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Apple MacBook Air (2019) – Full Review and Benchmarks

Apple MacBook Air (2019) – Full Overview and Benchmarks

Recommending a MacBook was simple: the unique MacBook Air was nice for everybody. It is not as easy anymore, nonetheless, due to PCs getting higher and Apple’s rising costs.

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Sure, this yr’s MacBook Air (beginning at $1,099, examined at $1,299) is $100 cheaper than final yr’s mannequin, however the lack of a sub-$1,000 mannequin in Apple’s lineup hurts. Additionally, the MacBook Air’s Y-series Intel CPU goes to be nice for some, but it surely’s not as speedy as U-series chips in PCs and the brand new 13-inch MacBook Professional.

Nonetheless, the brand new MacBook Air delivers a strong total expertise. Its battery life is nice for a premium laptop computer, its vivid, crisp Retina show now options Apple’s True Tone show expertise and its gold colorway appears to be like actually slick. On a regular basis customers will possible discover the Air to be superb, whereas those that must get severe work performed are in all probability higher off with the $1,299 13-inch MacBook Professional.

MacBook Air 2019 value and configuration choices

The MacBook Air is pricier than many 13-inch PC laptops, but it surely’s now the most-affordable MacBook. It begins at $1,099 with an eighth Gen Core i5-8210Y CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage. We examined the 256GB SSD mannequin, which provides $200 to the worth.

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Different upgrades embrace 16GB of RAM for $200, the improve I might take most frequently as I maintain quite a lot of apps operating concurrently. There isn’t a CPU improve possibility, sadly. When you purchased AppleCare+, our complete Apple Guarantee Verify information will present you discover the remaining time in your plan.


A slim wedge of machined aluminum, the newest MacBook Air is similar to the enduring (however now retired) laptop computer that impressed it. And whereas this very iterative design has began to age on the MacBook Professional, we examined a gold model of the Air that fairly the looker. The Air can also be accessible within the house grey and silver choices that the MacBook Professional is offered in.

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At 2.eight kilos and zero.2~zero.6 inches thick, the 13-inch MacBook Air is a bit heavier than the Dell XPS 13 (2.7 kilos; zero.three~zero.46 inches) and the HP Spectre x360 (2.eight kilos; zero.6 inches), however lighter than the 13.9-inch MateBook X Professional (2.9 kilos, zero.6 inches) The brand new 13-inch MacBook Professional (three kilos; zero.6 inches) is a bit heavier than the Air.


Apple’s USB-C-only imaginative and prescient is future-forward at greatest and frustratingly restricted at worst. The MacBook Air options twin Thunderbolt three ports on its left aspect, and you will use a type of to cost the MacBook Air.

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There’s additionally a headphone jack, as a result of what’s good for the iPhone is not greatest for the MacBook. The 13-inch MacBook Professional additionally begins with this port choice, however it may be upgraded to 4 Thunderbolt three ports. For extra about how the Air stands as much as its brawnier brother, try our MacBook Professional vs Air (2019) face-off.

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This port structure suggests you personal — or are prepared to purchase — a USB Kind-C hub to achieve further ports such because the SD reminiscence reader and USB Kind-A port that many nonetheless want.

MORE: 13 USB Kind-C Hubs (Underneath $100), Ranked From Greatest to Worst

The MateBook X Professional and Spectre x360 characteristic each Kind-C and Kind-A ports, whereas the XPS 13 provides you three Kind-C ports, all of which may draw energy and two of that are Thunderbolt three. The XPS 13 additionally features a microSD Card slot.


The MacBook Air presents the identical keyboard you will discover on Apple’s MacBook Execs, which is shallow and clicky, however gives an honest typing expertise. Testing it on the 10fastfingers typing check, I click-clacked my option to 73 phrases per minute with 96% accuracy, a brief fall from my 80 wpm common.

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The Air’s keys characteristic zero.7 millimeters of journey, which is sort of quick (we search for not less than 1.5 mm). We discovered 71 grams of required actuation drive in these keys, which helps make up for his or her shallow depth, as our most well-liked measurements begin at 60g.

The MacBook Air”s keyboard is shallow and clicky, however gives an honest typing expertise.

Apple’s given the MacBook Air the 4th era of its Butterfly-switch keyboard. The earlier generations had a repute for being failure-prone. This 4th version of the Butterfly change includes a totally different materials designed to offer elevated reliability, but it surely did not really feel a lot totally different to me, and it is laborious to say the way it will maintain up over time.The XPS 13, Spectre x360 and MateBook X Professional laptops characteristic scissors-style key switches, which do not have the problems that many MacBook homeowners have reported.

