MacBook Air (2020) review

MacBook Air (2020) review

Our Verdict

This year’s MacBook Air fixes loads of our complaints with old units. It comes with recent, more extremely effective, innards, a tremendously improved keyboard and more storage web scream. On the other hand, the conceal is a shrimp muted and battery life is moderate. Composed, whenever you are an Apple fan making an try for an cheap MacBook, we can heartily counsel the recent MacBook Air – one thing we now own no longer been in a space to reside with old versions.


  • Less pricey stamp of entry
  • Fresh 10th know-how processors
  • Improved keyboard

In opposition to

  • Show conceal colors a shrimp muted
  • Battery life handiest OK
  • Webcam serene moral 720p

Two-minute review

The MacBook Air (2020) addresses a series of complaints we’ve had about old releases of Apple’s cheap skinny and light computer computer. Our ultimate space with old units used to be how the hardware powering them used to be starting to truly feel rather old-current and beneath powered, especially in comparison with many Windows-based mostly laptops of all the design by the same stamp mark.

While Apple used to be understandably searching to intention the MacBook Air as cheap as ability, we felt there had been a pair of too many compromises, especially when it came to processing energy and storage web scream. Plus, every yearly change felt love a little step up, rather then a revolutionary jump.

The precise recordsdata is that the MacBook Air 2020 feels love a noteworthy bigger step up from theMacBook Air 2019, with Apple within the cease adding recent parts that provides it a first rate uptick in efficiency. It’s additionally upped the minimum storage skill of the instrument (it now starts at 256GB, rather then the paltry 128GB of old units), and for the first time offers configurations with quad-core processors and as a lot as 16GB of RAM.

MacBook Air review

(Image credit: TechRadar)
Spec sheet

(Image credit: Apple)

Here is the MacBook Air (2020) configuration despatched to TechRadar for review:

CPU:1.1GHz Intel Core i3-1000NG4 (dual-core, 4 threads, 4MB cache, as a lot as 3.2GHz)
Graphics:Intel Iris Plus
RAM:8GB (3,733MHz LPDDR4X)
Show conceal:13.3-dawdle, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina Factual Tone listing (backlit LED, IPS)
Storage:256GB PCIe SSD
Ports:2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity:802.11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 5
Camera:720p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight:2.8 kilos (1.29kg)
Dimension:11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

It does all of this without neglecting that every body-crucial skinny and light intention which the MacBook Air is neatly-known for. While it’s no longer the thinnest computer computer around (the LG Gram, for occasion, is one of several Windows 10 laptops that weighs no longer as a lot as the MacBook Air on the moment), it’s serene an impressively compact computer computer with Apple’s neatly-known intention and develop quality, and whereas the recent parts add a shrimp extra dimension and weight to the general dimensions of the recent MacBook Air, it’s stays a computer computer you might perhaps without anguish and comfortably elevate around with you.

In the case of stamp, Apple has pleasantly vastly stunned us by releasing the MacBook Air 2020 at a starting stamp that’s lower than what the 2019 model launched at: $999 / £999 / AU$1,599. No longer handiest is that this more cost effective, but the specs are better than closing year’s model, with the entry-level model that includes a dual-core 10th-know-how 1.1GHz Intel Core i3 processor with a purchase of three.2GHz, 256GB storage and 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM.

Form-wise, issues are stunning noteworthy the same, but with one most notable (and welcome) distinction: the MacBook Air 2020 comes with a brand recent keyboard. Long gone is the aged butterfly switches, which were too shallow for plenty of of us, and inclined to failing if particles, akin to mud and crumbs, fell between the keys, and in its web scream is the recent Magic keyboard, which first regarded with theMacBook Skilled 16-dawdle. This offers a deeper commute when typing, so it feels more responsive, and – crucially – it seems to own mounted the reliability complications with the older keyboard.

In other areas, it’s stunning noteworthy alternate as extra special, which is appropriate recordsdata whenever you are enthusiastic on Apple’s devices and were hankering after a MacBook Air that performs along with it seems. On the other hand, if Apple’s laptops own previously left you wintry, then there’s no longer noteworthy here that can intention you switch your thoughts.

Label and availability

In a relaxing shock, the MacBook Air (2020) has launched at a brand recent more cost effective stamp for its entry level model.

