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.