Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

Two-minute review

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) has provided Apple’s slimmest laptop computer line a huge jump ahead. With the manufacturer’s highly-acclaimed Apple M1 CPU, the ARM-based chip that is changed the Intel CPUs of previous models, under the hood, and the macOS 11 Big Sur pre-loaded, it has become amongst one of the most effective slim and light laptop computers.

Many thanks to this new chip, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) not just obtains additional efficiency boosts but also better power efficiency and much longer battery life. That is while sticking with the same pricing as its precursor ($999 / £999 / AU$1,599), the MacBook Air (2020). This new Air, therefore, offers updated internals, especially that M1 chip, with no additional cost.

If you just weren’t swayed by the Intel-based model, after that perhaps this will change your mind. That is particularly considering that its premium Home windows 10 rivals, the HP Spectre x360 and Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020), are both more expensive, producing the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) even more affordable.

Considering the price factors of premium Home windows 10 rivals such as the HP Spectre x360 and Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020), both of which are more expensive, the Air’s price appears much more affordable.

You can also go for a more effective MacBook Air with extra storage space for $1,249 / £1,249 / AU$1,949, and both of these can be further personalized with more memory and much more storage space.

Price-wise, after that, we think Apple has nailed it. Of course, this certainly isn’t an inexpensive laptop computer, but neither does it feel overpriced, particularly compared with its similarly specced competitors – something that Apple is implicated of in the previous.

Apple has also been implicated in caring more about the aesthetics of its items compared to the real features and functions, but with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we think the opposite holds. This is because while the new MacBook Air has some huge changes on the inside – most significantly the new M1 chip – outside, absolutely nothing has truly changed.

So, this model appears (and feels) much like the last model (and the model before that). For individuals that love the appearance of the MacBook Air, this may ready information, but we feel it is a little bit of a missed out on the opportunity. The M1-based MacBook Air is such an innovative and interesting device, we’d have loved to have seen Apple take a couple of dangers with the design as well, also if it was simply by producing it lighter, or slimming the bezels down that border the screen.

The truth is, HP and Dell have currently overtaken Apple when it comes to designing slim, light and gorgeous laptop computers – a truth that would certainly have appeared unthinkable a couple of years back.

When it comes to efficiency, however, we have no agitations. The M1 has proved to be a total monster that places Intel to shame in many respects. Throughout our time with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we were extremely impressed with how it performed.

Big Sur runs well, and the aesthetic upgrade of the os offers a nice change, while still feeling acquainted. That both new and tradition applications run well on the M1 chip is very commendable, and up until now there do not appear to be any problems with operating applications built for Intel Macs using Rosetta 2, the device used by Apple to permit older Mac applications to run on the M1. Also, that you can currently run thousands of iOS applications and video games practically perfectly is a huge win as well.

Battery life also appears to be great, and the fanless design behaves, as it means the laptop computer runs silently; we do have our concerns about how it handles heat, however.

In completion, we’d have suched as Apple to have been a little bit more enthusiastic with the design of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) – a strong reinvention of the laptop computer to suit the interior software and hardware overhauls would certainly have made this a much more interesting device.

Price and accessibility

Apple made preorders for the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) available as quickly as it was announced, with units shipping from November 17 worldwide. Many Apple Stores are shut because of the global pandemic, so your best option for obtaining one today is by ordering online.

Prices for the new MacBook Air (2020) begin at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599. Customarily, there are a variety of specs available at introduce, and you can further personalize these to obtain the MacBook Air (2020) that best suits your needs and budget.

The base model features an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD.

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There is also a higher-specced model, valued at $1,249 / £1,249 / AU$1,949, which has an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage space. So, for that additional money you are obtaining an extra core in the GPU, and double the storage space.

You can also set up these models to have 16GB of RAM (for $200 / £200 / AU$300 extra), and up to 2TB of SSD storage space (for $800 / £800 / AU$1,200).

For contrast, the MacBook Air (2020) introduced previously this year for $999 / £999 / AU$1,599, which was actually less expensive compared to the introduce price of the MacBook Air (2019).

So you are obtaining the new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) for the same price as the previously model, which we commend Apple for. If you bought a MacBook Air a couple of months back, however, you might feel a bit annoyed that it is currently outdated.

That $999 / £999 / AU$1,599 entrance point isn’t simply the most affordable way of obtaining a brand-new Apple laptop; it is an extremely affordable price point that undercuts many of the best 13-inch laptop computers operating Home windows 10, such as the Dell XPS 13. If you thought Apple’s laptop computers were overpriced compared with the competitors, reconsider.


We’ve mentioned how, many thanks to its affordable price, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is assisting challenge people’s preconceptions about MacBooks – but the new MacBook Air, together with the MacBook Professional 13-inch (M1, 2020) and Mac small (M1, 2020), also offer solid rebuttals to the objection, often leveled at the Apple, that its items are more design compared to compound.

