Notebook Review

Apple MacBook Air M1 review: the best laptop with Apple M1 processor

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  • Apple MacBook Air M1 specifications
  • Design and appearance
  • Laptop display
  • Keyboard and touchpad
  • The power of the Apple M1 processor
  • Component performance
  • Graphics capabilities
  • Autonomy Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020)
  • Total
  • Should I buy?
  • Review Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020) notebook - video
  • Apple's MacBook Airs have always been famousits highest quality, but dramatic changes rarely happened here. However, that all changed with the release of Apple's M1 processor. Thus, the power of the new Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020) ultrabook has reached a new level.

    Early 2020 MacBook AirIt was not much different from the previous one, except for the keyboard, because the feature of Air laptops has always been not performance, but price and dimensions. Along with a major OS upgrade to Big Sur, the Cupertino-based company ditched Intel processors in favor of its own Apple M1.

    New ultraportable laptop MacBook Air M1appeared alongside the 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini, which also run on the M1 processor. Each of these models has become impressive, but the Air is especially good. In terms of value for money, this is the best MacBook to date. With nearly 30 hours of battery life and superb build quality, the model claims to be the laptop of the year.

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    Apple MacBook Air M1 specifications

    Laptop class

    Ultraportable

    CPU

    Apple M1

    Processor speed

    3.2 GHz

    RAM (test sample)

    8 GB

    Load source type

    SSD

    Storage capacity (test sample)

    256 GB

    Screen size

    13.3 inch

    Display resolution

    2560 × 1600

    Touch screen

    Not

    Panel technology

    IPS

    Screen refresh rate

    60 Hz

    Graphics processor

    Apple M1

    operating system

    Apple macOS

    Wireless networks

    802.11ax, Bluetooth

    Battery autonomy (hours: minutes)

    29:01

    Dimensions and weight

    304 x 212 x 16mm, 1.29kg

    Price

    99,990 p.

    Design and appearance

    As usual with the MacBook, the design of the newthe model has changed little. If you put the Apple MacBook Air M1 next to the previous version, it will be difficult to visually distinguish them. We have three colors to choose from: space gray, gold and silver. The body is made of metal, it is reliable and of the highest quality workmanship.

    It is also important here that Air remains one of the mostportable notebooks on the market. Its dimensions are 304 × 212 × 16 mm, with a weight of 1.29 kg. Some Windows models like the Dell XPS 13 are slightly lighter, but the difference is hardly noticeable.

    In the upper inner frame above the display,hosted a 720p webcam. Connectors are few here: two USB-C on the left and a headphone jack on the right. At least both USB-C are Thunderbolt 3 compatible, charging and video output (DisplayPort) is possible. Nevertheless, the port is not enough, many peripheral devices cannot be connected here.

    Laptop display

    As expected, Apple MacBook Air M1 screengorgeous. It uses a 13.3-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2560 × 1600 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10. The panel resolution, although much higher than Full HD (1920 × 1080), which is found in most competitive laptops, does not reach 4K. On the other hand, it helps to reduce the cost and increase the autonomy.

    The bezels around the screen are quite thick and lookslightly outdated. There is no support for HDR or OLED assemblies, however Apple's True Tone technology is there. It reduces eye strain and can be turned off in the settings.

    Apple again decided not to add to MacBooktouchscreen. The Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro comes closest to a similar experience, alas, while touch screens are only on smartphones and tablets from the Cupertino-based company.

    Keyboard and touchpad

    In the past, the MacBook Air has finally replaced the unfortunatea butterfly keyboard with many problems associated with broken keys and dust getting inside. Air now uses Magic Keyboard.

    Under each button Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020)there is a rubber cap and a scissor mechanism. Because of this, the key travel has become larger, and the keystrokes are more responsive. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is located in the upper right corner. The Touch Bar from the MacBook Pro is not here, so the Esc key remains in the upper left corner.

    The excellent keyboard is complemented by morehigh-quality touchpad. Recent MacBook users are already used to this touchpad. But, if you are switching to a MacBook Air from a Windows laptop or older models from Apple, the difference will surely surprise you. The touchpad is huge, easy to operate and gives us a lot of options for interaction with taps or gestures.

    The power of the Apple M1 processor

    The main reason for the tremendous attention to newThe MacBook became Apple's M1 processor. After years of using Intel chipsets, Apple decided to create its own processors, the first of which was called the M1. It is he who is installed in the new MacBook Air M1, MacBook Pro and Mac mini.

    As with the iPhone and iPad, Apple decidedmove to a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture. This means that the processor will be responsible for both computation and graphics processing. SoC also includes other elements like system memory and storage controller.

    Since the system-on-a-chip must performso many functions at once, the most expensive version of the M1 has as many as 16 cores. They are not divided into groups, each of which solves its own problems. Four cores are responsible for complex calculations, four more - for simpler processes. The eight remaining (or seven for a cheaper version) are graphics processing. In addition, there are several cores here, which Apple calls a "neural engine".

    Thanks to all this, the M1 gives us a hugeperformance gains, especially when combined with Apple's optimized software. Full control over its own components allows the Cupertino company to achieve the best possible interaction of all parts of the computer.

