Apple Macbook Air (2018)
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As if there was any doubt: this is, hands down, the best MacBook Air yet.
It looks every bit as premium as the MacBook Pro, and the fantastic screen is a quantum leap from the old generation’s basic panel. That keyboard is a treat for your fingers, too.
If you’re happy with macOS (and why wouldn’t you be, it’s ace) the Air is absolutely the go-to MacBook for the majority.
Plenty of upgrades are welcome including the Retina display, new internals, Touch ID and more. Just be aware the change to USB-C might be quite a shock if you’re new to it.
Apple has thrown the regular MacBook into an existential crisis: with the Air now becoming the perfect laptop for anyone who values portability.
We love the fact that it’s made from recycled aluminium. And we congratulate Apple on reducing the dimensions while still making a laptop that looks like the trademark Air.
Apple’s latest flagship laptop — the 2018 MacBook Air — is a gorgeous, powerful, sleek device that feels like the truest expression of the Air line.
After nearly two weeks with Apple’s brand-new MacBook Air, I’m convinced: It’s worth the high price tag.
Everything about the new MacBook Air feels tight and compact. The laptop is dense — no doubt a testament to the shrunken size.
The new Air is precisely the upgrade many users have been holding out for, with a slimmed-down body, sharper Retina display, long battery life and a useful Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Though it’s more than fast enough for common use cases, some might prefer to spend $100 on the entry-level MacBook Pro to get more processing power.
- Slimmed-down design
- Sharp Retina display
- Long battery life
- Spacious and reliable trackpad
- It has Touch ID
- Underpowered compared to a similarly priced MacBook Pro
- No option to upgrade the processor
- No more SD slot
- Screen is dimmer than the Pro’s
The MacBook Air’s long overdue makeover adds welcome additions like a high-res screen and Touch ID, but it includes some unwelcome trade-offs – including a much higher price.
The new model has such sweeping overall design, usability and component upgrades that it’s certainly worth at least $200 more than the old one.
- The MacBook is now smaller and lighter
- Better display, faster processors and a bigger touchpad
- MacOS experience and all-day battery are still big selling points
- The starting price has shot up significantly
- Still dual-core CPUs
- Shallow butterfly keyboard and limited ports may feel like a step back from the previous Air
The MacBook Air is an ideal buy for those with high expectations of what a laptop should look, feel and sound like, and primarily use the computer for web browsing, email, watching films and streaming services.
However, it is a shame that the MacBook Air’s graphics chipset hampers its ability to play popular games like Fortnite well. To look at this laptop with a pragmatist’s eye, this is the Air’s one real problem.
- Classic Apple build quality
- High-quality trackpad
- Great Touch ID pad
- Good battery life
- Screen is not that bright
- Fairly poor power per pound
Ultimately, if you must have a macOS machine for casual use, the MacBook Air will not let you down. More capable than the 12-inch MacBook, with its single I/O port, and less expensive than the MacBook Pro, this laptop offers a thoroughly excellent experience for performing casual computing tasks and a healthy though not exhaustive dose of the latest Apple innovations.
- Retina Display offers vivid colors
- Very comfortable Force Touch trackpad
- Secure boot capability
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Excellent battery life
- No CPU configuration options
- Y-series, not U-series, CPU
- No touch screen
- No USB Type-A ports or dedicated video output
- Shallow key travel
- Expensive as configured
- Occasional fan noise
Bottom line: If you need ultimate portability, get a MacBook. If you need cutting-edge power, get a MacBook Pro. If you want something you can take everywhere, do everything on, and not have to pay… quite so much of a premium for it, then get the MacBook Air. It’s the new normal.
For people who want: A balance of portability and performance; Retina display; Ultra-fast Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports; Smaller bezels; The most affordable MacBook.
Not for people who want: Extreme portability or performance; DCI-P3 Retina display; USB-A, Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, SDHC, or other ports; No bezels; A cheap notebook.
As an update model, the 2018 MacBook Air delivers a lot of what people have been waiting for – more resolution, less bezel, a smaller footprint – in a long-lasting and largely great package. It’s far more than a facelift.
However, it’s not without its share of problems. The third-generation butterfly keyboard has, in our hands, been problematic. The lack of an SD card slot also disrupts our workflow. But the biggest thing for many will be the notable price rise: at £1199 for the base model, the 2018 Air is nearly 25 per cent pricier than the outgoing model.
- High-res ‘Retina’ display with smaller bezel than previous Air models
- Large trackpad with Force Touch control
- Touch ID login via fingerprint is great
- Smaller and lighter footprint adds to appeal
- Loud and sometimes unresponsive keyboard
- Only Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and no SD card slot
- Confuses the MacBook/Air/Pro lineup
- No Face ID
- Strong Windows 10 competition now
With the 2018 MacBook Air, Apple’s has finally answered the demands of its customers. Though it’s nowhere near as game-changing as the previous generations were and unfortunately slightly more expensive, the new iteration is still perfectly positioned as a capable and beautifully built mass-market laptop for anyone who loves using MacOS. It takes many of the same great features of its 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar and puts them into a thinner laptop that’s also cheaper (albeit slightly less powerful). If you’re looking for a fully fledged Mac laptop for typical personal or work needs and hoping to spend less than $1,500, you can’t go wrong with the new MacBook Air.
Is all of this worth $1,200? Yes. The performance and quality of this MacBook Air justify its price. Do I wish that Apple had found a way to make a slightly less expensive laptop? My answer is also yes.
And for those people, the ones who have been hanging on to that old MacBook Air, this is a nice upgrade. It’s par for the course — and that’s probably enough.
- Retina Display
- Touch ID
- Great new trackpad
- Superb build quality
- Display doesn’t get super bright
- Not a huge speed upgrade
- USB-C ecosystem still a hassle
- For $100 more, you can get a more powerful 13-inch MacBook Pro or smaller 12-inch MacBook
Apple’s 2018 MacBook Air has a sleek refreshed design and a gorgeous Retina display, but there are better laptops out there for the price.
If the new MacBook Air came in at the same price as the old one, it would be a steal. […] As pretty as the MacBook Air is, there’s nothing that innovative about it.
- Superb design
- Gorgeous Retina display
- Excellent keyboard
- Includes fingerprint sensor T2 chip and ‘Hey Siri’
- Screen brightness isn’t the best
- Overpriced compared to the competition
- Performance is good but not great
The new MacBook Air is a welcome upgrade with a sharper display in a thinner and lighter design, but this laptop could use more power.
Even though the MacBook Air is more expensive than we’d want, it’s still a fantastic laptop and the best go-to macOS machine for most people.
- Thin and light design
- Sharp Retina display
- Eco-friendly aluminum chassis
- Booming audio
- Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Touch ID without the Touch Bar
- Slower than competition
- Expensive starting price
- Display could be brighter