MacBook Air (2020) Best Review: The same reliability, with a better chip and keyboard.
It’s long been the go-to laptop for students and professionals, and in 2018, it got even better if Apple finally overhauled the design. However, the shallow keyboard that Apple introduced that revision has been criticised quite heavily.
Today, we’ll be reviewing the newest 2020 version of the MacBook Air, which promises a better keyboard based on client feedback.
The new MacBook Air (2020) boasts of three major changes in contrast to its predecessor a new Magic Keyboard, 10th Gen Intel processors, and 256GB of storage for the base variant (up from 128GB).
At a really non-Apple move, the official starting price of the laptop is now currently roughly Rs. 7,000 reduced, at Rs. 92,990.
I have been using the base edition of this MaBook Air (2020) as my primary laptop for a few days, and it’s time to understand how much of a difference these modifications have made.
MacBook Air (2020) Best Review: Design
The MacBook Air (2020) has the same design of this 2018 refresh but is slightly thicker and heavier. If you’re used to the elderly non-Retina MacBook Air, like I’m, then there’s a lot that is new.
The overall size of this notebook is smaller, making it a lot more mobile, and it’s a bit lighter too, beginning at 1.29kg. The entire body is constructed using 6000-series aluminium, which makes it feel quite sturdy.
The Apple logo on the lid isn’t backlit anymore, but rather comes with a mirror finish, which complements the matte finish on the rest of the body.
The”golden” MacBook Air (2020) that I have more closely resembles rose gold and seems a whole lot better than the rose gold finish of some elderly iPhone versions.
If you would like to produce a statement every time you go to a Starbucks, then I can see the allure of the gold choice. I would still select the silver or room grey colours over this, but that is just a personal choice.
The 13.3-inch IPS Retina display looks fantastic and is a big step up in the non-Retina model, with a much higher resolution of 2560×1600 pixels.
In addition, you get Apple’s True Tone technologies, which automatically adapts the colour temperature of the screen to ambient lighting. The bezels around the display are thinner also, making the notebook look more modern.
1 thing which I found a little strange was that the top corners of the display are not rounded, but those at the base are. While the aluminium lid features lots of security, the screen still flexes easily once you touch it with a bit of pressure.
MacBook Air (2020) Best Review: Keyboard
Among the greatest changes to this new MacBook Air (2020), is the Magic Keyboard. Apple has finally retired its debatable butterfly mechanism in favour of a new scissor mechanism.
We first saw it on the 16-inch MacBook Pro past year. The new keys feel quite responsive as a result of the 1mm of traveling and aren’t noisy when you sort.
The key layout is very comfortable, except for the power switch, which is smaller when compared with the non-Retina version.
The latter works well with just a tap and is useful for logging in to the machine, authorising program downloads, and if you need to autofill credentials for websites in Safari.
The MacBook Air (2020) has stereo speakers, one on both sides of the computer keyboard. Apple states it can deliver double the bass and up to 20 percent higher volume compared to this non-Retina model.
There are a total of three magnets positioned around the notebook, and thanks to this dedicated T2 security chip, you may use the’Hey Siri’ voice command to summon Siri at will.
The trackpad is 20 percent bigger compared to the non-Retina model and feels equally as responsive as before. Regardless of the increase in size, I did not confront any unintentional presses or cursor moves while studying.
The trackpad also supports Force Touch, which means you get haptic feedback if you press down on any portion of it. There’s also a Force Click gesture which you play by continuing to use pressure after the click registers.
You are feeling a stronger haptic heartbeat to know you have completed the action. I discovered it to be rather handy for previewing documents and images.
MacBook Air (2020): Ports
The physical connectors on the MacBook Air (2020) are reduced to two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports and a headphone jack. The 2020 refresh now supports you 6K or up to 2 4K external screens throughout the Type-C interfaces.
The issue with having only Type-C vents is that connecting most frequent accessories to the laptop is next to impossible with no adapter.
Ideally, you’ll want to put money into a Type-C hub which has connectors for USB Type-A ports, Ethernet, and maybe an SD card reader.
If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, transferring anything between Apple apparatus is at least less of a issue, as a result of AirDrop.
Another large change with the 2020 refresh is that the chip. The MacBook Air (2020) currently features Intel’s 10th production CPUs, which guarantee better processing capabilities compared to prior Retina MacBook Air.
I am analyzing the base model, which comes with an Intel Core i3-1000NG4’Ice Lake’ CPU, together with two cores and four threads. It’s built on the 10nm fabrication process and features Intel’s Iris Plus integrated images.
MacBook Air (2020): SSD
The bottom version of the laptop also has 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM along with a 256GB PCIe SSD.
Apple India sells a different pre-built model with a quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, plus a 512GB SSD for Rs. 1,22,990. Moreover, since May this year, you can customise Mac settings through Apple Authorised Resellers in India.
With this versatility, you can elect for a quad-core Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of all SSD storage.
The MacBook Air (2020) also includes dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5, an HD webcam, and a 50Wh battery using a claimed 11-hour battery life.
My only complaint is that 720p is a fairly low resolution for a webcam in 2020, along with the footage it catches is generally a bit grainy, even in well-lit environments.
MacBook Air (2020): Display
The MacBook Air (2020) also supports the Sidecar characteristic of macOS, which permits you to use a compatible iPad as a second display, wirelessly.
can read about all of the main features of Catalina directly here. The latest 10.15.5 upgrade also added a brand new battery health management feature for MacBooks to greatly help increase the lifespan of your battery life.
