2020 MacBook Air Reviews Praise Magic Keyboard and Faster Performance at Lower $999 Starting Price


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The media has got its hands on the new MacBook Air and first impressions of the notebook after a day or two of usage are largely positive.

Following in the footsteps of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air features a redesigned Magic Keyboard with scissor switches that deliver 1mm of key travel for a comfortable and stable key feel. As with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, reviews find the keyboard on the new MacBook Air to be far better than the problematic butterfly keyboard of recent years.

TechCrunch's Brian Heater:
Unlike other iterative attempts to update the butterfly mechanism, the move back to a scissor switch is a marked improvement. The keys are still relatively soft compared to other systems, but the feel is much improved -- not to mention not as loud while typing. The feeling here is pretty similar to what you get with Apple's Bluetooth Magic Keyboard peripheral. Honestly, that makes it a valuable upgrade in and of itself.
CNBC's Todd Haselton said "I'm pleased to report that the new keyboard is a vast improvement."

Engadget's Dana Wollman went as far as putting "buy it for the keyboard" in the title of her piece.

Apple significantly redesigned the MacBook Air in 2018, but it also increased the base price of the notebook from $999 to $1,199. Fortunately, the 2020 base model not only starts at $999 again, but also comes with a doubled 256GB of storage. Writing for Six Colors, Jason Snell said this price "finally sets the bar at the right place."

One caveat of the new $999 base model is that it is equipped with a 1.1GHz dual-core Core i3 chip, but it is a newer 10th-generation Intel processor. Apple told CNBC's Todd Haselton that the Core i3 chip is a "big upgrade" from the 8th-generation 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 chip in the base model 2018 MacBook Air.

Still, many reviews recommend spending an extra $100 to upgrade to a 1.1GHz quad-core Core i5 chip -- the first quad-core MacBook Air configuration ever.

One criticism that Haselton offered is that the new MacBook Air continues to have a 720p webcam, with many customers wishing that Apple would offer a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera on its notebooks.

More first impressions were shared by CNET's Dan Ackerman, Business Insider's Lisa Eadicicco, TechRadar's Gareth Beavis and Matt Hanson, PCMag's Tom Brant, Pocket-lint's Stuart Miles, and the Daily Express' David Snelling.

Video Impressions and Unboxings

Article Link: 2020 MacBook Air Reviews Praise Magic Keyboard and Faster Performance at Lower $999 Starting Price


macrumors 68020
Jul 14, 2015
East Coast, United States
Core i5 Geekbench scores has an excellent single-core score - 1192, which put it at second place behind the Core i9-9900K AMD the multi-core score of 3238 puts the Core i5 in the hunt with 2015, 2016 and 2017 15” MacBook Pros, the 2018 Core i3 Mac mini and the 4-core and 6-core 2013 Mac Pro. It will be interesting to see how the Core i7 does, but I suspect it won’t be beyond a 5%-7% increase as the clock speed (base and turbo) of the i7 really isn’t that much higher than the Core i5. Overall, this is a huge update over the previous 2018/2019 MacBook Air. Looking forward to seeing one in person, someday. Kudos to Apple, they appear to now have the MacBook Air on the right side of the value equation.


macrumors 68020
Jul 14, 2015
East Coast, United States
No shots of the internals? I'm interested to see if they keep their "indirect active cooling" solution like on the 2018. Assuming they're using an i5-1035G4, that's got a base TDP of 15W... Much higher than the 7W Y-Series on the previous gen.
@MakeAppleAwesomeAgain thinks they TDP-Upped the Core i5-1030G7 to 1.1GHz...I haven’t watched all the videos to see if a one has disclosed the CPUs that are being used.


macrumors member
Aug 26, 2018
Very solid upgrade and good value for price. Can finally recommend this to friends and family. Getting a laptop under $1000 and not capping it at 128GB is huge. This along with the base spec updates to the Mac Mini, iPad Pro, and MBP 16 last year is a positive trend.


macrumors member
Feb 24, 2017
And I still cant decide:( base model/base+upg cpu/base+16gb of ram or pricier i5+16ram+256ssd
i'd like to keep it for as long as possible, but it's gonna be my first macbook and i dont know what i need


macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2003
that town east of ann arbor
I think calling the new keyboard magical because this one actually works is letting Apple’s marketing department get a little carried away.
It's Apple's brand name for their keyboard. The external Magic Keyboard was released alongside the Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 in 2015. They just incorporated the same design and brand to the notebook line.

In other words - they already had a very good keyboard all along. They tried, and failed to innovate on their MacBook line and had to pivot back to what worked.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2012
Anyone seen a review with actual work being done? They only say it's good for web browser, I can't believe it can't do more than that.


macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
Portland, OR
Can you explain what benefits the average user would see from this?
WiFi 6 isn't just about speed. It helps in congested areas, has better range, and more throughput. I would suggest that the average user could benefit from WiFi that is better in every way. It will take time for routers to be replaced, but many people use their laptops for years and years.
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