2018 Apple MacBook Air Review

by birtanpublished on May 5, 2021

This is Lisa from mobile tech review and this is the 2018 MacBook Air still 13 point 3 inches but a lot has changed here which probably even though I know some of you are not so happy with some of the changes it's probably a good thing because the old MacBook Air was years old technology particularly the fairly low resolution TN panel instead of an IPS panel on it the CPUs were aging all that sort of thing so Apple has done a big redesign here while keeping sort of the general spirit of the look but pretty much this is the bigger version of a 12-inch MacBook now apples always use lower power CPUs for

The MacBook Air since its inception when it's sold like $1,800 when it first came out but a lot has changed now of course speaking of that think about that that was a very expensive product but this assured in the whole Ultrabook movement back then laptops were big chunky thick plastic things so Apple came out with the air and now we all have a bunch of lovely ultra books to choose from in the windows world – because Intel said oh my god we need to do something about this PC manufacturers get a clue so now for around 815 up you can get a really nice metal body ultrabook well this one is

Getting a little more modern we have Thunderbolt 3 x 2 full 40 gigabit per second so yes you can use an EGP with this a Thunderbolt 3 doc of course USB see stuff still included as well we have touch ID aka the Apple phrase for a fingerprint scanner on board so that's always nice log in with your fingerprint instead of by typing your password typing let's talk about typing we will you get the butterfly gen3 keyboard here that we've seen on the other MacBook Pros from 2018 a polarizing feature no down we're gonna look at the rest of it now so the Mac is

Available in gold silver and Space Gray colors it still has that wedge-shaped design that's the signature for the MacBook Air versus the relatively flat parallel look that you see on a 13-inch MacBook Pro we have faster Wi-Fi on board we have bluetooth 4.2 and we still have a 720p webcam Oh fuzzy me the entry price is up this is one of the bad things this is the trend for Apple now they've gone through this before they either get more competitive with pricing run one of their switcher campaigns or they say we're just gonna milk our base so to speak and they know

If you love mac OS you're gonna buy this stuff and plus there's still the iPhone is the halo product on their line so a lot of people find a Mac to be aspirational and they test the waters to see how much you're gonna spend since then nice thing about the old MacBook Air is nine hundred ninety nine bucks and you could often find it for less in part in fact because it was really getting long in the tooth and although outdated so retailers were discounting it a lot but once you passed that point and they really did pass it here it gets to be a little dicey especially with

Such beautiful windows competition out there for those people who are open to other operating systems this starts at eleven ninety nine for an insulting 128 gig SSD and eight gigs of ram the ram a mountain is fine it's low powered ddr3 still in this and if you want to go up to a 256 SSD which is what you would find for most of the windows one thousand dollar laptop competition you're looking at $15.99 fourteen hundred dollars so there's a 200 dollar up charge just to go for 128 – if 256 gig SSD believe me if you could do it yourself the difference in price would

Be more like fifty dollars that is what it is you can go up to a 1.5 terabyte SSD if you want that's only $1200 more and there's a 512 gig SSD option if you do built to order you can get it with up to 16 gigs of RAM and that is nice so here's challenge number one it's pretty close in price is a 13-inch MacBook Pro no touch bar the one that Apple did not update this year and I have a feeling he's probably just going to go away eventually and they're gonna have the air fill it in that spot instead and so we'll talk a little bit more about that later because there is a lot of

Temptation either way you're not getting the creature comforts of the old 13-inch MacBook Air which means legacy ports we've gone total Apple modern here so you have your headphone jack and you have two Thunderbolt three ports like I said so you can plug a variety of things into those Thunderbolt 3 ports and you can have fun with all sorts of dongles to much is I'm a little bit snarky about that I will say that I do enjoy Thunderbolt 3 and USB see both in laptops both Windows and Mac because I've started use Thunderbolt 3 docks which are just wonderful because you can

Support so many kinds of peripherals in there with one cord samsung t5 fast SSDs all that sort of stuff you get the idea and then plugging in USB see USBC to a variety of well non-apple smartphones compared to the 12 inch macbook well obviously you get a bigger screen here I wonder how well the 12 inch MacBook is doing these days if that really small form-factor still is floating a lot of people's boats or not I wonder if Apple will continue to offer that maybe they're just going to go with this mainstream size considering the

Fact they have not updated the 12 inch macbook that still has last generation CPUs inside that one still just has a USB C port so it's more portly than this one is – so that kind of pushes you towards in this new 13 inch MacBook Air in terms of performance in specs where you can see some of those on screen right now this is a Intel eighth generation Y series 5 watt CPU it's a slightly tweaked version versus the one that we see in Windows laptops like the HP Spectre folio 13 that we recently reviewed it's only available with Mac core i5 right now the tweaking is

