Apple MacBook Air (2018)
The new Air is precisely the upgrade many users have been holding out for, with a slimmed-down body, sharper Retina display, long battery life and a useful Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Though it’s more than fast enough for common use cases, some might prefer to spend $100 on the entry-level MacBook Pro to get more processing power.
- Slimmed-down design
- Sharp Retina display
- Long battery life
- Spacious and reliable trackpad
- It has Touch ID
- Underpowered compared to a similarly priced MacBook Pro
- No option to upgrade the processor
- No more SD slot
- Screen is dimmer than the Pro's
MacBook Air (2018)
- Critic Reviews (5)
- User Reviews (26)
- 78AVERAGE CRITIC SCORE5 ReviewsLaptop Magazine70Apple MacBook Air (2018) ReviewThe new MacBook Air is a welcome upgrade with a sharper display in a thinner and lighter design, but this laptop could use more power.PC Mag80Apple MacBook Air (2018)Though no speedster, the refreshed MacBook Air finally gets a Retina Display and updated components, making it a sleek ultraportable laptop worthy of its pioneering predecessor's name.TechRadar80Apple MacBook Air reviewFans of the Apple MacBook Air have been clamoring for an update to the thin-and-light laptop for a while now, and they won’t be disappointed by the fact that it’s thinner and lighter than ever before; however, it’s only slightly faster, and definitely more expensive, and if you’ve not been convinced by the MacBook Air before the cosmetic enhancements might not be enough to sway you.iMore80MacBook Air (2018) ReviewIf you need ultimate portability, get a MacBook. If you need cutting-edge power, get a MacBook Pro. If you want something you can take everywhere, do everything on, and not have to pay... quite so much of a premium for it, then get the MacBook Air. It's the new normal.The Verge80THE PRESENT OF COMPUTINGIf you’re the kind of person who can switch to Windows, you can find something just as good and probably a little bit faster for less money. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6, for example, are really solid. But a lot of people just want a good, modern, reliable Mac. Nothing fancy, really. They just deserve something that’s up to par.And for those people, the ones who have been hanging on to that old MacBook Air, this is a nice upgrade. It’s par for the course — and that’s probably enough.
- 75AVERAGE USER SCORE26 Reviewsdontbeevil410February 20, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!An awful product that should be avoided. You'll be sorry. - Engadgetforestdonkey90February 14, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I like it a lot. It's my first Mac. I havent been using it for anything too strenuous so don't know how it would hold up under that pressure. Runs Korg Gadget without a hitch though and is great to have on the livingroom table for a quick internet checks, etc that would be too much of a hassle on a tablet. Turns on basically as fast a smartphone so no complaints there. Really good second computer to my gaming desktop. I'd give it a 9/10 having known that I was getting a computer without much 3D rendering capability that includes the premium Mac price (but you cant really run Korg Gadget or develop for iOS without one).Fateh80February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Been using the 2013 Macbook Air for quite some time and I'm sure impressed with the new Macbook Air. Sure, the price could be lower and I do love the old keyboard, but this is a very, very good device.Brent80February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Love everything about it. So far, it's been able to handle my day-to-day workload just fine, even with only 8GB of ram. Love touch ID and the keyboard. The camera could and should be a lot better by now, but I never really use it. I really just wish it had 3x Thunderbolt 3 ports, so I could use 1x for power, 1x for a hub for SD cards, external drives, none-Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (the market for Bluetooth ergonomic devices is really bad), and 1x for a 4K monitor (cheaper USB-C hubs only support 4K at 30hz which isn't ideal, to get 4K at 60hz you need DisplayPort, which isn't supported on USB-C but is on much more expensive Thunderbolt hubs). -- I know that is more of a "pro" scenario. Also, it would be nice to have the Thunderbolt ports on both sides, but not a huge problem.Even the 300 nits brightness display is perfect for me, I really don't notice it unless next to another MacBook Pro. The price is a little steep, but I feel like the next gen will start at a lower price point, and I got mine new on eBay for under $1,000.I have yet to hear the fan at all, which is a huge plus, coming from a 2011 15" MacBook Pro.Stephen90February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetVlad80February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The performance of the 2018 Macbook Air is a mixed bag. On paper, although it seems underwhelming, the custom Intel chips optimized for short bursts of activity suggest that the laptop would perform well in everyday tasks, and for the most part it does so well. Problems arise for users who like to have several apps open, or are hoarders with many browser tabs. App performance may degrade noticeably in such circumstances, but it varies from app to app. The biggest problem with performance is switching between desktops. The transition animation drags on so slowly that the only way to