The best thin laptop in the world: Apple Macbook Air 13in vs Asus Zenbook UX305 – Stuff

What’s the story?

The laptop that practically invented the Ultrabook format has been updated for a seventh time, but don’t worry: they kept the MagSafe socket. It’s outwardly the same slim, light slice of tech, only now with a Thunderbolt 2 port and Intel’s latest Broadwell-generation Intel Core i5 CPU that lets it rev that bit harder.

Is it any good?

Apple knows not to mess with a winning formula, and the Air 13in is still almost unbeatable. Just check out the battery life: up to 12 hours. Very few Windows laptops get anywhere close. What’s more, with a Core i5 CPU playing conductor, OS X sings beautifully. (If you’re planning to edit videos, upgrade the RAM to 8GB.) One of the big benefits of OS X is that it gets you Office-style apps such as Pages for free. Numbers and Keynote round off a pretty good suite for work stuff.

There is, however, a sense that Apple is being a bit too slow to really change the Air, and the most obvious sign of this is the screen. When most phones are 1080p, the Air’s panel seems quaintly old-fashioned. It looks plain bad when not viewed dead-on, and it’s nowhere near as sharp as the Asus or Apple’s other laptops. One area where it has gained pace however is connectivity. The new Thunderbolt 2 port will provide it with bandwidths that run four times faster than through a USB 3.0 port.

While it’s one thing not to mess with a formula, Apple’s fancy new 12in MacBook makes the Air’s design look a little tired.

Stuff says ★★★★☆

Still a great laptop with awesome battery life, but the screen and design are ageing

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