Basically instead of Intel UHD 615 graphics it gets 617 graphics which really in terms of benchmarks is pretty much the same and not that far from Intel HD or UHD 620 graphics performance here is dual-core four threads and surprisingly good for a 5 watt CPU compared to a 15 watt typical ultrabook CPU used again in that non-touch bar 13-inch MacBook Pro it's good stuff for those of you I think most of the people who buy a MacBook Air aren't the kind of light to moderate lifters so to speak you're doing this for your MS Office you're typing your term papers you're

Typing stuff up for work you're using some Photoshop it's fine for that for casual use of Photoshop you're doing iMovie which is well optimized for Mac OS it will perform better than Adobe Premiere don't really expect a lot of Dobby premier performance on this particular machine here and for that sort of thing it's fine for learning Xcode and doing some small projects absolutely it's fine it's certainly more powerful than the 12-inch MacBook and in benchmarks and performance about as well as that not in touch for models so there you have it so in terms of heat and

Noise and all that sort of thing usually the Y series CPU is fanless but Apple did decide to include a fan here will show you the internals in a bit so that's an unusual move our HP Spectre folio 13 I keep talking about because it's very similar architecture no fan interestingly the core temperatures on our map get a lot harder hotter you can see doing a handbrake export and we have an example where we use a 4k video taken using an iPhone 10 and turn it into a 1080p HD to 65 video as a test and it is a little bit faster about one minute faster and then the HP

Is but while the HP managed to be 80 degrees for its core temperatures this one was hitting and pegging 100 which is the maximum allowable that's kind of running hot now Apple tends not to throttle a whole lot and they're definitely not doing it here so interesting but while the fan will really roar and surprising this thing you go up to 8,000 rpms you will hear it it it is audible but only when you're pushing it hard doing something like video encoding the surface temperatures do not get hot it's way cooler than the MacBook Pro line 13

Or a 15 inch when those are being pushed hard as well so that's pretty nice for those who who really aren't into Final Cut Pro you're doing lots of drone footage editing and that's all the rage these days or you're a youtuber and all that sort of thing I would still recommend at least a 13-inch MacBook Pro for faster export times and a more fluid response particularly the 4k video on the timeline but you can see how scrubbing through iMovie and doing some edits with some 4k footage again from an iPhone 10 and it's not bad at all really it's certainly upon me it's stronger

Than the old MacBook Air that's definitely the case so performance isn't bad what could be the problem here well the display has been disappointing to Mac folks particularly cuz Apple typically has bright displays first let me say once again this is a huge improvement over the old 13-inch MacBook Air screen in terms of viewing angles in terms of contrast in terms of color gamut it's a modern IPS Retina display 2560 by 1600 resolution the owner was 1440 by 900 resolution it's a lot better but all it's not paradise here because don't expect macbook pro level display

Still which was true the old air by wide margin this does not get very bright I would bet that this is marked as a nominal 300 NIT display and it's measuring 277 mitts on our color imager which is not unheard of but usually most ultra books in this class are around 3 windows land and apple is often hitting much higher 400 to 500 nits certainly on their pro models even the 12-inch MacBook has a brighter display which also means thus lower contrast the brighter against the more contrast you can have it's decent on the metrics which you can see on screen but it's

Nothing to write home about again it's sort of competitive with some windows ultrabooks out there and it's much better than it was before but if you really want a bright bright display this isn't on it of course it doesn't a p3 it's not HDR it's not all this thing that you're gonna pay extra to get it in a MacBook Pro that is not surprising either also the calibration from the factory they do a lot better with the MacBook Pro line of machines let's put it that way this one was pretty off when we first tested it you can see that it had a kind of greenish blue tip more

Towards the green very often laptop displays will be on the cool side it usually enhances your perception of contrast and is pleasing a lot of people like a cool kind of towards the blue look but green makes things look not contrasting and a little sickly calibration can fix that even if you just eyeball it using Apple's System Preferences to do that yourself you're probably going to improve it so if you if you're looking at this in the store and you're thinking it looks like a little washed out you can probably improve that currently I launched the

Mac ships with Mac OS from Mojave the latest version of Mac OS the one that has the dark modes and all that sort of thing so that's pretty cool so let's talk about that keyboard this is a third gen butterfly keyboard the good news is each key has a little condom underneath to keep dust out so hopefully the keyboard won't fail the third gen keyboards have been pretty reliable so far in the 2018 MacBook Pro models and the only thing I can tell you from experience is that if you lock yourself away with it for like three days just make yourself use it maybe even avoid

So-called normal keyboards you might come to find that it's tolerable you might even decide you'd like it I'm not sure if this isn't Stockholm Syndrome for keyboards though you know but it can become tolerable you've got stereo speakers flanking the keyboard on each side here and Apple says they're 25% louder than the outgoing 13-inch MacBook Air the volume on this is pretty good the bass is just and as ultrabooks in this class go it's pretty decent on air but it's not as good as the MacBook Pro models in terms

