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Hands-on review: The Apple MacBook Air 2020

27 May 2020

The MacBook Air has always been the most loved MacBook of the lineup. Its features and price make it a versatile tool that many rely on. Every year Apple improves on this beloved product and tweaks it to make it even better, and 2020 was no different. 

The Magic Keyboard

The keyboard is the biggest change in the MacBook Air this year. After its huge success in the MacBook Pro 16-inch, Apple has brought the new Magic Keyboard to the MacBook Air which is perfect. I didn’t mind the old Butterfly keyboard, but it wasn’t anything special.

The new Magic Keyboard uses a scissor mechanism which enables a 1mm key travel. Apple also designed this rubber dome that sits just underneath the keycap. This dome helps deliver the responsive and satisfying key press. 

The Magic Keyboard also brought back the inverted-T arrangement for the arrow keys. While this seems like an insignificant change to some, it is actually huge for productivity for anyone that is navigating through spreadsheets or playing games. 

The processor 

The 2020 MacBook Air is rocking the 10th generation Intel Processor. This means for the first time ever in a MacBook Air, it is running on quad-core processors. This gives the MacBook Air a boost that makes it two times faster than the older model. This faster CPU performance will shine in tasks like video or photo editing and music creation applications like Logic Pro. 

Apple has also updated the Intel graphics card. The new architecture of the Intel Iris Plus Graphics card features more execution units than the previous generation. The Core i3 model has 48EUs and the Core i5 and i7 have 64EUs. This bump results in an 80% faster performance for any graphic intensive activity. 

The MacBook Air is popular with students and people in business that don’t usually put that much pressure on it for their daily tasks. This performance boost means that now it can be used for much more than just homework, emails and streaming. Now you can use to edit videos or get creative without feeling like you are held back by its capabilities. 

Storage

After the Keyboard, storage is probably the second-best upgrade. Apple doubled the storage of the standard model to 256GB SSD. The MacBook Air can also be purchased in 512GB, 1TB and for the first time ever 2TB options. This means applications will launch faster and you will have space to save movies and files straight on your Mac. 

Verdict

For the starting price of AUD $1,599 and NZD $1,799, the 2020 base model MacBook Air is cheaper than the previous generation while offering better keyboard, processor, graphics and storage. I wouldn’t upgrade from the 2019 MacBook Air, but if you're looking to buy a laptop now or upgrade from an older model then the 2020 MacBook Air is a great choice.