MacBook Air 2017 Review: An Old but Great MacBook

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By Oluwaseun Bamisile

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My take on MacBook Air 2017

Summary

The MacBook Air 2017 may be an old laptop, but its performance surpasses some of the latest laptops out there. Furthermore, the laptop combines a sturdy design with powerful hardware and long battery life. However, it features a limited amount of ports.

Overall
4

Pros

  • Attractive
  • Sturdy
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Limited max memory
  • Few ports

MacBook Air 2017: At First Glance

Apple has released a couple of other MacBook Airs after the release of the MacBook Air 2017. However, many people still look for this 2017 MacBook laptop due to its decent price and adequate performance.

Talking about the price, at the time I wrote this review in November 2022, this laptop had a start price of $345. Despite this affordable starting price tag, the MacBook Air 2017 offers multiple 5th-generation Intel processors and a fast PCIe SSD.

Additionally, it comes with a comfortable keyboard and long battery life. However, this Apple laptop isn’t without flaws.

Now that brings us to the main question, whether or not the laptop’s strengths supersede its flaws. To satisfy your curiosity, read on!

MacBook Air 2017: Design, Display, Ports, and Connectivity

Apple showcases its brilliance in the MacBook Air 2017’s iconic look and attractive design. Honestly, this laptop has a classic appearance and build that most people will definitely cherish.

Specifically, it features aluminum chassis that gives it a sturdy look and feel. Furthermore, the laptop has a silver finish both on the exterior and interior, which makes it look adorable.

Moreover, the edges of the lid and the base are curved inwardly, which adds more style to the overall design of the laptop. Focussing more on the lid, it features a smooth glossy texture that offers a pleasurable feeling when you run your palm through it.

Also, the center of the lid features Apple’s iconic logo. This logo has a shiny reflective surface that will make the laptop stand out when placed among other laptops.

Connecting the lid to the base of the MacBook Air 2017 are two silver hinges. These hinges are pretty flexible, thereby allowing users to open the lid with just one hand.

Regardless, the hinges are strong enough to prevent the lid from wobbling or flexing too much when nudged. When you open the MacBook Air 2017’s lid, the first thing that will catch your attention is the 13.3-inch display.

This display features an HD+ (1440 x 900 pixels) resolution, which allows it to produce decent picture quality and accurate colors. The display also has an LED-backlit that allows for an even distribution of colors across the screen.

Surrounding this laptop’s display are slim bezels. The top bezel features a 720p webcam that produces decent image quality and works well for casual video calls or regular skyping.

Moving on, the MacBook Air 2017 comes with an island-style keyboard with evenly-spaced keys that allow for a comfortable typing experience. Below this keyboard is a spacious touchpad with a glass surface that is responsive and sensitive.

Thus, navigating with this touchpad should be seamless and smooth.

On the downside, the MacBook Air 2017 offers a limited amount of ports. These ports are divided between the laptop’s right and left sides.

Specifically, you will find a MagSafe 2 connector for charging, one USB 2.0 port, and a headphone jack on the laptop’s left side. Meanwhile, the laptop’s right side houses one Thunderbolt 2, one USB 3.0 port, and an SD card reader.

For wireless connectivity, the MacBook Air 2017 features Wi-Fi 802.11ac and BlueTooth 4.0

That being said, the MacBook Air 2017 weighs 1350 g and measures 325 x 227 x 3.0 – 17 mm (W x D x H). Although this laptop is adequately light and portable, it is heavier and thicker than most of its competitors.

For example, the Lenovo IdeaPad 710s Plus weighs 1230 g and measures 309.6 x 221.9 x 14.8 mm (W x D x H). Also, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro 1370 weighs 1190 g and measures 330 x 228 x 12.8 mm (W x D x H).

In conclusion, the MacBook Air 2017 offers an impressive design, a lightweight build, and a comfortable keyboard. However, it doesn’t come with enough ports.

Hence, I will be rating the MacBook Air 2017 an eight out of ten in this design review section.

MacBook Air 2017: Processor (CPU) Performance

The MacBook Air 2017 has two processor options. You will buy this laptop with either an Intel Core i5-5350U processor or an Intel Core i7-5650U processor.

