Where to get the cheapest MacBook Air is one of the questions our readers often ask. This article is our guide to where to get the best MacBook Air price, which MacBook Air models are available to buy, and where to buy your MacBook Air.
Getting a cheap MacBook Air and saving money is important, but getting a good MacBook Air deal and buying your cheap MacBook Air from a good store is also important.
The MacBook Air is now Apple's flagship consumer notebook, initially introduced as a high-end laptop but now the staple product in Apple's laptop line-up, the MacBook Air combines fantastic performance, with extreme lightness but the MacBook Air price is higher than many people want to pay, so any MacBook Air savings are welcome.
Which MacBook Air to get
First of all you should decide if the MacBook Air is the right Mac for you? If you're undecided, or unfamiliar with Apple's range of Mac computers, read this Which Mac Should I Get article and this Which MacBook Should I Buy article first.
You should also read this MacBook Air 2012 review before comitting to buy a MacBook Air.
If you've decided that the MacBook Air is definitely the Mac for you, then the question of Which MacBook Air to get depends on your needs and cash.
Apple has four MacBook Airs for sale on the Apple Store. Two MacBook Airs with a 11-inch display, and two MacBook Airs with a 13-inch display. Which MacBook Air to buy is a tricky question, as all Macs are good, but offer slightly different features.
The MacBook Air is sold with an i5 processor running at 1.7GHz in the 11-inch models, and 1.8GHz in the 13-inch models.
All MacBook Airs have 4GB of RAM by default (an upgrade to 8GB is available as on optional upgrade).
All MacBook Airs have the same Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics chip.
The key differential between MacBook Airs is the amount of Flash hard drive storage (between 64GB and 256GB by default, with a 512GB expansion available on two MacBook Airs ).
Which MacBook Air you get is up to you, but we'd recommend the 11inch: 128GB model as a good purchase, and as the RAM cannot be upgraded after purchase, we'd be more comfortable with the 8GB RAM upgrade.
MacBook Air Apple Store price
You can buy a MacBook Air directly from the Apple Store, as well as most major retail outlets for the following prices.
MacBook Air 11-inch : 64GB
MacBook Air 11-inch : 128GB
MacBook Air 13-inch : 128GB
MacBook Air 13-inch : 256GB
MacBook Air Upgrades
A number of MacBook Air upgrades are available at the time of purchase. You should pay close attention to these, because it is hard to perform a MacBook Air upgrade after you have bought a MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air RAM can be upgraded from 4GB to 8GB when if you buy a MacBook Air from the Apple Store. If you buy a MacBook Air elsewhere you may find it comes with the stock 4GB RAM.
The MacBook Air hard drive comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB upgrades. You can upgrade the MacBook Air hard drive at the time of purchase, but not afterwards. The MacBook Air hard drive is Flash-RAM welded into the motherboard.
If you buy a MacBook Air in a sale you may be limited to which MacBook Air upgrades are available. The following MacBook Air upgrades are available at the time of purchase.
RAM Upgrade 4GB to 8GB + £80
USB SuperDrive + £65
AppleCare Protection £199
One to One Membership + £79
2.0GHz intel Dual Core i7 + £130 (11in model); + £120 (13in model)
256GB Flash Storage +£240 (11in model)
512GB Flash Storage +£640 (11in model); + £400 (13in model);
Again, we advise getting the RAM upgrade for £80 as it can't be upgraded at a later date. The Intel i5 and Intel i7 processors are not radically different, so paying £120-£130 for the upgrade seems an extravagance to us. Although we think 64GB of Flash RAM is incredibly tight, paying for the 256 or 512GB upgrades seem outrageously high to us, instead we'd go with the 128GB option and invest in a good external Lightning or USB 3 hard drive if we needed the extra storage space.
Cheapest MacBook Airs
So the entry level price of a MacBook Air from Apple is £849 but surely we can get a cheaper MacBook Air than that? If you want to buy a cheap MacBook Air then here are some great MacBook Air deals:
The second cheapest MacBook Air deal we can find is eBuyer, which is offering a MacBook Air deal for £778.99.
Amazon also has several sellers offering MacBook Airs at approximately £790 which is also a good saving. The MacBook Airs still have a one-year guarantee with Apple (which tracks all serial numbers) but be warned that Amazon only guarantees the initial condition and timely delivery of the MacBook Air, the ongoing guarantee that it'll work is between you and whatever company sold the MacBook Air though the Amazon store.
Be careful not to accidentally purchase an older MacBook Air, these are identifiable by having slower 1.6GH CPUs and only 2GB RAM).
Best MacBook Air deal
If you're happy to pay full price for a MacBook Air and want a MacBook Air deal from a retailer that you're comfortable with, then John Lewis offers a two-year warranty on all Apple products, which is twice as long as the standard one-year offered by Apple.
John Lewis also offers a three-year warranty MacBook Air deal for £150. This compares favourably with Apple's own AppleCare Protection, which is essentially a three year warranty for £199.
There are very few resellers offering MacBook Air deals with free accessories at the moment, we presume that this is because they are being discounted quite heavily elsewhere.
Refurbished MacBook Airs
One great trick that many Apple fans use is to buy a refurbished MacBook Air from the Apple Refurb Store.
A refurbished MacBook Air bought from the Apple Refurb Store is likely to be a brand-new but unsold model (if it is from a previous year), or a reconditioned MacBook Air if it a new model. A reconditioned MacBook Air is likely to be either an ex-demonstration model, used during Apple MacBook Air teaching programs, or a unit sold to a customer who decided to return it.
A reconditioned MacBook Air bought from the Apple Refurb Store is in no way inferior to a MacBook Air bought direct from the Apple Store. Most MacBook Airs bought from the Apple Refurb Store will be cleaned, checked, tested and visibly indistinguishable from brand new MacBook Airs
A reconditioned MacBook Air comes with the same 1 year warranty (extendable to three years with AppleCare protection.)
The only likely difference beween a reconditioned MacBook Air from the Apple Refurb Store and a brand new MacBook Air from the Apple Store, is that it will ship in a brown box rather than the white retal boxes that Apple sells.
The price for a reconditioned MacBook Air changes frequently, so keep an eye on the Refurb Store every day for a while to get a feel for what the cheapest price for the model you want is.
If you wait a while you'll typically get the model that you want. At the moment we can see a neat 11-inch MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz dual core i5 going for £719; and an even neater 11-inch MacBook Air with 128GB storage going for £789.
Perhaps the best deal at the moment is a 13-inch MacBook Air 2011 with 128 GB storage and 4GB RAM going for £789). Although it has a slightly slower graphics card than the MacBook Air 2012 it still sings, and this cheap MacBook Air gives you a 13-inch MacBook Air for £210 less than the cheapest 13-inch model currently on sale.