It seems that Apple just needs to remove the controversial butterfly keyboard design and upgrade to a more powerful processor chip to bring the MacBook Air back to a position that can conquer the majority of users. This product is inherent.
Xi Pa Chao would like to introduce to you the detailed review of the MacBook Air (2020) computer line by Nilay Patel pen from The Verge technology site.
During the decade since its appearance on the market, Apple’s ultra-thin and light MacBook Air line of computers has gone through many ups and downs. The design of the second generation MacBook Air (released in 2010) has become the standard of all mid-sized laptops for many years thereafter. The MacBook Air is also Apple’s most popular line of Mac computers and one of the best and most-used laptops in history. And also the glorious history, along with the weight of the MacBook Air brand, has made users choose to buy and buy this product, even after that, Apple has let the device lag far behind. rival laptop lines.
Oddly enough: There was a time when Apple openly thought the base (low-profile) version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro was a better choice than the MacBook Air, but I still keep looking buy only MacBook Air.
And finally, the popularity (to stubbornness) of the Air line and Apple’s re-commitment to refreshing and developing the Mac computer line led to the company decided to redesign the entire MacBook. Air, which equipped this product with a Retina display in 2018. However, at that time Apple also officially introduced the glitchy and controversial butterfly keyboard design to this product line, known for its lack of stable and expensive repairs.
When Apple updated its MacBook Air line of computers again last year, the machine continued to feature a butterfly-like keyboard design, leaving the question mark of suspicion still “hanging” overhead. this line of computers. And the weak Intel chips inside are difficult even for mid-speed tasks.
And so far, it seems that Apple has carried out a comprehensive “overhaul” to the Air computer: the 2020 MacBook Air is equipped with a pull-out keyboard design that was previously adopted by Apple for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The internal processor is upgraded to a 10th-generation Intel chip. Apple has also reduced the price of this product by $ 100 (about 2.3 million): The standard version of the current MacBook Air costs $ 999. (about 23.6 million dong).
It’s been a tough journey, but the latest MacBook Air is back to where it belongs: stand out in the midst of a forest of products to become the best laptop for the vast majority of users.
The MacBook Air is back to where it belongs
The standard version of this year’s MacBook Air starts at $ 999 (about 23.6 million), is equipped with a dual-core Intel Core i3 processor clocked at 1.1GHz, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive. However, perhaps almost all of us should withdraw our $ 100 extra wallet to upgrade to a quad-core Intel Core i5 version. In this review, reporter The Verge experiences a version of the MacBook Air priced at $ 1,299 (about 30.7 million) that they think is suitable for the majority of users above all: with a quad-core Core i5 processor and doubling the hard drive capacity to 512GB. You won’t be able to upgrade the SSD hard drive capacity any more later, so it’s best to buy the version with the highest possible drive capacity.
On the left side of the machine are two Thunderbolt 3 ports: the new Intel chip is equipped with the Iris Plus graphics processor, which means you can output the signal to a 6K resolution screen with the MacBook Air 2020. It was impossible to test this detail due to the lack of relevant hardware, but it is highly likely that when you have to “weigh” such a large resolution screen, the MacBook Air will emit a lot of heat and noise from the fan. heat.)
On the right side of the machine is the 3.5mm headphone jack, because normal users when using common tasks with a laptop often need to plug in a headset. In general, you should use a wired headset when participating in online meetings, because you will not keep the rest of the people waiting while you solve possible problems with Bluetooth connectivity.
However, if you do not regularly use online calling applications or listen to music, watch movies on your computer, you will probably want to learn about the new keyboard of this machine, the tool mainly serves for word processing tasks and some other types of office work. Reporter The Verge said that even when it comes to its instability, they have never liked the butterfly keyboard design: and that I have always tried to prolong the use of the MacBook. My 2015 Pro for as long as possible due to too fond of traditional keyboard design. And it’s glad to know that the keyboard on the new MacBook Air is back for this design. The experience is identical to the keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro I’ve been using for a few months now and rated it “very good”. The key travel is just 1mm long, the T-shaped layout of the four arrow keys is back, and when using the keyboard produces a sound that’s just right without being too loud. Overall, the experience with this keyboard is solid and well worth it.
Reporter The Verge said that Apple should not give Apple too much praise for this new keyboard model, because it has taken so much time (nearly 5 years) since users started complaining about problems. new design, the new Apple to give up the butterfly keyboard. And perhaps Apple doesn’t benefit at all by selling such unstable keyboard designs. It is only a matter of time for Apple to regain the reputation and trust of users with this keyboard model. However, despite the “historical” issues above, the keyboard is one of the most important components of a laptop, and the keyboard of the new MacBook Air is extremely impressive.
The new MacBook Air keyboard is really good
In addition, I like this keyboard design (with standard function keys at the top) than the keyboard with Touch Bar) of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Sure, there are many people who like the Touch Bar – even the readers of this article – but personally The Verge did not. And they come up with interesting evidence for this claim: Apple still won’t put the Touch Bar on any version of its best-selling laptop is a testament! Adjusting the volume and screen brightness with the physical key is still much firmer and more stable.
Another detail that the MacBook Air does not have compared to rival laptops is the touch screen. At this point there is not much to say about that detail: if Apple can support the mouse pointer on a “pure” touch operating system like iPadOS then surely they will find a way to support touch. macOS. However, the company doesn’t seem interested in that, so don’t expect to see such a Mac in the near future. Anyway, the trackpad of the MacBook Air is doing a very good job: the trackpad is very large, similar to all other modern MacBooks, and the scroll / click experience still good.
