Have you considered switching from a conventional Windows laptop to a macOS laptop? Check out this Apple MacBook Air 2020 review to see if this laptop is right for you!
Itechguides' Take on Apple MacBook Air 2020
The MacBook Air 2020 addresses a number of issues we had with the previous model. It has a redesigned, enhanced keyboard as well as fast Intel 10-generation processors. It does, however, have a limited number of ports – the same problem as its predecessor.
- Attractive design
- Fast 10-gen Intel processors
- Excellent battery
- Improved keyboard
- Multiple color options
- Limited number of ports
- Poor webcam
- Heavier than its predecessor
This review will go over the Apple MacBook Air 2020’s design and some of its outstanding and disappointing features. I’ll also look at how well it performs in terms of CPU, GPU, memory, storage, and battery life.
Additionally, I’ll offer the laptop a rating based on how well it performs in each aspect of this review. In some areas, I’ll also offer benchmark test results to help determine the laptop’s performance.
Moreover, I’ll also compare the laptop to some of its closest rivals, as well as its predecessor. Finally, after reading this review, you will have a better understanding of the Apple MacBook Air 2020 and its features.
My Initial Thoughts
The MacBook Air 2020 is a well-known product from Apple, which barely needs an introduction. Due to its portable form factor and adequate performance, it has long been the go-to laptop for students and business users.
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Furthermore, the MacBook Air 2020 has quite a few important improvements over its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2019. A redesigned Magic Keyboard and Intel 10th Generation processors are among the improvements.
Given that the laptop differs from its predecessor in a number of ways, you’ll have to accept the price hike. The MacBook Air 2020 starts at $949.99 as of September 2021, when this article was written.
Having said all that, let’s get into more details without wasting more time.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Design, Dimension & Weight Review
The design of the MacBook Air 2020 is similar to that of its predecessor, however, it is somewhat thicker and heavier. The laptop’s entire body is made of 6000-series aluminum, which gives it a solid feel.
Unfortunately, the Apple logo on the lid of the MacBook Air 2020 is no longer backlit, unlike its predecessor. Instead, the logo has a mirror surface, which contrasts with the matte texture on the rest of the laptop’s body.
Speaking of the laptop’s body, my review unit came in a gold color that looks really like rose gold. However, the laptop is also available in two other colors: silver and space gray.
When it comes to the display, nothing has really changed when compared to its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2019. It has a 13.3-inch Retina LED-backlit display with IPS technology and a QHD (2560 x 1600) screen resolution.
As with its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2020’s display screen also features True Tone technology. True Tone technology adjusts the color displayed on the screen automatically based on the ambient light.
True Tone is a useful feature that has been making a significant difference on iPads and iPhones for a while. It’s one of those features that you won’t notice until you turn it off, but it essentially makes the display warmer to use.
Whether or not you prefer True Tone is a matter of personal taste. However, personally, I prefer the setting to be turned off because it made the display a little too warm for me.
As a result, using True Tone on the MacBook Air 2020 for tasks that require color accuracy, like photo editing, is not recommended.
Still, on the display screen, the bezels around it are quite slim, giving the laptop a more modern look. However, one thing I found unusual was that the display’s upper corners aren’t curved, but the bottom ones are.
On the downside, the display flexes easily when you apply pressure to it. It does this despite the fact that the laptop’s aluminum lid offers plenty of protection.
The new Magic Keyboard is one of the most significant enhancements to the MacBook Air 2020. Apple has finally replaced its annoying butterfly mechanism keyboard found on the MacBook Air 2019 with the new scissor mechanism magic keyboard.
The new magic keyboard’s keys are very responsive and quiet when typing, thanks to the 1mm of travel. Additionally, the keyboard’s arrow keys have been redesigned to have an inverted ‘T’ shape, making them easier to use.
Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor can be located at the top right of the laptop’s keyboard. The fingerprint sensor can be used to log in to macOS using biometrics or to pay for things online using Apple Pay.
