Macbook review: apple's 12

The fan is blowing on this brand-new MacBook Air with Retimãng cầu Display. It’s a familiar sound: a computer trying to lớn cool down a processor that’s being overtaxed by one of the eight or so apps I have sầu running. (In this case, it’s TweetDeông chồng going rogue.) But it’s also a sound you don’t hear on more futuristic computers lượt thích the máy tính bảng ipad, the Surface Pro, or even the Pixelbook. Still, người or not, the computer is handling everything I’m doing just fine, & a quiông xã restart of the phầm mềm quiets it down.

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That bạn is a weird place khổng lồ start when talking about the new $1,199 MacBook Air. I’d rather jump into lớn all the many good things there are khổng lồ talk about: the pixel density on the new display, smaller bezels, cảm ứng ID, the T2 security chip, a larger trackpad, and a smaller thiết kế. I’ll get inkhổng lồ all that. But I want to hang with this fan noise for another minute because its whirring encapsulates the most important thing lớn know about this MacBook Air.

Namely: it’s a computer that will let you bởi whatever you want, even though some of those things are probably beyond its capabilities. It won’t say “no” when you want to open trăng tròn tabs and eight apps and then edit a pholớn. (Though, sometimes, with a tín đồ and spinning beachball, it will say “uncle.”) Most of all, it’s a computer that is familiar. It does everything you expect in a way that you’re used to lớn.

Sometimes, that’s enough.

Our đánh giá of Apple Macbook Air (2018)

Verge Score 7.5 out of 10

When I started testing the new MacBook Air, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should compare it khổng lồ. For $100 more, you could get a 13-inch Apple MacBook phiên bản Pro with a more powerful processor & brighter screen that only weighs 0.27 pounds more. You could also opt for a 12-inch MacBook with a slightly less powerful processor that weighs 0.72 pounds less. You wouldn’t get Touch ID with either, but the point is that choosing between this new Air và existing MacBooks is not as easy as it ought to lớn be.

Is this new Air like a 12-inch MacBook, just blown up khổng lồ a slightly bigger size? Is it more lượt thích a 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (sans cảm ứng Bar), just with cheaper parts? After all, if you phối the latter down next lớn this new Air, you can barely tell them apart.

My answer is that it’s both of those things. But the more truthful answer is that it doesn’t matter. People who have purchased one of those MacBooks already have a fairly modern, powerful computer that’s nice lớn use. The comparison that actually matters is to the old MacBook Air. There are a ton of people who have been hanging on khổng lồ theirs because it was so good & so reliable.

Comparing a 2018 laptop to one that hasn’t had a significant update since năm ngoái is going lớn strike tech enthusiasts as ridiculous. Of course the new Air is going to beat out the old Air on a whole host of metrics. But that’s precisely the point: Apple waited entirely too long khổng lồ release something like this new Air, so people have been waiting.

USB-C is still the future, but we’re waiting for it to be everywhere — RIPhường. MagSafe


If you’re one of those people, you’ve sầu got a lot lớn catch up on. This new MacBook Air essentially takes all of the new stuff Apple has been doing with laptops for the past three years and builds it into lớn a single device. So let’s just get into lớn what you’re in for.

First: ports and charging. Say goodbye lớn MagSafe for power forever. The new Air has two USB-C ports that you use khổng lồ plug everything in, including power. It’s the new standard for pretty much everything except iPhones. Though, as a standard, it is taking longer to, well, standardize than anytoàn thân would like.

The new charging cable doesn’t pop out when you trip on it, but that will not be the thing that impacts you the most. Instead, welcome khổng lồ #donglelife. You’re going lớn need a few adapters to lớn make sure everything that you currently plug inlớn your old máy tính xách tay will work on the new one. Fortunately, there are now some nice USB-C hubs that combine everything together. So the upside is you can have sầu just a single cable at your desk for your monitor, power, USB-A, SD cards, & everything else.

There is a tai nghe jachồng, thankfully, but no SD thẻ slot. Sorry.

