ZDNet reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: ‘A good balancing act’

Apple’s “slimline MacBook Air has continued to sell well in recent years despite the fact that — aside from the occasional modest speed-bump — its basic design has remained unchanged since its debut in 2008,” Cliff Joseph writes for ZDNet. “But a decade of neglect has seen this former flagship laptop relegated to Apple’s ‘entry-level’ offering for students and home users.”

“The design of the original MacBook Air was both innovative and highly influential, prompting gasps from the audience when the late Steve Jobs slipped the 17mm thick laptop out of a manila envelope for the very first time… So Apple has made a conscious decision with this 2018 update to retain key elements of that design, including the distinctive — and often copied — ‘teardrop’ profile that gently tapers from back to front.,” Joseph writes. “And, like all modern Apple products, the MacBook Air now boasts a Retina Display. The size of the display remains the same, at 13.3 inches diagonally, but the modest 1,440 by 900 resolution (127.7dpi) of its predecessor has been increased to 2,560 by 1,600 (227dpi).”

With faster memory and the latest processors and graphics, MacBook Air delivers the performance you need for organizing your photos, browsing the web and creating presentations.
With faster memory and the latest processors and graphics, MacBook Air delivers the performance you need for organizing your photos, browsing the web and creating presentations.

“It may be long overdue, but the 2018 edition of the MacBook Air pulls off a good balancing act. Rather than a ground-up revamp, this new model concentrates on refining the elegant, lightweight design that made the MacBook Air so popular in the first place, while also bringing it up to date with features such as the Retina Display and T2 security chip,” Joseph writes. “And while the MacBook Air certainly isn’t cheap it’s not far out of step with the pricing of rival Windows ultraportables.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, only Apple Mac can run all of the world’s software, not a mere subset of which all Windows PC dreck is limited.

John Gruber reviews Apple’s new MacBook Air: ‘It’s pretty damn sweet’ – November 6, 2018
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s new MacBook Air: The clear pick over the 12-inch MacBook – November 6, 2018
Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air has a processor like no other laptop – October 31, 2018
Apple reveals all-new MacBook Air with a gorgeous 13-inch Retina display – October 30, 2018


  1. I have just bought a new MacBook Air – having had my previous Air for five years.

    My first thoughts are as follows:

    I have read that the processor is not the most powerful. I use it for work – which is word processing, using PDF files extensively and the internet for research. It has been fine for these activities. When I have used the OCR function on Acrobat DC, the fans have powered up – and the laptop sounds like it is going to take flight. Other than that, everything is smooth.
    I was greatly worried about the keyboard. Not its reliability, which still worries me – we’ll see how it holds-up. I was greatly concerned by the keyboard noise. In true Apple style, I have altered the way I work in order to match the hardware – I press more softly on the keys whilst touch typing rather than hitting with more force as previously. They keys are louder than before and a more clacky. But they are okay, are not so noisy as to cause unreasonable disturbance and, actually, the actual click-press of keys is quite pleasant. I do seem to make more mistakes than previously. I hope to get used to it.
    The trackpad is great. I love the ‘click’ – although it is easy to move the cursor accidentally.
    The screen is lovely. There is nothing more to say.
    I feel a bit as though Apple has taken advantage of my being a captive consumer. I did think long and hard at buying a Dell XPS 13 but, in the end, felt as though I could not make the move to Windows. That was not because I consider Windows to be bad – it is just that I have never owned a Windows computer and, ultimately, wanted to stick with what I knew. It does not, however, warm me to Apple as a company.
    I would not have bought this computer had it had only one port. Two is still difficult – two on each side would be better. But I can live with this. It is another instance of having to “hold it differently” – see above in relation to the keyboard.
    I bought the Air because I really need to last the day on a single battery charge. I cannot risk the computer dying when I am not close to a power socket. The poor-battery life of the MacBook Pros stopped me from buying one. The battery life on the Air seems to get ten hours, for the moment.

    Overall – I am very happy with the computer – and am pleased to have bought it. It is, however, tomorrow’s prices for today’s hardware. It is just not as special as when I got my first Haswell Air. I just hope that the keyboard lasts as long as my previous one.

    1. I’m considering a replacement for my Haswell Air as well. I think I will go with a near-new 13” 2015 Pro (16GB Ram, 256gb) from a family member instead of the new Air or anything else. I’ll get the retina screen, force touch, black/smaller bezels and all the ports I need. Maybe by the time I choose another machine in 3+ years Apple will have their A-series chips in their Macbooks and offer more bang for the buck than Intel’s low-power processors. A new Air with the same specs and tax would cost $1750 ($500 more than the aforementioned Pro cost new in January).

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