MacBook Air vs MacBook comparison

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Processor comparison 

Regarding that processor difference. How does the Core M stand up to the Core i5?

The Core M is Intel’s new generation of processors that run so cool that they can be fanless. And being fanless means that the computer in which they feature can be thinner and smaller than ever. That M in Core M stands for mobile, though, and these are processors destined for tablets and hybrid laptops, so don’t expect anything like the power of the Core i5.

That said, something surprising has come out of early testing of an equivalent processor. According to T-Gapp  the new MacBook processor could be just as fast as the i5 in the MacBook Air.

According to that site (aka Two Guys and a Podcast), Geekbench 3 results for the new MacBook processor suggest that it could be the “best integration of Intel’s new Core M-Y571 processor to-date”. The Geekbench results are for the 1.2GHz MacBook and it scored 2831 for single-core and 5567 at dual-core. In their tests the updated 13-inch MacBook Air, with its 1.6GHz processor, scored only 3% more than the MacBook. We are currently running tests on the MacBook Air and will add our Geekbench results when we have them.

We tested the 1.6GHz processor in the MacBook Air by running the Geekbench 3 benchmark test and the MacBook Air scored 2912 points in single-core mode, and 5821 points multi-core. To compare, the 2014 model with its 1.4 GHz Haswell-generation processor achieved 2777 and 5400 points in the same tests. When we can report the MacBook benchmarks we will.

BUYING ADVICE: Processor comparison

While the MacBook Air processor appears to be faster than the MacBook in terms of clock speed (1.6GHz compared to 1.1GHz or 1.2GHz) there is some question of how big a difference that will make in real world testing.

If it’s a powerful laptop you are looking for you probably need to consider something other than the MacBook Air or MacBook. The MacBook Pro, which comes in 13in or 15in versions, offers a faster processor and when you consider the 13in models, there isn’t a big leap in price from the MacBook Air to the MacBook Pro.

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Battery life  

Apple went out of its way to fill every empty space in the MacBook with battery. The company describes how it used “every millimetre of space inside the slim MacBook enclosure.” Apple explains on its website how: “Traditional rectangular batteries leave unused space when placed in a curved enclosure, so we created a new type of battery technology that allowed for an innovative terraced battery cell, custom shaped to fit the specific contours of the enclosure.” As a result Apple has eked out 35 per cent more battery cell capacity than would have been possible without the innovation. Batteries actually sit on top of each other, as you can see in this illustration.

Apple claims the MacBook will offer a battery life of up to 9 hours web surfing and 10 hours iTunes viewing.

The 11in MacBook Air offers exactly the same: 9 hours battery life for web surfing and 10 hours for film watching on iTunes, according to Apple.

The new more power efficient processor in the MacBook Air should allow for better battery life, but when we ran tests on the 13in model we found that there was little difference between the 2014 and 2015 models. The 2014 MacBook Air ran for 12hr 38min while the 2015 counterpart played for 12hr 49min in our tests. We are currently running tests on the 11in model.

Apple's MacBook batteries are layered in every available space

BUYING ADVICE: Battery life 

Both laptops offer the same battery life, according to Apple. If you want more battery life you could look at the 13in MacBook Air, which is able to offer up to 12 hours between charges.