MacBook Air Reviews Roundup: 'Best Computer for Most People' Again After 2018 Refresh

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Apple's embargo lifted today on the first full-length reviews of the new MacBook Air ahead of the notebook's release on Wednesday.

The new MacBook Air via The Verge

The new MacBook Air features a faster 1.6GHz dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, a Retina display, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1.5TB of SSD storage, and Intel UHD Graphics 617. It also has Touch ID, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and the same third-generation butterfly keyboard as the latest MacBook Pro.

Review Highlights

The Verge's Dieter Bohn:
So let me just bottom line it: this new MacBook Air is faster than the old MacBook Air, but not by the kind of margin you'd expect after three years (or even one, if you happened to buy the 2017 model). You can do all of the same stuff you can do on your current Air. I have been running a half-dozen apps at a time along with more than a dozen tabs in Chrome, and everything is pretty okay. I think for what most people will do with this laptop, it's fine. ...

If you're hoping you'll be able to upgrade and get way faster video editing or process a ton of RAW photos at once, get a MacBook Pro. Those kinds of tasks will bring this Air to a chug and spin up those fans. I have found it to be more capable and powerful than the 12-inch MacBook, but, again, the difference is not as big as I'd hoped.
And:
People like the Mac. It's great to have a computer that does all of the computer stuff you want in a way you're familiar with. Until recently, the best computer for most people was the MacBook Air, and Apple took way too long to update it. So people have been waiting. And waiting.

Now, the wait is over. But if you were hoping that lightning would strike twice and this new MacBook Air would be as revolutionary as the old MacBook Air, well, it's not. It's basically a MacBook that finally includes all of the stuff that has been happening with laptops for the past few years. It is on par with the rest of the laptop world, but it hasn't moved beyond it.
Wired's Lauren Goode:
What might push you towards the Air, though, more so than any other Mac laptop, is its battery life. ...

Not surprisingly, the laptop drained much more quickly when I used the MacBook Air to charge my iPhone, something I do often. But in another recent test--browsing in Safari, running Slack and iMessage, editing a few photos in Lightroom, all with the display between 60 to 70 percent of maximum brightness--it lasted just under eight hours.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber:
A lot of people are looking at the lineup as it stands today thinking they must be missing something, because it seems obvious that most people looking for a MacBook in this price range should buy the new MacBook Air. They're not missing anything. The new Air is exactly that: the MacBook most people should buy, and exactly the MacBook everyone has been asking Apple to make.
TechCrunch's Brian Heater:
There's no doubt the new Air marks a sizable update. It's pricier, too, though Apple's kept things more in check here than with the Mac Mini. With all of its upgrades and lower price point to boot, the Air is the clear pick over the 12-inch MacBook in practically every way.

As a matter of fact, barring some major future upgrade, the 12-inch likely isn't long for this world. And that's perfectly fine. The new Air is very clearly the better buy.
Engadget's Dana Wollman:
This is the same screen technology already in use on the 12-inch MacBook, and the color spectrum Apple is touting is actually sRGB -- a common spec for laptops in this price range. In fact, that's one of the main differences between this screen and the MacBook Pro: For the money, Apple's highest-end laptops step up to the professional-grade P3 color spectrum. I don't miss it, but if you do, the Air wasn't the right laptop for you anyway.
Six Colors's Jason Snell:
If you're shopping for a Mac laptop, start with the MacBook Air. Want a cheaper model? The old Air is there for as long as it lasts. Want something even smaller and lighter, and are willing to trade some power, port flexibility, and money for it? The MacBook is for you. Want something more powerful, and are willing to take on a slightly heavier and more expensive device? The 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar is for you. Want even more power? The 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros offer numerous opportunities to upgrade specs and spend more money.
AppleInsider's Andrew O'Hara:
When we compared the display of the new MacBook Air to our 15-inch 2017 MacBook Pro, they both looked pretty solid, but we noticed at least one difference --the new Air doesn't get quite as bright. When we checked out the specs page, Apple outlines the newest Pros can reach up to 500 nits of brightness, while the new Airs only max out at 300. This would be more noticeable for anyone working outside, but isn't a big deal in an office environment, or even a bright room.
Review and Unboxing Videos

More Reviews
CNET's Dan Ackerman
Macworld's Jason Cross
Mashable's Pete Pachal
CNBC's Todd Haselton
USA TODAY's Ed Baig
Laptop Mag's Henry T. CaseyThe new MacBook Air is available to order on Apple.com, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability starting tomorrow. The notebook now starts at $1,199, while Apple continues to sell the previous-generation model for $999.

