Apple MacBook Air M1 is a powerful, lightweight laptop with a stunning Retina display and no noisy fans. As a result of its lightweight construction and lengthy battery life, this Air can move at the speed of light.
- Unbelievably fast speed
- Strong support for old apps
- The Magic Keyboard has an amazingly long battery life.
- Webcam got better
- The edges are still thick.
- Ports of call
MacBook Air M1: Performance
The MacBook Air’s excellent performance can be attributed to its M1 processor and 16GB of RAM. It ran smoothly even when I had 20 Chrome (Intel, not Universal) tabs open while watching a 1080p YouTube video, as well as Apple’s Mail and Photos app, Pixelmator (also an Intel app), and 1Password (also an Intel app).
I even had time to play with iOS apps during a group call. I downloaded and opened the Overcast Podcatcher, HBO Max, and the game Among Us.
The performance of the MacBook Air with M1 felt the same as (or even faster than) the 2020 Core i5 MacBook Pro I used to test.
This includes the time I hooked up a second monitor. Even though Apple said it was 3.5 times faster than the Intel MacBook Air that came out earlier this year, I was still a bit skeptical because I’ve always pushed my MacBooks to their limits and needed a MacBook Pro, not an Air, to do my work. What is this MacBook Air? It seems professional.
On the Geekbench 5.1 (Intel) multicore test, the Air got a score of 5,962, which was almost the same as the M1 MacBook Pro’s score of 5,925. The old Intel Y-series CPU for the MacBook Air could only reach a score of 2,738.
Read Also: Dell Precision 17 7730 – Intel Core i7-8750H
MacBook Air M1: Graphics
Our test of the 8-core GPU in the MacBook Air could change the way some gamers think about the Mac, at least based on how it feels. I started off easy by running Bioshock 2 Remastered at its native resolution of 2560 x 1600.
That game ran smoothly, with water flowing smoothly through the rooms I explored, enemies getting shocked by electricity, and all the underwater life outside the hallways I explored moving without a problem.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (Intel) ran at 37 frames per second on the MacBook Air, which had a maximum resolution of 1440 x 900. This was much faster than the Intel MacBook Air’s score of 7 fps but not as fast as the M1 MacBook Pro’s 38 fps.
The GFXBench Metal Aztec Ruins graphics test (Universal) gave both the Air and the Pro almost the same score: 54 on High and 60 on Normal, both rounded down.
MacBook Air M1: Battery Life
Apple said that the M1 chip would allow a battery to last all day, and the company has met that goal. On the Tom’s Guide battery test (browsing the web at 150 nits), the new MacBook Air lasted an amazing 14 hours and 41 minutes.
The new MacBook Pro lasted 16 hours and 32 minutes, which is longer than both the ZenBook 13 (13:47) and the XPS 13 (11:07). The OLED XPS 13’s time (7:59) was much better.
Apple MacBook Air M1: Design
There are no visual or functional differences between the MacBook Air with M1 and the early 2020 MacBook Air that I reviewed in March. Perhaps that is the whole point. We recognize the familiar wedge form factor and machined aluminum chassis (in gold, silver, and space gray) in this MacBook Air. Apple’s intention to maintain the same design into the Apple Silicon era is likely to ease customers’ transition.
So, the 12 x 8.4 x 0.6-inch, 2.8-pound M1 MacBook Air looks just like its 11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6-inch, 2.8-pound Intel-based predecessor. And to be honest, it could still get smaller. The Asus ZenBook 13 weighs 2.5 pounds and is 11.9 x 8 x 0.5 inches.
Apple MacBook Air M1: Ports
The M1 MacBook Air retains the headphone jack and two Thunderbolt 3 USB 4 ports of its Intel-based predecessor. The XPS 13’s USB-C ports are split between the left and right sides, making it more convenient to connect devices that are typically located on the right.
Just put, other laptops have more ports. The MacBook Air doesn’t have a microSD reader, but the Dell XPS 13 does.
Disappointed that the MacBook Air doesn’t have the old MagSafe charging. Don’t worry; a rumor says that the MacBook Air 2021 will have an easier-to-use charging standard.
MacBook Air M1: Keyboard and Trackpad
I used the 10fastfingers typing test to try out the Magic Keyboard on the MacBook Air. I typed 74 words per minute, which is close to my average of 80 words per minute. This keyboard was the improvement Apple needed, just as the early 2020 MacBook Air had been.
The early 2020 MacBook Air’s too-shallow Butterfly-switch keys were criticized by many as being prone to sticking when small pieces of debris or dust got into them. The 4.8 x 3.2-inch glass Force Touch trackpad on the MacBook Air is accurate and makes scrolling easy. Apple keeps using haptic feedback instead of clicks, which seems to be a good choice (though I liked it better the old way).
MacBook Air M1: Heat
When I put the MacBook Air on my lap to write this review, watch videos, and sync my personal and work email in Mail. The app, I noticed that the Air got a little warm. Not so much that it’s bad, though. The new Air doesn’t have a fan, so that’s good news.
Temperatures measured with a heat gun on a MacBook Air that had been streaming a full HD video for 15 minutes ranged from 78 degrees on the touchpad to 80.5 degrees on the keyboard to 83 degrees on the underside. We can comfortably tolerate temperatures up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
This review of the MacBook Air with M1 has shown why its great durability and surprisingly fast speed take it to new heights. If the new MacBook Air had just a couple more ports and thinner edges, it might be perfect.
The Dell XPS 13’s bezels are noticeably narrower than those of the MacBook Air, but its performance and battery life are both inferior to that of the Apple laptop.