Touchpad and Contact ID

Whereas pinching and zooming on the MacBook Air’s four.6 x three.1-inch touchpad, I noticed that the floor supplied easy and fluid shrinking and zooming. Apple’s Pressure Contact trackpad additionally presents correct monitoring of my faucets and clicks, although I miss the outdated trackpads that really moved whenever you clicked them down, as a substitute of the haptic suggestions that Macs now use to simulate clicks.

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The MacBook Air provides you one of the best of Apple’s touch-sensitive interfaces. As an alternative of being caught with the MacBook Professional’s OLED Contact Bar display (which by no means obtained a killer characteristic), you get the corporate’s Contact ID biometric scanner plus bodily F1-F12 perform keys. That Contact ID button permits for superfast system unlocking, affirmation of your id for Apple Pay and in addition capabilities as an influence button.


As I watched the trailer for Midsommar, I observed strong colour replica from the MacBook Air’s high-res display. From vivid white linens to the wealthy clay-colored exterior of the ceremonial barn and the sturdy yellow sunflowers of the Could Queen crowns, hues rendered precisely all through the clip. The 4K movie Tears of Metal appeared particularly crisp on the MacBook Air’s display, displaying off tiny bits of ragged cloth of war-torn garments and all the scratches on large spray-painted mech robots.

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The MacBook Air additionally options Apple’s True Tone show expertise that adjusts the colour temperaturet primarily based on ambient lighting. I discover True Tone to look much more constant on the Air — as I introduced the laptop computer from workplace to workplace — than it ever has appeared on my iPhone XS Max, the place I’ve typically thought it rendered colours incorrectly.

The 4K movie Tears of Metal appeared exceedingly crisp on the MacBook Air’s display, displaying off tiny bits of ragged cloth of war-torn garments and all the scratches on large spray-painted mech robots.

Our colorimeter rated the MacBook Air’s display for producing 100% of the sRGB spectrum, a score that is undoubtedly respectable, despite the fact that it is lower than the 129% premium laptop computer common. The MateBook X Professional is only a notch greater at 104%, whereas the screens within the Spectre x360 (150%), the MacBook Professional (165%) and the XPS 13 (4K: 119%; 1080p: 126%) posted greater rankings. The

MORE: Laptops with the Greatest Total Efficiency

The MacBook Air’s panel produces 343 nits of brightness, which could be very near the 346 premium laptop computer common. We noticed brighter numbers from the XPS 13 (4K: 375 nits; 1080p: 357 nits) and the 497-nit MateBook X Professional, whereas the Spectre x360 (287 nits) was dimmer. Nonetheless, I might have favored the Air to be a bit brighter, just like the 428-nit, 13-inch MacBook Professional, because the hyper-saturated colours within the video for Billie Eilish’s “Unhealthy Man” darkened a bit once I seen the laptop computer from 45 levels to the left and proper.

Audio and “Hey, Siri”

The MacBook Air continues Apple’s sturdy legacy in audio, with audio system that you could belief to amplify your favourite songs. Listening to Eilish’s “Unhealthy Man” fill one in every of our medium-size convention rooms, I famous correct vocals, crisp snapping and durable bass.

MORE: 5 Large Adjustments Coming To Siri | Tom’s Information

Placing the MacBook Air’s Siri expertise to the check in our chatty newsroom, I discovered the laptop computer may simply parse my voice, and never embrace the banter behind me. The digital assistant proved able to performing first rate requests, akin to displaying instructions from our workplace to Central Park in Maps, opening my favourite apps and creating reminders.


Armed with a Y-Collection Intel Core i5-8210Y CPU with 8GB of RAM, the 2019 MacBook Air has the identical “simply sufficient” kick of efficiency we noticed within the 2018 MacBook Air.

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I noticed no stutter as I multitasked in Chrome on the Air, splitting a 1080p episode of the Scorching Ones YouTube present with a baker’s dozen of browser tabs (together with Giphy, Google Varieties and the Google Doc wherein I labored on this assessment). That responsiveness continued as I began chatting in our firm Slack, utilizing the Issues productiveness app to handle my to-do’s and writing within the Bear textual content editor.

In benchmark testing, although, the MacBook Air obtained proven up by the competitors, which all rock sooner U-Collection processors. Take the Geekbench four common efficiency benchmark, the place the Air netted a rating of seven,880, which is simply 53% of the 14,678 premium laptop computer common.

