FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Hands-on review: The 2018 MacBook Air

By Lama Farhat
Mon 27 May 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The MacBook Air is Apple's midrange laptop option that has been a consumer favourite for many years now. Whether it’s a personal laptop, a laptop for school, or a business laptop, the MacBook Air always had the features to support what users’ needs at a reasonable price. 

In October 2018, the MacBook Air received an update. As an avid MacBook Air user, I was excited to see what they would change. 

Design: 

The 2018 MacBook Air looks completely different from its predecessor. They managed to capture the essence of what made the Air special, and then they took all of that and made it more compact. The new MacBook Air is thin and portable.  

Apple kept the Iconic wedge-shaped design and made it lighter. The laptop measures 15.6mm at its thickest points and weighs only 2.75 pounds. 

The other significant change in the design would be the fact that the old ports are gone! As with the MacBook Pro, Apple went with the USB-C only ports on the side. 

There are two USB-C type ports on the left side of the MacBook Air. This change comes with positives and negatives. It was good to see that Apple went with the USB-C port for charging rather than the old MegaSafe port. This just makes for a better overall experience. 

I also like the fact that these two ports can be used for anything. On the other hand, the two ports are close together so if one of them is being used for charging, the other one is a little too close for comfort. This problem can be avoided by attaching a dock.

As much as I miss the USB ports and the Thunderbolt ports on the old laptop, I understand that docks are the future and that those sacrifices needed to be made in order for the sleek design to be possible.

The MacBook Air is also now available in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. 

The keyboard: 

The MacBook Air got a keyboard update. It now uses the same butterfly mechanism that is in the MacBook Pro. The new mechanism provides more key stability than the traditional scissor mechanism. This basically means that the typing is smoother and considerably quieter. 

The keyboard is also illuminated with low-power LEDs. They make the keys easy to read even in low-light conditions, whether you’re travelling on an aeroplane or working late in bed where the light switch is far away. 

I have had no issues with this keyboard on the MacBook Pro, however, on my MacBook Air I have had some keys lag a little. I first thought it was a problem limited to that unit, but I noticed that some of my friends also faced the same issue. It is fair to mention that Apple was happy to replace the models when we contacted them. 

The trackpad:

The trackpad is another area where the MacBook Air got a significant update. It now has the Force Touch Trackpad. The Trackpad doesn’t really “click”! It just has a very smart system that vibrated in a way that makes you feel it does. It is very precise and it makes you feel in control. I also like that you can click anywhere and it will respond. 

With the two old buttons gone, the trackpad now has enough room for Multi-Touch gestures. 

Retina Display: 

This addition is my personal favourite. I spend hours staring at the screen of my MacBook and having Retina display was a life changer.  The screen resolution is 2560-by-1600. This allowed for a whole new level of detail. Everything from text to images is very sharp and clear. The screen also has 48% more colour than the previous generation of MacBook Air. 

The screen is pushed right to the edge. This is perfect as you still get a 13-inch Retina display without the extra weight or bulkiness. 

Touch ID:

At first glance, I was not excited about this feature. I had a short 4 digit pin set up as my password and I had no problem typing them in. 

Once I had Touch ID set up and I realised how easy and convenient it is, I realised that this gives me the opportunity to protect my device better with a stronger password without having to worry about typing it all 70 times a day. The Touch ID can also be used to verify purchases at the App store as well as unlocking a password protected note.

Performance:

With the new compact design, I was worried it would take away from the performance or battery life, but it doesn’t. The MacBook Air features the eighth-generation of the i5 Intel Core processor. The i5 is known to be the standard for work or personal laptops. The Laptop also features an Intel UHD Graphics 617, and faster 2133MHz system memory up to 16GB. 

The laptop performs well for daily activities like checking email, writing documents, making presentations, streaming, light editing and gaming. However, when I tried to do some heavy video rendering the MacBook Air was a bit slow and some lagging occurred. 

Conclusion: 

