Saturday , July 24 2021

Tried and tested: New MacBook Air



The appearance of Steve Jobs at Macworld in January 2008 is legendary: From an envelope, the founder of Apple pulled the first MacBook Air in front of an astonished audience and praised it as "the thinnest notebook in the world". The message arrived. MacBook Air is the most popular Apple notebook and serves as a design template for the entire industry.

However, in recent years, Apple's enthusiasm for the MacBook Air seems to have subsided. For example, in a wedge-shaped notebook, there are still processors with Broadwell architecture that are now aging from Intel chip suppliers. Macintosh notebook fans were therefore relieved when Apple boss Tim Cook now presented a completely revised version.

Pixel number tripled

The biggest difference for the old generation can be felt on the screen. The new MacBook Air features a Retina screen, a 13-inch IPS screen with 227 dpi resolution. The screen reaches more than four million pixels, while the old 13 inch model only has more than 1.3 million pixels. So the texts now look sharp and sharp. Photos are more colorful, after all, the number of colors that can be displayed has increased by 48 percent. Even if you only sit a few hours before the new model, you won't want to use a lower resolution display. However, the screen is not as bright as the Pro model.

In the main processor, Apple is now present in the eighth generation of Intel Core i5 chips, which gives this device more power. Performance also depends on the amount of RAM (RAM). You can choose between 8 and 16 gigabytes (GB) RAM. Most users will get 8 GB of RAM. For SSD main memory, the smallest version (128 GB) may not be enough for many users to store larger data sets, they must at least have a capacity of 256 GB. Options are also 512 GB or even 1.5 terabytes.

MacBook Air takes over components from Pro

Some new MacBook Air components are familiar from the Pro series: For example, a touch ID sensor has been installed, with which you can replace many password entries with fingerprints. In Germany, you will soon be able to pay for online shopping as soon as the Apple Pay launch has been announced.

Access control is solved elegantly: With the new MacBook Air, the fingerprint scanner is connected to the top right of the keyboard. Photo: Franziska Gabbert

From the Pro model the T2 security chip also appears, which protects the Mac from manipulation by malicious software during boot. The T2 chip also ensures that the MacBook Air can be overcome with Siri's voice assistant. This also completely deactivates the device microphone as soon as the notebook is closed. This separation occurs according to data from Apple "purely at the hardware level". Thus, malware can no longer activate the microphone secretly.

Better keyboard

Keyboard Air matches the current Pro series. The third generation of this low-stroke butterfly keyboard feels accurate when typing and is no longer as hard as the old Pro keyboard. The first version of Butterflies is also relatively easy to repair when crumbs or dust are trapped between keys. The warranty statistics on the new MacBook Pro model now show this bug has been fixed. This also benefits the MacBook Air.

Fewer interfaces

Apple trims on the interface: The old MacBook Air (13 inches) still has two USB-A ports, a Thunderbolt port, and an SD card slot. The new one only has two USB-C jacks left, but it can be used as a DisplayPort to connect an external monitor or as a fast Thunderbolt port to access external storage. But if you only want to plug in a conventional USB stick, you need an adapter. And who wants to bring photos from a camera without a card reader installed in the notebook, will skip the SD card slot.

After all, Apple engineers haven't taken the new MacBook Air jack for the headphone jack. Video conferencing with FaceTime or programs like Skype sounds better now because three microphones take sound. This is also useful for the Siri language assistant.

The battery lasts for a long time

An important criterion for daily use is the battery life. Apple claims that you can surf the web for twelve hours with the new MacBook Air. In practical tests, the number of hours is not reached, also because between games or applications such as Adobe Photoshop run. A normal working day from a MacBook Air digital nomad but it must end without a stop socket.

With a dual-core processor, MacBook Air is not a computational tool recommended by video experts to display long 4K movies. The task of everyday life fulfills a wedge-shaped but solid notebook. Even when browsing the web more than 20 tabs open, MacBook Air recognizes the burden only with the soft hum of the fan, but without kneeling. If you need more power, you must switch to the four core MacBook Pro model in the Apple universe. And those looking for an ultra-compact design will find an alternative on the 12-inch MacBook that is slightly lighter at 920 grams than the 1.25 pound MacBook Air.

Wedge or no wedge: At a glance, the 13-inch version of MacBook Pro (left) and MacBook Air (right), which is also equipped with a 13-inch screen, differ mainly in case thickness. Photo: Franziska Gabbert

Housing made of recycled aluminum

MacBook Air is a "green" Mac so far, because this device is made of recycled aluminum, which is mainly used in the production of the iPad. This halves CO2 emissions during production according to Apple data.

Price increases

In particular, the improved display for Retina resolution ensures that Apple has raised the price for the MacBook Air to just under 1,350 euros (8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage). Models with 256 GB SSD storage cost just under 1600 euros. MacBook Air is available in gray, gold and silver. Sparfüchse can dodge on the MacBook Air 2017er model, which has nearly 1100 euros in silver. Christoph Dernbach


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