    There are two basic versions of the MacBook Air M1 (2020),although each of them can be customized independently. Prices start at 100,000 rubles, which is not that expensive when you consider the quality, power and characteristics of ultrabooks. For this money, we get a powerful M1 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. In the initial version, the M1 chip has seven cores per graphics.

    In a slightly more expensive build, the M1 has eight graphics cores, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. But, you can also opt for more storage or RAM for each model.

    Component performance

    It is difficult to measure 100% at the momentthe performance of the new M1 chipset in the MacBook Air (2020) line. Only Apple apps and a few third-party programs are compatible with this processor.

    Until the developers release updates to theirSoftware, all these applications or programs will work in the Rosetta 2 emulation mode. In this mode, some of the performance is lost, although the operating speed is still very high. Alas, for now, even Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office will have to be launched in a similar way, but the upcoming updates will not be long in coming. Apple said that a compatible version of Adobe Photoshop will be released in early 2021, and Adobe Lightroom - this December.

    However, in terms of performanceThe Apple MacBook Air M1 is an outstanding laptop. Performance tests only confirm this. In Geekbench 5, the laptop scores 1,730 and 7,580 points in single-core and multi-core modes, practically not inferior to the MacBook Pro and leaving far behind the closest pursuers on Windows. The latest Dell XPS 13 scored 1500 and 4500 points, respectively, while the HP Specter x360 15 scored 1200 and 4940 points.

    The advantage is especially striking in multi-coremode. Of course, all this is due to the increased number of "large" cores in M1. The gap between the 2019 MacBook Air and the Intel i9 processor is also surprising. MacBook Airs have always been the underdog in Apple's notebook performance when it comes to performance, but they are now on par with the MacBook Pro series.

    As the Handbrake test shows, the Apple M1 processorvery good even in the Rosetta 2 emulation mode. In the test, video is converted from 4K to 1080p, in the Air emulation mode it performs this task in just 18 minutes. Here it is second only to Dell XPS 13 (15 minutes) and HP Specter x360 15 (10 minutes), but in native mode, the M1 copes with the process in only 11 minutes.

    An important result of these tests is thatApple MacBook Air M1 (2020) is not much inferior to MacBook Pro. Previously, the MacBook Air was a stripped-down version of its older brother, but now it is its full-fledged competitor.

    Graphics capabilities

    The graphics performance of the MacBook Air M1 is impressive too. Depending on the version, the M1 system-on-chip can have seven or eight cores for working with graphics.

    In GFXBench 5 Metal (Car Chase 1080p), Air has 163fps. The result is worse than the MacBook Pro (178 fps), but surpasses the HP Specter x360 15 (159 fps) and even more so the Dell XPS 13 (107 fps). Most striking is the comparison with the 2019 MacBook Air. The previous model achieved only 23 fps in this test.

    In terms of games, I checked the performancegraphics cores in Rise of the Tomb Raider. At high settings, the MacBook Air M1 had a consistent 35 fps. This is noticeably below the HP Specter x360 15 with 56 fps, although it is better than the Dell XPS 13 with 29 fps. That is, an ultrabook is hardly suitable for the most demanding gaming novelties, but you can play. However, many of the titles won't make it to macOS.

    Autonomy Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020)

    Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new MacBook Air M1 is its battery life. The device is capable of working an incredible 29 hours on one charge - the result is amazing.

    This is made possible in part by the processor.Apple M1. Not too demanding processes, such as watching a video, are delegated in the chip to specially designed cores. They consume almost no energy, so the battery life is increased.

    All in all, the MacBook Air is incredibleportable laptop. It is lightweight and compact, and thanks to its long autonomy, you can take it with you wherever you go, even for several days - without a charger.

    Total

    Apple's new MacBook Air M1 is great ineverything. The build quality is superb, the battery is impressive in its endurance, and the system-on-a-chip performance exceeded all expectations. What's more, this is an incredibly good ultrabook in terms of value for money. This is rarely seen at Apple.

    Should I buy?

    If you need a Windows model, you can chooseDell XPS 13 or Microsoft Surface Pro. But, if the operating system is not critical to you, the MacBook Air M1 (2020) will be the best choice for now. Although it costs from 100 thousand rubles, in terms of price-quality ratio, it simply has no equal.

    Yandex Market Review of Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020) laptop - video

    Vasily Hi-tech Vasily - the author of the websiteTehnObzor who likes to know something new and about everything. He will write his own review and take a picture in an unusual way. A romantic at heart and a technician in life, he has a lot of experience and his own, slightly philosophical outlook. Best Value MacBook Design & Ergonomics 96/100 Display & Media 95/100 Keyboard and Input Devices 87/100 Connectors & Ports 90/100 Performance 98/100 Connectivity & Connectivity 97/100 Runtime 99/100 Total 94.6 MacBook Air with M1 has much better performance than its predecessors, rivaling the MacBook Pro at times. For its price, this is the best portable macOS laptop. Advantages and Disadvantages Multiple body color options Good value, especially for MacBooks Incredible battery life Quality keyboard, touchpad and display Significantly improved performance Elegant portable metal chassis Still no touchscreen Port selection limited to two USB Type-C ports