After eight long years, Apple is finally giving the MacBook Air a proper refresh. It’s now sleeker, lighter than ever, and more importantly, the Cupertino company is equipping the new laptop with a Retina display. It may have taken Apple this long to properly update the MacBook Air, but hey, it’s finally here.
That being said, the new MacBook Air is also not as affordable as its predecessor anymore; not that MacBook laptops in general are considered to be affordable. Nonetheless, we’re here to break down what’s new – and what’s hot – with the 2018 MacBook Air.
The most obvious (and arguably the most important) update to the new MacBook Air is definitely the 13.3-inch Retina display. Now with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 – and much tinier bezels – the MacBook Air’s screen is just as sharp as the one found on the higher-end MacBook Pro. That being said, the Pro’s display is said to be brighter by 200 nits. On top of that, the Air’s screen isn’t True Tone either.
Although it hasn’t seen a proper refresh in years, the previous generation MacBook Air was still considered to be a pretty light and thin laptop. Well, surprise surprise, Apple managed to slim down the new Air even further, and it’s lighter too. Tipping the scales at 1.25kg – 100g lighter than its predecessor – it also measures only 15.6mm at its thickest point. In comparison, the previous model had a 17mm thick chassis.
But with a thinner chassis, Apple is also revamping the MacBook Air’s selection of ports. Gone are the full-size USB-A ports, and in their places are a pair of USB-C ports. The great news is, both of them support Thunderbolt 3. The bad news? You’ll have to rely on dongles if you want to transfer data from a good ol’ USB-A flash drive. Of course, the incredibly convenient MagSafe port is also no longer here – the new Air charges via USB-C.
Like every new MacBook laptops today, the revamped MacBook Air comes with Apple’s butterfly switch keyboard. Now at its third generation, the typing experience on the extremely flat keyboard should be identical to other MacBook laptops released in recent times. Basically, expect very little key travel, but based on my previous experience using the 15-inch MacBook Pro (the 2018 model), I like the tactile feedback and larger than usual key size of the keyboard.
Oh, it’s also worth noting that the new Air comes with Touch ID now too.
And then we have the brand new trackpad of the MacBook Air, which is larger than ever. Not only that, it’s also a Force Touch trackpad. Because of the static nature of the trackpad, you’ll get a good clicking sensation through haptic feedback no matter which part of the trackpad you’re clicking on.
Rounding out the specifications of the new MacBook Air include an eight generation Intel Core i5 1.6GHz dual-core processor – with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz – Intel UHD Graphics 617, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and SSD storage that maxes out at 1.5TB. Not an incredible list of hardware, but definitely more than adequate for a productivity-focused laptop.
Now, let’s get to the good bit: how much does the new MacBook Air cost? In Malaysia, the base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage goes for a whopping RM5,249. If you want a 256GB SSD instead, that will set you back RM6,099.
Without a doubt the new MacBook Air is not an affordable laptop, and only time will tell if consumers are willing to fork out that much money to get it. Yes, it’s a drastic upgrade over its predecessor, but that comes at a price – a very steep one.