MacBook Air (2017) review

Grabbing a MacBook Air now fetches you faster storage

Apple MacBook

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The 2015 edition of the MacBook Air, in short, remains a fantastic laptop held back by a shortage of noteworthy changes. This lack of substantial improvements is disappointing to say the least, but it’s gratifying nevertheless to see Apple continue to support one of its most iconic products. Over a decade later, the MacBook Air may still very well be the best version of the MacBook to date.

We liked

Not only does the MacBook Air boast favorable performance given the age of its guts, but the fact that it can go over 13 hours without charging is virtually unprecedented. In fact, there isn’t any modern MacBook that comes close. We’re equally proud of the legacy ports on deck, complemented by SSD speeds that bring double the trouble.

We disliked

Its battery life may be the only way the MacBook Air has deviated from the norm. In terms of design, it hardly differs from the MacBook Air we’ve known since 2010. This reluctance to change will surely have some Apple users turning their heads to Windows, while those too loyal to make the switch will gladly shell out a couple hundred bucks more on a 12-inch MacBook.

Final verdict

Much faster storage and a better performing processor/graphics combo make the 2015 13-inch MacBook Air a technically better machine than its predecessor. However, unless you really want those gains, it may not be worth the upgrade. That’s especially true considering the absence of more modern features – like the MacBook Pro’s Force Touch Trackpad and Thunderbolt 3.

Elsewhere, it's business as usual: while the MacBook Pro with Retina is faster than the Air and packs more features, Apple's lighter machine is no slouch. And, while the Retina model is chunkier than the Air, it's not a great deal heavier and has a smaller footprint. With both machines residing in the same price bracket, the deciding factor is more likely to be how prepared you are to put up with the MacBook Air's outdated display.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.