Technology

Apple MacBook Air (2019) assessment

How does 2019’s mannequin fare?

OUR VERDICT

Whereas a wonderful entry with a surprising new display, the 2019 MacBook Air’s dual-core processor nonetheless feels underwhelming. Even with a decrease entry value, it’s nonetheless expensive contemplating its mild beginning specification and costly upgrades.

FOR

  • Beautiful design
  • Display is nice
  • Implausible battery life
  • New lower cost

AGAINST

  • Underpowered
  • Lack of cupboard space
  • Expensive to improve
  • Solely two Thunderbolt Three ports
  • Costly

The refreshed MacBook Air (2019) is right here after a turbulent few years for Apple’s skinny and light-weight MacBook. The MacBook Air was once essentially the most economical method to get a MacBook, however then it appeared to fall out of favor when Apple positioned the 12-inch MacBook as each the slimmest and least expensive of its laptops.

However then, in a relatively stunning transfer, Apple deserted its 12-inch MacBook line whereas rolling out a refreshed MacBook Air for 2019 on the similar time.

With the MacBook Air again in what many individuals take into account its rightful place as essentially the most reasonably priced Apple laptop computer, will this yr’s mannequin reach bringing Apple’s vaunted design and construct high quality to a brand new viewers who’re delay by the MacBook Professional’s lofty value?

Apple stunned us all with a brand new MacBook Air for 2019.

Value and availability

Apple’s announcement of a brand new MacBook Air (2019) was a terrific for a number of causes. To start with, we weren’t actually been anticipating a refresh. And second, the entry-level MacBook Air (2019) not solely received a refresh, but in addition a value minimize to $1,099 (£1,099, AU$1,699).

Admittedly, that’s nonetheless removed from funds territory. Nonetheless, this transfer makes the MacBook Air extra reasonably priced than ever, and seeing costs happening with updates – relatively than up – is all the time a pleasant welcome. For comparability’s sake, the MacBook Air (2018) began at $1,199 (£1,199, AU$1,849) when it was launched.

The bottom mannequin of the MacBook Air (2019) comes with a 1.6GHz dual-core Eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Increase as much as 3.6GHz, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 128GB storage and Intel UHD Graphics 617.

There’s additionally a mannequin with the identical specs, however with twice the storage at 256GB, which units you again $1,299 (£1,299, AU$1,999).

That primarily means you’re getting 128GB extra for $200/£200/AU$300, a fairly expensive improve. It’s a bit irritating that Apple has stored that huge leap in value for a comparatively small quantity of further cupboard space. In the meantime, you possibly can double your iPhone XR storage for an additional $50/£50.

It makes far more monetary sense to get the 128GB model, after which both spend money on an exterior arduous drive (try our decide of the finest exterior arduous drives for Macs for options), or use cloud storage like iCloud to save lots of your recordsdata.

As is sadly the case with Apple’s {hardware}, there’s no straightforward method to open up the MacBook Air your self and improve the SSD.

Subsequently, whereas we’re happy to see the worth drop for the MacBook Air, transport a premium – and whereas the Air is the most cost effective MacBook, at this value it’s nonetheless premium – laptop computer with simply 128GB of storage appears fairly imply in 2019 – particularly when Apple fees a lot for a storage improve.

One of many primary threats to the MacBook Air (2019) is that Home windows laptops at the moment are even thinner and extra highly effective than ever. Apple not has the monopoly on skinny and light-weight laptops, and there are a variety of Home windows-based Ultrabooks that provide related (even higher) specs for a similar value. And, you possibly can assure that all of them have larger arduous drives than 128GB. For instance, the HP Spectre x360 (2019) is across the similar value, however with 256GB storage and a a lot sooner processor.

The decrease entry value of the MacBook Air (2019) is certainly welcome in the event you’re set on buying a MacBook. Nevertheless, a few of Apple’s not so interesting habits are nonetheless evident, and with elevated competitors from Home windows laptops, there are higher worth alternate options on the market.

Design

Like with the brand new MacBook Professional (2019), Apple didn’t replace the exterior design of the MacBook Air (2019) from final yr’s mannequin.

That is excellent news in the event you already love the design of the MacBook Air, however not so in the event you craved a extra substantial change.

This additionally signifies that you get the identical skinny laptop computer with dimensions of 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm) and a weight of two.75 kilos (1.25kg). It stays terribly light-weight, and whereas it’s not as mind-blowingly mild as opponents just like the Acer Swift 7, the Apple MacBook Air (2019) is a tool you possibly can simply carry round in a bag or backpack.Commercial

Regardless of being skinny and light-weight, it does really feel stable and sturdy, so that you received’t have to fret about bends and dents. That is because of the MacBook Air being constructed out of an aluminum alloy that appears nice and feels sturdy. By preserving the identical design as final yr’s mannequin, the brand new MacBook Air (2019) is as soon as once more made out of 100% recycled aluminum, which signifies that no new metallic has been mined to construct this gadget.

That’s a wonderful promoting level for anybody who’s environmentally-conscious, and one thing we commend Apple for.

Nevertheless, by preserving the identical design, it means this yr’s mannequin nonetheless has the identical components within the 2018 mannequin that falls wanting our expectations.

There are two Thunderbolt Three ports on the left.
SPEC SHEET

Right here is the MacBook Air (2019) configuration despatched to TechRadar for assessment:

CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y (dual-core, Four threads, 4MB cache, as much as 3.6GHz)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617
RAM: 8GB (2,133MHz LPDDR3)
Display: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina True Tone show (backlit LED, IPS)
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 4.2
Digital camera: 720p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight: 2.75 kilos (1.25kg)
Measurement: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H)

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