The 2020 Retina MacBook Air.
This is the new Magic keyboard without a touch bar, but with a Touch ID.
Unfortunately, this computer only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and these are only on one side.
However, it still has a headphone jack.
The lid looks the same.
This glossy screen is not suitable for outdoor use, but you probably won't use it outdoors most of the time anyway.
Another angle on the laptop.
Apple wants people to fall in love with its latest MacBook Air.
For many users, the 13-inch MacBook Air before Retina is one of the best laptops ever made. However, it stayed behind the curve for too long when Apple introduced better performance and higher-resolution displays to the rest of its product range. Finally, Apple launched the high-resolution Retina display and some other improvements in 2018. Maybe the best laptop in the world was back?
The 2018 Air was a pretty good machine, but no longer a candidate for the world's best laptop thanks to its error-prone butterfly keyboard design and painful lack of ports. An update in 2019 brought some improvements, but none of these issues have been fixed. Now Apple has finally pulled out the butterfly keyboard and built in something that we hope is much more reliable.
So can the 2020 MacBook Air be considered the world's best laptop again?
Table of Contents
|Technical data at a glance: 2020 MacBook Air|
|screen||2560 x 1600 at 13.3 inches|
|operating system||macOS Catalina 10.15.3|
|Central processor||1.1 GHz 4-core Intel Core i5 (3.5 GHz Turbo) with 6 MB L3 cache|
|R.A.M.||8 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4X|
|GPU||Intel Iris Plus graphics|
|hard disk||512 GB SSD|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi; IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n; Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 3, 3.5 mm headphones|
|size||0.41-0.63 inches x 11.97 inches x 8.36 inches (0.41-1.61 cm x 30.41 cm x 21.24 cm)|
|Weight||1.29 kg (2.8 lbs)|
|warranty||1 year or 3 years with AppleCare +|
|Price as rated||$ 1,299|
|Other benefits||720p FaceTime HD camera, stereo speakers|
Apple MacBook Air (2020)
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The new Air offers three CPU options. The entry-level configuration for $ 999 has a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz and a 4 MB L3 cache. This is pretty anemic even for the price, but should be strong enough for a decent part of the machine's target audience.
Shoppers can spend an additional $ 100 on a 1.1 GHz Core i5 with 3.5 GHz Turbo Boost and a 6 MB cache. If you can afford it, the costs here are worth it. There's also a 1.2 GHz Core i7 with 3.8 GHz Turbo Boost and 8 MB cache option for $ 250 over the base configuration. However, if performance is so important to you, consider a MacBook Pro at this price instead.
For graphics, look for Intel Iris Pro graphics that match the CPU you selected.
In standard configurations, the Air has 8 GB of LPDDR4X memory at 3733 MHz. However, you can choose to upgrade to 16GB for an additional $ 200 – which I would recommend to many people, especially if they use a number of non-Apple apps, say Google Chrome.
Memory starts at 256 GB in the basic configuration, compared to 128 GB in previous Airs. Apple has doubled the memory in its MacBook range, and that's very welcome. 128 GB was pretty scarce even for light users, but 256 GB is just right for those who use this computer as a basic productivity computer. You can purchase up to 512 GB for another $ 200, 1 TB for another $ 400, or a hefty 2 TB for another $ 800.
The air has the same retina display as before. It is a 13.3-inch IPS panel with a native resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. Apple really got HiDPI displays started with the introduction of Retina displays, but while the company is strong in color accuracy, competing products now offer much higher resolutions.
However, the Air's screen is above the threshold above which more pixels reduce the return, so resolution is not a big disadvantage. However, buyers should know that the Air's display cannot match the MacBook Pro's photo-friendly color accuracy.
This is a good time to mention that the laptop has a 1440×900 screen area by default, which is pretty tight by today's standards. You can push it higher, but it looks a little less sharp, and UI animations (like wiping between spaces) just get a bit more choppy. It's not a big deal, but it's also not ideal.
The part of the data sheet that most disappointed me is the lack of Wi-Fi 6. Instead, we get the same old 802.11ac. Sure, Wi-Fi 6 is new to the scene, but you can expect this computer to be kept for three or more years, and Wi-Fi 6 will likely be pervasive by then. However, Bluetooth 5.0 is available.
This device also has stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support and a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as the seemingly same 720p FaceTime webcam that Apple has built into its laptops for ages. The camera is fine, but in the age of teleworking, it wouldn't be wrong to ask for a 1080p camera at this price.
Unfortunately, there is one of the biggest problems with the MacBook Air models for 2018 and 2019: only two ports, both Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C. More on that in a moment.
It's refreshing to see that Apple isn't trying to change the world here, it's just designing a solid workstation.
The air is thin, has the classic, tapered shape, looks sturdy and feels sturdy and doesn't waste space or material. From an industrial design perspective, it's one of the best things Apple has ever done.
It's also a little more repairable than it used to be, as the good guys at iFixit recently tore down. They found that new trackpad wiring made it easier to access the trackpad and battery without damaging the logic board, among other things. Repairability is still not a strong part of the MacBook Air, but seems to be improving.
The new model is almost imperceptibly thicker than the 2019 Air, but its shape remains otherwise unchanged, and that's a great thing. It's still a sleek, tightly designed little laptop, which is one of the most important things that so many people have appreciated in the air over the years. There are not many laptops that are so easy to carry and use.
However, the Achilles' heel of the design is the port situation. I'm not even talking about the fact that it uses Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C; Most other laptops in this class also use USB-C instead of larger USB-A ports, and it appears that this ship has sailed. Instead, I'm referring to the fact that it only has two ports, which may not be enough for a majority of the target audience, as one of these ports is normally used for power. To make matters worse, the connections are both on the left side of the machine. Is your socket on the right side of your desk? I hope you are cool if you put a string over the desk or in an uncomfortable arrangement behind it.
The ports remain the worst thing about the MacBook Air – but they're also the only thing I can criticize about the design. Now to the question everyone has: What is this new keyboard like?