10 years after presenting in an
envelope the first Macbook Air, which at the time stood out for its reduced
thickness, we spent a few weeks with the new Macbook Air 2018.
This Apple laptop maintains the
idea of entry equipment to the Mac world improving performance of a generation
that had been left far behind but with the counterpart of a rise in price that
makes it less attractive compared to its rivals, especially within the
Macbook Air 2018 Data Sheet
With hardly any changes in three
years, the MacBook Air that seemed destined to disappear from the Apple
notebook catalog was substantially renewed.
The novelties arrived in practically all the important
sections: design, screen and of course also the interior. In all cases the
Macbook Air picked up elements that were already common in the other Macbook of
the Apple catalog.
Macbook Air 2018
IPS Retina LCD panel (2560 x 1600 dots) with 227 ppi, 13.3 inches, LED backlight and 16:10 aspect ratio
Intel Core i5 dual-core 1.6 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GH) and 4 MB of level 3 cache
8 GB of integrated LPDDR3 memory at 2.133 MHz (expandable up to 16 GB)
PCIe SSD of 128 GB. Configuration option with 256 GB, 512 GB or 1.5 TB SSD
Intel UHD Graphics 617. Compatible with external graphics processors (eGPU) with Thunderbolt 3 technology
FaceTime HD at 720p
Wireless connection WiFi 802.11ac Bluetooth 4.2 2 USB-C ports USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
Integrated Touch ID sensor
30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm
From its data sheet calls the
attention that there is only a possible choice of processor, a Core i5
dual-core serial that comes with a SSD of only 128 GB, very small amount of
storage for the starting price it offers us.
But let’s analyze in detail the
design and behavior of this Apple entry laptop.
Less Air and more Macbook
If the differentiation between
Macbook models was quite clear until last year, the arrival of the new MacBook
Air 2018 much equals the appearance of the “small” range of laptops
On a shelf, the three 13-inch
Macbook look like twin brothers, especially the Macbook and the MacBook Air
thanks to the reduction of frames of the second.
The new MacBook Air suddenly
happens to be a compact device for its screen diagonal. This advantage is added
to what we already offered: weight content (1.25 kg) and reduced thickness (1.5
cm). Despite its typical wedge finish, the Macboook Air 2018 is not as Apple’s
thinnest laptop or market.
Macbook Air 2018 is finished in aluminum,
which is 100% recycled, details in which Apple insists enough and that for some
users may be an extra to consider. But the look and feel is the same as other
equipment of the same material.
It is available in three shades:
space gray, silver and gold, the model we have tested and that, live has a
clear pink tone.
In the design of the new Macbook
Air 2018 we found two speakers located on both sides of the keyboard. With them
we get a powerful and clear sound that greatly improves that of previous
Another novelty of the design of
the Macbook Air 2018 is in the fingerprint reader with Touch ID, which is
located on the start button and allows us to use biometric identification both
to identify us in the system and for the management of passwords and payments
The operation is just as reliable
and fast as in iOS devices that still include Touch ID technology, including
the availability of the T2 chip for the encryption of biometric data.
Something that has not changed
much in the new Macbook Air 2018 is the subject of connectivity. Rather the
physical reduction of it. In the new model we have only two USB-C ports that
are also located on the same side, the left. In the right we only find a
headphone port, so the connectivity is limited and will surely require the use
of adapters, of which none is included in series.
The good news around the two
USB-C ports is that they are complete. They are USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 and in both
cases can work for load and output DisplayPort and Thunderbolt (up to 40 GB /
s). In that case we can connect up to two screens 4K or 5K (5120×2880 pixels).
A screen more in line with the market (and its price)
As we said, the frames of the new
MacBook Air 2018 have been reduced significantly compared to the previous
generation but do not yet reach the edges. However, it is not something that
surprised us because we have already seen it in the Macbook Pro.
It is also new in this section on
the screen the resolution and global quality of the panel, for me the aspect in
which the previous generation had stayed behind after 3 years without being
The new Macbook Air offers an IPS
panel with a 13.3-inch diagonal, 16:10 aspect ratio and 2560 x 1600-point
resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 227 ppi. In a team of this price,
even with that of the previous generation, it was an improvement that was not
feasible not to have already.
Apple also includes in this panel
an improved reproduction of the color space (100% sRGB) to make a leap of
global quality and not just resolution.
