

The 2014 Apple Macbook Air - much like before, just faster and more affordable

The 2014 Apple Macbook Air – much like before, just faster and more affordable

However, if you’re after a new ultraportable today, the 2014 MBA is not only going to be slightly, slightly faster, but also somewhat more efficient, as it packs a more refined Intel Haswell processor. But that’s only a feeling for now, we’ll have to wait for some reviews before drawing conclusions.

There’s no word on a new Intel Core i7 processor for now, as the top configuration still bundles the Intel® Core™ i7-4650U.

CPUs aside though, the 2014 Macbook Airs match last year’s model spec for spec, with 4-8 GB of RAM, 128, 256 GB  or 512 GB of storage, good connectivity and average screens (TN panels on both the 11.6 inch and 13.3 inch versions).

But that’s not all. These new Macbooks are now $100 (or Euros, or Pounds, depending on where you’re from) cheaper than their 2013 kins. In other words, the 11.6 inch Macbook Air with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD and the Core i5 processor mentioned above starts at $899, while the 13 inch version, with the exact same configuration, starts at $999. You’ll find both versions discounted online though.

The Macbook Air remains one of the best ultra-portables out there

The Macbook Air remains one of the best ultra-portables out there

Switching the 128 GB SSD for a larger 256 GB one will up the price by $200 in each case, which is an abrupt increase, but the i5/4GB/256 GB versions are also $100 cheaper than they were last year. So, long story short, all available configurations are now $100 cheaper than before.

Summary

Wrapping it up, there’s not a lot to say about this Early-2014 edition Macbook Airs, as they are nearly identical to last year’s models and only pack new processors, while selling for about 10% less.

All the other features rest unchanged, starting with the build quality, the keyboard, the touchpad, the ports, the screens and the battery life (9 hours of the 11.6 inch version and 12+ hours for the 13 inch model).

And that makes the 2014 Macbook Airs an even more attractive pick then they were before, if you don’t want fancy features and can look pass their only major drawback imh, the TN panels. If you can’t, well, there are plenty of solid ultrabooks to pick from, or you can save your money for the retina Macbook Airs, which are bound to arrive by the end of this year, according to the latest rumors.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

9 Comments

  1. affi

    January 28, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Bro can you please check or you have any idea that apple is going to add touch screen in upcoming macbook or not?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I don’t have any insiders on that. They might on the Macbook Air 12 but I can only speculate about this for now, there’s no way to tell for sure.

      • affi

        January 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        thanKs … but if you have any info please do share with me ….

  2. dana

    February 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Hi, so do you suggest to wait until late 2014 to see what apple is going to come up with (maybe a mac air with the latest model od i7?) or should I buy one now?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Late 2014? we’re already in 2015, you know…

  3. dana

    February 15, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    sorry, got a little confused. I heard the news about a possible Mac 12 but I wanted the mac air 13.3 but with i7. So what do you think? To be honest, what ultrabook would you buy, not for gaming though?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

      a new mac air 12 is scheduled for the next months, as well as probably hardware updates of the 13.3 inch macbook airs. If you’re not in a hurry, i’d wait for those. If you want a computer today, the MBA is one of the most solid options, but its screen is not on par with what others have to offer. If you want a higher resolution display or maybe a touchscreen, you could also consider things like the Dell XPS 13 2015 or the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro.

  4. Waheed

    May 9, 2015 at 1:39 am

    Hi , thanks for the update.

    I need your advice on deciding which ultra book to buy. I need it for performance and mobility (high end ultrabooks) the issue is, the only suitable laptop that I have came across is the macpro 13′. I am hesitating whether to buy it or not given that I never touched a Mac before and I don’t know what can I do with it and what I can’t do with it compared to using windows. Given that I am an engineering student and need to install some softwares for simulations it may be a problem for me if there is no support from these softwares on the Mac OS!

    Beside from that, can you recommend another suitable windows with high end specs that has a decent battery life(8 hours) and doesn’t over heat as I have a bad experience with that.

    Alternatively, can you update me with the soon to be released laptops in this field that I am looking for ?

    Much appreciated for ur hard work

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      WEll, there are a couple of premium 13 inchers that run Windows, like the Alienware 13, Asus Zenbook UX301LA or the Gigabyte Aorus X3. You can also step up a notch to devices like the Razer Blade Pro or the Gigabyte P34W v3. Check them out.

      I don’t think we’ll see many updates in the next 3-6 months, but there will be many new devices by the end of the year when Intel’s Skylake platform gets launched.

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