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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, with an excellent battery life, great backlit keyboard, an excellent trackpad, higher CPU performance and at the lowest price for an Apple laptop.

What is the Macbook Air good for?

  • 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, you’ll be much better off with the more powerful Macbook Pro.

Why do you want the Macbook Air: Pros

  • This is the least expensive Apple Macbook laptop
  • Thin and lightweight: Only 2.75lbs and .41-1.56cm 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 performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  • Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  • Great display: 2560 x 1600 Retina IPS
  • Long battery life: 12 hours of web browsing, the best of all Macbooks.
  • Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Solid screen hinge
  • Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  • Bluetooth
  • Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi
  • More ports than the Macbook Pro 13: 2x USB 3.0 Type-C with ThunderBolt 3 and a combo audio jack.

Why you might not want the Macbook Air: Cons

  • Limited amount of ports
  • Average CPU performance: Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  • Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro would be a better option.
  • No LAN port
  • No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  • No Numpad
  • The Macbook Air RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered.

How to Choose your Macbook Air

What you need to know:

Mid 2019 models:

All models have this in common:

Dimensions: Height: 0.41-1.56cm, Width: 30.4cm, Depth: 21.2cm
Weight: 2.75 lbs (1.25kg)
– CPU: Intel Core i5-8210Y Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-3.6GHz 7W TDP
– RAM:
8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
GPU: Intel UHD 617
Screen: 13.3″, resolution: 2560 x 1600 Retina IPS, 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 3.0 Type-C with ThunderBolt 3, 3.5mm combo jack
Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth
Battery: Up to 12 hours

Mid 2019 models compared to the Late 2018 models:

Apple did a minor update to the Macbook Air in July 2019. I refer to those updated models as the Mid 2019 models through this article. Compared to the older model, referred as July 2018, here are the changes:

1. Updated Display, with True Tone: Displays now feature True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the white balance to match the color temperature of the surrounding light.

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

The Late 2018 models are difficult to find in stock now.

The Mid 2017 models aren’t worth it. I’d spend a bit more to get the newer models, just to get the twice as fast CPU and the much better display.

Models that are older than Mid 2017? Stay away from them. They are equipped with only 4GB of memory (RAM), which is hardly enough for anything more demanding than basic tasks (word processing, web browsing, listening to music). This lack of memory will become a bigger limiting factor in performance as time goes on, forcing you to change computer sooner and spend more in the long run.

The 3 differences between all the Macbook Air Mid 2019 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 plenty of memory.

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.

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.

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

2. Four storage capacities:
128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB

Unsure about how whether you want 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB 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 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 just a few dollars more.

Apple Macbook Air Mid 2019:
The 8 recommended configurations

1. 8GB RAM, 128GB storage

$999.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 8GB of RAM
– 128GB of storage

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!

2. 8GB RAM, 256GB storage

$1199.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 8GB of RAM
– 256GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the storage capacity.

3. 16GB RAM, 128GB storage

$1199.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 16GB of RAM
– 128GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the RAM, but half the storage capacity.

4. 16GB RAM, 256GB storage

$1349.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 16GB of RAM
– 256GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the storage capacity.

5. 8GB RAM, 512GB storage

$1349.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 8GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

A good choice if you want 512GB of storage at the lowest cost.

You do get only 8GB of RAM though. See the model below if you want 16GB of RAM instead.

6. 16GB RAM, 512GB storage

$1649.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 16GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

A good amount of storage with 16GB of RAM. See the models below if you want 1.5TB of storage.

7. 8GB RAM, 1TB storage

$1699.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 8GB RAM
– 1TB of storage

A good choice if you want 1TB of storage at the lowest cost.

You do get only 8GB of RAM though. See the model below if you want 16GB of RAM instead.

8. 16GB RAM, 1TB storage

$1749.00 at B&H

– Newest Macbook Air model
– 16GB RAM
– 1TB of storage

This is the highest-end configuration for the Macbook Air Mid 2019. You get 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

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.