The MacBook Air 2020 features two stereo speakers, one on each side of the keyboard. The speakers, according to Apple, can generate twice the bass and up to 20% more volume than prior models’ speakers.
Furthermore, there are three microphones situated around the laptop. Moreover, you can use the ‘Hey Siri’ voice command to summon Siri at any time, using the microphones.
Moving on, below the keyboard on the MacBook Air 2020 is a trackpad with integrated click buttons. Furthermore, the trackpad is both spacious and responsive.
In addition to its large size, the trackpad also supports Force Touch. Apple created Force Touch, a haptic technology that allows trackpads and touchscreens to differentiate between different levels of force applied to their surfaces.
Unfortunately, the MacBook Air 2020, like other modern MacBooks, has a limited number of ports. As a result, you’ll only get two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and an audio jack.
The Thunderbolt 3 ports, at the very least, are versatile, with transfer speeds of up to 40 GB/s. Additionally, they can be used for charging the laptop.
The Apple MacBook Air 2020 features a 720p HD webcam just above its display screen. My only problem is that 720p is a low resolution for webcams nowadays.
Besides that, even in a well-lit environment, the webcam takes blurry photos. It is, however, suitable for video calling or skyping.
In terms of the operating system, the MacBook Air 2020 comes with macOS 10 Catalina. However, you can upgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur for free.
Furthermore, macOS’s Sidecar feature is also supported by the MacBook Air 2020. The Sidecar feature enables you to use a compatible iPad as a secondary display wirelessly.
When you hold the MacBook Air 2020 in your hands, it feels light and small, as you’d expect from an Apple laptop. The laptop weighs 1290 g and measures 304.1 x 212.4 x 4.1 -16.1 mm.
Moreover, when compared with its predecessor, this laptop has the same dimension but its weight differs. Specifically, its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2019 weighs 1250 g, therefore; it is slightly lighter than the MacBook Air 2020.
Also, when compared to one of its closest competitors, the Acer Swift 7, the MacBook Air 2020 weighs more. The Acer Swift 7 weighs 890 g and measures 316 x 191 x 10 mm.
However, even though the MacBook Air 2020 isn’t as light as the Acer Swift 7, it’s still easy to move around with.
In conclusion, the MacBook Air 2020 boasts a good-looking design and impressive keyboard. However, it is a little bit heavier than its predecessor and one of its closest competitors.
For this reason, I will rate the laptop an eight out of ten.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Processor (CPU) Performance Review
Like most laptops nowadays, the MacBook Air 2020 has multiple processor options to choose from. Specifically, you can get the laptop with an Intel Core i3-1000NG4 processor, Intel Core i5-1030NG7 processor, or Intel Core i7-1060NG7 processor.
Moreover, these processors are from Intel’s 10-generation Ice Lake series, which was introduced in 2019. Additionally, all three processors are quad-core processors except the Intel Core i3-1000NG4 which is a dual-core processor.
The Intel Core i3-1000NG4 processor features a cache of 4 MB. Moreover, this processor has a base frequency of 1.10 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.20 GHz.
The Intel Core i5-1030NG7, on the other hand, has a cache of 6 MB. It also has a base frequency of 1.10 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.50 GHz.
Lastly, the Intel Core i7-1060NG7, which is the most powerful among the processor options, features a cache of 8 MB. Additionally, the processor has a base frequency of 1.20 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.80 GHz.
The processor on my review laptop is the Intel Core i7-1060NG7, and as mentioned earlier, it is quite powerful and fast. I found the processing performance of my review laptop to be pretty impressive – even when loading 25 Chrome tabs, while editing pictures on Photoshop, it didn’t slow down or lag.
As mentioned in my introduction, I would be sharing benchmark test results to help determine the laptop’s performance. Therefore, for this processor performance review, I conducted a Geekbench 5.3 test on my review laptop.
Geekbench 5.3 is a benchmark test that provides workloads that test a device against challenges relevant for running modern apps. Additionally, Geekbench 5.3 works with Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, and Windows.
Moreover, Geekbench 5.3 features two tests – single-core and multi-core tests. Therefore, we should be expecting two test results.
