Tech

2020 MacBook Air Review: It’s the little things that matter

I feel like Apple has re-invented the keyboard a fair few times. It started with their revolutionary MacBook which kinda replaced the MacBook Air as the super-thin glory child of the Apple laptop lineup.

But the revolution that it was, it wasn’t received well by users over time. In fact, the Apple laptop keyboard has seemingly undergone several re-inventions since that time. But they’ve landed in the right place.

In fact, the keyboard is the only real part of this device that I can tell you about that is new from a user perspective.

Yes, under the hood it’s a faster machine with the latest Intel processors.

Yep, there’s more storage on board by default – double in fact.

And heck, they’ve even reduced the price, which in this climate is remarkable.

The Keyboard

As I’ve said, it’s the big difference, if you own an existing (modern) MacBook Air this is what’s different. This is what will please you most.

It’s only the second MacBook to use this new generation keyboard, following the 16 inch MacBook Pro launch, and for me, it’s my first time using it – and tapping out these words right now, it’s getting more and more pleasing as I go.

Light touch, yet extremely tactile. They make a noise, but they don’t tap tap tap away – it’s almost the perfect compromise of all the typist’s requirements you might imagine.

And of course, there’s the “inverted T” shape of the arrow key layout. It might not seem like much but it really does help you navigate those arrows, as opposed to the large left and right buttons with smaller up and down between them on previous MacBook Keyboards.

On the 2020 MacBook Air, Apple has nailed the touch, the feel, the sound of a great laptop keyboard.

More Power

The invisible benefit of the MacBook Air in 2020 is performance. While careful not to make this quite a “Pro” device, this MacBook Air is capable of more things that might just drive someone the MacBook Pro.

However, to really get that performance you have to spend a bit more than the base model no doubt.

$1,599 is the entry-level MacBook Air – that comes with an Intel Core i3 processor and while the Intel Iris Plus Graphics is what delivers better graphics performance, you’d still want at least a Core i5 processor if you’re going to start playing with any decent style video editing.

That said, I have no doubt your basic iMovie compilations will be achievable on the base model.

Throw the fastest i7 Processor in with 16GB of RAM and a 2TB hard drive and the price jumps up to $3,349 so you can really build this to suit your needs.

Size

Here’s a riddle for you, the MacBook Air – famously first announced by being revealed from an envelope – is bigger than the MacBook Pro.

  • Width – the same.
  • Depth – the same.
  • But the thickness, it goes from that narrow front edge of 41mm, up to 1.61cm.
  • MacBook Pro (13 inch) – 1.49cm thick.
From the back – MacBook Air on top – MacBook Pro on the bottom.

Strange really. I was stunned to sit it on top of the Pro and realise they were identical.

It’s the wedge that makes it a MacBook Air

Why Buy the Air?

Great question. Simple answer, it’s the cheapest way to get a MacBook. At $1,599 it’s a steal, as in – expect the alarms to go off when you leave the store.

Spec it up, and it starts to be a real balance between the Pro and the Air, given the Pro comes default with the fancy Touch Bar – but as someone who loves the physical keys, the MacBook Air is for me. And I think that could be the compelling reason many choose the MacBook Air.

2020 MacBook Air Review: It’s the little things that matter
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