New MacBook, new problem?

– This is the 2020 MacBook Air, and it is a very very good laptop Is it enough to make you switch from Windows? Maybe not, but it is in my opinion the best Mac they've made in years

For a very very long time, when someone would ask me which premium laptop they should buy, the MacBook Air was the default answer for me And the reason this became the default is actually really straightforward Apple absolutely killed it with this second generation MacBook design Not only was the actual design itself incredibly thin and light but it really nailed the fundamentals of a laptop So the build quality, top-notch

Battery life was some of the best on any laptop you could get Keyboard was good, Trackpad was world class, performance was decent, the SSDs were snappy I mean really even here in 2020, this old MacBook Air really only falls flat on the screen side and well it's a little slow now but it's really not that bad especially considering this is seven years old now So when Apple finally decided to put the old MacBook Air out to pasture and instead replace it with an all-new model in late 2018, it was a big step forward, but this laptop still has its fair share of issues So there's a lot of things I really like here

The Retina display is an absolutely massive leap over the last generation MacBook Air, Retina, 2560 by 1600, 16:10, I mean there's a lot that's good with this display Some of the things though, not so hot I will say given the fact that most Windows laptops have definitely switched to touchscreens at this point, that the lack of a touchscreen feels a little bit odd on the MacBook Air these days, although to be fair Apple's pretty much making the iPad Pro a computer now, so I guess that's kind of irrelevant But there are actually some legitimate criticisms of this 2018 MacBook Air First and foremost, the butterfly keyboard

So I will freely admit that I am in the camp that I actually don't think the butterfly keyboard was that bad While yes, there's not a lot of travel, and while yes, it was absolutely plagued with many many reliability issues But for me, it wasn't the worst keyboard in the world Something that actually did bother me a lot more than that however, was the performance This MacBook Air was, I don't wanna say slow because it certainly wasn't, but it was a little bit pokey, right, you only had a single dual-core processor as low-wattage, it just didn't give me a lot of confidence in the performance

But it was of course a very expensive laptop Which brings us to this, the 2020 MacBook Air which claims to solve pretty much all of those major downsides of the last gen model Here we go All right, so we have the MacBook Air Of course it only comes in 13-inch size

I know that they used to sell the 11, and that was always my favorite But I feel like the 13 is probably the better option for most people So physically, especially on the outside, this is basically completely identical to the last generation model But, it smells fresh Oh, I forgot, the new MacBook is always just immediately turn on the second you open the lid

Wait, here comes the real test Oh, that's like a real keyboard So this does take advantage of the magic keyboard, something we'll take a look at a little bit later But it's pretty much the same as on the 16 inch MacBook Feel like I haven't done like a legit unboxing of a Mac in a long time

You still get Apple stickers, right – [Ken] Yeah, you literally just dropped them – Where? Oh, okay, you know put this on your Samsung Galaxy S20 ultra – [Ken] Wait, they're silver – Oh, see, we would have completely missed this

Normally, I just skip by the unboxing 'cause who cares We get Silver Apple stickers – [Voiceover] It's a built-in screen reader called Voiceover If you know how to use Voiceover, press Command– – Then we do still have the same tiny 30 watt USB-C power adapter as well as our USB-C cable Now of course, it should be no surprise that this MacBook has exactly two ports

Pair of Thunderbolt based USB-C port or Thunderbolt 3 based USB-C ports We do still have the headphone jack but hardware-wise, the MacBook Air is not really all that different besides that sweet keyboard Isn't that cool? Josh can you like when I do that, can you like play a harp sound like Mighty Car Mods (harp music) Probably the most noticeable change with a 2020 MacBook Air is the return of the magic keyboard Although return is not quite accurate, and as you can see here, I have all three of the most recent MacBook Airs

The 2020 model with the magic keyboard, the 2018 model with the butterfly switch as well as the older school MacBook Air with the much-loved old school keyboard What did they call the old one? They just call it the keyboard – [Ken] Yeah, no, there was no name for them – I don't think they had a name for it Okay, cool, good, I'm not crazy (laughs)

So it's the original keyboard Yeah man, this thing absolutely holds up So it has just sort of good key travel, good feel, that thing is solid I mean, I'm definitely biased here This one still feels okay to me but again I never really mind these keys that much

However, this is gonna be the real test I like this a lot You know what, I actually think I like the 2020 MacBook Air keyboard most The magic keyboard feels good, it feels like a nice blend honestly of the old-school MacBook Air keyboard and the butterfly switch It's kind of in the middle, it's certainly a lot closer to the old school

