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MACBOOK AIR (LATE 2020)

The MacBook Air is a competent, reliable device with a stellar processor.

$999.00

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION:

Retina display

13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560×1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colours

Supported scaled resolutions:

  • 1680×1050
  • 1440×900
  • 1024×640

Chip

Apple M1 chip

8-core CPU with 4 perform­ance cores and 4 efficiency cores

7-core GPU

16‑core Neural Engine

Battery and Power

  • Up to 15 hours wireless web
  • Up to 18 hours Apple TV app movie playback
  • Built-in 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter

Charg­ing and Expan­sion

Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports with support for:

  • Charging
  • DisplayPort
  • Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40 Gbps)
  • USB 4 (up to 40 Gbps)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps)

Memory

  • 8GB
  • Configurable to: 512GB, 1TB or 2TB

Key­board and Track­pad

Backlit Magic Keyboard with:

  • 78 (US) or 79 (ISO) keys including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement
  • Ambient light sensor

Touch ID: Touch ID sensor

Wireless

Wi-Fi

  • 11ax Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking
  • IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compatible

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology

Camera

  • 720p FaceTime HD camera

Operat­ing System: macOS

The late-2020 MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s M1 processor, is the best laptop you can buy. The base model, which includes 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, starts at $999.

Appearance-wise, this laptop has a lot in common with the Intel-powered MacBook Air that Apple released earlier this year, including the same 2560 x 1600 screen, Touch ID, 720p webcam, fingerprint sensor, and scissor-switch keyboard.

But the new processor is the star of the show here; it’s fast. In our testing, it handled intense photo- and video-editing workloads better than almost any Intel-powered laptop we’ve tried this year. It was also able to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at close-to-playable frame rates, which is quite a feat for integrated graphics. At launch, these apps hadn’t yet been optimized for the M1 processor and were running through Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation layer — but they still worked fine.

Another benefit of the M1 processor is that it enables the MacBook Air to run iPhone and iPad apps natively on macOS. As of this writing, there still isn’t a huge selection of mobile apps available, and some that have been released aren’t quite optimized for the laptop screen. Still, it’s a benefit we can look forward to as time goes on.

Overall, there’s no reason that a general-use customer shouldn’t consider the MacBook Air. It’s a reliable device with excellent performance, as well as the excellence in build quality for which Apple is known. Power users who need a MacBook Pro probably know who they are; the Air should be fine for everyone else.

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