The recent entry-level MacBook Air comes with a dual-core 10th-know-how Intel Core i3 processor, 256GB storage (up from 128GB within the old model) and 8GB of RAM for $999 / £999 / AU$1,599.

That’s a first rate saving brooding about that theMacBook Air (2019)‘s entry level model launched at $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,699. In an age of rising charges, it be truly stunning to search out out about Apple liberate more moderen hardware at more cost effective prices. Prolonged would perhaps perhaps it continue.

Apple additionally launched a increased-cease MacBook Air priced at $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,999, and this comes with a 10th-know-how quad-core Intel Core i5 processor – the first time a quad-core CPU has been integrated in a MacBook Air – 512GB SSD storage and 8GB of RAM.

MacBook Air review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As with old units, you might perhaps extra fortify the MacBook Air, adding double the RAM, more storage as a lot as 2TB and a sooner 10th know-how Intel Core i7 processor.

The fully maxed-out model, then, with a 1.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD charges $2,249 / £2,249 / AU$3,349.

The MacBook Air 2020 is on hand to tell gorgeous nowfrom the Apple Retailer.


MacBook Air review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There is no radical redesign of the MacBook Air with the 2020 model (on the outside, as a minimum), but then many of us will argue that there isn’t any longer any need for Apple to tinker with the kind of a success intention.

So, the MacBook Air stays impressively skinny and light, because the name suggests, with dimensions of 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm). That’s a a shrimp bit thicker develop than the 2019 model, and this year’s MacBook Air 2020 additionally weighs a shrimp bit more at 2.8 kilos (1.29kg) (in comparison with the 2.75 kilos (1.25kg) weight of the 2019 model).

As is the case with unusual MacBooks, the MacBook Air (2020) would no longer include many ports, so that you are stuck with moral two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and an audio jack. The Thunderbolt 3 ports are as a minimum versatile, offering switch quickens to 40Gb/s and allowing you to transmit as a lot as 6K photos to an acceptable show screen, and would perhaps perhaps be used for charging as neatly.

So, you do no longer favor a completely different charger to purchase the battery of the MacBook Air, which is barely appropriate, but it surely does mean you lose one of those Thunderbolt 3 ports ought to you have to rate.

Holding the MacBook Air is what you’d expect from Apple’s lightest computer computer – it feels, unsurprisingly, light-weight. While it would no longer match the ultra-light designs of theLG Gramor theAcer Swift 7, it be serene easy to withhold around with you and sling in a fetch, and it continues to characteristic the same top rate brushed attain that’s embellished MacBooks for years, with a replacement of Rental Grey, Gold or Silver colors.

While no longer noteworthy is totally different on the outside of the MacBook Air 2020, the final be conscious (and most welcome) switch is discovered as soon as you open it up; Apple has within the cease changed the keyboard with a brand recent intention that uses a redesigned scissor mechanism that is aimed at warding off the reliability points that MacBooks own suffered with the older butterfly keyboard intention.

This recent keyboard offers 1mm key commute for a responsive truly feel when typing, and the arrow keys are now in an inverted ‘T’ shape, which makes them more intuitive to drawl.

There is additionally a Contact ID fingerprint scanner for biometric login to macOS and for paying on-line with Apple Pay. As with completely differentMacBookswith this characteristic, we discovered it easy to role up (it be half of the intention ought to you first birth up the MacBook Air), and it used to be mercurial and first rate when it came to detecting our fingerprints.

While the keyboard feels sturdy and simple to drawl – the primary spacing in insist serene makes tapping the gorgeous button a easy ride, and one that even non-MacBook users will adapt to without discover – the commute serene feels love it goes to be a splash deeper. 

MacBook Air review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

That’s a largely subjective opinion, but a shrimp more jump will were welcomed.

Composed, swapping between the recent keyboard of the MacBook Air, and the aged keyboard in an rising old MacBook Skilled, the adaptation is stark: we noteworthy choose on typing on the MacBook Air. If the recent keyboard intention has additionally mounted the reliability complications with past MacBooks – and to this point, it seems, has, and not using a experiences of most notable points for the reason that MacBook Skilled 16-dawdle launched with it uninteresting 2019. Blended with the improved typing ride, and we’d nearly articulate the recent keyboard of the MacBook Air is a complete success.

Almost. It is no longer barely finest, however. The keyboard is a shrimp more tiny than you might perhaps receive on a increased MacBook Skilled, and the reconfigured arrow keys serene require a moment’s regarded as sure you are hitting the gorgeous one, but that’s one thing you’re going to get used to in time.