But you know what, let me give them a big thumbs up here This feels a lot better, I think everyone can agree, even me was a little bit biased than the 2018 MacBook Air Yeah, I mean just, it's so much more travel And of course you have to keep in mind that the 2020 MacBook Air does have Touch ID, you also have the inverted T layout, really, I think two things that most people appreciate And what you don't have is a touch bar

I again, I think I'm a little bit biased here 'cause I don't really mind the touch bar but I do feel like most people will prefer the full-size Escape key and everything being sort of as you remember it Especially if you're upgrading from an older MacBook Air, this should feel right at home So when it comes to the webcam on the MacBook Air, it is fine, I don't think anyone would consider this to be high quality but it's good enough for a video call But what they have improved this year are the actual microphones So the MacBook Air has three microphones built in

And as you can hear, well, it might not sound amazing, and actually is pretty significantly better than most laptops I mean quite as good as the 16 inch MacBook Pro but they're definitely doing some really good work here on the audio front Speaking of audio, according to Apple, these speakers are not only 25% louder but deliver double the bass – [Austin] I'm Austin – [Myke] I'm Myke

– [Austin] We are the Test Drivers – [Myke] And we put tech through its paces – [Austin] Myke, today I really wanna find out if you ended up joining the Z Flip gang But first, we have a Test Drivers bonus exclusive on the Xbox Series X – You know what, that's actually really impressive

So while again, you can't really compare this to something like the 16 inch MacBook which obviously has much larger speakers, but for a 13 inch laptop, this is about as good as I've ever heard That's really impressive – [Ken] Are you gonna be covering the new MacBook Air on the Test Drivers? – Well, yes, yes I am If you'd like to follow the Test Drivers, you can find it everywhere, your ears can listen to beautiful podcast music – [Ken] On the radio? – No, you can't listen to the Test Drivers on the radio

We pop open the MacBook Air, we'll see, this looks exactly like last year I mean, I'm not entirely sure what I expected (laughs) So we do have our three battery cells, the Trackpad which honestly takes up a huge amount of space underneath here, the two speakers which also are fairly large and it does have a fan So I know there are a lot of rumors when the MacBook Air was refreshed, that it would be fanless However, it does have a fairly small fan because it does have I believe a seven watt chip

Yeah, there we go So we also have under this tiny little flap the Apple T2 chip Now that actually does a lot, so not only does it run like Touch ID but it handles the SSD, it handles your audio And it also can actually help out the processor So this T2 chip can do things like offload, like video processing specifically with like H

265, this is a nice little setup, very simple though, very simple Apple's really put all the main components like right here The rest is just like a fan and battery and speakers So the MacBook Air here has always been a battery life champ but something that's kind of interesting is that well yes it's still rated for the same like roughly 11 hours of use, it almost seems like they could have gone a little bit bigger on the batteries So you can see there's a little bit of dead space here, there's a little bit of dead space down here especially when you pull up a little flap which there's no actual battery in

The same thing here and here I almost wonder, if maybe they just sort of hit their battery life goals and they're not really pushing, but it does seem like there's at least a little bit of empty space that Apple could have extended the size of the batteries a bit I guess they're just that confident I'm gonna put our T2 chip little thing back in place before it catches on fire So after running some benchmarks and spending a little bit of time with this 2020 MacBook Air, it's actually a pretty major upgrade

So there's a couple of things to consider First of all, we're going up to 10th generation Core processors which have obviously brought a major wave of performance across the board but especially when you compare this to the 2018 model, it's not even close Do keep in mind I am taking advantage of the Core i5 model, this is the quad core So if you have the base Core i3, you still have the dual core chip, so it'll be a little bit closer But I'm seeing significantly better CPU performance here, the graphics are way way better

And that actually has proven out with a couple of real features, right So you're probably gonna be playing a lot of games on your MacBook Air but using Thunderbolt, you actually can drive a full 6K Pro Display XDR with the MacBook Air now Keep in mind that even the iMac Pro can't run it at full resolution So it's actually pretty impressive of what they've been able to pull off here Oh hi, quarantine Austin here with a quick update

So since recording the main part of this video there have been a few people who have claimed that the MacBook Air is now thermal throttling and is running dangerously hot This is not true, so let me explain When you take a look at the heat sink, it is obviously an odd design to have the fan not directly attached However, you also have to keep in mind the MacBook Air has a 10 watt chip So if you pull up the full specs which is available I'll have it linked in the description, it is using a Core-i5-1030NG7

Now this chip is rated with a 11 gigahertz base frequency Now, yes it can and does boost up to 35 gigahertz all the time And when you think about what you do with a MacBook Air like web browser and do things, it's very bursty, right, so it's really easy for it to jump up and down up and down, totally fine

