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Note that the Macbook 12 and Air 11 have been discontinued, hence why you get redirected to this page.

This is one of 3 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:

1. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air (this article)
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 16

Who is the Macbook Air ideal for?

Anyone who wants a laptop that’s solid, lightweight, secure, with an excellent battery life, great backlit keyboard, great display, an excellent trackpad, great all around performance and at the lowest price for an Apple laptop.

What is the Macbook Air good for?

  • Everyday tasks: Web browsing, e-mails, school or office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
  • Listening to music
  • Watching TV/movies. Note that you may need an adapter to connect a monitor or HDTV.
  • Lightweight audio/photo/video editing. If you’re a professional working with audio/photo/video who needs high sustained performance, you’ll be much better off with a more powerful Macbook Pro.

Why do you want the Macbook Air: Pros

  • This is the least expensive Apple Macbook laptop
  • Thin and lightweight: Only 2.8lbs and .41-1.6cm thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
  • It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  • Backlit keyboard
  • High-end everyday performance thanks to Apple M1 chip
  • Highly secure
  • Fanless: No noise
  • Great display: 2560 x 1600 Retina IPS with P3 gamut
  • Long battery life: Up to 15 hours of web browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback
  • Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Solid screen hinge
  • Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Latest generation WiFi 6

Why you might not want the Macbook Air: Cons

  • Sustained performance is limited by the fanless cooling system. If you plan on editing videos or running other tasks that require high performance for long periods, opt for the Macbook Pro instead.
  • Limited amount of ports: Two Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 Type-C ports
  • No LAN port
  • No Numpad
  • The Macbook Air RAM and storage cannot be upgraded: They are soldered.

How to Choose your Macbook Air

What you need to know:

Late 2020 models:

All models have this in common:

Dimensions: Height: 0.41-1.6cm, Width: 30.4cm, Depth: 21.23cm
Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.27kg)
– Processor:
Apple M1 4 cores/4 threads High-Performance + 4 cores/4 threads High-Efficiency
– RAM:
LPDDR4X 4266MHz
GPU: Apple integrated GPU, 7 or 8 cores
Screen: 13.3″, resolution: 2560 x 1600 Retina IPS, P3 color gamut, with True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the white balance to match the color temperature of the surrounding light.
Storage: High performance PCI-Express based SSDs (Solid State Drive) storage. This offers you a better computer experience because it responds to your inputs much more quickly. Programs launch far more quickly, the Operating System starts in seconds and resumes from sleep instantaneously. No noise, no vibration, higher reliability and higher resistance to shocks. See the SSD FAQ for more details on SSDs.
Ports: 2 x USB 4 Type-C with ThunderBolt 3, 3.5mm combo jack, Touch ID
Networking: WiFi 6 802.11ax 2×2:2, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery: Up to 15 hours of web browsing, up to 18 hours of video playback


Late 2020
 models compared to the Early 2020 models:

I refer to those new updated models as the Late 2020 models through this article. Compared to the older model, referred as Early 2020, here are the changes:

1. The Macbook Air is now fanless. That’s right, the Macbook Air is now passively cooled, resulting in obviously less noise, but also higher realiability, seeing as there’s no longer a fan that can fail or get clogged with dust.
2. Massive CPU performance upgrade! The MacBook Air’s CPU is up to 3.5x faster than the prior generation model!
3. Massive GPU performance upgrade! The MacBook Air’s GPU is up to 5x faster than the prior generation model!
4. Machine learning workloads are up to 9x faster.
5. Display now supports the P3 gamut.
6. Higher RAM performance: You get a significant upgrade from LPDDR4X 3733MHz to LPDDR4X 4266MHz and it is integrated directly into the M1 chip for a unified memory architecture that brings performance and efficiency improvements
7. Storage performance: The SSD is 2x as fast as the previous model.
8. Keyboard: The keyboard has been tweaked slightly and the function keys now include Do Not Disturb, Spotlight search, and dictation options, as well as a new emoji Fn key.
9. Battery life: Battery life goes up significantly, from 11-12 hours to 15 hours of web browsing or up to 18 hours of video playback.
10. Improved webcam quality: Apple says the M1 improves picture quality with better noise reduction, better dynamic range, and other features.
11. Updated USB ports: You now get Two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 ports that support up to a 6K external display

What about older models of the Apple Macbook Air? Are they worth it?