make it bearable is to disable them entirely in Settings (under Accessibility). Overall, performance is adequate. As for features, MacOS continues to shine and compare very favourably with Windows in most domains. Key are ease of use, compatibility with apps and hardware, and a stellar backup system that can restore your entire system to exactly how it was. Speed & features: 8/10 (Performance alone is a 7/10).The design of the new Macbook Air is stellar and Apple’s track record doesn’t slow down here. The machine is very thin, with a huge trackpad and large, bright screen. It’s so light that you might not even notice it’s in your briefcase/bag. Design & form factor: 10/10.Battery life is a surprising disappointment as it was one of the key attractive points of the previous Macbook Air generation (excepting the very first version, of course). Apple’s claims of battery life do not bear out during average use. What “average” use means depends on the person. If someone is just browsing a few websites with medium brightness or writing a document while referencing online resources, the battery lasts for close to what Apple claims. However, for anything more substantial, including email (Apple’s Mail app is a surprising energy drain as shown in the very useful “Using Significant Energy” feature of the Activity Monitor), reading many PDFs and working on Word and Powerpoint documents simultaneously while editing images - e.g., in a typical business workflow - the battery percentage will tick down alarmingly quickly. A bout of a work session like this that lasts 30-60 minutes might drain the battery by a shocking 15%. The laptop can last a long transoceanic flight, to be sure, but don’t expect to be as productive as you would while plugged in. Perhaps the CPU is a double-edged sword here in that it can operate at high bursts of activity but at the cost of substantial battery drain. Or perhaps there are bugs in power management software and/or inefficiencies in the OS here. One big tip: you must cycle the battery when you first get the Macbook Air as it might seem at first that it drains incredibly quickly regardless of what you do. However, after a full drain and recharge cycle (to calibrate the OS’s readings of the battery), battery integrity will hold well unless you go ham on the machine. And by “going ham”, I mean noticeably less than what a typical power user would expect, but slightly more than casual use. Regarding power users, if you expect to edit videos or do substantial computational work (MATLAB number crunching, etc), it won’t be a pretty sight. To get around this, you will have to carry the power adapter with you. Luckily, it doesn’t weight much. Battery life: 6/10.The display is a breath of fresh air after the previous Macbook Air generations. The retina display is bright and rich in colours, with generous viewing angles and plenty of screen real estate. The top 2% of computer afficionados will undoubtedly find flaws that may be unforgivable for their use bracket, but for 98% of users it’s a joy to look at and use Display: 9/10.Durability is in line with the form factor and design category in that it’s one of Apple’s strong suits that holds up well with the new Macbook Air. Disregard the Youtube videos that go to extremes to “prove” that Apple’s products are shoddily built, with the funniest entry in this list being the variation on the “bendgate” pseudo-scandal where the video maker’s fingers turn white with how much sheer strength must be used to bend the iPhone/iPad/etc in question - an amount of force that would destroy *any* modern slim form factor electronics consumer product. The Macbook Air feels tough and durable, more so than current Thinkpads, surprisingly enough. It simply feels like a thin wedge of adamantium. Durability: 9/10Expandability is another category where the de rigeur of complaints against Apple, including “donglegate”, are just plain wrong. First of all, Apple thankfully doesn’t follow in its own footsteps of the iPhone X variants in removing the headphone jack. Then there are *two* full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports. This is huge. Many competitors, even with double the number of ports, either have only one full-speed Thunderbolt 3 port or one full and one half speed, or even just one half-speed. That Apple chose to incorporate two full-speed ports in the new Macbook Air is eyebrow-raising and frankly a bit of a head-scratcher considering that lack of power elsewhere. What is likely to be the reason is the desire to allow users to utilize either port for the power adapter, and still be able to have a full speed Thunderbolt 3 port available. In other words, to not burden owners with having to know which port is which, or to fall into a mistaken mindset that only one port is for “power” and the other for “data”. Whatever the case, full use of Thunderbolt 3 allows one to plug in an eGPU, external monitor, mouse, keyboard, external hard drives, and more. It turns the Macbook Air into a surprisingly decent gaming system or GPU programming terminal. Concerns of not having USB-A are entirely overblown. One dongle solves this problem handily, after which you absolutely forget about this non-issue (propagated by many reviews online). Instead, what you focus on is the remarkable flexibility of the machine. Thunderbolt 3 is the future of peripherals, period, and I’m happy that Apple is fully on board. Expandability: 10/10.Noise: for the most part, the system is