As it stands in 2018, the MacBook Air is kind of outdated. It features the same design the MacBook Air has had since 2010, two years after its initial reveal. It also features an older processor and lower screen resolution than those used by its contemporaries, like the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 12-inch MacBook. But, in 2018 so far, the MacBook Air is still the cheapest way to experience macOS 10.13 High Sierra on a laptop.
However, it may not stay that way. There’s been some speculation that a 13-inch Retina Macbook is on the way that could challenge the MacBook Air’s price point. Just a week before that report came in KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo reported that a cheaper MacBook Air might see the light of day in the second quarter of 2018 – but the latest rumors put it in the second half of 2018.
That said, the MacBook Air we reviewed here is still the best option for a cheap MacBook for now. Even if it’s in dire need of a makeover, you should know that it’ll get you by as is for the time being. For future reference, keep you eyes peeled to this page, as we’ll update it with the most recent pricing and availability information as we know it.
Price and availability
While the model sent to us was a maxed out MacBook Air with the highest specs you could get at the time of its original writing, it currently comes in a wide range of different configurations.
It still starts at the comparatively humble amount of $999 (£949, AU$1,499), but now you’re looking at a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD space for that price.
Should you be interested in stepping its game up, you can upgrade the processor to a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and 512GB of storage for a pretty penny more. For that, you’re looking at a price tag of $1,549 (£1,384, AU$2,339).
That’s a higher asking cost than an up to date MacBook Pro for a frankly older set of components (the MacBook Air uses a 5th-generation Intel processor as opposed to the MacBook Pro’s 7th-gen chip), but it might tempt those who crave lots of storage and a longer battery life.
By and large, the MacBook Air generally looks the same as it has since 2010, and there don’t appear to be any changes in tow, either. That’s a shame, particularly because we’re now seeing virtually bezel-less laptops with smaller footprints and high resolution screens that dismally put the MacBook Air in its place.
Forget the Dell XPS 13's physics-defying InfinityEdge display, which is lightyears ahead – even Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina, once seen as slightly tubby compared to the Air, has a smaller footprint and takes up slightly less space on your lap.
Yet, the old ‘if it ain't broke’ mantra applies – at least to a point. The MacBook Air's aluminum unibody design, which supports the main enclosure and the display, is as durable as ever. Its lid can be easily raised with a single hand and doesn't droop in any position, and you have to press really hard to detect flex on the machine's base or lid.
It's also easy to clean with a damp cloth. If there's one drawback, it's that the aluminum body can scratch easily to leave permanent black marks, so you should consider buying a sleeve if you're going to sling it into a bag for transportation.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this review