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We additionally noticed greater marks from Apple’s rivals, akin to 14936 from the XPS 13 (Core i7-8565U; 16GB of RAM), a 14,935 from the Spectre x360 (Core i7-8565U; 8GB of RAM) and a 17,134 from the MateBook X Professional (Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM). Need that type of energy from a MacBook? The 13-inch MacBook Professional (Core i5-8257U; 8GB of RAM) notched a 17,366 on the identical check.

MORE: Which Laptop computer CPU is Proper for You?

The 256GB SSD within the MacBook Air landed a write-speed price of 1,011 MBps on the Blackmagic Disk Velocity Check, which is quick, however not the quickest. The MateBook X Professional’s 1TB NVMe SSD hit a blisteringly quick price of two,190 MBps, whereas the 13-inch MacBook Professional’s write pace was an analogous 1,220 MBps.

On our Handbrake video-editing check, the MacBook Air took a whopping 36 minutes and 6 seconds to transcode a 4K film to 1080p. That is for much longer than the 21:55 class common, the 19:20 from the XPS 13, the 14:42 from the 13-inch MacBook Professional and the 22:50 from the MateBook X Professional.

Battery Life

The MacBook Air presents OK battery life, so you’ll be able to in all probability neglect its USB-C cable at dwelling should you’re out for a piece of the day. On the Laptop computer Magazine Battery Check (internet shopping over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), the Air’s battery hit empty after eight hours and 51 minutes, greater than half an hour longer than the eight:19 premium laptop computer common.

The Spectre x360 (12:07) lasted for much longer, as did the 1080p model of the XPS 13 (12:22). The 4K XPS 13 (7:50) and MateBook X Professional (eight:19) ran dry in much less time. The MacBook Professional lasted longer, at 10:48.


The MacBook Air’s zero.7-megapixel webcam proves that virtually each laptop computer, even a $1,099 laptop computer from Apple, could disappoint you when it is time to take a Skype name or shoot a selfie.

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The picture I took of myself on the Air in our workplace is splotchy and presents little intimately. I barely acknowledged my colleague within the background. Coloration high quality is not nice, both, as my white shirt bore a pink hue (possible picked up from our heat lighting).


True to its identify, the MacBook Air stays as cool as a breeze. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the laptop computer, we caught temperatures on its touchpad (82 levels Fahrenheit) keyboard (91 levels) and underside (88 levels) that do not come near our 95-degree consolation threshold.

macOS Mojave (macOS Catalina beta should you’re feeling dangerous)

The MacBook Air at present ships with macOS Mojave, which introduced in just a few new options I like, together with Fast Look Markup for enhancing pictures shortly and Stacks for maintaining the desktop organized. I’ve grown to love the systemwide darkish mode, but it surely’s extra about aesthetics than productiveness or efficiency.

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One factor I’ve to commend Apple for, despite the fact that it may be taken with no consideration, is the whole absence of bloatware on the Air. Many PCs cannot say the identical about their set of pre-loaded purposes, such because the Spectre x360, which has 5 HP documentation apps that must be merged into one, plus a pair of Sweet Crush titles, Fitbit Coach, Netflix and LinkedIn.

MORE: macOS Catalina’s Music App Rocks: iTunes Is not Actually Useless

Need to style the way forward for the Mac? You’ll be able to set up the macOS Catalina Public Beta to see how Music, Podcasts and TV apps make sense in a post-iTunes world, and check out the Sidecar mode should you personal an iPad. Simply beware that betas are buggy and gradual your efficiency. Take a look at my assessment of the Catalina Public Beta to study extra.

Backside Line

The MacBook Air’s first rate battery life, sharp display, sturdy sound and chic gold colorway make it a strong entry-level laptop computer for Apple followers. If solely its processor had a bit extra kick to it, it could be so much simpler to suggest the Air.

For sooner efficiency, you would spend $200 extra to improve to the MacBook Professional. When you’re not tied to the Apple world (and also you’re OK with a lower-res display), take a look at the 1080p Dell XPS 13 we examined, which is quicker, lasts longer and prices $100 lower than our MacBook Air, at $1,199.

However for many who wish to save a bit cash, do not want the Contact Bar and have a modest workload, the brand new MacBook Air is a strong possibility. I simply want I may belief that keyboard. For that, solely time will inform.

Credit score: Laptop computer Magazine

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