silent, but as soon as you start using it more seriously, the fan kicks in and is quite noisy. To the point that a nearby coworker remarked on how loud it was. Overall, however, for casual use it’s completely silent. Noise: 7/10.Size, weight, and portability are very good. As written earlier in the review, you won’t even feel it in your bag. You can easily carry it around at work, like a notebook (of the paper kind). This aspect of the new Air is absolutely a premiere reason to own one, despite any potential performance or battery pitfalls. My previous laptop was a Dell XPS 15, and although it blew this Macbook out of the water in terms of power (and even the display), once I got the new Air, the Dell was instantly retired. Because let’s face it: an “underpowered” Macbook Air might be a problem for professional reviewers, but in reality, if you *really* need more power than what the new Air affords on a consistent basis, you’re simply better off getting a desktop. Portability: 10/10.Overall, I have no regrets getting the Macbook Air, despite the flaws with performance and battery life. It feels great to use, and is is yet another example of Steve Jobs’ old adage for Apple products: It Just Works. Total score: 8/10.Sara80February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - EngadgetTory90February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Disclaimer: I upgraded from the 2011 base 13" MBP with a 2.3ghz C2D, 4GB Ram, 320gb 5400rpm hard drive. The battery wouldn't last more than an hour or two. . . SO any new purchase would be a massive upgrade in every measurable way. I held off buying the 12" MB because if there was only going to be one I/O, it needed to be Thunderbolt 3. The new MBA answered that request, and I don't regret it at all. I thought long and hard about what I wanted in a new laptop, and being someone that only consumes media, and surfs the web, I did not need a power house. That means CPU isn't a priority. Next "negative" is the screen brightness. In my 8 years with my previous MB, I can only think of a few times when I thought the screen needed to be brighter. The MBP no touchbar with same ram/SSD is $100 more than the MBA I bought. I placed touchID and $100 less, above the bright screen option. no ragrets.Ori70February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Average performance and display. I was disappointed with the brightness. 2 usb-c are fine but I would prefer placing them one of each side for various flexibilites. I do notice battery improvement comparing to the MBP but far from what apple claims, especially when you have to lower the poor level of brightness to begin with. With that said the MBA is sufficient enough for every day use.Ronald70February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition. - EngadgetEvilMonk90February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I really like it, it’s fast and small... I got the 16Gb 1.5Tb SSD version since I don’t upgrade replace my laptop often (I had a 2013 MacBook Pro before). I just wish they made a core i7 version with a little faster processor, it’s still very light and quiet, perfect for me traveling for work.cf90February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I upgraded from a 2011 17" MacBook Pro to a 16GB/512GB MacBook Air 2018. I've used it for about a month now. Thoughts:- I thought I would miss the giant 17" screen but I really do not. The retina display and portability makes up for it.- The size and battery life rock! I use it way more than my 17" since it is so portable, and the battery lasts 8-12 hours vs 2 hours on a good day on the 17". I no longer have chargers scattered across my house. - TouchID is awesome! Really nice for waking it up and unlocking 1Password. I also like having REAL function keys vs the touch bar!Annoyances:- 16GB ram should be standard- I miss having 3 TB of storage on my 17". I purged my files and offloaded to my Mac Pro and went with the 512GB config. I wasnt about to pay an extra $1k for the 1.5 TB config. A 1TB config would have been nice. - Whenever the CPU load is high, the fan sounds like a jet and the battery life goes to nothing. Not a good idea to run things that tax the system, especially on battery. I did play Minecraft for a bit as a test and the fan did not kick in. I've previously considered a 12" Macbook, but the 1 USB-C port was a deal breaker for me. I feel like the 2018 MacBook Air is the machine they should have made. I'm very happy with my purchase, I already bought a second one for my wife... she loves it!tonyae19880February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I had the 2010 macbook air for about 5 years and loved it, never had a issue with. It was a dual-core processor and I owned it until when a co worker purchased it and uses it to this day. I purchased the new 12 inch macbook in 2015 and had so many issues with lag and speed I couldnt wait for the MacBook to finally be redesigned (at least a Retina display) and It was finally released in 2018 and I purchased the 1.6 GHz Intel Corei5 with 16GB of RAM. I have been using it for over 3 months now. I have had no random shutdowns or any issues with a lagging response. The display compared to the orginal mackbook is like night and day. I have not really monitored the battery life but it does last all day. The screen can be brighter I must say.Dario90February 13, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The new air is a huge update over the old version, although