The MacBook Air is a solid mid-range laptop that does exactly what you expect from it. It is a great device for the average consumer that just wants to stream, check emails, browse the internet and do some light gaming and design. The addition of the Retina Display, as well as the new compact design, make for a great device for everyday use. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Privacy Commissioner
Aotearoa gets a new Privacy Commissioner: Michael Webster replaces John Edwards
Michael Webster, who is currently the Secretary of the Cabinet, will step into the Privacy Commissioner role on 5 July 2022.
Story image
Cloud
Adobe Substance 3D updates, looks to the metaverse
A look at all of Adobe's major updates for Substance 3D and how its services are enabling businesses to get metaverse ready.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Cloud
Hisense launches in New Zealand with new product range
Consumer electronics and home entertainment brand Hisense has launched in New Zealand, bringing its range of TVs, refrigeration, and laundry products to Kiwi customers.
Story image
Cloud
Sony expands X-Series portable speaker range with three new models
The company says the SRS-XG300, SRS-XE300 and SRS-XE200 all contain high-quality and powerful sound pressure due to X-Balanced Speaker Units.
Story image
Digital Transformation
SAP partners with New Zealand Rugby for digital transformation
The multi-year partnership will see SAP advance NZR with its organisational operations, team performance, fan experience and sustainability goals.
Story image
InternetNZ
Govt must step up to police social media - InternetNZ boss
A technology industry leader is urging the government not to shy away from policing social media platforms in New Zealand.
Story image
Gaming
Game preview: The Quarry (PC)
On playing a bit of The Quarry, I began to understand why the game has got its own release rather than just being part of The Dark Pictures Anthology.
Story image
Cloud
Google announces new version of Chromecast with remote features
Google has announced its newest version of Chromecast, featuring a variety of new features and a new look.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Morphée
Life in the twenty-first century has become a 24-hour affair. Morphée promises to help restore some balance to your life.
Story image
Wireless
WolfVision releases new Cynap Pure Mini screen sharing solution
WolfVision has launched the WolfVision Cynap Pure Mini, a new wireless screen sharing solution that looks to enable easier and more effective presentations.
Story image
Cloud
Linktree Marketplace creates new commerce options for creators
Linktree has launched Linktree Marketplace, a new forum for users to discover all of Linktree's partners, Link Apps, and integrations in one place.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft launches the Surface Laptop Go 2 with new features
Microsoft has introduced the new Surface Laptop Go 2, adding to the company’s growing portfolio of Surface Laptop devices.
Story image
Broadband
Mercury launches broadband and fibre packages for NZ customers
Mercury has officially launched Mercury Broadband, giving its electricity and gas customers the ability to add fibre to their existing Mercury account.
Story image
Remote Working
Hands-on review: EcoFlow River Pro Portable Power station
We get hands-on with an extremely versatile device that every remote worker or outdoor enthusiast should consider.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Adobe launches AI-powered updates to Photoshop and Lightroom
Adobe says the updates use Adobe Sensei AI and machine learning to simplify complex workflows and streamline cross-device collaboration.
Story image
Cloud
Apple improves Mac operating system with latest offering
Apple has unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Ventura, providing users with tools for greater productivity.
Story image
Apple
Apple’s watchOS 9 and its new features, including a medications app
The new watch0S 9 gives users more watch faces, an updated workout and sleep app and a brand new medications app.
Story image
Cloud
Chorus and Nokia launches first trial of 25G PON broadband
Chorus and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 25 gigabit per second fibre (Gbps) broadband technology at the Chorus Fibre Lab in Auckland. 
Story image
Gaming
Game review: The Quarry (PC)
Supermassive Games channel 1980s teen horror movies with their latest suspense-filled cinematic adventure, The Quarry.
Story image
Cloud
Apple announces new developer tools and APIs for better app experiences
The new announcement encompasses new tools, technologies and APIs that the company says are designed to help developers create better and more involved experiences for their users.
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Samsung S22 Ultra
I have been impressed by the functions Samsung packed into this phone. I did actually make one phone call on this phone, in between trying out as many of its other uses that I could pack in.
Story image
Wireless
ComCom finds NZ broadband compares well with Australia
A new report published by the Commerce Commission has found New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) compares well to Australia's National Broadband Network.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Automated Guided Vehicles at seaports to grow 26% by 2027
ABI Research says the global use of Automated Guided Vehicles in seaports will exceed 150,000 deployments by 2027. Port authorities are also looking into 5G private networks.
Story image
Cloud
Sony launches LinkBuds S - the latest model in the series
Sony says the LinkBuds S will give users a unique sound experience through sensor and spatial sound technology, even in AR games.
Story image
Cloud
Apple brings redesigned MacBook Air and updated MacBook Pro to market
Apple has introduced a redesigned MacBook Air and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, both powered by the new M2 chip.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave drive digital transformation for mental health
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave are joining forces to help support the mental health and wellbeing of young men around the world.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua to map NZ's forest cover change
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, are teaming up to develop improved detection of land use and forest cover change in New Zealand.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Cloud
Apple reveals new iOS 16 features set to enhance sharing and communication
Apple has unveiled an all-new Lock Screen experience and new ways to share and communicate in iOS 16.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Gaming
AMD introduces FSR 2.0 giving gaming GPUs a boost
Not only have AMD proudly announced their new line-up of Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards, but the company has also unveiled the first games to support its FSR 2.0 technology.
Story image
Cloud
TUANZ to address rural connectivity at 2022 symposium
TUANZ is hosting the Rural Connectivity Symposium for the first time in person since 2019, providing a forum to discuss the state of rural connectivity.
Story image
Skills shortage
Tech salaries increase as skills shortage inflates expectations
More technology professionals will receive a pay rise this coming financial year than last, with skills shortages creating a once-in-a-career market.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
Cloud
Apple unveils M2 with 50% more memory bandwidth than M1
Compared to M1, M2 has an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, a 40% faster Neural Engine, and delivers 50% more memory bandwidth and up to 24GB of fast unified memory.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: JBL Quantum 610 Wireless
The new Quantum 610 gaming headset is the latest addition to JBL’s Quantum range and the successor to its popular Quantum 600 model.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: HyperX Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and HyperX Pulsefire XL Mat
With its lightweight Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and RGB lit Pulsefire XL Mat, HyperX sets out to up your game and add a little colour to your desktop.
Story image
Film review
Film review: Jurassic World Dominion
This movie is what happens when you cross a lot of hungry dinos with humanity trying desperately to redeem itself for a mistake, and boy does it try.