Mac Format

MacBook Air

From £999


Apple’s thinnest, lightest laptop now also gets the M1 treatment. And without a price hike too, as prices still start at just £999. The next-step model (with increased SSD storage and 8-core GPU) even costs £50 less at £1,249. Like the MBP, Apple’s own unified memory silicon enables faster performanc­e and better graphic speeds. And the 16-core Neural Engine results in nine times faster machine learning.

It may be Apple’s most affordable laptop, but the MacBook Air certainly doesn’t feel like a budget machine, thanks to its 100% recycled aluminium unibody, and 13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display, which has a resolution of 2560x1600 (227ppi) and True Tone, which automatica­lly adjusts the display’s colour temperatur­e depending on the ambient light.

The inclusion of the M1 chip has changed none of the Air’s physical characteri­stics – the portable laptop is still just 1.61cm thin, and weighs 1.29kg. Despite the performanc­e boost, the Air is now fanless, using an aluminium heat dissipatin­g panel instead – which also means that it runs in complete silence.

The base model comes with an 8-core CPU, but a 7-core GPU, and 256GB SSD storage. While on the step-up model, the CPU and GPU are both 8-core, and the storage starts at 512GB. Both offer the option to upgrade to 16GB memory, and are configurab­le with increased storage; you can add up to 2TB of SSD storage for £800 on the entrylevel model or £600 on the 8-core GPU version.

The M1 MacBook Air can be teamed with Apple’s Pro Display XDR, although none of the M1 Macs can be used with an external GPU (eGPU). You also get Touch ID for secure logins, and a Force Touch trackpad.

The MacBook Air is also equipped with two Thunderbol­t/USB 4 ports and a headphone socket. The laptop now supports 802.11ax Wi-Fi (aka Wi-Fi 6), has Bluetooth 5.0 onboard, and comes with a 720p FaceTime camera for video chats.

So with the new internal upgrades, does the MacBook Air still boast its legendaril­y long battery life? Yes, and some! You can now get up to 18 hours of Apple TV app movie playback, or 15 hours of wireless web surfing, thanks to its 49.9W battery. Like the earlier 2020 incarnatio­n, the new MacBook Air comes with Apple’s Magic Keyboard for fast, fluid typing.


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The M1-equipped MacBook Air (Late 2020) is an incredible portable performer.
EXPECTED OCT 2022 UPDATED NOV 2020 The M1-equipped MacBook Air (Late 2020) is an incredible portable performer.

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