Apple was the first company to make laptops truly portable, and a size that could be easily tucked away in a bag or carried around without too much fuss.
12 years have passed since the defining moment where Steve Jobs pulled the first MacBook Air out of a manilla envelope and the new MacBook Air is still making headlines.
This time it’s for the M1 chip that is powering everything, that has been specifically designed and built by Apple for Mac. So how does the new MacBook Air stack up against the competition? Let’s dive right in.
How do I get it and what will it cost?
Apple’s MacBook Air (M1) sports a 13-inch display and comes in two models with three colours – Space Grey, Gold and Silver.
Storage options range from 256GB to 512GB and start from $1,599. For the full details, you can head to the official Apple store.
Apple MacBook Air (M1): Design
This is an ultra portable powerhouse, and suits just about anyone who wants a decent laptop for both home and office. It also has that really sleek and stylish aluminium design that other laptop manufacturers haven’t been able to match.
While the latest model looks almost the same as the previous versions, the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ rings true here. One thing that has changed (for the better) is the new ‘magic keyboard’ that provides really nice feedback and comfortable spacing between the keys.
At the top right of the keyboard is a Touch ID key that provides secure access to your MacBook Air and things like Apple Pay for purchases. It’s fast and reliable.
If you’re after a laptop that will stand the test of time, then look no further.
It’s worth noting that there are only two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports on the side of the device, so you’ll most likely need to grab a multiport adapter to allow you to connect hard drives or printers (if you’re not fully wireless).
But you do get a standard jack port where you can plug in wired headphones.
Apple MacBook Air (M1) review: The day-to-day
This device is impressive. After using the latest Surface Pro from Microsoft there is clear appeal to using macOS and what Apple brings to the table here. Windows still suffer from random crashes and freezes at times. But I didn’t experience any of this during the past month of using the Macbook Air running on Big Sur.
The display of the MacBook Air is a 13-inch ‘retina’ quality display with ‘True Tone Technology’. It’s very good. There are no issues when it comes to visibility of video and text content.
In terms of power, you’ll get through most of the day without needing to charge it up. Apple says it’s good for 15 hours wireless web and around 18 hours of Apple TV movie playback on local storage. This is pretty accurate to what I found.
But it’s also dependent on the brightness of your screen, and other factors including which apps you’re using and have running in the background. But it’s definitely better than what I was seeing on my Surface Pro.
However, I did miss the touch screen that comes with similarly priced devices from Huawei and Microsoft, but I ended up getting used to how I needed to use the operating system. But it is something I’d love Apple to introduce.
Apple MacBook Air (M1) review: Standout feature
Apple’s M1 chip is the biggest difference between the previous generations. This is a custom processor that the company has designed from the ground up.
By designing its own processor, Apple now has the ability to improve performance and optimise everything about the entire Mac lineup. It also means that some iPhone and iPad applications will now work across different devices. And this is an exciting development.
But this is where the lack of touchscreen becomes an issue since you’re not getting the exact same experience as you’d see on an iPhone or iPad. It’s not quite perfect, yet.
What’s to like?
- Stunning design
- Fantastic build quality
- Long battery life
- Great stereo speakers
- Ergonomic keyboard and trackpad
What’s not to like?
- Limited ports
- No touchscreen
Apple MacBook Air (M1) review: What we think
The latest MacBook Air is a defining moment for Apple – mostly due to the chip that has been used. Everything about the laptop works really well.
You’ll get Apple’s iconic design and outstanding build quality that provides long-life durability (I still have a working MacBook Pro from seven years ago). The stereo speakers are clear and loud, considering how thin and compact this device is and the battery life is more than acceptable.
Starting from $1,599 the MacBook Air has our recommendation for anyone who is after a reliable and robust computer for both work and play.
Apple provided this publisher with a loan device for testing purposes. This did not affect our views on the device, and our review remains independent of the manufacturer.