Review: The latest generation of MacBook Airs

Apple has a new MacBook Air and it looks... just like the old one. But there is more going on than meets the eye. Here is the lowdown on how Apple just made the best laptop on the market even better, says Steve Dinneen.

■ Battery life | If this was the only change in the new generation MacBook Air, it would still be enough to justify a positive review. Apple says it has finally wrestled all day battery life from its flagship laptop, with the 13 inch version staying charged for a whopping 12 hours, and its nine inch sibling lasting for nine hours. Real world figures will vary (and only in one direction – clue: not up) but this is a pretty astonishing feat nonetheless. There is more good news, too: the upcoming version of Apple’s operating system, OS X Maverick (the first in a decade not named after a big cat) claims to improve battery life even further.

■ New chips | The latest MacBook Air boasts Intel’s latest Haswell chips, which Apple says run up to 45 per cent faster than the previous generation. In real life, you don’t notice a massive difference if you’re just browsing the web and Skyping your mother but the odd half a second here and there all adds up if you’re a heavy user.

■ Microphone | The only physical difference in this latest generation Air is the addition of a second microphone on the left-hand edge, which is supposed to help with noise reduction when you’re making video calls.

■ Storage | Flash storage has doubled on the latest model from 64GB to 128GB.

■ What it didn’t have | I would love to have seen a retina display like the one on its big brother the MacBook Pro (presumably not included to conserve battery life and size).

The new MacBook Air range starts at £849;