2020 MacBook Air has a new scissor-switch Magic keyboard but buy it for the quad-core 10th … [+]
The new Magic keyboard is welcome but it’s not the 2020 MacBook Air’s best feature.
Old (late 2018) MBA:
There was only one processor option offered by Apple. The dual-core processor MBA (8GB RAM, 256GB storage) underperformed and was often not up to the task of typical multitasking, aka, running multiple tabs in the Chrome browser while doing productivity stuff. I used the late-2018 MacBook Air day in and day out for six months. Frustrated, in particular, with its performance when hooked up to an Apple-approved LG UltraFine 5K Display, I sold it.
New 2020 MBA:
At last, quad core has come to the MacBook Air. It is spec’d more like competing Windows thin-and-light quad-core laptops have been spec’d since 2018.
The 2020 MacBook Air you want to buy:
- Quad-core Core i5: 1.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz (with 6MB L3 cache), LPDDR4X memory, starts at $1,299.
- Quad-core Core i7: 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz (with 8MB L3 cache), LPDDR4X memory, starts at $1,449
Note that all new 2020 MBAs now have Intel Iris Plus Graphics and have video support for up to one external 6K display with 6016-by-3384 resolution at 60Hz or two external 4K displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz.
If I was buying the new MBA, based on my needs, I would opt for the Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. At $1,649, it’s a decent deal versus the similarly-configured 1.4GHz 13-inch MacBook Pro at $1,899.
MacBook Air 2020 Performance:
- 2020 MacBook Air Core i5: 1,047
- 2018 MacBook Air: 790
Geekbench 5 Multi-Core Test:
- 2020 MacBook Air Core i5: 2,658
- 2018 MacBook Air: 1,628
The Core i5 benchmarks appear to be very competitive with the 10th gen Core i5 1035G1 processor (with 8GB of memory) found in new Windows laptops (such as the 2020 Dell XPS 13 9300).
Competing Intel 10th gen Core i5 1035G1 processor (1 GHz / 3.60 GHz Turbo)
- Intel Core i5 1035G1: 936
Geekbench 5 Multi-Core Score:
- Intel Core i5 1035G1: 2972
But what about the i7? So far we’re only seeing the Core i5 benchmarks, not the highest-end Core i7 config.
Competing Intel 10th gen Core i7 1065G7 processor (1.3 GHz / 3.90 GHz Turbo):
The 1.4GHz Core i7 1065G7 is showing Geekbench 5 average single-core scores of 1,271 and multi-core scores of 4,160.
We’ll have to wait for Core i7 scores for the 2020 MacBook Air.
2020 Dell XPS 13 9300:
I have the 9300 in house and am doing testing now.
The 9300 is even more compact and lighter than the XPS 13 7390 2-in-1 and in the physical design department is ahead of the MacBook Air, i.e., it has a larger 13.4-inch display (mine is 4K) but is more compact than the MBA. Also: it has thinner display bezels and is lighter starting at about 2.64 pounds vs. the 2020 MacBook Air’s 2.8 pounds.
2020 Dell XPS 13 9300.
*Jason Snell of Six Colors via MacRumors