Individuals often reject Apple as production items that appearance great, but that do not do anything especially revolutionary when it comes to the real equipment. With the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), however, it is the complete opposite.

With this laptop computer, Apple has actually done some truly interesting points on the inside – switching to its own M1 chip, and building macOS Big Sur from scratch to take benefit of it – while leaving the real design of the device totally the same. This is both great information and problem.

First, thankfully. For many people, the popular design of the MacBook Air is virtually perfect, so they don’t see the need for any severe change. At the same time, by simply offering small spec bumps every year, the MacBook Air stayed in risk of being beat by more passionate rivals. So, by concentrating on revolutionizing the equipment of the MacBook Air, and not having fun with the design, Apple is doing something many of its movie doubters have recommended it should do: focus on the unglamorous, yet essential, stuff.

But what about the problem? Well, because the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), along with macOS Big Sur, promises to be such a big transformation, that it looks – and truly really feels – exactly the such as previous MacBook Airs is a little bit disappointing, to put it slightly.

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s dimensions of 0.16-0.63 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches (0.41-1.61 x 30.41 x 21.24cm) and weight of 2.8 extra extra pounds (1.29kg) are exactly the such as those of both the MacBook Air (2020) and the 2019 model, and virtually the such as those of the 2018 Air, which is a bit lighter.

Outside, after that, this new MacBook Air looks just like the 3 previous models – and it means that the excitement that comes with drawing the new MacBook Air from its item product packaging is instead dulled, particular if you’ve owned amongst those formerly devices.

There had been records that the move to Apple’s own silicon would certainly certainly result in lighter devices, but this isn’t the circumstance. One big design change that’s enabled by the M1 chip, however, is that the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is presently fanless. This means the internals maintain one’s cool enough under works without the need for fans to start and cool them down. There’s a catch to this (which we’ll get to in a bit), but it means the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) runs virtually silently, and it’s very outstanding.

The lack of fans could have allowed Apple to make the new MacBook Air thinner and lighter, so it’s interesting that it remains the same measurement and weight as its forerunners.

On opening the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) you are again provided with a view that is acquainted, and in a great way. The best enhancement to the previous MacBook Air’s design, the new Magic Key-board, is again consisted of here. It truly is a beautiful key-board to work on, feeling responsive and receptive despite how level the keys are.

A Touch ID switch is again located over the key-board, and it remains the best finger print scanner we’ve used on a laptop computer. Too many of the finger print scanners on Home windows laptop computers struggle to log us in reliably, but the Touch ID switch here logged us in effectively practically every time, also when we’d not totally protected the scanner with a finger.

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The screen is also practically the like the one on the MacBook Air (2020), besides one big distinction. So, it is still 13.3 inches with a 400-nit LED backlit display, and a Retina display of 2560 x 1600 resolution, and comes with Apple’s Real Tone technology, which immediately changes the color temperature level on the screen based upon the ambient light.

What’s new here’s that the MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s screen currently supports the P3 wide color range, which outcomes in more accurate, true-to-life pictures. P3 support used to be just found in the more expensive MacBook Pros, so it is great to see Apple bring this feature to its more affordable MacBook Air schedule. If you are a professional photographer or video clip editor that requires accurate shades, you no much longer need to immediately go for a MacBook Professional.

The screen is also bordered by those big thick bezels that have been a staple of the MacBook Air’s design for ages currently, and which leave this laptop computer feeling a bit outdated. Devices such as the Dell XPS 13 and the Huawei MateBook X (2020) offer extremely slim bezels about the display, and not just does it make these devices appearance more modern, it means the manufacturers can actually decrease the overall dimension of the laptop computer further while offering the same-size screen.

That’s right, you read that right: we think Huawei has the side over to Apple when it comes to slim and light laptop computer design. Unusual times certainly.

The web cam over the screen is also the same from last time, with the same 720p FaceTime web cam. The 720p resolution really feels definitely outdated when most rivals offer 1080p, and with more individuals spending more time functioning from home nowadays, we’d have suched as Apple to have provided the web cam an increase.

However, the company claims that many thanks to the M1 chip, the picture indicate cpu is upgraded, giving the web cam allegedly better sound decrease and vibrant range, together with auto white balance. We’ve just used the web cam for a restricted time up until now, and it appeared fine, otherwise mind-blowing.

Port-wise you obtain the same 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and an sound jack as on current MacBook Airs. The Thunderbolt 3 ports support billing, and can be used to power external monitors, and move information up to 40Gb/s. We’re happy to see that Apple’s transfer to its own M1 chip, instead compared to Intel, hasn’t already meant the loss of the Thunderbolt ports (Thunderbolt is a user interface developed by Intel).


As quickly as we started using the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) we were impressed. It boots up quickly (an extra benefit of the M1 chip), Big Sur really feels fast and receptive, and the new appearance for the os truly thrills. The user interface has a more modern appearance, with bright, vibrant shades that truly display the MacBook Air’s screen. It is also much less cluttered, so you are not overwhelmed by symbols and options, while the Control Facility is revamped based upon the variation in iOS. It appearances neater, and it is easier to use.