Article Link: MacBook Air Reviews Roundup: 'Best Computer for Most People' Again After 2018 Refresh
 

Zackmd1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2010
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Maryland US
Most people need 256GB of storage rather than 128GB.

Most sane people would completely balk at that being a $200 upgrade cost.
Every Mac in Apple's base configurations should start at 256Gb IMO. It's not 2012 any more..... Flash storage has gotten alot cheaper. I can pick up a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe drive for about $250..... That's about what apple charges for an extra 128gb and they made sure it was non usee upgradable.....

So yes I agree with you.... Most sane people should stay away unitl Apple decides it can't keep raising prices to offset declining/stagnant sales.
 

Smeaton1724

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2011
820
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Leeds, UK
Whilst in my mind 128GB is too low for a machine of this cost 128GB is fine for some and the 1199 price is great for marketing it as ''The new Macbook Air is at a lower price than the Macbook 12''. The reality is that 256GB is a reasonable amount of space to have without needing additional drives plugged in all of the time and more practical for long term ownership, that model is 1399 - 150 more than the Macbook 12'', which was overpriced to start with.

The reviewers don't seem to have taken the 128GB in the base Macbook Air 13.3'' versus the 256GB in the Macbook 12'' in to account. I'm guessing it is because the review models they have been sent will be the maxed out storage option and reviewers don't care. The Macbook 12'' isn't dead at all, it is being used to leverage buyers up to that 1399 price point.
 
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Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
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Don't mind the price.

Nor the Keyboard.

Couldn't give a toss about the (lack of) ports.

But I'm still not sold on that 7W CPU.

Waiting for some more reviews, based on a bit more extended testing...

...while I'm cuddling my 2010 11" MBA, hoping it will stay alive until WWDC -19. :)
 

Zackmd1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2010
707
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Maryland US
128GB is fine for some and the 1199 price is great for marketing it as ''The new Macbook Air is at a lower price than the Macbook 12''. The reality is that 256GB is a reasonable amount of space to have without needing additional drives plugged in all of the time and more practical for long term ownership, that model is 1399 - 150 more than the Macbook 12'', which was overpriced to start with.
But think about in just a year of using a 128Gb drive. I would bet that most everyone would have filled that space and it's non user upgradable meaning you are sol.... On a $1200 machine that's barely faster then the 3 year old device it's "replacing" (even though they are still selling a 3 year old laptop at the same price????)
 
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x-evil-x

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2008
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128GB is fine for some and the 1199 price is great for marketing it as ''The new Macbook Air is at a lower price than the Macbook 12''. The reality is that 256GB is a reasonable amount of space to have without needing additional drives plugged in all of the time and more practical for long term ownership, that model is 1399 - 150 more than the Macbook 12'', which was overpriced to start with.

The reviewers don't seem to have taken the 128GB in the base Macbook Air 13.3'' versus the 256GB in the Macbook 12'' in to account. I'm guessing it is because the review models they have been sent will be the maxed out storage option.
just because its fine doesn't make it a good decision on apples part to nickel and dime people once again. Apple needs to be making people happier and this is a nice start to doing so with memory in all devices all around the board. But nope same storage as a 2010 MacBook. Technology has exploded since 2010 and a base storage of 256 should be the normal. Not twice the storage as a cell phone.
 

Tanax

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2011
942
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Stockholm, Sweden
Don't mind the price.

Nor the Keyboard.

Couldn't give a toss about the (lack of) ports.

But I'm still not sold on that 7W CPU.

Waiting for some more reviews, based on a bit more extended testing...

...while I'm cuddling my 2010 11" MBA, hoping it will stay alive until WWDC -19. :)
This is exactly my view as well. Price is OK. Keyboard is AWESOME. Ports are great (TB3 is the future). But the CPU just seems... weak :/ I also think that it's 2018, it should come with 256GB SSD as standard - but OK.
 
