Please note: there is an older version of the Apple Macbook Air available! The Apple Macbook Air (2017).

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Apple MacBook Air MRE92B/A (128GB)


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£1199.00

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Apple MacBook Air MREA2B/A (256GB)


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Finally! The Macbook Air has received a much needed overhaul. Sure, it’s only been one year on since Apple released the Macbook Air (2017). But (as any Apple fanboy will tell you), in reality the 2017 version was basically a 2015 Macbook Air. True, the 2017 Macbook Air had a faster processor (1.8Ghz compared to 1.6Ghz) but everything else, from the display to the keyboard and speakers were fundamentally the same as the 2015 model.

This time however, Apple have gone back to the drawing board to deliver a visibly superior Macbook Air that would blow the socks off any self-respecting coffee sipping digital nomad worth their herb infused salt (phew, that’s a mouthful). That’s right, your favourite light-weight coffee shop laptop is back and better than ever before – thinner, lighter and faster. But has enough changed for you to buy the Macbook Air over its rivals?

 

Out With The Old In With The New

The Macbook Air might be thinner and lighter (10g lighter) thanks to the redesign, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t up to the job. Sure, Apple have done away with one of the USB ports (it now has 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack only), the SD slot and a dedicated MagSafe power charger port (you have to use one of the USB-C ports to charge you Air), but its slimmed down design has allowed it to fit more in.

To start with, the bezel is 50% smaller. The screen isn’t quite edge-to-edge but it’s a start. At least this means the camera isn’t in the odd (and extremely unflattering) keyboard level position like the Dell XPS range. It certainly looks a little less dated now anyhow.

The 2K (2560 x 1600px) retina screen is probably one of the first things you’ll notice, especially when side-by-side with the 2017 model. It’s much brighter (300nits) and vibrant compared to the 2017 Macbook Air. It’s not quite as bright as the Macbook Pro, but you can’t have everything. In fact it uses the same tech of that found in the latest Macbook range. Unfortunately the screen has that annoying glossy screen to it, which entails a lot of faffing about to find that sweet spot to avoid glare. If you’re an Apple fan however, this is something you’ve probably become accustomed too. It’s just something to take in to consideration if you work in an office or classroom with direct sunlight.

 

Conscious Of Today’s Demands

The outside still has the classic wedge look, but its body is now made out of 100% recycled 6000 Series Aluminium Casting for strength (it looks nice too). Gone is the classic light-up Apple on the casing. But if you have already seen the latest Macbook and Macbook Pro, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Instead, the Apple is now a piece of polished metal. Nostalgia-wise, I’m a little bummed by the change, but I have to admit it does look better. At least the keyboard (which is Apple’s controversial latest gen. butterfly mechanism) is LED-backlit if you’re missing the warm glow of yesteryear.

Overall it feels a lot more solid and expensive. The keyboard is easy to navigate and the trackpad is 20% larger than the 2017 Macbook Air. Of course there are some of the downsides of a metal casing such as scratches, fingerprints and temperature (cold to touch first thing in the morning) but these are all pretty minor complaints. Thankfully Apple have included an actual cooling fan in the 2018 Macbook Air to avoid ending up with a sizzling hotplate instead of a laptop.

Besides the faster i5 8th Gen Intel Core Processor (which is worthy of a new generation laptop) and T2 Security Chip, Apple have added better sound too. Apple boasts an impressive 25% increase in volume and 2 x more bass compared to the previous Macbook Air models. While it’s difficult to confirm the exact percentage (sound quality Is quite relative), I’d say in comparison it does sound better and louder… probably clearer too.

 

The Verdict

While the Macbook Air (2018) isn’t quite the powerhouse the Macbook Pro is, Apple have stayed pretty true to the Macbook Air mantra – portability. It’s lighter, it’s thinner and it’s faster than the previous generation which will appeal to those on the move. Sure Apple have had to make a few compromises to achieve this, but people who are attracted to the Macbook Air design know what they’re getting into. This is a lightweight laptop that performs to a good standard. If you’re looking for a high performance laptop however, this isn’t the one for you. If you’re deciding between the Pro and the Air, it really comes down to how you work and what you need it for.

What’s in the Box

  • Apple MacBook Air 13.3″ (2018) with Retina Display
  • 30 W USB-C power adapter
  • USB Type-C charge cable (2 m)

Apple Macbook Air (2018)
A solid laptop for those looking for something portable.
Design89%
Performance76%
Display75%
Portability93%
Battery Life89%
Noisiness79%
84%Overall Score
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