While you can take advantage of the Apple MacBook Air 2020 discounts before the New Year, it is useful to stay away from Intel processor, non-production models.
The MacBook Air is Apple’s most affordable laptop, and it’s often seen when they get some discounts at the end of the year. This year, you will find many discounts at local dealers and online stores. On the other hand, a closer look at the technical specifications reveals that almost all models are non-manufactured models with Intel processors. The biggest problem here is that both Intel and the new Apple M1 model are usually only listed as the Apple MacBook Air 2020. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll end up with a significantly inferior device.
Where is the difference?
The latest (Late 2020) update of the MacBook Air is probably the most significant change in recent years, as Apple is now using its own M1 ARM processor for the first time and is giving up previous Intel Core CPUs. The performance of the new M1 silicon is not only much higher than the efficient Y-series CPUs of previous MBA models, but the chip is more efficient and no longer requires a fan. The small chassis fan of previous models was probably the biggest problem, as it was not very efficient and was too loud considering poor performance. The new MacBook Air M1 is now passively cooled and therefore always a quiet companion.
Cinebench R15: CPU Single 64Bit | CPU Multiple 64Bit Performance
- Apple MacBook Air 2020 M1 Intro: 208 Points
M1 7-Core GPU, M1, Apple SSD AP0256Q
- Apple MacBook Air 2020 i3: 141 Points
Iris Plus Graphics G4 (Ice Lake 48 EU), i3-1000NG4, Apple SSD AP0256
- Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5: 140 Points
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
There are more advantages over previous Intel models: longer battery run time, improved display (now with P3 color gamut instead of sRGB), slightly improved speakers, a better stereo jack and Wi-Fi 6.
We were a little concerned about the ARM processor at first, but positively surprised. macOS works extremely well and even better compared to the older MacBook Air with Intel CPU. Rosetta 2, Apple’s own emulation software for legacy applications designed for Intel Macs, is also extremely powerful. There are still some compatibility issues, but considering that the M1 MacBooks are just launched, the situation is already very good and cannot be compared to the bad experience you get with ARM laptops on Windows (extremely limited application selection; emulation of x86 applications is still in development).
What will the price be?
The older MacBook Air 2020 with an Intel Core i3 CPU (256GB SSD) starts at as low as $ 799, while the slightly faster Core i5 quad-core SKU (512GB SSD) retails for around $ 1049. Both devices are much slower than the new MacBook Air 2020 M1, which sells for $ 999. We highly recommend the M1 model, especially if you have already thought of an i5 or even i7 SKU. We also think the i3 MacBook Air is still a bit expensive, so if possible you should get the newer M1 model or expect another price drop.
If you’re not sure if you really need additional performance, the entry-level model is a very solid choice. For more information on the new M1 MacBook Air 2020, you can wait for our detailed review.