My experience with 2018 MBA

Gtremz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2018
3
22
Hello all,

Writing a small review about my experience so far with the new MBA. I hope this can shed some light on some questions new buyers like myself have (had). Space grey.

I want to start by explaining where I come from in terms of computers. I had a 2015 MacBook Pro Retina. I sold that last week and used the proceeds to buy this MacBook Air. I own a roughly $3000 desktop computer with a 4K gaming screen which I built which I use for intensive gaming. My 2015 MBP worked great, but I love technology and just fell in love with the MBA when I saw it and wanted to buy it. The reason I talk about my desktop computer is to give you a sense of what I will be using the MBA for.

My first struggle was deciding between the 8GB RAM and 16GB ram MBA. I read every post very carefully on this forum about it. A great point was simply to point out, if you have to ask yourself and have an internal debate on whether you need 16GB or 8GB, well you don't need 16GB. My gaming PC does have 16GB which I knew from the BAT I would absolutely need for 4K gaming. But for the MBA, it was just a warm fuzzy feeling I wanted about knowing I had 16GB. In reality, my usage does absolutely not need 16GB of ram. My usage on this MBA IS SPECIFICALLY: Youtube, Netflix, Microsoft Word (1 time per 2947493749 years), checking e-mails, reading articles, reading the news. I have no other usage for this laptop. Anything power hungry, my desktop will take the reins. All this to say, I chose the 8GB ram model and haven't looked back. I used the extra money from not upgrading ram for a USB 3.0 converter, a new 3.0 32GB USB, and I still have over 180$ left. (Canada)

It boiled down to knowing I had a very strong desktop and realizing what I wanted the MBA for. I believe if you have other needs then the ones listed above, maybe look elsewhere or upgrade some specs. I also chose the base SSD of 128GB, again I do have a 32GB 3.0 USB for some extra documents or pictures, but my main PC has a 1TB SSD and I don't need the MBA for that.

Everyone keeps saying, buy the non Touch Bar MacBook Pro instead. Well, I don't need the power of a pro, and all this talk about a $100 price difference, well not in Canada. MBA is $1499 vs $1729 for the NTB.

In terms of battery life, I watched a 1.25 hour Netflix show and lost 9% battery life. Since starting to write this small review, I lost none. I read an article of someone who had the fan always on issue. Well I can confirm, after watching a Netflix show for over an hour, my MBA was cool to the touch snd the fan is collection dust as it hasn't moved an inch.

I also LOVE the touchID wow. Cant explain how quick it is and how amazing it has been to not enter my password when logging in +. Keyboard? In LOVE. I had the 2015 MBP and what a difference. Heard some complaining about the "clacking sound", not for me I enjoy the sound very much. I might seem like a fanboy and it I do agree. The MBA is quite beautiful, thin, elegant, beautiful everything.

Oh and this whole screen brightness issue? LOL.... I'm at about 68% brightness, at 100% my eyes hurt in my room. Im the type of person who doesn't enjoy a screen brightness burning my eye balls. My 4K PC screen is so bright it can light up my whole room and I dim that QUICK when I bought it. Granted, I won't be sitting by a tree in the summer sipping on coffee and writing an article, that's just not me. But for users who are like me and stay home or coffee shops ETC the brightness is an ABSOLUTE non issue. "Once you see a MBP R screen you can look at an AIR" Come on. I had a MBP Retina for 3 years and it does not bother me what so ever, the screen is gorgeous.

I can appreciate some people who do video editing and picture editing and I can't truly comment on if you would like this computer or screen. I can direct my review to the everyday user who has been thinking of making the switch and this review is for you. 2017 NTBMBPRO VS MBA for everyday use? Not even a competition for me especially not for 229$. That's like what a MBA + a used iPad? or + 2 weeks of groceries? or +carrying case USB adapters a night out with your girl? Anyways, you get my drift.

If you have any questions drop a reply and I will try to get back to you!

TL;DR: For the everyday user MBA is amazing. Bye
 

Falcon80

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2012
373
94
I like your review. You have stated clearly why you like it based on your needs. As everyone's need is different, expectation of the new MacBook Air tends to be different as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: macsplusmacs

soaddk

macrumors newbie
Mar 17, 2012
17
14
Aarhus, Denmark
Yeah, the brightness issue. In other threads people made it sound like the new Air screen was dimmer than an iPhone 1 and more washed out and blurry than an old CTR monitor.

I can't see any speck of truth in those statements. I really doubt everyone of them has even looked at the new Air - maybe just trolling?
 
