MacBook Air with Retina display: the 10 most important test results

Until now, Air models with Apple notebooks were always able to recognize a large silver frame around the display. With the 2018 MacBook Air it's over – the glass above the panel reaches the frame. Below is a display with a Retina resolution of 227 dpi, which has crisp objects and text. Another novelty is the particularly flat keyboard and the enlarged trackpad. Under the hood, a current processor is used instead of the previous generation of 2015, in addition to a fingerprint sensor, connected to an encryption chip.

The MacBook Air 2018 fills 17% less volume compared to 2015, is less thick, long and wide. It also weighs 100 grams less (1.25 kg). The display remains the same size with 13.3 inches, but has a narrower edge. The light wedge shape of the case in the cross-sectional view did not change the Apple. In addition to silver, gray and gold are now available, this last one tends to pink.

The unibody case of Airs is made according to Apple exclusively in recycled aluminum. However, the manufacturer only uses the "waste" of his own production of other unibody containers, which are known to be milled from a block of metal. After all, Apple wants to reduce CO2 emissions by half.

The case maintains its conical shape but fills 17% less volume.

The buttons now work well with the Butterfly 3 mechanism known from this year's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: the stroke is very short and the run is quite hard, while an undercoat film protects the occurrence of crumbs in the system skeletal muscle. Many users find the old keyboard more comfortable, but most can handle the new one, which is much flatter.

The previous Air arrived as the last MacBook with a mechanical trackpad, which could be pressed down to click and more on the edge than directly below the keyboard. In the 2018 model, Apple now also includes a Force Touch trackpad, which provides tactile feedback through a stepper motor. If the MacBook is turned off, it will not move. For a stronger touch (Force Touch), the new TrackPad allows additional location-dependent features such as viewing a map section appropriate to an address. The trackpad surface is increased by 20 percent.

The keys work with the Butterfly 3 mechanism and have a very short stroke.

The power button in the upper right corner of the keyboard now contains a fingerprint sensor, as in the touch bar of the MacBook Pro. You can bypass the password entry after the end of the suspension with your finger. or authenticate purchases. The impression is stored encrypted in the protected device enclave (in the T2 chip, see below) and does not reach any external server.

Although there is a dedicated power button, the MacBook turns on when any key is used. Cleaning the keyboard is difficult.

The fingerprint sensor is coupled to the secure enclave in the T2 chip. It is located in the power button at the top right of the keyboard.

With the iMac Pro, Apple introduced its T2 chip, which now also in MacBook Air power supply holds. The ARM processor handles many activities on board. Encrypts data on the SSD, functions as an SSD controller and protects the boot process. For example, you can set up only from internal or only signed macOS versions. If you also enable FileVault, you can assign a personal password for the volume, but the data will not be encrypted twice.

The T2 chip also allows the voice clerk to be constantly on call, simply called "Hey, Siri!" activated. Although the microphone is listening permanently, the audio data is not yet transferred to the Apple server. The T2 must first identify the command and pay attention to the melody of the previously prepared speech.

Like the latest MacBook series, Apple has now donated the Air display to Retina. In principle, four pixels are placed in the same place, which translates into a much higher definition, but no more content is displayed. The MacBook Air now also has slightly lower content, since the predecessor had already installed a zoom level. If you prefer to display more information at the same time, you can configure them on the new Air but in the monitor settings, but then they must cohabit with smaller characters.

Based on our measurements, the new display fully represents the sRGB color space, but, as announced, does not handle a DCI P3. The contrast reached the optimal value of 1102: 1 in the test. The colors of the IPS panel remained stable up to about 85 degrees. Unusually negative the screen reduces the brightness: 275 Candle / sqm are sufficient to operate, but do not provide reservations for sunny places.

The connection of the headphones on the right side remained.

The i5 processors of the eighth generation of Core i in the MacBook Air operate at only 1.6GHz, but they are not part of the U series as pleasant as in the 12 "MacBook, but the Y series The Core i5-8210Y works according to Intel , with a thermal design power (TDP) of 7 watts, Apple spoke in a briefing for journalists of a dynamic value of up to 12 W. In Turbo Boost mode, the CPU can reach up to 3.6 GHz in the short term is more than a doubling of the clock, so far we have only heard fans in the games.

In our Photoshop benchmark, 2018 compared to the 2015 model with 68-86 seconds better on iTunes has shortened the encoding time from 48 to 41 seconds. In Cinebench 15, however, the new device has lost from 244 to 257 points.

With the current processor, a modern graphic has arrived on the MacBook Air. Intel UHD Graphics 617 offers advantages especially in the 2D area, as it can handle a 4K or two 4K display in addition to its 60 Hertz screen. This makes the MacBook Air also suitable as a desktop replacement.

In the games, the MacBook Air has put something on the 2015 model: Tomb Raider worked in the 1024 resolution at 21 fps with 15 fps. For modern games this is only possible with a few details. Luxmark's GPU test with OpenCL was just as fast, with Cinebench's OpenGL test showing gains of 26 to 35 fps.

The SSD in the MacBook Air now consists of welded flash components, the controller work is completely managed by the T2 chip and the data is encrypted and decoded "on the fly". The fixed memory can not be replaced. At the time of purchase, the capacities are between 128 GB and 1.5 TByte to choose from. By writing we were able to transfer over 1300 MB / s of data, the reading was very good 2630 MB / s.

The main memory (DDR3-2133) is also soldered and available in 8 or 16 GB capacities. Our test device is equipped with 8 GB of RAM and 256 SSDs.

The package includes a compact USB-C power adapter with 30 watts of power and a 2 meter long cable.

As with other MacBooks, Apple now also uses the USB-C universal sockets on the Air. Unlike the 12-inch model, there are two, so you can recharge without an adapter and attach a stick, for example. In addition, the Thunderbolt 3 signals are available at the two sockets, with which data can be transferred eight times faster than the 12-inch model. An adapter, hub or dock is required for the previous I / O.

The power supply is a 30-watt USB-C power supply, which is significantly lighter and smaller than previous MagSafe power supplies. The grip on the MacBook, however, does not dissolve more easily without unintentionally pulling without MagSafe. You can also use many other cheap USB-C power supplies to charge the battery.

The charging and connection of the peripheral devices is done via the two USB-C jacks, which also carry Thunderbolt-3 signals.

Despite the short time, we have already been able to run two of our two runtime tests. While watching videos with 200 cd / qm our test device was able to 8:10 h, simple web browsing with 100 cd / qm was 19:15 h. To make a comparison, the MacBook Air 2015 reached 9:19 and 17:45 h for the same tasks. Execution times remained on average, although the battery capacity decreased from 54 to 50.3 Wh.


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