5 reasons NOT to buy a MacBook Air

Apple's MacBook Air is now available from just £749, here we look at why, despite the lower price, it might not be the best Mac for your needs.

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  • 11in MacBook Air 1. Screen
  • 13in MacBook Air 2. Limited ports
  • MacBook Air upgrades 3. Upgradability
  • MacBook Air 2014 13in 4. Graphics
  • MacBook Air Retina illo Retina MacBook Air
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The screen isn't Retina

Despite all the rumours that suggested the MacBook Air would soon gain a Retina display, none of the MacBook Air models offers a high-res Retina display. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air model offers 1,366-by-768 resolution, compared to the 1,440-by-900 of the 13.3-inch MacBook Air display.

By contrast, the 13.3in MacBook Pro Retina offers 2560 by 1600 pixels while the 15.4-inch model offers 2880 by 1800 pixels.

Of course, you may not need those power-hungry extra pixels, which may serve only to reduce the battery life of your laptop Mac.

The 11.6-inch model offers 1,366-by-768 (1,049,088) resolution, compared to the 1,440-by-900 (1,296,000) of the 13.3-inch display on the MacBook Air.

By contrast, the 13.3in MacBook Retina offers 2560 by 1600 (4,096,000) pixels while the 15.4-inch model offers 2880 by 1800 (5,184,000) pixels.

We also have 5 reasons to buy a MacBook Air

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Next Prev 11in MacBook Air

Despite all the rumours that suggested the MacBook Air would soon gain a Retina display, none of the MacBook Air models offers a high-res Retina display. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air model offers 1,366-by-768 resolution, compared to the 1,440-by-900 of the 13.3-inch MacBook Air display.

By contrast, the 13.3in MacBook Pro Retina offers 2560 by 1600 pixels while the 15.4-inch model offers 2880 by 1800 pixels.

Of course, you may not need those power-hungry extra pixels, which may serve only to reduce the battery life of your laptop Mac.

The 11.6-inch model offers 1,366-by-768 (1,049,088) resolution, compared to the 1,440-by-900 (1,296,000) of the 13.3-inch display on the MacBook Air.

By contrast, the 13.3in MacBook Retina offers 2560 by 1600 (4,096,000) pixels while the 15.4-inch model offers 2880 by 1800 (5,184,000) pixels.

We also have 5 reasons to buy a MacBook Air

 

The ports are limited

When it launched in 2008 the MacBook Air was the first Mac to do away with various ports that, back then at least, we took for granted. There was and still is, no Ethernet, no optical drive, and no Firewire. However there are two USB 3 ports, a Thunderbolt port, and on the 13-inch model, a SDXD card slot. 

However, the MacBook Retina models offer two Thunderbolt 2 ports and an HDMI port .

Only the MacBook Pro without Retina offers a Firewire 800 port and a SuperDrive for reading CDs and DVDs - but you can plug in a SuperDrive to any Mac for £65 if you really must.

 

Upgrade options are restricted

If you think you will need more storage then upgrade the Mac at point of purchase as you won't be able to update it later. Luckily the MacBook Air offers the choice of either a 128GB or 256GB solid-state drive for storage, or a build to order 512GB SSD.

The MacBook Air can't match the upgrade options of the MacBook Pro with Retina display, though. You can get up to 1TB flash storage on the Retina MacBook Pro, and the standard MacBook Pro has a 1TB hard drive option.

You will also be stuck with a limit of 8GB RAM for the MacBook Air, only the MacBook Pro Retina can take 16GB RAM.

Read: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro review

 

Limited graphics options

The Air only offers the Intel HD Graphics 5000 card, which while a great graphics chip can't really compete with the MacBook Pro's Intel Iris Graphics or the opportunity to add an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M processor for a dual graphics card set up.  

 

There may be an even better MacBook Air on the way

There have been claims that Apple will launch a 12-inch Retina display version of the MacBook Air with a Retina display at some point this year. Some Mac fans may prefer to wait to see whether that rumour proves to be true, although the new MacBook Air may not live up to the legacy of the current models, especially the Retina display is more demanding on battery life. 

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