The Intel Core i5-5350U processor is a dual-core processor with a 3 MB cache memory. Also, it features a base frequency of 1.80 GHz and a maximum frequency of 2.90 GHz.

On the other hand, the Intel Core i7-5650U processor is a dual-core processor with a 4 MB cache memory. Additionally, it has a base frequency of 2.20 GHz and a maximum frequency of 3.20 GHz.

Performance-wise, both processor options are powerful 5th-generation Intel processors that can handle most computing tasks seamlessly. However, due to its increased speed (base and maximum frequency) and higher cache memory, the Intel Core i7 CPU options should be faster and stronger.

Nonetheless, this review focuses on the MacBook Air 2017 with an Intel Core i5-5350U processor. To measure how well this laptop can perform with this processor, we will now discuss its results on the Cinebench R15 test.

For clarity, this benchmark test measures a computer’s CPU performance by putting its cores through a variety of intensive workloads. Furthermore, the test is divided into two different tests, which are the single-core test and the multi-core test.

The single-core test measures the CPU performance when one of its cores is being utilized. The multi-core test, however, measures the CPU performance when all its cores are in use.

Notably, a high score on the single-core and multi-core tests signifies good performance. So, according to the test results, the MacBook Air 2017 with the Intel Core i5-5350U processor scored 116 points on the single-core test.

Meanwhile, on the multi-core test, it scored 277 points. In comparison, this laptop was outperformed by the Dell Inspiron 13 5378-0K46, which uses an Intel Core i5-7500U processor.

Specifically, this Dell laptop scored 128 points on the Cinebench R15 single-core test and 329 points on the multi-core test.

Regardless, I will rate the MacBook Air 2017 an eight out of ten in this processor review section.

MacBook Air 2017: Memory (RAM) Performance

The MacBook Air 2017 features a 1600 MHz LPDDR3 memory type. Furthermore, the laptop offers one memory slot and a standard memory of 8 GB.

Sadly, the maximum memory that the laptop supports is also 8 GB. Therefore, you cannot upgrade the memory of the laptop to more than 8 GB.

Nonetheless, with 8 GB RAM, the MacBook Air 2017 should be able to handle most tasks and multitask effectively. Speaking of multitasking, the laptop should run about 15 Chrome tabs simultaneously without breaking a sweat.

In fact, transitioning from one tab to another should be lag-free and easy for the laptop. With that being said, let us now talk about the laptop’s PCMark 8 test result to evaluate its performance further.

PCMark 8 measures the overall performance of a computer by simulating a series of real-world productivity tasks. Furthermore, a high score on the test equates to good performance.

According to the test results, the MacBook Air 2017 scored 3396 points. Impressively, the laptop outperformed most of its closest rivals.

For instance, the Lenovo IdeaPad 710s Plus scored 3147 points on the PCMark 8 benchmark test. Also, the Acer Swift 7 scored 3064 points on the test.

In conclusion, although the MacBook Air 2017 supports a limited max memory, it performed better than most of its competitors on a benchmark test. Therefore, I will rate the laptop an eight out of ten in this memory review section.

MacBook Air 2017: Storage Options and Performance

The MacBook Air 2017 comes with PCIe SSD and supports a maximum storage capacity of 512 GB. Although this amount of max storage space should be enough for most people, some might find it limited.

Thankfully, the MacBook Air 2017 features an SD card reader for storage expansion. Having said that, let us now talk about the laptop’s CrystalDiskMark test result to evaluate how well it can perform with the PCIe SSD.

If you don’t know, CrystalDiskMark measures the read and write speed of a computer’s storage drive. For clarity, read speed is how quickly a storage drive is able to open files.

However, write speed is how swiftly the storage drive is able to save files. Besides, the higher the “MBps” value on the CrystalDiskMark test, the quicker the read and write speed of the computer’s storage drive.

On that note, the MacBook Air 2017 delivered a read speed of 1390 MBps and a write speed of 731 MBps. Compared to the Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha, which also uses SSD, this Apple laptop has faster read and write speeds.

