2020 MacBook Air Reviews Praise Magic Keyboard and Faster Performance at Lower $999 Starting Price

The media has got its hands on the new MacBook Air and first impressions of the notebook after a day or two of usage are largely positive.

Following in the footsteps of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air features a redesigned Magic Keyboard with scissor switches that deliver 1mm of key travel for a comfortable and stable key feel. As with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, reviews find the keyboard on the new MacBook Air to be far better than the problematic butterfly keyboard of recent years.


TechCrunch's Brian Heater:

Unlike other iterative attempts to update the butterfly mechanism, the move back to a scissor switch is a marked improvement. The keys are still relatively soft compared to other systems, but the feel is much improved — not to mention not as loud while typing. The feeling here is pretty similar to what you get with Apple’s Bluetooth Magic Keyboard peripheral. Honestly, that makes it a valuable upgrade in and of itself.

CNBC's Todd Haselton said "I'm pleased to report that the new keyboard is a vast improvement."

Engadget's Dana Wollman went as far as putting "buy it for the keyboard" in the title of her piece.

Apple significantly redesigned the MacBook Air in 2018, but it also increased the base price of the notebook from $999 to $1,199. Fortunately, the 2020 base model not only starts at $999 again, but also comes with a doubled 256GB of storage. Writing for Six Colors, Jason Snell said this price "finally sets the bar at the right place."

One caveat of the new $999 base model is that it is equipped with a 1.1GHz dual-core Core i3 chip, but it is a newer 10th-generation Intel processor. Apple told CNBC's Todd Haselton that the Core i3 chip is a "big upgrade" from the 8th-generation 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 chip in the base model 2018 MacBook Air.

Still, many reviews recommend spending an extra $100 to upgrade to a 1.1GHz quad-core Core i5 chip — the first quad-core MacBook Air configuration ever.

One criticism that Haselton offered is that the new MacBook Air continues to have a 720p webcam, with many customers wishing that Apple would offer a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera on its notebooks.

More first impressions were shared by CNET's Dan Ackerman, Business Insider's Lisa Eadicicco, TechRadar's Gareth Beavis and Matt Hanson, PCMag's Tom Brant, Pocket-lint's Stuart Miles, and the Daily Express' David Snelling.

Video Impressions and Unboxings





Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tag: reviews
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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2 weeks ago
Make no mistake. The current MacBook Air and its value per $, is in the best shape since Haswell refresh in 2013.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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2 weeks ago
I think calling the new keyboard magical because this one actually works is letting Apple’s marketing department get a little carried away.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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2 weeks ago
Core i5 Geekbench scores has an excellent single-core score - 1192, which put it at second place behind the Core i9-9900K AMD the multi-core score of 3238 puts the Core i5 in the hunt with 2015, 2016 and 2017 15” MacBook Pros, the 2018 Core i3 Mac mini and the 4-core and 6-core 2013 Mac Pro. It will be interesting to see how the Core i7 does, but I suspect it won’t be beyond a 5%-7% increase as the clock speed (base and turbo) of the i7 really isn’t that much higher than the Core i5. Overall, this is a huge update over the previous 2018/2019 MacBook Air. Looking forward to seeing one in person, someday. Kudos to Apple, they appear to now have the MacBook Air on the right side of the value equation.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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2 weeks ago
Why do Youtubers all have facial expressions regular people never actually make?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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2 weeks ago


Can you explain what benefits the average user would see from this?

WiFi 6 isn't just about speed. It helps in congested areas, has better range, and more throughput. I would suggest that the average user could benefit from WiFi that is better in every way. It will take time for routers to be replaced, but many people use their laptops for years and years.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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2 weeks ago


No mention of Wifi 5 in a Wifi 6 world?

Can you explain what benefits the average user would see from this?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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