Last week, Apple announced a new MacBook Air. It’s more of an update to the previous model, really, because the new “2020” MacBook Air looks basically the exact same as the one that was released in 2018. It’s the same size and has pretty much the exact same display, but Apple did a couple of things to make the 2020 MacBook Air feel like a significant upgrade.
It doubled the base storage (now 256GB) and doubled the performance (thanks to Intel’s 10th-generation CPUs), and kept the price low. You can buy a new MacBook Air for just under $1,000 and it’s the model that most people should buy. (On the 2018 model, we recommended that most people go with 256GB configuration because 128GB probably wasn’t going to be enough, but that drove the price up to $1,399, which isn’t cheap.)
But the biggest improvement has to do with the keyboard. It’s a brand-new keyboard — or rather, it’s the same keyboard that Apple put into its recent 16-inch MacBook Pro, just without the Touch Bar — and it’s much “clickier.” The keys have been upgraded with scissor switches instead of the butterfly switches that all MacBooks have had for roughly the last five years, and these new scissor switches allow for more key travel. Basically, the keyboard feels like a real keyboard and less like a flat surface you are forced to stab your fingers into.
I’ve been using the new MacBook Air for the last four days and I’ve found that it’s a real pleasure to type on. And I don’t say that lightly. I own a 2017 MacBook Pro, which has the flatter keyboard, and I just can’t stand it. It’s unpleasant and my number of typos skyrockets. The only real solution I’ve found is to use a wireless keyboard at home and at work which, annoyingly, makes a laptop far less portable.
Working perpetually from home at my parents’ house in New Jersey, thanks to COVID-19, that standard laptop portability is more important than ever. I’ve got no external monitor. No wireless keyboard or mouse. And with this new MacBook keyboard, I’m barely missing the Logitech keyboard I use at the office at all.
If you’re looking for a new lightweight laptop, the new MacBook Air really feels like the one to beat.
Of course, if you need the extra horsepower of a MacBook Pro, the updated Air isn’t going to do you much good. It’s still a lightweight laptop after all and isn’t meant for the big demands of creative professionals. Fortunately, Apple is expected to release a new MacBook Pro sometime in the near-ish future. And you can expect it to have this same great keyboard.
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