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Apple MacBook Air MQD42 (256GB)


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Macbook strikes again with a brand spanking new Apple Macbook Air for 2017. Remaining the Macbook budget option, the 2017 Air isn’t really anything to write home about, although it’s still the go-to option for a small, lightweight, portable Mac. It’s packed full of everything you need to get all your day-to-day tasks completed while sitting in Starbucks sipping a Caramel Machiatto and munching a Swedish Bun.

 

Old vs. New

So was a 2017 addition to the Macbook Air family really needed? Well…. Not exactly. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking the sales assistant had fobbed you off with an old 2015 version. Pretty much everything is the same with the 2017 version: it’s got the same 720p FaceTime camera, the same two USB 3 ports at the side, the same full size, backlit keyboard, and the same decent range of pre-loaded apps… you’ve got your Siri, Maps, Keynote, Mail, iMovie, GarageBand – you know, all the essentials.

But there’s got to be at least one difference, right? Yes, there is, but it’s not easy to find! Hidden away inside all the internal bits and pieces is a very slightly improved processor: 1.8Ghz compared to the previous 1.6Ghz. Although there is a tiny improvement in overall speed, don’t be getting too excited just yet; the new processor is still from the same processor family, so we’re not in Macbook Pro territory yet.

 

Decisions, Decisions…

The Macbook Air (2017) comes in two juicy flavours: MQD32, and MQD42. The MQD32 is the cheapest model, coming with 128GB internal storage. Don’t panic. 128GB isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. It’s actually perfectly fine for light office work on-the-go; for sending emails, writing documents, procrastinating on eBay, and all your other everyday stuff. But for music hoarders and video votaries, 128GB probably isn’t going to cut it. That’s where the MQD42, with 256GB, comes into play, giving you a bit more to work with.

 

Performance

The 2015 Macbook Air couldn’t be faulted, neither can the 2017 (in terms of performance at least…. design is a whole other kettle of fish!). For a budget option, performance is A-OK, and the 12 hour battery life is a lifesaver when you’re stuck on the 17:20 from Bristol to Cardiff due to sheep on the line.

 

Fine Lines & Wrinkles

I’m 100% confident I couldn’t pick the 2017 Macbook Air out of a lineup, and I doubt I’m the only one. There’s the old saying – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – and Apple seem to have taken this to heart, failing to update the look of the Macbook Air in 7 years! Although there’s nothing obviously wrong with the design, it is starting to show it’s age; a few laughter lines around the edges, perhaps. This design was originally introduced with the 2010 Macbook Air. Maybe it’s time to try something new? Just a thought…

And apart from the aging design, there’s another annoying issue: choice. In that, there is no choice. With the standard Macbook, you can choose all sorts of cool colours: Space Grey, Silver, Gold, or Rose Gold. With the Macbook Air? Well, if you don’t like silver then you’re screwed. There’s no other alternative.

 

A Worthwhile Upgrade?

Upgrade may be a strong word. For those with a 2014 Macbook Air (or earlier) then upgrading to the new 2017 model is definitely worth the cost. Since 2014, Apple have transformed the Macbook Air massively, especially in terms of graphics which are now waaaaay better with the Intel Graphics 6000 card compared to the old 5000. It may look exactly the same, but internally there’s a big difference.

It’s also worth considering the Apple Macbook Air 2017 if you’ve not yet ventured down the Macbook route. As far as portable computing goes, it doesn’t really get much better than this. For a compact little thing, Apple have certainly squeezed a lot of good stuff in, basically giving you everything you need.

But is it worth moving from the Macbook Air 2015 to the 2017 version? Nah. The slight improvement to the internal processor is definitely good, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction, but it just isn’t enough to warrant the purchase, especially as the boosted performance isn’t exactly noticeable when you’re just carrying out mundane, everyday work tasks. Macbook Air 2015 owners may wish to play it cool and hang back for now, waiting to see what else Apple can magic up within the next few years.

  • Available in 13-inch, 13-inch or, well, 13-inch, Apple have trimmed the fat and gotten rid of the old 11-inch Macbook Air of 2015
  • But don’t panic! You have your pick of storage – Pick 128GB (MQD32) or 256GB (MQD42) Solid-State-Drive of course
  • Which ever model you choose, each Macbook Air comes with a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 6000 as standard – yay
  • All that extra power must mean less battery-time – right? Wrong! The new Macbook Air 2017 offers up to 12-hours (wireless web or iTunes film Playback) on a good day
  • Which is perfect as you’ll be wanting to take advantage of 3840×2160 resolution at 60Hz
  • At just 0.3-1.7cm high, 32.5cm wide and 22.7cm deep, the Macbook Air 2017 is as small as ever
  • But with 2 x USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps), 1 x Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20 Gbps), 1 x MagSafe 2 power port, SDXC card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack you’ll still have plenty of room to plug and play
  • Of course you can always make use of the intergrated Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible) to connect compatible hardware
  • That WiFi will also come in handy when you’re facetiming your mates with with that 720p camera and those dual mics

What’s in the Box

  • Macbook Air (2017) : 128GB – MQD32 or 256GB – MQD42
  • AC Wall Plug
  • 45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter and Power Lead

Apple Macbook Air (2017)
Design80%
Performance69%
Display89%
Portability93%
Battery Life61%
Noisiness72%
77%Overall Score
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