not as powerful as the pro it is perfect for its target audience, basically web browsing, light photo editing, few light games, multiple programs running in parallel.The usual complaints are the screen is dimmer, tuth is, it is compared to the pro, but what many people don’t talk about is that it is just as bright as previous versions of the macbook pro, which in real world scenarios is not a deal breaker, color reproduction, contrast ratio and uniformity is on point as you would expect from a Macbook in 2019.Touch sensor is just a refinement of the apple experience, works just as good as it works on phones.In conclusion: it is the perfect apple laptop for light to moderate users. I would not recommend it for moderate or high end gaming (no macbook is good at it anyways) video editors or heavy code programmers (it can handle moderate code very well).You will be happy with this machine, trust me.Wendy90February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!This is a great notebook quick, easy, and lightweight. I use it for grad school and it is perfect. My only complaint would be that I had to order separately the cord to use a USB with it, otherwise, fantastic.Mac in tush10February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Awfulkeyboard.. extremely overpriced, limited ports. no 100% aRGB screen..lacking modern features like touch-screen, and dedicated GPU and are the slowest laptop in its pricerange :-(Michael100February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!I think this laptop has gotten a large number of unfair reviews. Yes, the screen could be brighter. Yes, there are advantages to a Pro. But this offered me the best combo of what I needed. Things run plenty fast for general use, including running a Windows VM. The display is great and I keep it under half brightness except in direct sunlight. I have Touch ID without a stupid touch bar. The keyboard is just fine. I debated long and hard whether I wanted to buy this, due to the fairly negative reviews that had been written, but now I don't regret the purchase in the slightestMark90February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - EngadgetNope80February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Overall, the colours are nice, the form factor is similar but more refined and the laptop does a very passable job with macOS. Drive space on the low end is crazy small, and almost requires the 2nd tier model. Keyboard is nowhere near as bad as people like to say and is entirely passable. Really enjoy the Touch ID unlock, overall keyboard layout and the similar but better form factor.Really dislike the lower battery time (slight), the increased price tag and limited drive space in 2019.Matthew70February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!It's a great little computer, perfect for everyday tasks. The battery life is sufficient. However, the Facetime HD camera is absolutely horrendous and blurry. The Facetime camera on my older 2011 Macbook Air was markedly better and produced a clearer image. It's really a bit telling and sad that Apple's new MO is to skimp on certain parts across their product lines in order to expand their bottom line. Problem is: it's starting to piss off the faithful like me, who will have no qualms about moving on if this keeps happening.myob50February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!Having physical function keys + TouchID makes this notebook a winner in my book. Switched over from a 2016 MacBook Pro and this is much better. Slower? Maybe? IDK. Seems to be run fine for me.2 USB-C ports are very limiting though and are never enough.Otherwise it is very average. Honestly at this point, I would suggest buying an older MacBook Pro. At least they have ports. The only thing this has is TouchIDanapaw60February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well. - Engadgetseptimus80February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - EngadgetJustin80February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadgets80February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!The recycled aluminum chips and nicks much more easily than the regular aluminum of past MacBook Airs. If you get this, make sure you don't even so much as tap it against anything hard. I am very careful with my things and I never dropped or banged the Air hard against anything. Yet, it has a deep gouge in the side of the lid.Other than that, it has surprised me with its speed, capability and battery life. Haven't experienced slowdowns in day to day office tasks and even using some more resource intensive programs. The processor has held up well.Keyboard is actually great and quieter than previous butterfly keyboard versions. I love the Thunderbolt 3 ports as they give me many options for docks and expandability. Feels very future proof in that respect.What can I say? I just think Mac OS is still a better OS than Windows 10. It has been more reliable and dependable. No strange update behavior. The fact that you get so much good software as part of the package is an underrated benefit. I especially love things like Preview which helps me deal with PDFs or QuickTime which helps me make quick video or audio files.I will say that I got this MacBook Air on sale at $999, which is what it should cost. At $1199 I believe it is not a good value.Paula70February 12, 2019Feedback submitted!Unable to submit feedback!A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition. - Engadget