  • Like
Reactions: HenryDJP and Gtremz

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,236
2,277
East of Eden
Like you, I bought an rMBA to replace my 2015 rMPB. I also have a 2017 rMB. Comparing the three side by side, this particular rMBA is not as bright as either the rMB or the rMBP, and its color accuracy is noticeably off. I have seen the posts about "washed out" and "blurry." The DPI on the 13" Retina screens is all the same, so I can't imagine where "blurry" comes from. "Washed out" is another matter because while that's not very precise, this rMBA and the half dozen ones I saw at the store all had much yellower displays than the other Mac laptops with Retina displays.

Like you, I love the form factor; the sharp, tall front edge of the rMBP feels very uncomfortable after a year with the rMB and the rMBA is the same. I haven't had any issues with the fan. TouchID is nice, though I use my Apple Watch to unlock my laptops so it's not a big deal - but still, very nice.

The keyboard is what it is. I hated the Gen 1 butterfly keyboard. Gen2 and above are not bad. I've actually gotten to the point where the 2015 rMBP keyboard feels like it has too much travel and is too spongy - which I never thought I'd feel, so that's surprising.

For me, the jury is still out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Apple

raqball

macrumors 68000
Sep 11, 2016
1,948
8,889
Nice review OP.. Glad the machine is working for you and you are happy with it...

I am still on the fence what to do with mine.. It's boxed up and ready to go back but I really want to love it.. I might get it out and try it again for a few days before deciding..

I can't see any speck of truth in those statements. I really doubt everyone of them has even looked at the new Air - maybe just trolling?
Why try and discredit others by calling them untruthful and trolls? Not only have I looked at one, but I have one...

 
  • Like
Reactions: newellj

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
7,331
5,187
Like you, I bought an rMBA to replace my 2015 rMPB. I also have a 2017 rMB. Comparing the three side by side, this particular rMBA is not as bright as either the rMB or the rMBP, and its color accuracy is noticeably off. I have seen the posts about "washed out" and "blurry." The DPI on the 13" Retina screens is all the same, so I can't imagine where "blurry" comes from. "Washed out" is another matter because while that's not very precise, this rMBA and the half dozen ones I saw at the store all had much yellower displays than the other Mac laptops with Retina displays.

Like you, I love the form factor; the sharp, tall front edge of the rMBP feels very uncomfortable after a year with the rMB and the rMBA is the same. I haven't had any issues with the fan. TouchID is nice, though I use my Apple Watch to unlock my laptops so it's not a big deal - but still, very nice.

The keyboard is what it is. I hated the Gen 1 butterfly keyboard. Gen2 and above are not bad. I've actually gotten to the point where the 2015 rMBP keyboard feels like it has too much travel and is too spongy - which I never thought I'd feel, so that's surprising.

For me, the jury is still out.
Lisa from Mobile tech review recommends calibrating the screen of the new Air, towards the end of the video is where she mentions it. She does talk about the screen earlier in the video. This is one of the best reviews i've seen.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Apple

Big Apple

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2010
84
43
Great review! I use mine mainly for work but most of my work load involves emails, spreadsheets, documents etc and it's been perfect so far for my needs too. My screen is fine and no significant brightness differences between this and my late 2013 rMBP. I agree with @newellj in that it did feel a bit yellower but that was an easy enough fix with a calibration just using the slider. I like my display a little "cooler" though so ymmv.

I also love the Touch ID and for my work day it is so helpful, more so than a brighter 500nit screen and P3. I work in an office environment and look at white pages most of the day so the MBA has been perfectly fine for that type of usage. The new keyboard wasn't as big an adjustment as I was expecting and I don't find it particularly loud. Obviously time will tell regarding reliability but so far so good. No issues with the fan - I have yet to hear it too. The wedge shape is great, especially for someone like me who spends hours typing at a time. This was not even something I really thought about before getting the Air but I can tell the difference now and really do hope they don't discontinue this form factor - I love it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gtremz

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,236
2,277
East of Eden
Lisa from Mobile tech review recommends calibrating the screen of the new Air, towards the end of the video is where she mentions it. She does talk about the screen earlier in the video. This is one of the best reviews i've seen.

Agree, great review. The calibration issue is a little complicated. My favorite review site, Notebookcheck.net, commented favorably on the color calibration. On the other hand, Lisa Gade found that hers was pretty far off. All I can say is that the seven copies I've seen were all similar and all much warmer and greener than a group of rMB and rMBP displays. You're right that calibration can fix this, but most people don't own a colorimeter, and I've gotten used to not needing to calibrate displays since Apple rolled out the Retina notebooks. >:-/ Still mulling this over. There's a lot to like about this new rMBA.
[doublepost=1542205184][/doublepost]
Nice review OP.. Glad the machine is working for you and you are happy with it...

I am still on the fence what to do with mine.. It's boxed up and ready to go back but I really want to love it.. I might get it out and try it again for a few days before deciding..