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Smeaton1724

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2011
820
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Leeds, UK
just because its fine doesn't make it a good decision on apples part to nickel and dime people once again. Apple needs to be making people happier and this is a nice start to doing so with memory in all devices all around the board. But nope same storage as a 2010 MacBook. Technology has exploded since 2010 and a base storage of 256 should be the normal. Not twice the storage as a cell phone.
I agree, I couldn't get by on 128GB. For my uses 256GB is a minimum.

But think about in just a year of using a 128Gb drive. I would bet that most everyone would have filled that space and it's non user upgradable meainim you are sol.... On a $1200 machine that's barely faster then the 3 year old device it's "replacing" (even though they are still selling a 3 year old laptop at the same price????)
128GB at the 1199 pricepoint is a marketing move. People will read reviews ''Macbook Air better than Macbook'', go in to the Apple store and then drop 1399 on more storage, instead of buying the 1249 Macbook 12''.
 

Mac Fly (film)

macrumors 65816
Feb 12, 2006
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[8 GB / 256 GB model starts from €1,629]

If you can afford it, don’t wish for your keyboard to be quiet and feel satisfying, and don’t mind needing a cable every time you wish to import photos from a DSLR. Also, the two Thunderbolt ports are too close together for many uses [something Apple could have avoided easily]. What is it with Apple notebook designers being so anti-user?

To be fair to Apple, though, I can understand why the price went up. After all, they now only make a mere profit of $1B every 6 and a half days [yes, profit].

I’m sure Jony Ive can afford these products, with his chauffeur-driven Bentley, and his $17M town house. Which he bought for design reasons, of course. How quaint.
 
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mrklaw

macrumors 68020
Jan 29, 2008
2,375
756
seems a really weak update. Barely any faster than the previous one but still price goes up by $200, still stuck on dual core even though the chassis should handle 15W chips and Intel have had 15W quad core CPUs for a year now, still 128GB base storage and overpriced to upgrade.

Same with ipad pro - some design tweaks and the usual CPU bump and those have gone up by $200.

This year is basically apple just making $200 more from everyone when the hardware is probably flat in terms of BOM
 

Edsel

macrumors 6502
Mar 18, 2010
365
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Over There
I believe Apple, as well as Microsoft and others, will push smaller SSD's to encourage cloud storage. There's a lot of data to monetize from consumers storing data on their servers. As 5G rolls out you'll see fewer and fewer local storage options for mass market notebooks/tablets/phones.
 
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Amorun

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2016
52
43
If you're hoping you'll be able to upgrade and get way faster video editing or process a ton of RAW photos at once, get a MacBook Pro. Those kinds of tasks will bring this Air to a chug and spin up those fans.
I wonder, how hot and loud may this one be when running Virtual Machine...
 

garethjs

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2008
779
338
I ordered it without doing much research.
It’s arriving tomorrow and needless to say I’m returning it straight away

No Truetone, slightly faster than the older Air, not as bright. Verges review confirmed all of this.

I’m giving the iPad Pro a go again.

If that doesn’t work I’ll get the entry level MacBook Pro which for the same cost outperforms this 2018 Air

Don’t need the touchbar
 
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kingax1

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2017
76
84
New York
I dont think the 128gb would have been a big deal if at least they offered a microsd slot so we can drop in our junk media files. No memory slot on iPhones...I get it....no slot on iPad...I sorta get it....but really doesnt make sense why apple still needs to enforce this concept on their laptops other that forcing user upgrades at such extraordinary profitable margins.
 

intelligence

macrumors regular
Aug 27, 2015
179
271
I ordered it without doing much research.
It’s arriving tomorrow and needless to say I’m returning it straight away

No Truetone, slightly faster than the older Air, not as bright. Verges review confirmed all of this.

I’m giving the iPad Pro a go again.

If that doesn’t work I’ll get the entry level MacBook Pro which for the same cost outperforms this 2018 Air

Don’t need the touchbar
Why give the iPad Pro a try again? It's the same gimped OS as before.
 
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Amorun

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2016
52
43
I believe Apple, as well as Microsoft and others, will push smaller SSD's to encourage cloud storage. There's a lot of data to monetize from consumers storing data on their servers. As 5G rolls out you'll see fewer and fewer local storage options for mass market notebooks/tablets/phones.
I think they're creating a win-win situation for themselves: buy our cloud storage monthly or pay some heavy extra for SSD size upgrade, because it's the real art - to be able to handle these tiny basic options.
 
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