So, based on the Geekbench 5.3 single-core test results, the MacBook Air 2020 I reviewed scored 1153 points. However, on the multi-core test, it scored 2940 points.
Comparatively, the LG Gram followed the MacBook Air 2020 closely, scoring 1135.5 points on the single-core test. Also, LG Gram scored 3073.5 points on the multi-core test.
It is worth noting that the LG Gram is powered by an Intel Core i7-8565U processor.
Moreover, when compared to its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2020 came on top. The MacBook Air 2020’s predecessor, the MacBook Air 2019 scored 946 points on the single-core test.
However, on the multi-core test, the MacBook Air 2019 scored 2045 points. It is important to note that the MacBook Air 2019 uses an Intel Core i5-8210Y processor.
In conclusion, I found the MacBook Air 2020’s processor performance to be really impressive. For this reason, I believe it deserves a nine out of ten.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Memory (RAM) Performance Review
The MacBook Air 2020 features a single LPDDR4X RAM slot with a standard memory of 8 GB. However, you can also purchase this laptop with a memory of 16 GB.
You must be wondering why I said “purchase” rather than “upgrade”, let me explain for better understanding. The MacBook Air 2020’s memory is soldered to the motherboard, therefore, it isn’t upgradable nor removable.
As a result of this memory slot design, it’s recommended that you get a MacBook Air 2020 with the specific memory that you need. However, the multitasking abilities on my review laptop which has 16 GB RAM was quite outstanding.
In particular, I was able to open multiple applications including Photoshop without any problem while working on a document on MS Word. Also, I was able to open numerous browser tabs with some tabs streaming live videos on Twitch without experiencing any lag.
In my quest to further determine the MacBook Air 2020’s performance, I performed a PCMark 10 test. PCMark 10 uses real-world apps and activities to assess a computer’s overall performance for modern office tasks.
According to the PCMark 10 test results, the MacBook Air 2020 scored 3562 Points. However, when compared to the Acer Swift 3, it performed less.
Specifically, the Acer Swift 3 scored 3975 points on the PCMark 10 test.
On the bright side, the MacBook Air 2020 performed way better than its predecessor (MacBook Air 2019). On the PCMark 10 test, the MacBook Air 2019 scored 2491 Points.
In conclusion, the MacBook Air 2020 features just a single RAM slot in which the memory is also onboard – it’s a major downside. However, the 16 GB memory on the laptop I reviewed was very capable of multitasking.
As a result, in this memory review, I’ll rate the MacBook Air 2020 an eight out of 10.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Storage Options & Performance Review
The Apple MacBook Air 2020 features PCIe SSD storage. The maximum storage capacity of this SSD storage is 2 TB.
Unfortunately, the MacBook Air 2020 doesn’t feature any SD card option for storage expansion. However, I strongly believe that a maximum storage capacity of 2 TB should be enough for most users.
Moreover, even the 512 GB SSD storage that came with my review laptop was very sufficient. As a result, I was able to save lots of videos, songs, and even applications.
However, to test the capabilities of the MacBook Air 2020’s SSD storage, I conducted a CrystalDiskMark test. CrystalDiskMark is a benchmark test that measures the read and write speed of a computer’s SSD or HDD storage.
Based on the CrystalDiskMark test results, the MacBook Air 2020 has a sequential read speed of 1512.7 MB/s. Also, according to the CrystalDiskMark test results, the MacBook Air 2020 has a sequential write speed of 969.9 MB/s.
However, the ASUS ZenBook S13 has a better sequential read and write speed compared to the MacBook Air 2020. The ASUS ZenBook S13 has a sequential read and write speed of 1713 MB/s and 1455 MB/s respectively.
In conclusion, the MacBook Air 2020 features sufficient storage. However, its storage speed is fast, but not fast enough compared to its competitor, the ASUS ZenBook S13.
