The base MacBook Pro 13″ 2020 and the MacBook Air 2020 overlap in quite a few areas, and it does make a decision quite difficult for people regarding which one to get. We tried the MacBook Air 2020 for a few weeks and we think that this is the one that you should go for instead. Let’s look at why.
Starting with the design, it looks almost identical to the MacBook Air 2018 model but the 2020 model is much more impressive, and not just because of the new keyboard.
Granted, the moment you open the lid, it’s the first thing that stands out. It has the new Magic Keyboard; we know there has been a lot of negative reactions to the old butterfly keyboard, and we can say there’s a 20-30% difference in feel compared to the old one for sure.
The MacBook Air 2020 comes with the latest Intel 10th-gen processors, i3, i5 and i7. If you’re getting this laptop for light web browsing and the likes, the i3 will be perfectly fine. Looking to do some photo editing or graphic work? The i5 is a good choice. The i7 is a bit of a weird choice on the MacBook Air, but there’ll definitely be people who want that.
Instead of 128GB as the minimum storage, it’s now bumped up to 256GB, which is a great move. We do think that 512GB is the sweet spot, but 1TB is always nice to have. The RAM is also a faster variant, but unfortunately, it’s still stuck on 8GB for the default configuration.
You can choose to upgrade to 16GB and we recommend that, if only to just futureproof your laptop. We do wish that Apple had made 16GB as the base.
The speakers sound really good, with great dynamic sound in a small form factor. It’s not the same as using the speakers on the MacBook Pro 16, but it’s good enough.
Battery life is claimed to last all day, and if you just use the MacBook Air for web browsing and keep the brightness at around half, it will get you through most of the day. If you start editing photos and push the brightness up, the battery life will go down, obviously.
You get two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports on the left with a single 3.5mm headphone jack on the right, as is pretty standard with MacBook Air laptops.
Aside from that, the Retina display is beautiful with great colours and there aren’t any issues with the brightness. The screen can definitely be further calibrated for colour accuracy.
Usability-wise, we definitely wouldn’t be editing 4K footage on this laptop, or photos out of a medium format camera because it’s not what the laptop was designed to do. The MacBook Air is a great laptop to edit stuff shot on phones and the likes, just light editing on Lightroom and such.
Day to day usage is great on this laptop, thermals are good as long as you stick to doing things like web browsing and general media consumption. That being said, the 2020 model does perform better than the previous generation when used for photo editing and such due to the inclusion of the 10th generation Intel chips.
Our recommendations to get the best out of the MacBook Air 2020? Max out the RAM. The 8GB base is very limiting when using applications like Photoshop or Lightroom.
Also, upgrade the storage, because it’s still a lot cheaper than the MacBook Pro 13-inch. We actually have the 2019 model of the MacBook Pro 13-inch and we ran the two laptops side by side, only to come to the conclusion that the MacBook Air 2020 is essentially performing on the same level.
Get an external monitor and pair it with the MacBook Air to have a nice home office, and when you need to work on the go, you’ve also got a great, lightweight laptop.
The MacBook Air 2020 (starting from S$1,449) is available on Apple’s online store.