It's no surprise that Apple is touting the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) as a radical redesign of the company's lightest and smallest laptop. All of this is thanks to Apple's latest M1 CPU, an ARM-based chip that has replaced the Intel processors that dominated previous Air models. Furthermore, macOS 11 Big Sur is preinstalled.
According to the Cupertino company, this custom chip provides additional performance benefits and runs smoother and longer in battery mode. And now that we've reviewed the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we can see how accurate Apple's claims are.
MacBook Air M1 Pricing
Fortunately, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) costs the same as its predecessor ($999 / £999 / AU$1,599), making it a rather appealing compact type laptop. Although the previous MacBook Air (2020) is still functional, this updated model offers new hardware, most noticeably the M1 chip, for the same price. This model would persuade you if the previous 2020 model didn't.
In comparison to premium Windows 10 laptops like the Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020) and HP Spectre x360 (2020), which are both more expensive, the price point is extremely competitive.
For $1,249 / £1,249 / AU$1,949, you can get a more powerful MacBook Air with more ram, and each of these can be customized with more memory and storage.
In terms of price, we believe Apple has nailed it. Of course, this isn't a cheap laptop, but it also doesn't feel overpriced, particularly when compared to similarly specced competitors - something Apple has previously been accused of.
MacBook Air M1 Looks
Apple has also been accused of prioritizing product aesthetics over actual features and functions, but we believe the reverse is true with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). This is because, while the new MacBook Air has a lot of improvements on the inside, most notably the new M1 chip, little has changed on the outside.
So, this model looks (and feels) identical to the previous model (and the model before that). This may be jolly news for fans of the MacBook Air's design, but we believe it's a bit of a missed opportunity. We'd have liked to see Apple take some design risks with the M1-based MacBook Air, even if it was only by making it lighter or slimming down the bezels that surround the screen because it's such an innovative and exciting product.
HP and Dell have now surpassed Apple in terms of developing small, light, and beautiful laptops, which would have seemed impossible only some years ago.
MackBook Air M1 Performance
However, when it comes to results, we have no reservations. In several ways, the M1 has proven to be a total beast that puts Intel to shame. We were seriously blown away by the performance of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) during our time with it.
Big Sur runs smoothly, and the new look of the operating system is refreshing though remaining familiar. It's impressive that both new and legacy apps run well on the M1 chip, and there don't appear to be any problems running apps designed for Intel Macs using Rosetta 2, Apple's tool for allowing older Mac apps to run on the M1. Also, a big win is a fact that you can now run thousands of iOS apps and games almost flawlessly.
The laptop's battery life appears to be excellent, and the fanless nature ensures it runs quietly; however, we are concerned about how it handles heat.
Finally, we wish Apple had been a little more daring with the design of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) – a radical redesign to fit the internal hardware and software upgrades would have made this an even more exciting product.