2-8 August 2013 #667

All Airs

This mean machine will get you hooked

At the very outset, Yantrick must confess that she has been a life-long PC person. Yes, a politically incorrect Windows loyalist. And whenever peer pressure urged her to turn to Apple, it was either the price or the nervousness of switching to a new operating system that kept her loyal to Uncle Bill.

So here I am, approaching middle age, and typing this review of the new MacBook Air on a MacBook Air. The first thing that takes getting used to are the Windows keyboard shortcuts that have become second nature to us PC users so you have to constantly over-ride your muscle memory to switch from Control-C to Command-C when highlighting and copying text. Initially, my finger kept clicking the neighbouring on-off master switch, and I nearly turned the computer off by mistake. Word for PC still seems to have the edge over Word for Mac, but that could just be Yantrick’s force of habit.

After taking this machine out for a trial sleepover this week, I am hooked. The keyboard is touchy feely, and the predictive editing and spellchecker seem to have a considerably higher IQ than most PCs I am acquainted with. But perhaps the most exquisite thing about MacBooks is the spacious and responsive touchpad. I could use a two-finger light swiping gesture instead of the traditional scroll, to move quickly up and down a doc.

A friend who uses the earlier model MacBook Air tells me that the 2013 model has been considerably upgraded with a processor that is faster on its feet, and the new generation wifi doesn’t poke around aimlessly when it finds a hot spot. But the most remarkable thing for me is the incredible battery life of the new Air: up to 12 hours in the 13-inch model. That really puts the Acer S3 ultrabook I have now to shame, and the endurance can come mighty handy when the power cuts in Kathmandu are increased to 16 hours come winter. Also handy is the thoughtful backlit keyboard which seems to have been designed with Nepal’s darkness in mind. The fine print is that the 12 hours goes down by half if you have many apps open simultaneously, or are using wifi.

This machine has 256 gigabytes of solid state memory, and hits the ground running as soon as you press the on button. The SSD makes the ultrabook ultralight, and Apple has increased battery power in this model without increasing the battery weight.

The most unique selling point about the MacBook Air’s much-imitated design is its slimness, which means it is ultraportable and slips in snugly into your shoulder bag without any bulky bulges. Apple’s attention to detail, the superb finish and feel of the keyboard and skin gives it a certain tactile sensuality. For those of you out there with earlier Airs, you may want to wait till Apple adds Retina screens before you upgrade.

Apple notebooks used to be on a much higher price range than PCs. No more. MacBook Airs are surprisingly affordable and are available with Evo Stores (4212100) for Rs 132,000 for the 128 GB model and Rs 155,000 for the 256 GB model.

Yantirck’s Verdict: One night out with the sleek and sinewy Air and you will want to defect from PC ultrabooks, however if you already have earlier Macbooks, you may want to wait another year to upgrade.