Of the sense of stereo separation and the amount of base that you're getting the MacBook Air has always been one of the most long-running Apple laptops that are on the market usually the most long-running and it helps because it runs on that low-power CPU it's a big enough chance that they have a decent sized battery all that stuff the thing with Intel's y series CPU is they're 5 watts instead of the usual 15 watt or even 28 watt which is what Apple uses in the 13-inch MacBook Pro with touch bar model is it doesn't save that much power it spends a lot of time in

Turbo boost and maybe that's why it performs as well as it does some battery life here apple claims twelve hours and at 114 it's a brightness which is at about forty percent brightness which is probably dimmer than a lot of you Mac people like to have your display at it does about nine hours which is a whole workday so that's not horrible and that it stands a bit above the windows competition on average not that it beats every single Windows laptop out there for runtimes that's pretty decent but if you do set up to 250 minutes which is almost max brightness then it goes down

To about 8 hours this is still better than the 13-inch MacBook Pro a touch bar however which is a more powerful machine to be fair it does the MacBook Air does get about two hours longer run time under the same usage scenario with the same brightness setting Apple ships it with a 30 watt charger and a 2 meter ak6 feet USB C charging cables so at least it's a decent length if you want that extension cable you know how it goes now at Apple you have to pay extra for that it's only 30 watts I say that because I mean it did a similar thing with the 12-inch MacBook as well but a lot of

Windows machines ship with at least a 45 watt charger which means faster charging and so this has just average charge times if you completely drain it's gonna take you about three hours to completely charge it happily taking off the bottom cover isn't that hard you unscrew the pentalobe screws there are longer ones at the back so remember that when you put it back together and then it comes off there's not a whole lot of annoying plastic clips so here's the inside it's mostly battery like most laptops are today it's a very clean industrial design I'll give it that

Here's your heatsink for the the CPU right here here is the fan and this is our touch ID sensor on a separate card so the whole motherboard doesn't have to be a replace which is Ho Chi ray teeny motherboard so your SSD and your RAM are soldered on board here and the battery over here and here these can actually be replaced without having to remove and replace the top cover like on the 13-inch MacBook Pro so that's a good thing though there is that fan the interesting thing is unlike every other you know typical laptop motherboard architecture kind of thing there is no

Heat pipe running from the CPU to the fan usually there's a copper pipe often painted black that runs to connect them so it wicks the heat off the CPU this one just seems to generally be pulling any hot air out of the laptop in general so this versus the 13-inch MacBook Pro no touch bar from last year you're gonna get fairly similar performance from your CPU and the integrated graphics here you will get a better display however on that no touch bar model so that would be the selling point there if you're thinking about the 13-inch MacBook Pro with touch bar the most current Intel

Eighth generation machine that one is going to be a whole lot faster it's gonna have that better display it's gonna have wider color gamut it's gonna have higher contrast it's going to support DCI p3 color profile all that sort of thing and you're gonna have the true tone thing as well which this doesn't support so some of you don't like true tone anyway I don't think that's a big deal what's in favor of this the longer battery life again you get about two hours longer battery life it's a bit lighter and it's a bit thinner not that anybody called a

13-inch MacBook Pro boat hanger hardly a boat anchor at that also this one is a bit easier to service as you saw from our internals I you can at least take the cover over that a million plastic clips that's not the biggest deal there but the battery is not glued to the keyboard surface you don't have to have the whole top cover replaced the Apple t2 chip is separate so you don't have to replace the entire motherboard if there's a problem with the t2 chip versus the many lovely and innovative Windows ultra books on the market now there are 13 inches and may be priced

Similarly similarly even the HP Spectre folio 13 inches I keep referring to it because it runs in the same CPU family for $100 more you can get something that has a leather exterior it does tent mode it does presentation mode does tablet mode supports a pen it has touchscreen as ever Apple is counting on the halo of their brand either you're dying to have an Apple product because you haven't had an Apple Mac before are you are an Apple person and you're locked in their ecosystem I don't think anybody from Windows Land is going to say that this one is offering more

Features in a better price so that's the 2018 MacBook Air and you know what it's inevitable yes it is that's how I feel about we all knew that when if and when Apple finally refreshed the very popular macbook air on this 10th anniversary now then it probably would be a cross between a 12-inch MacBook and a MacBook Pro and that's exactly what they've done here the good the bad and the ugly the good part is it's very light it's beautifully making you get OS 10 Mojave and so for those who are oh s 10 people Mac lovers well this is gonna be one of the laptops you're going to consider the

Display is so much improved yes I know it's not bright compared to your average laptop display from Apple but good god the color gamut is much better the contrast the off angle viewing the resolution all of that stuff that you know I wouldn't use the old MacBook Air I could live with this display the keyboard I leave that up to you you know and a butterfly keyboards about at this point right so whether you like it whether you hate it that one's gonna be up to you in terms of performance is pretty good like I said it's the same as the 13 inch and no touch bar MacBook Pro

So that's not bad is it you consider the low wattage of the CPU not bad I'm Lisa from mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cool tech videos and thumbs up if you like this vid

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