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The new Silicon-powered MacBook Air sets a new standard for Apple laptops

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The first Apple Silicon-powered laptops and desktops are finally here. Officially announced last week, we've spent the last six days with the MacBook Air. On the surface, it's indistinguishable from the laptop we reviewed in the spring. Under the hood, though, is the biggest upgrade to a laptop that we've ever seen.

Officially announced last week, we’ve spent the last six days with the MacBook Air. On the surface, it’s indistinguishable from the laptop we reviewed in the spring.

The MacBook Air we’ve been using is the $999 base model with the M1 Chip inside (an 8-core CPU and an 7-Core GPU) with just 8GBs of RAM.

In terms of speed and performance on the new MacBook Air, Apple has some big claims: up to 3. 5x faster CPU, 5x faster GPU and 9x faster in machine learning.

The MacBook Air comes preloaded with a suite of applications from Apple, all of which are optimized for the Silicon.

That’s a lot to run on any consumer Mac let alone a MacBook Air.

A full project complete with 4K footage, titles, effects, Motion graphics and backing audio was able to export in just 11. 6 seconds on the MacBook Air. In comparison, a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM took 11. 7 seconds to export.

There’s also no fan on the MacBook Air (more on this below), which pushes the MacBook Air beyond the everyday use-case for which it’s made its name.

It’s really hard to make the MacBook Air buckle or slow-down.

Alongside the M1 chipset and everything it enables, the MacBook Air is a silent machine on par with the iPhone and iPad. There is no fan inside the MacBook Air or cooling system of any kind.

The MacBook Air is just silent.

On the MacBook Air, it hit 95% about an hour and half into use — that means it got through setup, installation of a dozen apps and general usage, and only dipper 5%.

We have no concerns with battery life on the MacBook Air though — and we’re working to run the full battery test this week.

It’s the same tapered edge MacBook Air design that gets thinner as you reach the front.

Opening up the Macbook Air is easy thanks to a small lip that allows you to raise the screen with just one finger.

There’s also no Touch Bar on the MacBook Air like on the MacBook Pro. Rather, you get a row of function keys, a physical ESC key and a Touch ID combination power button.

Apple’s macOS Big Sur was designed from the ground up for Silicon and it’s the first time (on these machines) that Apple has control over the whole process.

We had high hopes for the first Silicon-powered machines, and the MacBook Air really delivers.

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