The Apple MacBook Air is universally loved, and I’m starting to finally see why.

I’ve been a Microsoft user for most of my life and Android devices when it came to smartphones. Being a self-proclaimed technophile, it was already hard enough to convert me over to using iPhones. Having to switch from using Microsoft to iOS had me at wit’s end for a good day or two. But after taking the plunge, I can see why people want to use Apple products, and more specifically, the MacBook Air.

After using it for a fair bit of time, it’s safe to say that it has become my go-to laptop when it comes to both work and entertainment. What’s great about it is that it’s also highly compact and lightweight, making it the ideal device to have when you’re always on-the-go. Seeing as now we’re back in the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) once more, I’ve come to realise that the MacBook Air has plenty of relevance even when you’re stuck at home.

Design

Apple MacBook Air
Design-wise, Apple has not changed much.

The 2020 model of the MacBook Air doesn’t look too different from its previous year’s predecessor. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; there’s no sense in fixing something that isn’t broken. While it is now slightly thicker and heavier than the previous model, the MacBook Air 2020 edition is an almost exact replicate of the 2019 variant. It also features the same dual Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports alongside an audio jack.

Speaking of its ports, this was a real hit-and-miss for me. On the one hand, the dual USB-C ports were highly versatile. It can act as a charging port for the laptop as well as offering transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s. Of course, seeing as there are only two and one is needed to charge the laptop, you’re essentially left with just one port. Another slight annoyance would be the positioning of said ports; both are on the left side of the laptop, you will have to position yourself accordingly if you’re looking to charge as well as connect the MacBook Air to other devices like a wireless mouse.

This does make it an inconvenience at times, as I end up accommodating the laptop instead of the other way around. On the right side of the laptop is an audio jack, which I found quite confusing. Apple was one of the first smartphone giants to rid of audio jacks from their devices, but to still see it on the MacBook Air is a bittersweet feeling. However, it’s great knowing you have the option of using wired headphones.

Display

Apple MacBook Air
The display is great, whether for work or play.

The MacBook Air 2020 carries the same 13.3-inch high-resolution Retina display with LED backlighting and IPS technology. Its native resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 gives it a pixel density of 227 pixels per inch (PPI) for that true-to-life sharpness in image quality. While I would prefer smaller bezels, its Retina display sure makes up for it thanks to True Tone technology.

True to its name, it does its job splendidly. By studying and analysing your ambient surroundings, the True Tone technology is capable of automatically adjusting the colour temperature on your display to match the vibe. This makes everything look a lot more natural and warm in its surroundings and not just a shining white beacon that makes you look like a deer staring into headlights.

Another plus point is the True Tone also helps to keep my eyes from straining and aching after staring at the screen for hours on end. Text sharpness and clarity is also highly evident in the MacBook Air. Whether documents, email, or social media, reading just got a lot easier thanks to it.

Watching movies shows were also a joy on the MacBook Air. Colours were vibrant and vivid due to the laptop’s ability to support millions of colours. Unfortunately, it does lack HDR support but on the bright side, both Apple TV+ and Netflix have plenty of 4K/HDR content.

Keyboard & Trackpad

Apple MacBook Air
The Force Trackpad is much larger than its predecessors.

One of the shining stars in this year’s MacBook Air is the new Magic Keyboard, which first made its debut in the MacBook Pro 16-inch. The Magic Keyboard is Apple’s way of creating a comfortable, ergonomic, and quick solution when it comes to typing. It has just 1mm of travel time due to its refined scissor mechanism, allowing you to type faster than normal. Each keypress is more responsive and satisfying than the last, thanks to the Apple-designed rubber dome that shits underneath the keycap. Once you start typing, you wouldn’t want to stop given just how smooth and crisp each keypress feels.

It’s also worth noting that the MacBook Air now comes with Touch ID, taking over from the power button on the top right corner of the keyboard layout. While fingerprint recognition tech isn’t all that popular amongst laptops, the Touch ID on the MacBook Air is insanely quick on the trigger. It unlocks the moment you touch it with your designated finger without any delay whatsoever. The button also doubles as your power on/off switch by simply holding down on it for a few seconds.

As for the Force Touch Trackpad, you’ll find that it’s a lot more responsive while being highly accurate. It is also significantly bigger as compared to previous models, which is great because the trackpad was made for multi-touch gestures. This has always been a hallmark of Apple’s innovative technology and you can experience all of its gesture-moving glory with the MacBook Air.

Performance

Apple MacBook Air
See whatever you have on your iPhone on the display of the MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air brings enhanced performance to a compact design, ensuring that you get the most out of it with minimal effort. Its main components include the dual-core Intel Core i3 1.1GHz processor 8GB of DDR4 RAM 256GB of storage space, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics. Of course, all this is configurable to your own liking. Using this as a workstation was great, to say the least.

The laptop is quick and direct with no lag time at all. You can open Google Chrome with multiple tabs, have Notes open for good measure, and keep Spotify running in the background for hours on end and it wouldn’t slow you down. Apple has done well in keeping its machines working tirelessly and efficiently and it’s evident from the get-go. With the help of the Iris Plus Graphics, it also makes graphics-intensive photo and video editing a breeze. Gaming also doesn’t fall behind too much here but so far, it’s worked well with games like Among Us and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

Battery performance is also pretty remarkable. I’ve gone a full working day from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm without needing to charge, leaving it just below 10%. Even with Spotify or Netflix running in the background, the battery is surprisingly efficient in maintaining its power supply. It goes without saying that the MacBook Air can definitely double as a workhorse.

Verdict

The MacBook Air starts at RM4,399 for the lower-tier variant and can go up to RM5,599 for the upgrades. You also get your pick between Space Gray, Gold, and Silver. If you have the budget, this is definitely the laptop for your daily needs. It’s great for work, it’s amazing for studying, it’s also pretty decent with movies and more than adequate for games. What more could you want?

All images courtesy of Apple.

Wi-Liam Teh
Senior Writer
Wi-Liam is a geek at heart with a penchant for tattoos. Never without a drink in hand (preferably whisky, gin, or Guinness), he is also a writer by day and a keyboard warrior by night. On his day off, he masquerades as a streetwear and sneakerhead enthusiast while his bank account says otherwise.