How reliable is the MacBook Air 2017

Why another Macbook Air? 10 questions as an explanation

Stephan Wiesend

The Macbook Air is actually completely out of date, but buyers of the Macbook Air have some very good reasons for this.

EnlargeThe Macbook Air is more durable than expected

From the point of view of the technology-loving Apple fan, it is actually incomprehensible that Apple has not retired the Macbook Air long ago. Even with the new version announced according to rumors, Apple will probably not change much - probably update the CPU and graphics card, if Apple does this, it will be in the coming autumn, the last WWDC was completely hardware-free. The concept is almost ten years old and the Macbook Pro and Macbook are more modern, faster and more stylish! So how can a sales pitch fail so badly that the customer goes for the old model? We imagine the conversation with an informed but neutral advisor as follows:

So the cheapest version of the Macbook Pro costs 1300 euros?

The price is of course an argument for the Macbook Air. With the Macbook Pro 13-inch with 128 GB, however, Apple has a new entry-level model for 1300 euros on offer. Admittedly: 128 GB is not a lot and the Macbook Air is currently available for less than 900 euros. The price difference of just under 400 euros is impressive. Unfortunately, the Macbook with a 12-inch display is also significantly more expensive. Especially in terms of design and technology, there is no getting around the current MacBook Pro.

How to get by with 128 GB in a Macbook Air

I actually like the old design. But the new Macbook Pro is surely twice as fast?

Not quite: Despite the age-old CPU, the Macbook Air is actually no lame duck. See here: According to Geekbench, the old i5 Broadwell CPU of the 1.8 GHz model achieved 3411 points in the single-threading test, the entry-level Macbook Pro 3594 points. The integrated graphics card and the SSD are also faster, but the differences may not be noticeable in practice. However, the 12-inch Macbook is even slower than the Air. If you want a really fast Macbook for 4K video editing, for example, you should opt for the 15-inch model. Well, that's bigger and a little more expensive ...

But wouldn't this new Touch Bar be included for 1300 euros?

The unique selling point of the Macbook Pro is of course the touch bar, which enables additional operating options. Unfortunately, this function is reserved for the more expensive Macbook Pro models and the price in the Apple Store starts at 2000 euros.

But surely the battery life is better with the new device?

Unfortunately, the battery life of the new Macbook Pro is slightly shorter than that of the Macbook Air, and the display probably consumes more energy. According to Apple, the Macbook Pro lasts 10 hours while surfing, the Macbook Air two hours longer.

The new Macbook Pro are at least lighter and flatter?

No. There are actually few differences here: The wedge-shaped Macbook Air is at its thickest point 1.7 cm a little higher than the Macbook Pro with 1.49 cm. On the other hand, at 1.35 kg, it is even a touch lighter than the Macbook Pro. If you want a really small Macbook, you have to grab a Macbook without Air or Pro add-on.

A 13-inch display isn't bigger than a 13-inch display, isn't it? Are you more productive with the Retina display?

Nice. If you see the screens of the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro side by side, the difference in quality becomes immediately clear. It's not like you see more cells in Excel or more content in Safari. The content looks much better and the font looks like it is printed.

But what is the advantage of this retina display in practice?

In addition to a much higher resolution and better color representation, the retina display is also better suited for graphic applications. If you look at the display from the side, you don't see any color shift, which is annoying when editing images. The image quality is much better. If, of course, the image quality of the Macbook Air screen is sufficient ...

Aha. And how do I connect the monitor and printer and where is the Ethernet port for the company network?

Yes, that is a disadvantage. The new Macbook only has one USB-C interface, the entry-level Macbook Pro two Thunderbolt / USB-C interfaces, and the expensive Macbook Pro 13-inch at least four. In principle, you therefore need a hub or several adapters. However, only monitor adapters are a bit problematic; here you should pay attention to good quality.

It's a shame that the memory card interface was also saved, it was also useful as a memory expansion device. Thunderbolt 3 is a modern and very fast interface, but of course it doesn't do much without Thunderbolt peripherals. In the long term, however, USB-C is simply the future.

So everyone needs a USB-C hub?

Yes, and you shouldn't be too stingy when buying the hub, cheap hubs quickly cause minor annoying problems.

Hubs just cause trouble. Wasn't there something else with the Magsafe port and the optical audio output?

It's a shame, actually. The Magsafe port was always a good protection against falls, for example if someone got stuck on the power cord. However, the power is now supplied via the USB-C port and it comes without a pull-out safety device. There are retrofit solutions for USB-C ... