The 11.6” Samsung display panel in my Air evaluation unit is actually the same one I had on my last MacBook Air, though the one before that had an LG panel. This is all based on the panel supply lottery, and while it’s been alleged that the Samsung is a superior quality panel in terms of contrast and viewing angles, I honestly can’t say there’s too much of a difference overall between the two. I’ve never had them side-by-side, and color calibration can certainly skew visual perception significantly, so let’s just say that your mileage may vary. If you don’t like the panel you get, take it back and try another one—Apple Stores seem to cater to discerning customers (or they have with me).

Pixel Density Comparison Obviously, given our familiarity with the Air 11”, there’s nothing surprising here with the 2013 edition. It’s roughly the same as the last few we’ve had, beyond standard panel to panel variations. Contrast ratio and color reproduction are pretty decent, as they were before, and viewing angles are solid by the standards of TN panels. This is still the best 11.6” TN panel I think I’ve come across, but it’s been eclipsed many times over by the 1080p IPS 11.6” panels that are shipping in basically any higher-end 11.6” Ultrabook these days.

LCD Analysis—Contrast

LCD Analysis—White

LCD Analysis—Black This is probably the biggest issue that I have with the 11” Air. The 11.6” 1366x768 TN panel was industry standard when the first Air 11” hit the market, and the panel quality was actually pretty decent. The display size, pixel density, and aspect ratio each specifically aren’t bad on their own, but the combination results in a pretty unsatisfying viewing experience in this day and age. I’ve never liked the 1366x768 resolution for notebook displays, regardless of panel size; the lack of vertical pixels just kills it for me. Even 1280x800 in the 13” MacBook Pro (non-Retina) is better. I don’t mind 16:9 as an aspect ratio, even at this size, but I just want more pixels. That’s really the biggest part of what makes the 13” so much more usable, the 1440x900 display in that also won’t blow you away in terms of dot pitch or even visually when compared to the Retina MacBook Pro or a modern Ultrabook, but it offers a much more pleasant experience than this 11.6” panel.

CPU Performance The iPad Question
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  • newbietech - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    I'd like an option to embed a wireless data card in the mac air. Touch feature on screen would be nice but I care more about being able to have an inbuilt wireless data card.
  • androticus - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    For both models, topping out at 4GB RAM is just a total non-starter for me.
  • Pneumothorax - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Hmmm... Apple does sell 8gb custom order configurations....
  • darwiniandude - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I ordered mine with i7 CPU, 8GB, and 512 SSD. It feels way faster than my old 15" retina MacBook Pro (wouldn't be for gaming though) and I have $480 left over after selling the Retina to buy this. Great little machine.
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Apple makes the same two mistakes over and over:
    1. Crap-ass glossy screen
    2. No real Delete key
  • KPOM - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Glossy screens are commonplace now. The ones on the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pros do not have the glass layer on top, so they don't reflect as much as the older MacBook Pros. The lack of a delete key is made up for by the functional function keys. Ii.e. I change the brightness or volume a lot more often than I need to front-delete, so I don't mind pressing FN-DEL as much (since I don't need to press FN-F4 or some other combination like I need to do on my Windows notebook).
  • antonio22m - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Macbook Air is undoubtedly a very good notebook
    Price and lack of optical drive can affect a large number of users whose decision during the judgment can be negative so that they can decide to choose another manufacturer.
    Air is perfect and the best "second computer" that you can wish for.
    His task was not to be the main and only computer we can possess.
    If you want excellent laptop computer that will be able to carry it with you wherever you go, the Air is an excellent choice for perfectly reasonable size and more pronounced weight that barely exceeds one kilo.
    Take a look at this comparison at and You will see comparison to the another Apple laptops.Anyone considering purchasing this laptop needs to see the information in this chart.
  • SirKronan - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    So a question I would have REALLY REALLY liked to see answered in this review is this: Is the $150 upgrade to the i7 processor worth it? How much of a gain will you see for your dollars?
  • SirKronan - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    Yay!! Found my answer ... finally! Thanks, AnandTech. i7 worth every penny for what I'll be doing with it.

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