Therefore, I will rate it an eight out of ten.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Graphics Card Performance Review
Just like its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2020 features an integrated graphics card. Specifically, it features an Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which has a 300 MHz base GPU frequency and 1100 MHz boost GPU frequency.
As mentioned earlier, this is an integrated graphics card, which means it is not excellent for gaming. This is because it lacks dedicated VRAM; therefore, it can only perform tasks by sharing memory with the CPU.
While the MacBook Air 2020 isn’t designed for gaming, it can run some games on the App Store. For example, while playing Asphalt 9: Legends, it was able to maintain steady frame rates between 38 fps to 50 fps.
However, in seemingly simple games like Limbo, which is available on Steam, I experienced mild occasional stuttering. Additionally, heavier games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider or Overwatch won’t even run on the laptop.
Moving on, I ran a 3DMark 11 test on the MacBook Air 2020 to further determine its graphics performance. 3DMark 11 is a DirectX 11 video card benchmark test used to assess the gaming ability of a PC.
On this benchmark test, the MacBook Air 2020 scored 1941 points. Comparatively, the Acer Swift 3 performed better, scoring 4138 points.
However, compared to its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2020 performed better. Specifically, its predecessor, the MacBook Air 2019, scored 1509 points on the 3DMark 11 benchmark test.
Lastly, the MacBook Air 2020 is definitely not a laptop for gaming; however, its graphics performance is much better than its predecessor, MacBook Air 2019.
For this reason, I will rate the MacBook Air 2020 a seven in this graphic review.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 Battery Life & Performance Review
For battery, Apple equipped the MacBook Air 2020 with a 49.9 Whr lithium‑polymer battery. According to Apple, this laptop should last about 11 hours while continuously browsing wirelessly.
Additionally, Apple also claims that the MacBook Air 2020 can run 12 hours of video playback. To verify both Apple’s claims, I conducted both a web browsing and video playback test on the laptop.
First, I executed the video playback test on the laptop by continually playing an HD video until the battery ran out. By the end of the video playback test, the MacBook Air 2020 lasted 11 hours and 8 minutes.
I also ran the web browsing test, in which I continuously browsed the internet using a WIFI connection. On this test, the MacBook Air 2020 actually lasted 11 hours just as Apple claimed.
However, the ASUS ZenBook S13 performed slightly better, lasting 11 hours and 18 minutes on the web browsing test. On the bright side, the MacBook Air 2020 lasted longer than the ASUS ZenBook S13 on the video playback test.
Specifically, the ASUS ZenBook S13 lasted 9 hours and 48 minutes on the video playback test.
In fact, while battery life is normally a major flaw with ultraportable laptops, the MacBook Air 2020 performed admirably. As a result, I’m rating it a nine for its outstanding battery life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The best MacBook for students is the MacBook Air 2020. It has a lovely design and enough processing power to take on practically any academic problem you throw at it.
Experts estimate that a MacBook Air will survive 7 years on average before it needs to be replaced.
NO! The MacBook Air 2020 features a non-touch retina 13-inch display.
The MacBook Air is not water-resistant, unlike the new iPhone, Apple Watch, or even the AirPods Pro.
The MacBook Air 2020 had a starting price of $949.99 when this review was published in September 2021.
My Final Thoughts
With the MacBook Air 2020, Apple has addressed two of the previous model’s major flaws: the shaky keyboard and weak processor.
It’s a tremendously successful product in that regard alone, and I give it my highest recommendation. Moreover, the MacBook is not just the finest laptop for most people, but it’s also one of the best laptop choices in general.
The MacBook Air 2020, on the other hand, has a few flaws. Limited port options and a bad webcam are among the flaws.
However, overall, the laptop’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages.
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References and Further Reading
- theverge.com – APPLE MACBOOK AIR (2020) REVIEW: THE BEST MAC FOR MOST PEOPLE
- techradar.com – MacBook Air (2020) review
- gadgets.ndtv.com – MacBook Air (2020) Review
- macworld.com – MacBook Air (2020) review: More bang for your buck
- t3.com – Apple MacBook Air 2020 review: the best Mac laptop for most people
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