Second is the screen. More than any other upgrade on the MacBook Air, this is the one you’re going khổng lồ love sầu. It’s a Retina Display, which, in this case, equates khổng lồ a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It’s sharp và beautiful under a glossy pane of glass, with much smaller bezels. Those bezels are not as tiny as what you can get on some Windows laptops, but it’s still a massive sầu improvement over the old Air.

There is one knochồng on the screen, though: it doesn’t get as bright as I would like. The spec on it is a max of 300 nits, but the important thing to lớn know is you’ll be cranking up the brightness to lớn near 100 percent more often. I haven’t had a problem viewing this screen, even in bright rooms, but I do have sầu a vague worry that it’s affecting my battery life lớn have it cranked up higher.

Okay, two knocks: it’s not a touchscreen. Apple’s macOS isn’t designed to work with touch at all, so it’s not here. Most other computers these days — whatever their khung factor — bởi support touch.


Third: the keyboard. It’s Apple’s newer “butterfly” design, which means that the key travel is super shallow, dust could potentially break it, and typing can be kind of loud. This third-generation version of it is designed to mitigate those last two concerns with a membrane that sits underneath the keycaps. You’ll find it’s a little weird khổng lồ type on for the first day, but you’ll get used lớn it. Some people still really don’t lượt thích it, but I’m not one of them: I really lượt thích this keyboard, even if it is a little clacky.


Fourth is cảm ứng ID và security. You can log in with just your fingerprint now, and it’s ridiculously fast & accurate. I’ve sầu been able lớn just quickly tap it lượt thích any key & unloông xã my computer. It’s not as convenient as the face unloông xã you get with Windows Hello-compatible computers, but it’s cthua kém. Best of all, you get Touch ID without having lớn get the silly Touch Bar that’s on MacBook Pros. Instead, you just have sầu real, regular function keys.

Touch ID is powered by Apple’s T2 chip, which is a little thing that keeps the entire máy vi tính secure. It protects your fingerprint, encrypts the SSD without taxing the processor, & even turns the microphones off when the máy tính is closed. It also handles a random assortment of other tasks, lượt thích đoạn Clip encoding & audio processing for the speakers to lớn give sầu them a wider soundstage. Those speakers are louder, too.

Fifth: a big tăng cấp for the trackpad. It’s way bigger now, though not quite as big as what you’ll find on a Apple MacBook Pro. More importantly, it has the unfortunately named “Force Touch” feature, which means you can press down anywhere on the pad khổng lồ get a satisfying clichồng. You might not think your MacBook Air’s trackpad was bad, but trust me, this is so much nicer.

Sixth is just overall build quality. This máy tính xách tay feels a lot nicer than the old MacBook Air. It fits the same kích cỡ screen in a smaller body, but it’s not as thin or as light as the thinnest & lighkiểm tra of laptops you can get today. When the first Air came out, it amazed everybody. This one, though very well-built, does not stvà out from the paông chồng when it comes lớn size or weight.

Apple says it’s made of 100 percent recycled aluminum, but it feels just lượt thích any other Apple máy vi tính. In fact, you could say it recycles a lot the kiến thiết ideas from both the 12-inch MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro inkhổng lồ this Air-shaped tapered kiến thiết.

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Seventh and last, let’s talk about specs. The story with specs gets a little complicated because the story with Hãng Intel processors is a little complicated. The processor inside the new MacBook Air is an 8th Gen, dual-core Hãng sản xuất Intel bộ vi xử lý Core i5, which sounds pretty good. And it is pretty good — but not all Hãng Intel processors are created equal.

The thing that neither Apple nor Intel will make easy for you lớn see is that this is a “Y-series” processor, which means that it’s more of a low-power chip than what you’d get on a Táo MacBook Pro or many Windows laptops. That detail might not matter for the average MacBook Air buyer, but it’s important for people who want a thin laptop that also happens khổng lồ be powerful. I am one of those people, & I instinctively look down my nose at the Y-series.

