Only if you attempt to do something graphically or arithmetically challenging, such as attempting to play the latest game, edit multiple 4K videos or mine cryptocurrency, will you find the MacBook Air struggles. The MacBook Air is capable of seeing out a work day without having to be plugged in, lasting about nine hours between charges. That was with the brightness set about two-thirds, 20 or so tabs open in Chrome, iA Writer, Reeder and various chat apps in constant use, while listing to Spotify over Bluetooth headphones for four hours.
The smaller the charger is physically the better but 30W is relatively low-powered, taking around 2. Now at version For the most part you cannot tell that the app is a port of sorts of an iOS app. The Apple News app works more or less as any regular Mac app would, but with fewer features and options than you might be used to on macOS, and the same goes for Voice Memos, which syncs with the Voice Memos app on iOS. MacOS is a mature and stable operating system that anyone who has used Windows 10 or most versions of Linux will be able to adjust to relatively easily.
The body is made from the recycled offcuts of aluminium left over from the manufacture of other Apple products.
In many ways the original MacBook Air became the default Mac for most people. The new MacBook Air lives up to most of the standards set by its predecessor. It is highly capable machine that will handle the majority of what most people need to get done. It is arguably the most balanced and, therefore, best Apple laptop currently available. Apple 13in MacBook Pro review: Surface Laptop 2 review: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review: Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet review: This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.
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By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. More information. Like a wedge-shaped MacBook Pro. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Apple. Well, now the Air has the screen it deserves. At x, the Air's retina display treads a sensible middle ground between p and 4K resolutions, which would probably be asking too much of its low voltage CPU. The ugly, chunky bezels of the old model are gone, too with the now much skinnier black borders not distracting you from what's on-screen. There's a significant step up in terms of detail here, with four times the pixel count versus the old Air.
Putting it next to our previous gen Air, it suddenly feels alarmingly fresh and lust-worthy. Pictures look pin-sharp, with vibrant but accurate colours that are much more expressive than the last-gen model.
Apple MacBook Air review: the new default Mac
Brightness here is also limited to nits, compared to the Pro's nits. That's still plenty bright enough for office working, but less suited to professional colour work. An uprated set of speakers deliver similarly impressive audio, with an impressive degree of stereo separation and decent amount of volume. For plenty of old Air owners, their laptop is their only device for watching movies and streaming video; this new model more than delivers when it comes to multimedia.
The biggest change for anyone migrating from an older MacBook Air? That'll be the new keyboard and touchpad. It now uses the same buttterfly switch design as the 12in MacBook and MacBook Pro, which is much slimmer and with far less key travel than before. A new silicon barrier should keep dirt and grime from getting underneath the keys, and hopefully prevent some of the issues MacBook Pro owners have reported. If you're used to smashing keys with the force of the Incredible Hulk whenever you type, this'll feel a bit like typing on glass, and it can make quite a racket, too - albeit not as much as the original 12in MacBook, which was loud enough to warrant earplugs.
Apple MacBook Air 13" () review | Stuff
Size-wize it's ideal, though, and we had no trouble getting our word count up to speed after spending the last few weeks working on an older-generation Air. The all-singing, all-dancing touchbar second display remains exclusive to the top-end MacBook Pro, and that's probably a good thing: The all-glass touchpad brings Force Touch to the air for the first time, letting you apply a bit of extra pressure to activate new menu options or shortcuts.
The huge pad is perfect for zipping around the desktop, and is still the most accurate and responsive you'll find on any laptop. But hang on a minute: What gives? It's because Apple has switched to Intel's eighth-generation processors, which are more efficient at lower speeds. That means performance is on par, but battery drain is significantly lower. And besides, 1. Sure, adding more would help with multitasking or demanding apps like Photoshop, but we're betting most Air owners will be sticking to the simpler stuff.
Not that the Air is sluggish, mind. Safari web browsing is smooth as you like, the Photos and iTunes apps open rapidly and even working on a sizeable Photoshop file felt responsive. There's just about enough power to play some games, too. Blizzard's action RPG Heroes of the Storm defaulted to low graphics settings and p resolution, but was slick enough to enjoy a few rounds online.
Epic's monumentally popular Fortnite is playable too, as long as you're prepared to drop the details, accept frame rates in the 30s and put up with some considerable noise from the Air's internal fan. Is this a gaming machine though?
Apple MacBook Air 13" (2018) review
Absolutely not - but it'll scratch the itch if you really want it to. An external hard disk or USB-C flash drive would be far cheaper. What the last-gen Air lacked in performance, it made up in longevity. It could comfortably outlast the more powerful MacBook Pro away from the mains, and this new version can do the same. Apple rates it for 13 hours of video playback, or twelve hours of 'wireless web working' - basically a mix of the typical tasks a user would fill their day with.
If you want to work without being tethered to a plug socket, then, the Air is the MacBook to go for. In our tests, which threw in some Photoshop editing, a quick round of Fortnite and some streaming Netflix, the Air still managed north of eleven hours. It's not quite as long-lasting as Microsoft's Surface Laptop, but still comfortably enough to get you through a full working day.
MacOS Mojave has been doing the rounds for a few months now, so of course it comes installed on the Air right out of the box. That means you get the same slick, user-friendly operating system as before, only now with a few extra goodies.
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That includes an eye-friendly Dark theme, a redesigned Mac App store that makes finding new apps that much easier, desktop stacks for quickly organising your messy files and folders, and the improved gallery view for Finder. The latter is an evolution of Apple's clever-looking, but not-so-clever to use cover flow view, giving you a more detailed look at your files without taking up the entire screen.
It's always listening unless you tell it not to and is just as adept at recognising your assorted mumblings as an iPhone or iPad. Siri is less of an airhead these days.
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There are no major new apps to get your head around in Mojave , so anyone coming from an older MacBook should feel right at home here.