Simply put: No.

Considering the massive improvement in performance and the longer battery life, available at similar price points, why would you settle for less?

The 4 differences between all the Macbook Air Late 2020 models:

1. Choose between 8GB or 16GB of memory (RAM)

4GB_RAM_macbook_airYou have the choice between 8GB and 16GB of memory.

Is 8GB of RAM enough for you or do you want 16GB?

It depends on what you intend to do with your Macbook Air.

If you only use your MacBook Air to run a few basic programs at once, like email, some Excel, Word, a web browser, and iTunes, 8GB is fine.

On the other hand, if you run multiple programs at once, run heavier programs (audio/photo/video/3D), like to multitask and have no time to lose, 16 GB is the wiser option.

Warning: You cannot add RAM to your Macbook Air.
Keep in mind that the memory is soldered in the Macbook Air computer, so you cannot add memory to upgrade your computer.

So if you intend on keeping your Macbook Air for many years, going with 16GB is a good idea, seeing as memory usage keeps increasing, with newer versions of programs using more and more memory. It’s what I’d do if I were to buy a Macbook Air.

2. Four storage capacities:
256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage? Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer to figure it out.

3. Choose between 2 levels of GPU performance:

The Macbook Air Late 2020 is either available with a 7 or 8 cores GPU. It won’t make any difference for the majority of users. If you want the best performance, the higher-performance 8 core GPU is a $50 upgrade.

4. Choose the color:
Silver, Space Grey or Gold

I recommend the least expensive option by default, although the other colors are often the same price or hardly more expensive.

The Best Macbook Air Late 2020

Prices for B&H as of November 11th 2020. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links so that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission.

Is it safe to buy a Mac from B&H Photo Video instead of the Apple Store? 

B&H Photo Video is an Authorized Apple Reseller. That means B&H has received authorization from Apple to sell Macs, iPods, etc. This is great for you because B&H prices are generally much lower than the Apple Store. Items ship promptly and you receive the same warranty as if you had made the purchase at the Apple Store. In fact, you still receive all the benefits of the Apple Store (classes, Genius Bar access, etc.) when you buy from B&H Photo Video. So really, the only difference between buying from B&H and the Apple Store is that with B&H you will probably save a lot of money!

8GB RAM/7 cores GPU:
256GB storage: $999.00 at B&H
512GB storage: $1,199.00 at B&H
1TB storage: $1,399.00 at B&H
2TB storage: $1,799.00 at B&H

8GB RAM/8 cores GPU:
512GB storage: $1,249.00 at B&H
1TB storage: $1,449.00 at B&H
2TB storage: $1,849.00 at B&H

16GB RAM/7 cores GPU:
– 256GB storage: $1,199.00 at B&H
– 512GB storage: $1,399.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $1,799.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $1,999.00 at B&H

16GB RAM/8 cores GPU:
– 512GB storage: $1,449.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $1,649.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $2,049.00 at B&H

Don’t forget about Applecare: Protect your investment

The AppleCare+ Protection Plan Extension for 13″ MacBook (Air or Pro) from Apple gives you peace of mind by extending your hardware, software, and telephone support coverage to 3-years total. AppleCare+ provides you with expert assistance, incident coverage, global repair coverage for your 13″ MacBook Pro, and web-based resources and diagnostic tools.

It can be selected when adding your Macbook to the cart, see the picture below.

AppleCare+ can be purchased with your new Mac or within 60 days from the original date of purchase.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how to choose the best Macbook Air.

Do you have any feedback or any questions? Are you unsure which Macbook Air is the best one for you?

Please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.