MacBook Air with Retina Display specs

Display: 13.3-inch Retimãng cầu Display, 2560 x 1600, 300 nits max brightnessSecurity: cảm ứng ID, T2 chipProcessor: 8th Gen Hãng sản xuất Intel bộ vi xử lý Core dual-core i5 Y-Series, 1.6GHz Storage: 128GB, configurable lớn 1.5TBRAM: 8GB, configurable to 16GBBattery: 50.3Wh, claimed 12 hours of website browsingPorts: two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, one headphone jackDimensions: 0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inchesWeight: 2.75 pounds

The complicated part is that Apple doesn’t just take a chip off the line và slap it in. Instead, it does some customization. So this Y-series chip is powered up lớn 7 watts, which is a higher wattage than what other laptops usually vị with the same processor. In other words, don’t judge this máy tính by the label on its processor.

So let me just bottom line it: this new MacBook Air is faster than the old MacBook Air, but not by the kind of margin you’d expect after three years (or even one, if you happened lớn buy the 2017 model). You can do all of the same stuff you can vì chưng on your current Air. I have been running a half-dozen apps at a time along with more than a dozen tabs in Chrome, & everything is pretty okay. I think for what most people will bởi vì with this laptop, it’s fine. The base $1,199 Mã Sản Phẩm comes with 8GB of RAM (which is enough for most people) & 128GB of storage (which is not).

If you’re hoping you’ll be able khổng lồ tăng cấp & get way faster video editing or process a ton of RAW photos at once, get a Táo MacBook Pro. Those kinds of tasks will bring this Air to a chug và spin up those fans. I have sầu found it khổng lồ be more capable and powerful than the 12-inch MacBook, but, again, the difference is not as big as I’d hoped.

I don’t think of any of this as a problem, though — not really. The Air can vì everything I want it lớn in my daily workflow. I just want khổng lồ be clear that my daily workflow doesn’t push the limits of this processor. My guess is that if you’re still using a MacBook Air, neither does yours.

As for battery life, I am not getting Apple’s claimed 12 hours of website browsing time. (Though, to lớn be fair, notoàn thân I know uses a computer only to browse the web in Safari for 12 hours straight.) I’d say I’m safely getting seven hours of fairly active sầu use: a mix of browsing, gmail, Slack, Twitter, some phokhổng lồ editing, & some more intense testing from time khổng lồ time. You could probably get more than that with a little restraint, but one of those restraints would be a screen ratcheted down khổng lồ a fairly dim brightness. It’s not a battery life champion, in other words, but I can almost guarantee you it’ll last longer than the decrepit battery in your current Air.

Is all of this worth $1,200? Yes. The performance & unique of this MacBook Air justify its price. Do I wish that Apple had found a way to lớn make a slightly less expensive laptop? My answer is also yes. (I am fully aware that those two ideas conflict.) As I said, the already-existing MacBooks might better fit your needs.

The real issue here is that you can get an ipad Pro or a Windows Laptop or even a Chromebook for less money that does almost everything this thing can do — almost everything. But there’s one very important thing they can’t do: run macOS.

And that’s the khuyến mãi. People lượt thích the Mac. It’s great to lớn have a computer that does all of the computer stuff you want in a way you’re familiar with. Until recently, the best computer for most people was the MacBook Air, and Apple took way too long khổng lồ update it. So people have sầu been waiting. And waiting.

Now, the wait is over. But if you were hoping that lightning would strike twice & this new MacBook Air would be as revolutionary as the old MacBook Air, well, it’s not. It’s basically a MacBook that finally includes all of the stuff that has been happening with laptops for the past few years. It is on par with the rest of the máy tính xách tay world, but it hasn’t moved beyond it. Sometimes that means the fan is going lớn spin up on you.

If you’re the kind of person who can switch lớn Windows, you can find something just as good & probably a little bit faster for less money. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 và Surface Pro 6, for example, are really solid. But a lot of people just want a good, modern, reliable Mac. Nothing fancy, really. They just deserve something that’s up lớn par.

And for those people, the ones who have been hanging on to lớn that old MacBook Air, this is a nice upgrade. It’s par for the course — & that’s probably enough.

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