However, when you do throw the worst case scenario at it, so something like Cinebench which is a 3D modeling application, what you'll see is when you have that CPU sitting at a 100%, it starts out at 35 gigahertz but then the system gets very hot and it does start to lower the clock speed Now I wanna be clear, this is not throttling, right Pretty much all laptops will do this, they will have a really high boost frequency and they'll come down to their base In this case, the MacBook Air, at least mine, lands around 1

5 gigahertz However, it's still 12 watts, more than the rated TDP So yes, it does run warm, you will pretty much instantly see the MacBook Air hit 100 degrees Celsius on the CPU, but spoiler alert, so does like every other Apple laptop that's ever been made Clearly, Apple are not concerned about running it at, what is very clearly the max temperature, but it is that, the max, it is not a dangerous temperature for a processor to run at May be a little uncomfortable if you're running at a 100 degrees all the time

However, you also probably shouldn't be 3D rendering on your MacBook Air, there are better choices for that Anyway, back to the video But getting away from the benchmarks because honestly, it's a MacBook Air, you're probably not getting this as a speed demon, the real difference here is just in the everyday usability, right So the old MacBook Air was fine but it felt a little bit pokey especially compared to newer systems like the XPS that I daily everyday The MacBook Air however feels just as snappy as pretty much any modern premium laptop out there

Now when you get into video editing and sort of hard core tasks, you are going to start running into some throttling But in general day to day use, this thing feels very very quick And that's not something I've been able to say about the MacBook Air in a long time I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the MacBook Air has actually seen a price cut this generation So when this MacBook Air was first refreshed back in 2018, it started out at $1200 for the base model

Last year it's saw $100 price cut, but today the 2020 MacBook Air starts at $999 And on top of that, if you look at the site, you can see that you start out with 256 gigs of storage as opposed to 128 of the previous base model Those are both big wins And on top of that, if you're a student or someone with a edu email address, you can actually save a further $100 on the MacBook Air potentially bringing this guy below $1,000

This could legitimately be the new student special However, before you go rush out and grab that base model, I actually would highly recommend upgrading at least a little bit So the base model of the MacBook Air comes with a dual-core core i3 processor but perfectly reasonable However, for only another $100, you can jump up to a quad-core i5 chip which is what these MacBook Airs I'm using right now has Now it's up to you

Obviously, there are other things, you can upgrade to 16 gigs of ram, which is kind of expensive, you can get more SSD storage which is up to you But at $1099 with a quad-core chip, this thing actually makes a lot of sense for a lot of people It's not a huge powerhouse but the thing you have to consider is that the MacBook Air used to be the standard default laptop for most people, right And I feel like this spec of the MacBook Air really comes very close to replicating that old formula Not a powerhouse, not crazy, what it is is enough laptop, what I would argue is the vast majority of people out there

So for context, my current daily driver is the XPS 13 2-in-1 I really like this laptop, and while sure, it's not the cheapest thing in the world, it's actually pretty reasonably priced, and yet, and yet my friends, the MacBook Air is actually very equivalent If you look at the XPS 13, what you're getting here for the exact same price is almost the same spec; 13-inch display, you've got the eight gigs of ram, the 10th gen i5, you've got 512 gigs of storage Really the main difference here is that this is a slightly lower wattage Y-Series chip But the main takeaway here is that Apple has actually become competitive on price, right

And I would argue that for a lot of people the MacBook may be a better call based on the build quality, based on the fact that's running macOS, based on the fact that these have pretty legendary reliability, well, notwithstanding the keyboard issues for a couple of years, but yeah man, I'm like legitimately surprised at how good this MacBook Air really is Look, I've been kind of harsh to the Air in the past, the previous generation was legitimately one of my favorite laptops to recommend to people When it came to the 2018 refresh, it was just fine, it wasn't really great though When it comes to the 2020 Air, they pretty much rectified all of my major issues I mean this is a legitimately very excellent laptop, and that's not something I've said about a MacBook Air in like 8 years, 7 years, a long time (laughs)

Obviously, if you're in the Windows camp, there's not a lot here to tempt you away when it comes to looking at the MacBook Air for what it is A premium laptop, there's a lot to like, you've got an excellent screen, good keyboard finally, one of the best trackpads in the business You've got killer build quality, Thunderbolt 3, good performance, fast SSD I mean there's very little to complain about especially considering that this guy now has a reasonable price Yeah, bet you didn't see that one coming, did you? – [Ken] I watched the whole video

You did mention it a few times – Oh did I mention the fact that I'm amazed that this computer is not ludicrously expensive unlike usual? Yeah, that The next time someone asks which premium laptop I recommend, the MacBook Air has very quickly reclaimed its spot on top of the list Although if we're being real, the XPS 13 still has a spot in my bag for now (upbeat music)

Source: Youtube

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