Show conceal-wise, nothing has changed since closing year’s model. It comes with a 13.3-dawdle listing with LED backlighting, IPS know-how and a native decision of two,560 x 1,600. That finally ends up in a pixel density of 227 pixels per dawdle for tantalizing direct quality.

As with closing year’s model, the MacBook Air 2020’s conceal additionally aspects Factual Tone know-how, which mechanically adjusts the color temperature shown on the conceal in accordance to the ambient light.

TrueTone is a nice characteristic to own and one that’s been making a valid distinction on iPhones and iPads for years now. It is one of those aspects you’ll be in a position to in no design test up on till you switch it off, but largely it makes the listing a shrimp hotter to drawl.

Whether or no longer or no longer you are enthusiastic on TrueTone will again largely depend upon your non-public preferences. For us, we most neatly-most current the environment switched off, as we discovered TrueTone made the listing a shrimp too warm for our tastes, giving whites a yellowish tinge.

Even as you happen to want to drawl the MacBook Air for work the build color accuracy is vitally crucial (akin to direct editing), then you’ll be in a position to with out a doubt are searching to own TrueTone changed into off.

In the intervening time, searching at movies on the MacBook Air would perhaps perhaps no longer ever be the primary motive for owning the machine, but they reside lack the color reproduction pop of some completely different, increased-energy machines from Apple and competitors, making an try a splash muted.

It will were nice to search out out about HDR toughen on here, but for the stamp (which is on the delicious aspect for a brand recent MacBook) we can stamp why it be no longer been added.

You reside get a year’s free Apple TV+ subscription with every tackle of the recent MacBook Air, and that has a wealth of HDR / 4K scream material on there, so it would were nice to search out out about that supported.


Here’s how the MacBook Air (2020) performed inour suite of benchmark assessments:

Cinebench CPU: 267 points; Graphics: 37.5 fps
Geekbench 5 Single-Core: 1,094; Multi-Core: 2,276
TechRadar Battery Existence Take a look at: 7 hours 55 minutes


We were using the immoral model of the MacBook Air – presumably the model many of us will chase for – which suggests the dual-core Intel i3 chipset on the heart.

We own discovered early efficiency to be stunning spectacular – even when loading up the RAM-hungry Chrome, filling it with 25 tabs and then searching to edit photos on the aspect. 

We seen shrimp or no in slowdown at all by switching between tasks – even when adding in a video name (which did birth to hammer the battery by Chrome, as it does on many MacBooks) issues continued neatly, albeit with some crucial fan assistance to withhold issues cold.

While macOS feels correctly responsive for day-to-day tasks on the entry-level model, the MacBook Air serene lags within the attend of the more extremely effective (and pricey) MacBook Skilled when it involves using more intensive apps. While this is without anguish no longer a slack computer computer, you might perhaps cease up searching on the spinning wheel icon because the MacBook Air hundreds up apps a shrimp bit more commonly than on sooner Macs.

Composed, we had been in a space to fiddle on GarageBand whereas VLC used to be playing and Safari had a pair of apps open without warning, and the MacBook Air did a sizable job of preserving up. Even as you happen to’re going to be doing more hardcore multitasking, however, going for the MacBook Air with more RAM or the better processor shall be a appropriate suggestion.

The ultra-skinny intention of the MacBook Air does come at a shrimp bit of a stamp when it involves efficiency, however. When beneath sustained load, the MacBook Air (2020) can change into barely sizzling, causing the fans to whirr up. This might occasionally perhaps consequence in lowered efficiency due to thermal throttling, which is when the power of the CPU is lowered to reside it from overheating and getting broken.

We ran a pair of CPU-intensive benchmarks to search out out about how the MacBook Air (2020) would perhaps perhaps tackle being used for heavy workloads. The temperatures of the CPU in a short time rose to 100C. No longer long after, the fans severely began to kick in, in a disclose to withhold the MacBook Air cold. After a whereas, these fans grew to change into distractingly loud, and the physique of the MacBook Air used to be sizzling to the touch on the underside.

In the intervening time, the CPU frequency hovered around 2.31GHz, increased than the 1.1GHz immoral clock, but a miles bawl from the three.2GHz enhance the CPU is supposedly in a position to.

