Eight years have passed since the launch of the iconic range of MacBook Air which never fails to make the hearts of tech-geeks worldwide skip a beat with its pristine silver wedge-shaped case and buttery smooth performance.
The changes made to the 2021 model were limited to bringing upon a slightly faster processor with rest of the architecture and nitty-gritties remaining similar to the 2015 model. Let’s take a look at the product features which have made this Apple offering a hot favorite amongst college students and professionals globally.
With the market getting saturated with bezel-less laptops having high resolution screens and smaller footprints, the MacBook Air really needs to come up with a swanky new makeover if it plans to sustain the rat race in days to come.
The display and main enclosure of the Air model is supported by its aluminum unibody design which feels durable to use. You can rise up the lid using just a finger and it does not display any signs of drooping down thereafter.
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The dual combo of Intel Core i5-5350U processor and 8GB of RAM, which is the solitary memory option of the MacBook Air is enough to take up tasking chores on a daily basis such as encoding videos using Handbrake and manipulating images in Photoshop.
Its Turbo Boost feature helps in pushing the processor to unlock greater speeds provided the temperature and power parameters are set right and as per safety standards.
The 13.3 inch LED backlit widescreen display of the MacBook Air 2021 supports a maximum screen resolution of 1,440-x-900 pixels.
Apparently Apple is brainstorming over the required advancements in the TN panel with a highly reflective coating in its Air models.
Grey-to-grey response time was revealed to be 52.4 milliseconds whereas the black-to-white one was found out to be 28.4 milliseconds.
Hence the TN panel of MacBook Air completely fades out in comparison to the IPS screen of MacBook 12 supporting wide angle viewing.
At the time of introduction of MacBook Air, TN panels were quite common. But lack of improvement and upgrade have reduced down viewing angles significantly and lowered response times.
Grey-to-grey response time was revealed to be 52.4 milliseconds whereas the black-to-white one was found out to be 28.4 milliseconds. Hence the TN panel of MacBook Air completely fades out in comparison to the IPS screen of MacBook 12 supporting wide angle viewing.
While measuring using the Unigine Heaven 4.0's benchmark, the Retina's Iris Graphics 6100 of the MacBook Pro model proved out to be 38% faster in comparison to the HD Graphics 6000 of the MacBook Air.
The Macbook Air 2021 comes with three models having differential pricing based on their SSD capacities i.e. 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Similar to other portables from the house of Mac, internal components of this sleek beauty cannot be upgraded once you have purchased any other model.
Thus it is advisable to opt for the one having highest storage options unless you are planning to make use of cloud storage for storing those video and music collections.
Apple could not bring along much improvement in the field of gaming performance over the last few upgrades.
Thus if you are a gaming buff, then you are sure to face a major heartbreak with the MacBook Air which can run only the age old Windows games and that too with the lowest settings. With the graphics meter turned to medium range, the MacBook Air churns out 60FPS while playing games having a resolution of 1440x900.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The easy to clean keyboard of the MacBook Air having deep vertical key travel convex keys and excellent spacing feels much more solid compared to the premium Windows machines which are usually associated with key wobble and flex.
Its backlit feature helps in carrying out work in even dim-lit scenarios. Thus, if you are thinking of an ultraportable which will help you with computing on the go, then the MacBook Air can definitely fit your bill.
The impressive touch pad of the MacBook Air aids in smooth gliding action making it an absolute cakewalk to execute OS X’s trackpad commands.
But its receiving close competition in the form of precision touch pads of Microsoft which are being rolled out in more and more Windows machines which is slowly tapering down the cursor controlled gulf in between Windows and macOS.
Apple does not bring upon any change in the ports radar since its last iteration. The left side comes loaded with two microphones; a 5mm headset jack, a USB 3.0 port and a MagSafe 2 power port whereas the right hemisphere stands guarded by a Thunderbolt 2 port, an SDXC card slot and another USB 3.0 port.
The USB 3.0 ports supporting data transmission up to a speed of 5Gbps are meant for the usual peripherals whereas the Thunderbolt 2 port caters to faster external hard drive and larger displays.
Software And Applications
The MacBook Air comes pre-loaded with tons of Apple applications such as Keynote presentations, Pages page layout, Numbers spreadsheet, FaceTime, Siri, GarageBand, Photo Booth and lots more to cater to your individual needs.
iStat Menus reveal the fan to be running at a low speed of about 1200 RPM in idle state or under low to medium level of load.
This makes running the system a totally inaudible affair whether you are browsing the web or engaging in word processing applications. The fan kicks in finally after spending a considerable amount of time processing high load applications.
The MacBook Air is able to maintain its cool under medium load but slowly starts warming up around the rear edges of the keyboard near the hinges after passage of a significant amount of time while processing high load requirements.
MacBook Air absolutely dominates in the category of battery life powered by its 54Wh lithium-polymer battery which can keep up with your needs over a typical working day comprising 16 hours even if you include occasional video editing and multi-tasking.
The 2021 MacBook Air stands superior to its predecessor’s courtesy the better performing graphics and processor combo. But unless you are in dire need of the same, the upgrade won’t be worth the worth the dime.
Absence of state of art features which are taking shape in its peers such as Force Touch Trackpad as found in the MacBook Pro makes the upgraded model all the more lackluster.