When Apple announced the new MacBook Air, it brought with an improved design, USB-C, Touch ID and a Retina Display.

I’ve been testing out the new MacBook Air for about a week and while it’s an improvement over previous models, it still has some issues.

Design & Hardware

The new MacBook Air still has an aluminum body but now it’s made from 100% recycled metal. The laptop now comes with a 13-inch Retina Display (with a resolution of 2560 x 1600) that is 48% brighter and offers richer colours.

The screen on the laptop looks great and with it’s thinner borders, it makes video watching even better.

The keyboard on the new MacBook Air uses Apple’s third-generation butterfly mechanism and is backlit. Typing on the keyboard is comfortable but I’m not a big fan of the mechanism Apple uses, that basically mimics a deeper keyboard without actually having one.

The Force Touch trackpad is now on the new MacBook Air and Apple also added Touch ID for faster login and Apple Pay support. While Touch ID is great to have, it can only be used for unlocking your Mac, Apple Pay and the iTunes and App Store, if you change any setting on your MacBook Air, you’ll still need to type in your password, which can be tiresome if your password is long.

To help keep things secure is the Apple T2 security chip which also helps with “Hey Siri” support on the new MacBook Air.

On either side of the keyboard are stereo speakers which Apple says are 25% louder than previous MacBook Air models. Sound quality is good but can start to sound tinny at higher volumes.

The left side of the device has 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 and the right side has a 3.5mm headphone jack. It would have been nice if Apple had the USB-C ports on either side or added a third port on the right side.

The new MacBook Air is only available with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. There is no option to upgrade to an Intel Core i7, which was available on previous models. It can also be optioned with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1.5TB SSD.

In terms of battery life, the new MacBook Air is able to get up to 12 hours and it also has great standby time. One thing to note is that MacBook Air takes a while to fully charge. One time I was charging the device from around 40% to 100% and it took so long. That is probably because of the type of USB-C charger that Apple includes with the laptop.

The new MacBook Air is available in three colours, gold, space grey and silver. It starts at $1,499 CAD and that gets you the Intel Core i5, 8GB and 128GB SSD, this the model that Apple provided.

The fully-specced out model costs $3,239 CAD and comes with an Intel Core i5, 16GB of RAM and 1.5TB SSD. The new MacBook Air is available now from Apple’s website.

Software

The new MacBook Air is running Mac OS Mojave. It brings a couple of new features but mostly stays the same.

New for Mojave is the addition of a full dark mode, where every menu and even the Finder has been darkened. Heck, even Safari and the App Store are compatible with Mojave’s dark mode.

One thing to note is that even though most of Apple’s pre-installed apps in Mojave, third-party apps like Chrome will need to be updated to fully support the new dark mode, which of as of this writing, Google is testing it.

Screenshots in macOS Mojave now allows to you easily markup screenshots and preview it. Apple has also brought the News, Stocks and Home app to Mojave from iOS.

The App Store has been given a complete overhaul that is similar to the one Apple gave to the App Store in iOS 11. There’s a Discover page which allows you to find new apps that Apple has curated.

There is also various sections in the App Store divided by their use such as Create, Work, Play, Develop and then standard Categories and app updates.

Xcode also supports dark mode. macOS Mojave introduces a feature called Stacks which will help organize all your files on your desktop.

Finder in macOS Mojave adds a new viewer called Gallery which makes it easier to look at presentations and photos. The sidebar in Finder now supports metadata and has quick options to do things like rotating or markup.

The quick actions feature in Finder are contextual and customizable. Screenshots in macOS

Apart from the new dark mode and new App Store, Mojave doesn’t add a whole lot new, compared to previous versions of macOS.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the new MacBook Air is a great laptop for those who want good performance, great battery life and easy to travel with. However, it’s disappointing that Apple doesn’t offer the Intel Core i7 in the new MacBook Air and this year’s model is more expensive than last year.

Pros

  • Lighter design
  • Good keyboard
  • Great looking retina display
  • USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3

Cons

  • No Intel Core i7 option
  • Only 2 USB-C ports
  • More expensive than previous models

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