What this means is that in a disclose to withhold the CPU cold, the MacBook Air is limiting the speed of the CPU. So, whenever you’re going to be doing loads of high intensity tasks which require the CPU to work for long sessions of time, then you are better off investing in a MacBook Skilled, which handles thermal throttling noteworthy better.

After all, there’s the argument that the MacBook Air is designed to be skinny and light initially, and no longer a raw productivity machine. So, you aren’t going to truly set this computer computer (and its processor) by heavy tasks more commonly than no longer.

The extra SSD storage integrated within the MacBook Air is additionally very welcome. As soon as more, the accurate remark power retains the macOS running system feeling spiritedly, and records transfers are nice and immediate.

Most importantly, the 256GB starting skill is design more generous than the 128GB older MacBook Airs equipped. This offers you design more web scream to save photos, videos and paperwork, and ought to mean you are much less reliant on iCloud orexterior laborious drives. On the other hand, for enthusiastic photographers or musicians, you’ll be in a position to presumably are searching to chase for a model with design more storage – and thankfully, Apple offers as a lot as 2TB of SSD storage within the MacBook Air (2020).

Leisure-wise, the speakers on the recent MacBook Air deserve a appropriate mention – when searching at ‘Ford vs Ferrari’, the vocal readability used to make certain even when juxtaposed with loud, crunching automobile sounds. While the conceal tech is no longer top notch for entertainment, the sound output is (and there’s serene a headphone jack on board).

In the intervening time, even on max brightness, the listing seems a shrimp bit too murky for our tastes, lacking the vibrancy of competitors with OLED monitors. Apple has additionally kept its 720p webcam that we in actuality feel has began to outstay its welcome. There are completely different laptops out there with severely better webcams for the stamp.

MacBook Air review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

Apple claims the MacBook Air (2020) has 11 hours of battery life, but in our day-to-day drawl and benchmark assessments, we discovered it in actuality managed a shrimp bit below that.

With our battery life test, the build we play a looped 1080p video till the battery ran out, the MacBook Air (2020) managed moral anxious of 8 hours. We additionally discovered that once using the MacBook Air, using a combine of Apple’s agree with apps and completely different, more battery-hungry, applications, this year’s model lasted around 7 hours. That potential it goes to with out a doubt closing a complete work/college day, and likewise you might perhaps fortunately having it playing videos all by long flights, but unless you in actuality minimize down on the variety and series of apps you use, and lower that conceal brightness, you aren’t going to be hitting the promised 11 hours.

There is some appropriate recordsdata, as in standby, the power affect is stunning minimal – in a single day we saw barely any fall in battery life, even supposing it be value remembering this is serene a brand recent MacBook Air so shall be functioning at peak efficiency.

Here is among the finest issues about MacBooks in comparison with Windows 10 laptops – you might perhaps ward off them in standby for days on cease, and the battery life shall be barely unchanged. In the intervening time, many Windows laptops will one design or the other hemorrhage battery life even when no longer in drawl.

Raise it if…

You desire an cheap MacBook
The MacBook Air (2020) within the cease delivers on the promise of an cheap MacBook that would no longer truly feel love there’s been too many compromises.

You hate the aged butterfly keyboard
Certainly one of many finest recent aspects of the MacBook Air (2020) is the recent keyboard. It feels noteworthy nicer to drawl, and it seems to own mounted the reliability points that plagued the older keyboards.

You would possibly perhaps be a pupil making an try for a MacBook
The (barely) cheap stamp, alongside the skinny and light intention and first rate battery life makes this a wise MacBook for varsity students. You are going to be in a space to fortunately sling it on your backpack and elevate it around campus all day.

Do not purchase it if…

You desire basically the most extremely effective computer computer
While Apple has as a lot as this point the specs of the MacBook Air, and at closing added quad-core CPU solutions, this is serene no longer a computer computer designed for severely heavy workloads.

You wish color accuracy
The MacBook Air (2020)’s conceal is barely appropriate enough, but it surely lacks the expert color gamuts discovered within the MacBook Skilled and completely different expert laptops. Even as you happen to need color accuracy for work, test up on somewhere else.

You don’t love Macs
The MacBook Air would no longer own a revolutionary intention, nor does it try to make a decision on over Windows users too noteworthy. Even as you happen to weren’t partial to old MacBook Airs, the 2020 model would perhaps perhaps no longer truly persuade you in some other case.

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