That’s all you need to know about this laptop’s keyboard. From a physical hardware perspective, this is the only detail that Apple needed to overhaul from the previous MacBook Air (and they did). The look and feel of this keyboard is exactly what you’d expect in a MacBook Air. The layout is classic design, not too fragile like other ultrabook on the market, and the bevel around the keyboard is so small that you barely feel it when you touch it.
The other major improvement for the 2020 MacBook Air is a more diverse choice of processors. Users can choose from one of three special editions of the 10th generation Intel Y series chips. Previous MacBook Air models offered users a single choice of dual core processors (with power very limited strength). Now, you can even customize the configuration of the MacBook Air up to a quad-core Core i7 chip clocked at 1.2GHz if you want.
The MacBook Air version selected by The Verge reporter to evaluate has an upgraded configuration compared to the standard version: 1.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. This configuration meets most of the common work needs: the writer uses Chrome browser, Slack applications, Zoom and high-end image editing software Lightroom and MacBook Air respond very well. And to prove by the data, the Geekbench 5 single-threaded benchmark score of this MacBook Air 2020 reaches 1001, almost equivalent to the single-threaded score of the Core i9 chip found on the 16-inch MacBook Pro of 1109.
However, it’s hard to use the word “speed” for the MacBook Air: you can easily push this machine to the limit it can handle. Just opening up Lightroom is enough to make the heatsink fan speed up, and after some little photo retouching, the fan seems to have reached their maximum speed. Heavy workloads can force the system to drastically reduce performance to avoid overheating (also known as performance bottlenecks), which prevents the processor from reaching maximum speed for keep the temperature from getting too high.
Apple said the “bottleneck” performance has been calculated and designed before. The company doesn’t think the majority of users need the maximum performance out of the chip. Therefore, the MacBook Air is designed with Intel’s Turbo Boost feature, allowing the processor to accelerate up to 3.2GHz to complete a heavy task and then back to 1.1GHz to avoid overheating. heat and maintain battery life. This is a fairly popular strategy of laptop manufacturers at the moment.
However, if you do a heavy duty for a long time with the MacBook Air, it heats up, and the system will not allow the processor to increase to its maximum speed of 3.2GHz. In the test with Cinebench, the CPU clock remained at 1.5GHz when running heavy tasks for long periods of time. And the radiator fan must almost work at full capacity.
For common use tasks, testers rarely see this heat management feature intervene and take effect. But one thing that can clearly be seen is that this machine does not completely “redundant” performance if you use it to render 3D graphics or output video all day. You will definitely hear that fan, and the performance will slow down.
In short: The performance is decent, but you should hear the fan running!
Many people have questioned the performance differences between a Core i5 MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro that also uses a Core i5 chip. In addition to the differences from the U series chips, the problem also lies in the heat dissipation design: Apple says the MacBook Pro is a laptop that is more suitable for users who often need the maximum processing performance of the hardware. . The machine has a better thermal design and the maximum clock speed of the chip when using Turbo Boost is also faster. Simply put, the MacBook Pro can run at a faster rate under higher temperature conditions for longer periods of time than the MacBook Air, meaning its performance can be maintained when performing. heavy duty tasks.
The Verge report is that for users who really need high performance and know exactly what they need, they should wait for the new MacBook Pro with a new keyboard design. As for the general user, the performance of the MacBook Air is more than enough for normal everyday tasks, although sometimes they will have to hear… the radiator fan running.
It should be added that the battery life of the MacBook Air is only average: Apple says the new MacBook Air computer has up to 11 hours of battery life if you only use it to browse the web in Safari. However, according to the test of reporter The Verge, with a monotonous session using Chrome, Slack, and Zoom apps, the MacBook Air battery only “survived” for 5 hours with screen brightness set. at the maximum. Perhaps lowering the screen brightness a bit lower will prolong battery life – but it should be said that the MacBook Air’s screen brightness is not number one compared to other laptops – On average the maximum brightness of this machine is around 400 nits – so I’m not willing to compromise with this option.
Actually, this isn’t entirely Apple’s fault – all three of these apps are draining the battery; however, at times when the epidemic is complicated, it’s hard not to keep apps like Zoom and Slack running all day. And though the Safari browser is more energy efficient than Chrome; But Chrome browser is now like “meals, clothes” for many people. The battery life of the MacBook Air can be great if you refrain from using only Apple apps; But we live in a very diverse society!
Speaking of the Zoom application, the MacBook Air’s webcam is still the type with 720p resolution that Apple has used … forever on all of the company’s computer products. Still used well, really! Hopefully someone on the Mac development team can talk to one of the iPhone development teams about camera issues before Apple (again) releases a new laptop with its current webcam.
Some of the other downsides to the MacBook Air: the USB-C ports are pretty hard to plug; Retina display is sharp but does not support P3 wide color gamut like MacBook Pro. And it’s odd that Apple calls this a 2560 x 1600 resolution screen when in fact its default effective resolution is just 140 x 900. (You can set it to 1680 x 1050, and I recommend it. you should.) The yellow version of this machine seems to be a bit pinkish, and to be honest it is quite impressive. The MacBook Air 2020 doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 because Apple uses a different Wi-Fi module than the one that usually comes with Intel chips, but that’s okay, no one uses Wi-Fi 6 at the moment. The good point is that this machine uses a 30-watt charger, so any third-party device that uses a USB-C port to communicate should be able to charge well with this laptop. In terms of software, of course all MacBook Air 2020s come with macOS Catalina installed with nearly all of Apple’s apps pre-installed, including Podcasts and Apple TV.
However, despite all these minor limitations, this is the first time in years that The Verge reporter feels confident when saying that the vast majority of users who want to buy a Mac can choose to buy a MacBook Air 2020. and it can handle most tasks vigorously, stably for quite a long time. Apple has done a good job with this iconic laptop.