Apple has made the Apple MacBook Air 2018 sleeker, lighter, and smaller. That is not where the good news ends. The new MacBook, as you would expect, has faster processors with dual-core CPUs. Its price is also higher than previous versions.

PROS

  • Super fast processors
  • Somewhat lightweight
  • Excellent Retina display
  • Long battery life
  • Revived modern design

CONS

  • A small number of ports (two USB-C Ports, actually)
  • Expensive
  • No SD card reader

 Apple MacBook Air (2018) Specifications

Display 13.3-inch Retina Display, 2560 x 1600 LED, 300nits
CPU 1.6GHz dual-core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5 processor
Operating System macOS Mojave
RAM 8GB or 16GB
Hard drive 128GB, 512GB, 1.5TB SSD / 256GB, 512GB, 1.5TB PCIe-based SSD
Battery Up to 12 hours wireless web, Up to 13 hours iTunes movie playback
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 617
Camera 720p FaceTime HD camera
Ports 2 x Type-C USB (supporting Thunderbolt 3), 3.5mm headphone jack
Size (11.9 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches)  30.4 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm
Weight (2.76 pounds) 1.25kg
Networking 802.11ac Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth 4.2

Design

  • 11.9 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches  
  • 2.76 pounds
  • 2 x Type-C USB (supporting Thunderbolt 3)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

A few years ago, Apple introduced laptops with wedge-like shapes which many brands have since adopted. The MacBook Air has that classic wedge-like shape and looks like the old version when closed. It has a more modern appearance, and looks a lot sleeker. It is available in gold, silver and grey colours.

Again, with respect to appearance, the MacBook Air 2018 has a smaller footprint and is a tad thinner than the 2017 MacBook Air. It weighs no more than 1.25 kg (2.76 pounds) which is pretty light compared to what some laptops like Acer Aspire E 15 at 2.27 kg (5 pounds) and HP Spectre x360 2.09 kg (4.6 pounds) weigh. Apple has made the MacBook Air with recycled aluminium offcuts from other Apple gizmos.

 

Apple has replaced the Touch Bar predominant in most MacBooks with function keys.

 

Like most modern high-end laptops, the MacBook Air has USB-C Ports (two to be precise) which support the industry standard Thunderbolt 3, and one headphone jack on the right side of the Air. The two USB-C Ports which are on the left side can be used for charging the MacBook Air.  Data transfer speeds are outstanding thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 ports. You may need other peripherals, for instance, a USB-C to Ethernet adapter. The MacBook Air is not shipped with this.

A fingerprint sensor located in the top right corner of the keyboard enables speedy logins and is quicker than previous Touch ID scanners. It serves as the MacBook Air’s power button, too. You can register three fingerprints on the MacBook Air. Apple has replaced the Touch Bar predominant in most MacBooks with function keys. For the uninitiated, be aware that you won’t be able to log in via the Touch ID scanner after a cold boot.

Worth-of-note is the absence (yes, absence) of an SD card reader. Apple has decided to build the new Air without the SD card slot.

Display

  • 13.3-inch Retina Display
  • 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • 300 nits

Apple MacBook Air 2018 has a crisp 2560 x 1600-pixel Retina display which showcases vivid and solid colours. The powerful 13.3-inch display is one of the striking features of the new MacBook Air. Display bezels surrounding the screen are now thinner and black-coloured rather than grey. Even with the appreciable bezel size reduction, the display isn’t edge-to-edge.

With the 2018 Air, you get 300 nits of brightness – this is not the best in the laptop industry. The MacBook Pro has a higher rating at 500 nits and the MateBook X Pro gives a bighter screen (458 nits).

The webcam is still at the top bezel despite a reduction in the size of the bezels. Of course, do not expect extraordinary picture qualities if you decide to take selfies with the webcam. On the other hand, the camera is OK for conference calls.

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Performance

  • 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB or 16GB RAM
  • 128GB, 512GB, 1.5TB SSD
  • Intel UHD Graphics 617

When it comes to speed, the 2018 Apple MacBook Air is a bit faster than the previous models on the market. As a matter of fact, its processing speed is better than the present 12-inch MacBook which works with 2017 Intel chips. The 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor in the 2018 Air uses dual-core Y-series chip unlike the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar which uses a quad-core U-series processor.

 

The MacBook Air gives speeds up to 2 GBps when subjected to Blacmagic disk test.

 

With the present MacBook Air model, you get up 16GB of RAM, a noteworthy improvement on the 8GB found in the previous model. The MacBook Air has an excellent SSD performance. Some laptops record no more 600 MBps when subjected to Blackmagic disk test. But the MacBook Air gives speeds up to 2 GBps – this is incredible.

The T2 security feature is now available on the MacBook Air. With this security chip, files and SSD data are encrypted automatically. The T2 technology also serves storage for fingerprints used in Touch ID via Secure Enclave technology. This feature has been available to users of MacBook Pro 2018 and on a good number of macOS-powered devices.

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Keyboard and Touchpad

  • butterfly-style keyboard
  • 4.6 x 3.1 inches touchpad

The new Apple MacBook Air has the most recent version of the butterfly keyboard. You may not like the butterfly-style keyboard as it isn’t most people’s favourite keyboard on a laptop. A very small fraction of users of previous versions of the butterfly keyboard are of the view that it is not durable and has less vertical travel than older Mac keyboards. Nevertheless, we do not have issues with it because it is very, very responsive and produces little typing noise.

Apple may have adopted the butterfly keys to make the MacBook Air thinner and give some room for the battery.

The Air’s touchpad is bigger (4.6 x 3.1 inches) than most MacBook touchpads. The touchpad works with the Taptic Engine haptic motor which gives a motion-like movement when you touch it. Like the keyboard, the touchpad is responsive and solid in so doing makes scrolling seamless. This is no news if you’ve used current MacBooks.

Related: Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2018) Review

Audio

The MacBook Air 2018 audio quality is by and large more than satisfactory. The speakers on the Apple MacBook Air are as fantastic as what the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) offers. The sound quality is much better (and somewhat louder) than what you find in most laptops. The volume is higher than that produced by the  MacBook Pro 2017.

You should get at least 12 to 13 hours of productive work out of the The MacBook Air when it is not plugged in. All MacBook Air 2018 laptops come with a 30W USB-C charger. Although a 45W USB-C charger will do a better job of charging your MacBook Air faster.

Software and Warranty

  • macOS Mojave

The MacBook Air is powered by the macOS Mojave operating system. If you’ve used Windows 10, then switching and getting accustomed to the MacOS won’t be an issue.

Battery Life

  • Up to 12 hours wireless web
  • Up to 13 hours iTunes movie playback

Apple MacBooks, from the get go, are synonymous with very good battery performance. The 2018 Apple MacBook Air has the same solid battery life as most Apple laptops. The Y-series chips in the Air 2019 ensure low energy consumption.

You may notice that the MacBook Air has a small cooling fan which keeps the engine cool. From time to time you may hear the fan spinning.

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Furthermore, the MacBook Air can handle typical day-to-day computing tasks with ease. The same cannot be said if you attempt doing several demanding tasks at a go, like editing high resolution videos or playing power-intensive games; that’s when you notice that the Air’s performance with respect to speed reduces.

Bottom Line

Go for the Apple MacBook Air 2018 if you require a solid Apple laptop for work but cannot fork out the money for a MacBook Pro.