Why try and discredit others by calling them untruthful and trolls? Not only have I looked at one, but I have one...
Agree 100% on all of your points. Well, mine isn't boxed up yet... ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: raqball

TinyChip

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2015
157
89
California
Nice review. Do you plan on buying AppleCare?

I bought the space grey 8gb/256gb MBA for me needs which is Windows, Office, VBA, emails, surfing, iMovie, journaling, some photo editing. I love the Touch ID and I instantly fell in love with gen 3 keyboard. I use the screen at 60-70% brightness.

I’m very satisfied with my purchase. It replaced a 2010 MacBook Pro. I don’t plan to use this outdoors. Honestly when I’m outdoors I’d rather be doing something other than being in front of a laptop.

I debated between 8gb and 16gb but decided on 8gb when I decided to run Bootcamp instead of Parallels. With the money saved I’m debating whether to buy AppleCare.
 

raqball

macrumors 68000
Sep 11, 2016
1,948
8,889
Nice review. Do you plan on buying AppleCare?

I bought the space grey 8gb/256gb MBA for me needs which is Windows, Office, VBA, emails, surfing, iMovie, journaling, some photo editing. I love the Touch ID and I instantly fell in love with gen 3 keyboard. I use the screen at 60-70% brightness.

I’m very satisfied with my purchase. It replaced a 2010 MacBook Pro. I don’t plan to use this outdoors. Honestly when I’m outdoors I’d rather be doing something other than being in front of a laptop.

I debated between 8gb and 16gb but decided on 8gb when I decided to run Bootcamp instead of Parallels. With the money saved I’m debating whether to buy AppleCare.
I'd say get Apple Care.. The 3rd gen keyboards are fairing no better than the 2nd gen. Long thread on 3rd gen failures in the Pro area.. A KB replacement out of warranty is north of $700.

Hopefully Apple will be forced to add the 3rd gen to their 4-year KB warranty program but there is no guarantee they will...

My .02
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Apple

Big Apple

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2010
84
43
I'd say get Apple Care.. The 3rd gen keyboards are fairing no better than the 2nd gen. Long thread on 3rd gen failures in the Pro area.. A KB replacement out of warranty is north of $700.

Hopefully Apple will be forced to add the 3rd gen to their 4-year KB warranty program but there is no guarantee they will...

My .02
Agreed! I haven't bought it yet but will when the 14 days are up mainly for that reason.
 
  • Like
Reactions: raqball

Gtremz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2018
3
22
Nice review OP.. Glad the machine is working for you and you are happy with it...

I am still on the fence what to do with mine.. It's boxed up and ready to go back but I really want to love it.. I might get it out and try it again for a few days before deciding..
Hey! I can safely say it is because of your responses in the 8GB VS 16GB thread I went with 8GB so thank you and maybe I can return the favour haha. "I really want to love it". For me, it was love at first sight, and I believe if you don't love it by now, you never will, wrong purchase time to switch!

@MistrSynistr
The only reason these things would end up on the refurb site is again simply for the reason that people who are trying to use this as a PRO computer will be disappointed, they want the latest gadget and freak when its not like their MBP. Well here's the sad news, the Air wasn't made for those type of people. Sure the air can handle light tasks but people who are saying they have "light" usage but then talk about 30 chrome tabs, photo editing, video exporting, large excel files? Wrong Mac choice. Apple has thought of you guys, its called a Macbook pro.

Oh and the speakers, man amazing. Stereo sound, clear quality, for those who love some music while surfing, you wont be disappointed!
 
Last edited:

bluecoast

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2017
1,072
928
I don’t own the new MBA but have played around with it in the Apple Store quite a bit.

I think that it’s one of Apple’s most unambitious products - and that’s ok.

It’s aimed at:
  • Those who have an aging MBA and want a new one. It’s better the every aspect of the older models (unless you really love the keyboard, MagSafe and USB-A)
  • Businesses who just want a standard modern laptop to outfit their productivity focussed staff with
  • And anyone who asks ‘I want an Apple laptop, which one should I get?’
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: raqball and Gtremz

raqball

macrumors 68000
Sep 11, 2016
1,948
8,889
Agree 100% on all of your points. Well, mine isn't boxed up yet... ;)
Took mine back out and tried again... Used it for about an hour then grabbed the Pro, which I've been on since it was boxed up. I still no can do as the screen is noticeably dimmer and washed out on the Air...

I have to head down by the Apple Store tomorrow for an errand so back it will go then. Crashed it and reinstalling the OS now... Bummer as I really wanted to dig it.. touchID without the gimmicky TB on my Pro...