MacBook Air (2020): Functionality and Battery life
If you are coming from a non-Retina Core i5 MacBook Air such as I am, then changing to a Core i3 CPU may seem as a downgrade, but it actually isn’t.
Intel’s current 10th-generation’Ice Lake’ Core i3 chip in the MacBook Air (2020) is just as powerful, if not better in some ways compared to fifth-generation’Broadwell’ Core i5 in the non-Retina version.
In the Cinebench R20 benchmark, the MacBook Air (2020) posted a very similar multi-core rating of 626 factors as the elderly MacBook Air, but the single-core score improved by approximately 24 percent, at 348 points.
The MackBook Air (2020) published 16.3fps at GFXBench Metal’s Aztec Ruins test, while my elderly MacBook Air handled 30fps. However, if we take resolution out of the equation, the Iris Plus images chip marches ahead.
In the resolution-independent’offscreen’ version of the exact same evaluation, the MacBook Air (2020) managed 29.2fps, while the non-Retina MacBook Air managed only 20fps. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
Though the integrated GPU from the MacBook Air (2020) is better, it fights with graphically intensive tasks on account of this higher-resolution display.
Also see: Best antivirus for macbook air
SSD performance has also been enhanced. In the AmorphousDiskMark benchmark, the MacBook Air (2020) averaged 1.63GBps and 1.15GBps from the read and write tests. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
My non-Retina MacBook Air, on the other hand, was able to ordinary 1.2GBps and 430MBps at exactly the same tests. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
I utilized the new MacBook Air (2020) as my primary work laptop for this review, and the performance was pretty solid throughout.
MacOS booted up quickly, multitasking was relatively simple, and the bigger trackpad made gestures even simpler to use. Editing images in Adobe Photoshop CC 2020 was also managed very nicely.
The only time I heard it spinning was through a system update. I noticed that the bottom of the notebook was normally on the warmer side, whether I had been watching a video or simply browsing the internet.
The Magic Keyboard is excellent and feels similar to the one about the non-Retina MacBook Air, just quieter. Icons and text generally look sharp on the Retina screen, with no apparent jagged edges when viewing it from a normal distance.
Videos also greatly benefited from the new screen. Streaming movies and TV shows appeared clear, colours were better saturated, and black levels had been greatly improved compared to this non-Retina version. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
The stereo speakers got loud and the noise remained clear, but still lacked punch in the bass. The MacBook Air (2020) is not intended for gaming but it can handle some titles in your App Store. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
The Core i3 version that I tested had difficulty churning out consistent framerates even in games like Asphalt 9: Legends. I discovered mild intermittent stutter even in apparently simple games such as Limbo, which can be available through Steam.
Heavier titles such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider denied to operate altogether. The base of the laptop and the area over the computer got hot after about 10 minutes of gaming, however, the keys and palm rest area weren’t changed as much.
When using it for a greater part of this week, it blatantly rebooted twice as it had been left idle. I am not certain what caused this, and I wasn’t able to replicate it but I did locate that a few complaints on Apple’s community site referring to a similar issue.
Another little quirk I stumbled upon was that when cycling through the previews of large picture files (around 8MB each), the OS would randomly freeze and the laptop would shut down. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
My elderly 2017 MacBook Air running the identical version of macOS did not have this issue. I am not sure if that is a bug in macOS or if it’s just my device acting erratically.
Apple claims the MacBook Air (2020) can run for as much as 11 hours of Web browsing or up to 12 hours of video playback on a single charge.
While I wasn’t able to achieve these numbers during my review, I did receive a satisfactory amount of runtime with regular workloads.
A normal workday of mine generally involved writing in Pages, lots of Safari use, some Photoshop work, and Spotify streaming from the background. For this, I was averaging approximately eight to nine hours on one charge.
If I threw in a bit of gambling or watched a lot of videos, then this dipped a bit. The laptop ships with a 30W USB Type-C charger that takes about one hour and half an hour to fully charge it. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
Verdict: Should you Get the MacBook Air (2020)?
If you are an existing user of a non-Retina MacBook Air out of 2017 or sooner and were holding out for an update, I believe the 2020 refresh is well worth going for.
The more compact body, better screen, more efficient processor, and higher SSD capability are big updates. Additionally, the new keyboard finally fixes the many complaints users have experienced with Apple’s past keyboard.
The pricing might not be as aggressive as what the non-Retina models were selling for a year or two back in India, but it’s still a lower cost when compared with 2018 MacBook Air, that can be a step in the right direction.
Macbook Air (2020) Price in India
I would be remiss if I did not mention that in Rs. 92,990 for the base version of this MacBook Air (2020), you will find stronger Windows thin-and-light laptops with Intel 10th Gen CPUs. Acer’s Swift 5 is one such model that comes to mind.
However, the blend of macOS along with the tight integration of iCloud on Apple apparatus is what makes the Mac experience exceptional, although the hardware might not always be at par with its Windows competitions. (MacBook Air (2020) Best Review)
MacBook Air (2020): Specification
Display size: 13.30-inch Display resolution: 2560x1600 pixels Touchscreen: No Processor: Core i3 RAM: 8GB OS: macOS SSD: 256GB Graphics: Integrated Graphics Processor Weight: 1.29 kg
Compact, all-metal body
Sharp and vivid display
Decent overall performance
Good battery life
Average-quality webcam Runs hot under load