I bought a Gold MacBook Air for $999 in 2018. I’ve owned it for a little over a year. Because my MacBook Air is not my only computer I picked portability and price over performance. If my MacBook Air was my only computer I would have chosen a more powerful MacBook Pro.
I did not consider an iPad. The only aspects of an iPad that interest me are its integrated LTE, and a long lasting battery life. As a systems administrator iOS’s App Store puts restrictions on the kind of applications I need to get my work done.
If you are looking for a low-cost Apple portable with all of the possibilities of a Macintosh, and none of the compromises of iOS, the MacBook Air is the one to get.
Here are a couple of my thoughts and recommendations if a new MacBook Air is in your future.
$1,299 is too much
Do not pay $1,299.00 for a new 2019 MacBook Air with 256 GB of storage. There are better offers out there. Buy the 2018 model, they are essentially the same computer. If you have to get a MacBook Air from Apple take advantage of Educational pricing or buy refurbished.
128 GB is not enough
Do not purchase a 2019 MacBook Air with only 128 GB of solid state storage. The solid state storage on all of Apple’s current portable computers is soldered to the logic board and cannot be upgraded later. You can get by using an external hard drive or saving to the cloud, but you will regret it. Apple should be ashamed for putting a 128 GB SSD in a Macintosh in 2020.
Don’t eat over your keyboard
Over the last year I lived in fear. Not that I would lose data or that I would drop my computer in a puddle, but that I would get a crumb under my MacBook Air’s keyboard. Reliability issues with Apple’s MacBook butterfly keyboards are well documented, and the 2019 MacBook Air is no exception. I learned to accept my MacBook Air’s short key travel and new keyboard layout, but I never got over the fact that the next piece of dust could do it in. Try the MacBook Air butterfly keyboard before you buy, but whatever you do don’t eat over it.
Buy a USB Type-C to USB adapter and carry it with you at all times. If you are in the habit of presenting get a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter too. You can buy a USB Type-C adapter for every peripheral you own, or upgrade every peripheral you own to USB Type-C like I did. Dongletown is a real place, but you don’t have to live there. I only visit when I am working with other people.
Pick your power supply
The MacBook Air was my first laptop with USB Type-C charging, and I am never going back. The beauty of USB Type-C charging is that you can choose your own charger. You are no longer beholden to the white power brick Apple shipped with your MacBook.
If you want a smaller power adapter, get a smaller power adapter. If you want a power adapter with extra USB ports and more power, get that one too. Heck, you can even get a USB Type-C monitor that charges your laptop, displays 1080p video, and provides a USB hub all over one cable. No need for a docking station!
I never found a need for Thunderbolt 3 on a entry level computer like the MacBook Air. I would gladly take more USB Type-C ports in exchange for Thunderbolt especially if it meant I could have the convenience of charging my computer from either side.
Battery life isn’t a problem on the new MacBook Air; mine can go all day without charging. I would welcome the additional performance a quad core processor would introduce, but only if battery life remains the same and my MacBook remains whisper quiet. Did I mention I almost never hear the fan on this computer?
Force Touch Trackpad
The quality of Apple’s Force Touch trackpads are legendary, but so are their size. It would be hard to go back to a PC laptop without one, but I don’t need to see the Force Touch trackpad get any larger. The size of the Force Touch trackpad on the 13 inch MacBook Pro is ridiculous.
Touch ID is another nice to have. I would miss it if it was gone, but it is not nearly as important on a computer that has a keyboard compared to iPhone or iPad that require you to enter long complex passwords on a touchscreen.