All applications that you usually run in macOS on Intel-based MacBooks should work fine with the new MacBook Air (M1, 2020), many thanks to some software magic using Apple’s Rosetta 2 device, which allows applications to run on the new architecture.

We attempted a blend of both new applications built for the M1 chip, as well as tradition applications built for Intel Macs, and operating via Rosetta, and there was no visible distinction in regards to efficiency. That you can perfectly run older applications on the new MacBook Air truly is commendable – the M1 chip is based upon ARM architecture, and among the greatest disadvantages of Home windows 10 on devices operating on ARM-based chips is that you are limited to operating just ARM-compatible applications from the Home windows Store. There is an instead sporadic choice of these, and this seriously limits the functionality of these devices. Microsoft needs to find up with its own Rosetta, pronto.

Not just can you run practically any current Mac application on the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), but many thanks to the M1 chip using comparable architecture to iPhones, you can currently run any iOS application or video game as well. This brings a huge quantity of new devices to the MacBook, and is really interesting. iOS applications and video games are more feature-rich and graphically outstanding compared to ever before, and having actually access to these could be a game-changer. We played a couple of iOS video games, and they ran perfectly on the MacBook Air – all of a sudden, the MacBook has become a good video pc gaming machine.

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We had the ability to have numerous applications operating at one time, switching in between them easily, and the Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) maintained up remarkably. Throughout our tests it really felt fast and qualified. Moving a large 14GB file from an outside SSD took much less compared to a min, for instance. This truly does seem like a fast and spritely machine.

Apple claims the new MacBook Air is 3 times much faster compared to various other laptop computers in its course, and much faster compared to 98% of PC laptop computers sold in the previous year. It also says the neural engine is 9 times much faster compared to the one in the previous MacBook Air, and its SSD depends on two times as fast many thanks to the M1 and the newest blink technology.

One point to keep in mind is that the fanless design of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) could imply that efficiency is throttled when it is carrying out requiring jobs over lengthy time periods. Because there are no followers to quit it getting too hot, the just point it can do is decrease the efficiency of the elements – known as throttling – to control temperature levels.

In truth, that is why pros may want to go for the new MacBook Professional 13-inch. It has the same M1 chip as the MacBook Air, but it has followers, which means it can be used for extensive jobs over much longer time periods, without, Apple claims, throttling.

However, in our tests we didn’t notice any significant events of throttling, and as you can see from the criteria tests, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) came impressively shut to the efficiency of the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Professional (M1, 2020).

In both Geekbench 5 and Cinebench, the single-core efficiency of the MacBook Air was practically on the same level with the MacBook Professional, and multi-core ratings just weren’t that a lot various either.

This is great information for the MacBook Air – and slightly much less great information for the 13-inch MacBook Professional (M1, 2020). Because the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is such a great laptop computer, it almost makes the MacBook Professional feel unneeded. Efficiency appeared pretty comparable in our daily use, and we also played about with 8K video clip modifying in Last Cut Professional, and while Apple appears eager to stress that the Air can 4K video clip modifying – it actually did a great job at 8K as well, enabling us to scrub through several 8K resources easily. Very outstanding.

So, keeping that boost in efficiency, together with the new P3 color range support, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a fantastic choice for video clip editors that want a more affordable laptop computer compared to the MacBook Professional. It makes the MacBook Professional 13-inch a somewhat harder to validate purchase, however it does have a couple of key features that the Air misses out on, such as the TouchBar and better cooling. Having actually both MacBooks spinning through high strength jobs for lengthy time periods should show a larger efficiency space in the Pro’s favor. However most individuals, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), will offer lots of power and efficiency.

Battery life

When it comes to battery life, we understood that the new ‘Apple silicon’ would certainly be more power-efficient, so it is not a surprise to find that the new MacBook Air has the lengthiest battery life of any MacBook Air yet – up to 15 hrs of cordless internet browsing, or up to 18 hrs of video clip, inning accordance with Apple.

We’ve been very impressed with the MacBook Air’s battery life – after a couple of hrs of work (and internet browsing), the battery just dropped a couple of portion factors, and also if you leave it on standby for a day and return to it, the battery degree remains high.

In our official battery test, where we run a looped 1080p video clip at 50% illumination until the battery passes away, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) lasted an extremely outstanding 11 hrs and 15 mins.

That is a great deal much longer compared to the previous model lasted in the same tests (7 hrs 55 minutes), and it simply defeats the newest Dell XPS 13 as well (11 hrs 1 min).

This means you should be easily able to go a complete work day (and more) without having to charge the MacBook Air – however certainly the battery will deplete quicker if you are doing more extensive jobs with it.

It does not quite get to the huge 13 hrs and 22 mins the new 13-inch MacBook Professional (M1, 2020) managed, but we can’t imagine anybody having actually any grievances with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s battery life.

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