Why I fell in love with my Apple MacBook Air

smiling person freelancer outdoors working on laptop computer MacBook by Apple with smartwatch Apple Watch, iPhone smiling, show thumb up, like gesture.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Earlier in 2023, I documented my experiences and initial difficulties with switching to macOS as someone who's used Windows OS for well over two decades. Even with my trials and tribulations, I found the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) to be an interesting challenge that I fell deeper into the more I used it. And learning each new feature gave me a sense of satisfaction I haven’t felt with a PC or laptop in years.

As I also discovered, there are many advantages to owning a MacBook Air – some of which completely dismantled preconceived notions of Apple products I’ve held since my college years when the lowest configurations were still twice as expensive as Dell’s mid-range options. And since the pandemic started in 2020, Windows laptops have skyrocketed in price due to the much higher demand, while Apple has kept most of its laptops competitive or even lower in price.

In fact, it was the $799 sale price in 2022 that made me take the plunge and learn more about this operating system. Considering the excellent work machine I received, I’m more than glad I took the chance and learned something new. Hopefully, I’ll keep discovering even more reasons to fall in love with my MacBook Air.

Its light form factor and incredible battery life 

Easily two of the MacBook Air's most notable features are its thin, lightweight chassis and the phenomenal battery life. These, I believe, are the defining characteristics of this laptop and excellent reasons on their own to purchase it, especially if you’re looking for a workhorse without too many frills.

This model still features the iconic clamshell shape of the MacBook Air line, which I personally love for its distinctive and attractive design. It’s also a divine weight of 2.8 lbs (1.29 kg) and a thickness of just 0.16 inches at its thinnest point, beating the vast majority of its competition. Yet, despite such a thin frame, I’ve never once had an issue with overheating, an issue that plagues even the best thin and light laptops, as well as the best Ultrabooks.

But what I truly love about the MacBook Air is its excellent battery life. Considering that battery life is one of the most considerable drops among Windows laptops this generation and last, having a work machine that can last for two days without charging is an incredible feat. I don’t have to carry around a charger anymore, as a simple hour-long charge every couple of days is more than enough.

Surprisingly easy learning curve 

When I wrote the piece about the steep learning curve of the macOS, it was coming from the perspective of someone who hadn’t used a Mac laptop or PC outside of brief gaming sessions (using an Xbox controller, no less, for most of that) since elementary school. As you can imagine, that would severely impact adjusting to a new OS and keyboard shortcut differences.

Once I removed my previous biases and focused on treating the MacBook Air as its own separate system rather than one that’s ‘not Windows,’ I quickly adjusted to the differences and realized just how intuitive macOS is. Especially since one of the issues I had, installing new software, was made much simpler to the point that it matches the Windows method.

As for other factors like keyboard shortcuts, I quickly realized that the only main difference between the two operating systems was whether I use Ctrl or Command. And Apple offers easier and more useful shortcuts for emojis and commonly used currency symbols. Also, customizing certain options, like having the scroll wheel on the side of any windows always visible, has made the experience even more intuitive.

The M1 chip is a miracle 

It cannot be understated what a revelation the M1 chip was for Apple products, especially its laptops. Finally free from the shackles of Intel CPUs, the tech giant was able to create its own silicon that boosted processing power and performance to levels that still make the M1 MacBook Air and Pro series competitive today.

I was skeptical at first: how good could the performance possibly be? When I started using it for work, however, I was immediately converted. Any task, whether photo or document editing, writing, video streaming, or internet browsing on three separate browsers at once, is nothing to the M1 chip. And keep in mind that my model has the baseline configurations, so this isn’t one with high-end specs either.

Another benefit of the M1 is the superior ventilation, thanks to how efficiently Apple’s silicon runs. I've never owned a laptop whose underside is cold to the touch while running, and it still shocks me every time. Not only that, but the internal fans can also keep the laptop cool while running completely silent.

No worrying about viruses or spyware 

Last, but certainly not least, the fact that viruses and spyware are a non-issue on macOS is a dream I could only experience on Chrome OS. While I still tricked out my favorite browser of all time with anti-tracking extensions, the fact that I never have to be concerned with a sudden hostile takeover of my laptop, even if I didn’t gives me peace of mind.

And it’s not only viruses and spyware but general operating system security exploits that cease to be a concern. One aspect of any Windows laptop I absolutely despised was wondering if the latest OS update would expose my PC to a security threat that would take at least a month to fix. That ‘Google the latest update to see if it’s safe’ is the true way of life for any Windows user.

Unlike most of the previously discussed points – which some of the best Windows laptops could match – this is unequivocally a positive that only MacBooks can offer. So if security is your number one priority when looking for a laptop, then the MacBook Air is worth investing in for that reason alone.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.