The Apple MacBook Air is back, in the same super-skinny chassis that we originally fell in love with back in 2010. The latest model was officially unveiled at the Cupertino company's WWDC conference in June, along with the refreshed MacBook Pro models and the incredible MacBook Pro with Retina display.
The MacBook Air boasts a design that has become a classic, a blueprint for contemporary technology done correctly, and an inspiration for the ever-increasing Ultrabook brigade. But it's also the third time that we've seen the tech giant wheel out the same exterior for its slimline laptop.
With slick-looking rivals such as the Samsung Series 9, the Asus Zenbook UX31, the Sony Vaio T13 and the Dell XPS 13, it's clear that Apple has a confidence and belief that the MacBook Air still has the wow-factor to tempt buyers over to the Mac-side when it comes to buying an ultra-portable notebook.
In case you're not familiar with the MacBook Air's design, we're dealing with a ridiculously thin unibody aluminum machine that measures just 3mm at its slimmest point and 17mm at its thickest. There are two display size options, 11.6-inch (which we're reviewing) and 13.3-inch, with the smaller of the two weighing less than 1.1kg and the larger just 270g more.
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Previous experience with other MacBook Airs tells us that, while awful purdy, the brushed silver finish is prone to the odd scratch or scuff, although our brand new review model is yet to show any signs of wear and tear.
Whereas once the MacBook Air was a luxury notebook, reserved for the rich and crazy, it is now competing in a much busier marketplace and, as such, Apple has responded with a complete refresh of the MacBook Air 2012's innards, offering up a wealth of the latest tech at a much more competitive price.
The most notable change comes by way of the CPU, which has been bumped up to the third-generation Intel Core platform. With new i3, i5 and i7 laptops arriving in their droves ever since the platform landed in May, it's great to see Apple playing its Ivy Bridge hand early - with major refreshes across all of its portable machines.
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The cheapest MacBook Air with the new hardware stands at £849 in the UK and $999 in the US. This gets you an Intel i5 powered 11.6-inch machine with 64GB of flash storage.
The model used for this review is priced up at £929/$1,099 thanks to the larger 128GB SSD storage option. There are also two base 13.3-inch models retailing at £999/$1,199 for 128GB and £1,249/$1,499 for 256GB.
You can, of course, configure to your hearts content and run the MacBook Air's price even higher - upping the RAM from 4GB to 8GB and storage to 512GB on any model, and more - but we'd question your sanity if you paid £2,000/$2,200 for a fully specced Air when you could nab the eyeball-blowing MacBook Pro with Retina display for less than that.