Specifically, the Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha offers a read and write speed of 519.3 MBps and 238.6 MBps, respectively. Thus, the MacBook Air 2017 will be able to open and save files faster than the Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha.

All things considered, I will rate the MacBook Air 2017 an eight out of ten in this storage review section.

MacBook Air 2017: Graphics Card Performance

For the graphics card, the MacBook Air 2017 comes with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 GPU. This graphics card has a base frequency of 300 MHz and a boost frequency of 1000 MHz.

However, as an integrated GPU, it lacks a dedicated VRAM and is built into the computer’s processor. Thus, it shares the system memory with the processor in order to carry out graphics-related tasks.

Due to this, the MacBook Air 2017 will not be able to handle graphics-demanding tasks and high-end games effectively. Nonetheless, the laptop should be able to run a few title AAA games on low graphics settings.

For example, while running BioShock Infinite (2013) on low graphics settings, the laptop delivered a playable frame rate of 42.9 fps. That said, we will now discuss the laptop’s result on the 3DMark test to further evaluate its graphics performance.

For your information, 3DMark is a benchmark test that measures how well a computer is able to render 3D graphics. Moreover, a high score on this graphics test entails good performance.

So, according to the benchmark test results, the MacBook Air 2017 scored 7825 points. Sadly, the laptop was outperformed by the Dell XPS 13 9360, which uses an Intel HD Graphics 620.

Specifically, this Dell laptop scored 8177 points on the 3DMark benchmark test.

Therefore, I will rate the MacBook Air 2017 a seven out of ten in this GPU review section.

MacBook Air 2017: Battery Life and Performance

The MacBook Air 2017 is powered by a 54 Whr lithium polymer battery. According to Apple, this laptop should last up to 12 hours with this battery.

Although that sounds great, let us discuss the laptop’s result on a battery rundown test to verify the claim. In case you are wondering, this test involves continuously surfing the web over a Wi-Fi connection until the laptop dies.

At the end of the test, the MacBook Air 2017 delivered a battery life of 10 hours and 26 minutes, which is pretty remarkable. Impressively, the laptop lasted longer than most of the laptops in its category.

For instance, the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA delivered a battery life of 10 hours and 17 minutes on the same battery test.

Considering all that, it will only be fair to rate the MacBook Air 2017 a nine out of ten in this battery review section.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does the MacBook Air 2017 weigh?

The MacBook Air 2017 weighs just 1350 g.

2. How long does the MacBook Air 2017’s battery last?

According to a web-surfing battery test, the MacBook Air 2017’s battery can last up to 10 hours+.

3. Is the MacBook Air 2017 a touchscreen laptop?

Unfortunately, the MacBook Air 2017 doesn’t feature a touchscreen display. Thus, it isn’t a touchscreen laptop.

4. Does the MacBook Air 2017 have Bluetooth?

Yes, the MacBook Air 2017 comes with Bluetooth 4.0.

5. How much does the MacBook Air 2017 cost?

When this review was published in November 2022, the MacBook Air 2017 had a starting price of $345.

Conclusion

Even though the MacBook Air 2017 was released in 2017, it features powerful specs that can compete with some latest laptops. To give more details, this Apple laptop offers two 5th-generation Intel processor options and a comfortable keyboard.

Also, this laptop features a super-fast PCIe SSD and supports a maximum storage capacity of 512 GB. Besides, the MacBook Air 2017 has an impressive design and comes with an outstanding 10 hours+ battery life.

However, the laptop doesn’t offer enough ports, and the maximum memory it supports is pretty limited. Nonetheless, if you are looking to buy a well-priced Apple MacBook laptop with adequate performance, you should consider the MacBook Air 2017.

I hope you found this MacBook Air 2017 review helpful. If you found the review helpful, click on “Yes” beside the “Was this page helpful” question below.

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About the Author

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Oluwaseun Bamisile

Oluwaseun is the Lead Content Editor at Itechguides.com. He holds a National Diploma in Computer Science (currently studying part-time for his Higher National Diploma). An internet geek with a love for automobiles, he writes product reviews, tech articles, and how-to guides on the site.

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