Oh well... It's a fine computer and those coming from the old Air will absolutely love it, I am sure!
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,236
2,277
East of Eden
Yeah. I had some questions in my mind about sample variations on these so I will admit to buying a second rMBA today in the hopes that the display might be better. (I should add that the App Store was broken with the first rMBA - I have spent a dozen hours troubleshooting that and was hoping that the new one might bypass whatever issue Apple can't solve, like maybe it was a hardware issue, against the odds...but no luck on the App Store problem, either.) I need to fish or cut bait on these because they're both the 16gb/512gb version, $1800 a copy.

Big sigh. I no longer use the 2015 MBP much. I really love my MB but a little more horsepower and a bigger display for times when I can't hook up to an external display would be slick. I really want the rMBA to be that Goldilocks machine, but I don't think I'm going to get there.
 

Zaft

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2009
3,930
3,009
Brooklyn, NY
My wife upgraded from her 2011 Air 13". I'm typing on it now and indoors the screen brightness is perfectly fine.
This laptop will only be used indoors so it really depends on one's needs. I guess if you will be going outside a lot it may be an issue. Turning the brightness to full hurts my eyes. I have not played around with a Pro so I can't compare, but the screen is very nice.

Touch ID is awesome and I like the 3rd gen keyboard. I was not a fan of the 1st gen.
 

darkmatter343

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
125
96
My wife upgraded from her 2011 Air 13". I'm typing on it now and indoors the screen brightness is perfectly fine.
This laptop will only be used indoors so it really depends on one's needs. I guess if you will be going outside a lot it may be an issue. Turning the brightness to full hurts my eyes. I have not played around with a Pro so I can't compare, but the screen is very nice.

Touch ID is awesome and I like the 3rd gen keyboard. I was not a fan of the 1st gen.
The majority of people will find the Air perfectly fine, and probably a nice upgrade. While I wish Apple would have stuck a 400nit display in the Air, I as well have my brightness set to 30-50% on my 12" and Pro. Anything close to 75% and I can't use it for long periods without eye strain. I use an HP Elitebook for work which has a 250nit lcd... so that screen really sucks! Dell, HP, & Lenovo stick sub 300nit displays into many of their premium notebooks... you just don't hear people complain as much because they're not Apple. That and the average user could probably care less. Just enjoy it.
 

cyberone

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2005
283
38
Nice review. Do you plan on buying AppleCare?

I bought the space grey 8gb/256gb MBA for me needs which is Windows, Office, VBA, emails, surfing, iMovie, journaling, some photo editing. I love the Touch ID and I instantly fell in love with gen 3 keyboard. I use the screen at 60-70% brightness.

I’m very satisfied with my purchase. It replaced a 2010 MacBook Pro. I don’t plan to use this outdoors. Honestly when I’m outdoors I’d rather be doing something other than being in front of a laptop.

I debated between 8gb and 16gb but decided on 8gb when I decided to run Bootcamp instead of Parallels. With the money saved I’m debating whether to buy AppleCare.
Why you're running Bootcamp instead of Parallels?

You think Parallels would put too much pressure on the processor?
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,175
2,071
London
Nice review. Do you plan on buying AppleCare?

I bought the space grey 8gb/256gb MBA for me needs which is Windows, Office, VBA, emails, surfing, iMovie, journaling, some photo editing. I love the Touch ID and I instantly fell in love with gen 3 keyboard. I use the screen at 60-70% brightness.

I’m very satisfied with my purchase. It replaced a 2010 MacBook Pro. I don’t plan to use this outdoors. Honestly when I’m outdoors I’d rather be doing something other than being in front of a laptop.

I debated between 8gb and 16gb but decided on 8gb when I decided to run Bootcamp instead of Parallels. With the money saved I’m debating whether to buy AppleCare.
Don’t debate, buy it now unless you want to potentially regret later - the cost of repair/replacement is not cheap after the year is up. This laptop is also prone to the butterfly keyboard issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Apple

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,236
2,277
East of Eden
Don’t debate, buy it now unless you want to potentially regret later - the cost of repair/replacement is not cheap after the year is up. This laptop is also prone to the butterfly keyboard issues.
There are a lot of other things that could happen that also make AC+ a good idea other than butterfly keyboard failures. My 2015 rMBP had some kind of failure with the trackpad. Without AC, it would have been ~$800 to fix. The repair was free and very fast with AC.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big Apple and Ma2k5

Falcon80

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2012
373
94
There are a lot of other things that could happen that also make AC+ a good idea other than butterfly keyboard failures. My 2015 rMBP had some kind of failure with the trackpad. Without AC, it would have been ~$800 to fix. The repair was free and very fast with AC.
I always buy AC+ for Apple product but my experience thus far is that they always have issues after the warranty has expired. :(