Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Thread Contributor: xSicKxBotAppleInsider - Comparing the 2018 MacBook Air with the less-expensive 2017 model
#1
Comparing the 2018 MacBook Air with the less-expensive 2017 model

The 2018 MacBook Air refresh is packed with potential, but is it worth buying it versus the prior generation? AppleInsider talks about which version is the better option for your money.

2017 MacBook Air (left), 2018 MacBook Air (right)

2017 MacBook Air (left), 2018 MacBook Air (right)

Three months ago, Apple released the new 2018 MacBook Air, complete with the first full redesign to the line in 10 years. It’s packing a bunch of new features and technology that brings it up to date with Apple’s other MacBook offerings at a relatively low price of $1200.


However, Apple is still selling the old MacBook Air for $1000, that’s $200 cheaper.

This raises the question of whether the new MacBook Air is really worth that extra $200, or if the old MacBook Air may be a better option. Or, for owners of the old MacBook Air, should they upgrade to the newer model?

Obvious Outside Refinements


Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the new Air has a modern look and feel to it, using an all-aluminum design whereas the old Air’s hinge is made of plastic. One thing the new model lacks is the glowing Apple logo, but it doesn’t really matter that much.

Even the hinge has changed between models

Even the hinge has changed between models

Even though they both pack 13-inch displays, the new Air is quite a bit smaller and more portable at 11.97 inches long and 8.36 inches wide, instead of 12.8 inches long and 8.94 inches wide, and it’s a little bit thinner as well. With the old model, you get a bunch of ports, including 2 USB-A ports, a headphone jack, a Thunderbolt 2 port, and an SD card slot.

You also get a MagSafe charger, which will quickly disconnect if someone trips over the cable.

The 2017 model uses Magsafe to recharge

The 2017 model uses Magsafe to recharge

With the new Air, you simply get a headphone jack and two high-bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can be used for charging or connecting external devices like a 5K display. Yes, having only two parts is pretty limiting, but you can easily find a relatively cheap USB-C hub.

Opening up to see the displays, may will notice a huge difference in design. The old Air looks outdated compared to most laptops on the market, with those huge silver bezels, while the new Air has slim glossy black bezels surrounding the new Retina display, that look much more pleasing.

The off-angle color shift is more obvious in the older version

The off-angle color shift is more obvious in the older version

The Retina Display itself is worlds better on the new model, as it can display 96 percent of the sRGB spectrum compared to only 71 percent on the old Air. It’s also laminated, so it looks like its a part of the glass.

With the old Air, there’s a noticeable gap between the glass and the display which can be distracting for some. The worst part about the old display is its horrific viewing angles, as it changes colors and gets very dim while looking at it off-angle, an issue that is minimized in the newer model.

Tactile Parts


There’s no doubt there’s a lot less key travel on the new Air’s keyboard, and it does take some time to get used to, though some still prefer the old keys. The nice thing about the new Air is that it features Apple’s third-generation butterfly key mechanism, which incorporates a silicone barrier to protect from dust and debris.

The third-generation butterfly key mechanism means there's less key travel in the 2018 MacBook Air

The third-generation butterfly key mechanism means there’s less key travel in the 2018 MacBook Air

The new Air also gains Touch ID for logging in and using Apple Pay online, which is a nice little bonus. Sure, passwords are decent enough, but using Touch ID seems to be a quicker option.

A huge difference is in the trackpads, as the new one is not only larger, but it’s a force touch trackpad so it doesn’t physically move. A motor beneath the trackpad vibrates to simulate clicks, and you can easily customize pressure-sensitivity in the settings.

There's a bigger trackpad in the newer model

There’s a bigger trackpad in the newer model

You also get an even clicking feel across the whole trackpad, whereas the old model used a cantilevered design that makes it difficult to click near the top edge.

Sound and Internals


The speakers are also much better on the new Air, with vocals clearer than before and with a generally more full sound. The old Air doesn’t even have speaker grilles, as the sound comes from beneath the keyboard.

Comparing the FaceTime cameras of the two models

Comparing the FaceTime cameras of the two models

The new MacBook Air also gets the T2 security chip, which takes care of a lot of items on behalf of the processor, like controlling the SSD and making the whole system more secure. Even though both models have the same quality 720P FaceTime camera, the T2 chip helps the new Air record much better video, including a brighter image than the older model.

To go with the speakers, the microphone quality is also improved in the latest model.

For performance, obviously the new model is faster despite both old and new versions having a dual-core processor, with the 2018 edition roughly 30 percent faster than its predecessor. Not only that, but the technology in the processor is newer, so it supports hardware encoding of HEVC which can help with video rendering.

We also saw a 25 percent increase in graphics performance on the new Air as well, which is nice since it still maintains the same 12 hours of battery life.

Decision Time


Is the new Air better? Oh yes, much better, and it is definitely worth the extra $200. To make it even better, there are multiple sales going on right now, so you can buy the 2018 MacBook Air for as little as $1079.

The new Air is basically better in every way, unless you need a lot of ports.

Comparing connectors on the two MacBook Air generations

Comparing connectors on the two MacBook Air generations

If you currently own the old MacBook Air, should you upgrade to the new one? Well, if you’re happy with your current MacBook and it does everything you need it to do, then don’t upgrade.

You’ll notice a difference, but not enough to make it worth spending the cash. Use your old MacBook until it breaks down or starts impeding on your ability to get work done.

If you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, and feel like you’re ready to upgrade, the new Air is a great choice.

Where to buy


Apple authorized resellers are discounting both the 2017 MacBook Air and 2018 MacBook Air with instant rebates of up to $250 off. A few of the hottest deals can be found below, but it’s always wise to check out the AppleInsider Price Guide for the latest discounts and product availability.

2018 MacBook Air deals

2017 MacBook Air deals

Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)