Despite this substantial progress
between generations, the panel has room for improvement especially in the level
of brightness, around 300 nits, a value that makes it vulnerable in very bright
as well as outdoor environments.
Keyboard and touchpad: Apple insists on its idea
The Macbook Air 2018 keeps
Apple’s idea around the keyboard of an Ultrabook. The butterfly mechanism that
presented us with the Macbook evolves into a new generation that is more stable
when pressed and includes individual protection with plastic membrane to try to
avoid the problems that this system has given to previous generations.
The touch of the keyboard of the
Macbook Air 2018 is peculiar and requires adaptation, especially for the route,
which is very small for the usual keyboard even ultrabooks. In addition, its
loudness is considerable if you tend to hit them with force. But when you get
used to it, it is a high-level keyboard to write for hours, although I
personally prefer a little more travel on the keys.
The most positive of the keyboard
of the Macbook Air is again in the size of its keys and in the backlight, which
is individual and also automatically adjustable thanks to an ambient light
sensor. This behavior, if it does not convince us, we can manage it in the
Apple is also faithful in its
commitment to a huge and reliable trackpad. Although the ones we see integrated
into Windows computers already have a very high level, both by size and by
touch and precision, the trackpad of Apple laptops is still at a somewhat
Here we find a trackpad that does
not include physical buttons but uses Force Touch technology to similarly touch
different intensities on the surface. Once you have done with the gestures, its
large surface and the precision of it allows you to work with ease and without
missing a mouse, something that cannot be said of many laptops in the market,
Performance and autonomy
One of the surprises (although otherwise expected) of the Macbook Air 2018 is in the price. The basic model starts at 1349 dollars, about 150 dollars more expensive than the entry model of the previous generation, although it is not difficult to find an offer that leaves it around 1199 dollrs.
This input configuration allows us to have a MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 dual-core 1.6 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz) eighth generation accompanied by 8 GB of LPDDR3 memory at 2.133 MHz and SSD storage of 128 GB.
That starting price rises quickly
too little if we want to make some logical improvements, for example in the
amount of RAM or internal memory capacity.
In a team in which we want to extend its useful life and without possibility of making the improvements by ourselves, move to a reasonable configuration with 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD leaves us a price above 1800 dollars, very high for a laptop with these technical characteristics.
The performance of this Macbook
Air 2018 is fully associated with the choice of processor. As we have seen
there is only one option available, the Intel Core i5-8210Y.
In the usual tests with Mac
computers, in Cinebench we have managed to reach 291 cb in the tasks associated
with the processor, while in the graphical section (integrated from Intel), the
OpenGL test has thrown us a figure of 34.6 fps.
With GeekBench, the dual-core
processor marks good numbers in mononucleo mode (4306) and also with both (7764
points), where it is located above the previous generation but is below the
MacBook Pro of 13 fleas of 2017, a would be alternative for very little money
more and with which we also get a better screen.
In day-to-day operation, the
MacBook Air 2018 follows the line of good overall performance for any
non-specific task we ask of you. Navigation with multiple tabs, video, some
editing and multimedia do not present any delays and fluency is guaranteed.
The heat in operation is well
controlled, and I especially liked the low noise that makes the fan, because we
are not before a team without them. In the usual tasks of work barely turned on
or you were not even aware of it except in completely silent environments.
Special mention deserves the T2
coprocessor that arrives at this Macbook Air. We have already discussed his
work with the information he uses for the use of TouchID, but in this Air 2018
he also collects secondary tasks that spare the Intel processor of extra work
with audio and video processing, as well as in the encryption of the SSD.
It is still a laptop with a large battery
With less space available, the
new MacBook Air 2018 includes a battery with a capacity of 50 Wh that in our
experience during these weeks of testing, has kept the good work of Apple’s
equipment in this section, although without being long outstanding.
In days of work associated with
basic tasks such as office automation, some video and above all a lot of web
browsing and social network management, with brightness over 50% and always
connected to Wi-Fi networks, the MacBook Air 2018 has allowed us to always
finish no problem the working day, which gives us an average of between 7-7.5
effective hours of work with the new laptop.
Regarding the loading time, Apple
again offers a compact adapter as standard but inferior to the best it has in
its catalog. The model is 30 W, which gets a full charge of the laptop in 130
minutes according to our measurements. That time could be reduced easily to
less than two hours with an adapter of at least 65 W, which we think should be
the one that came standard on a computer at this price.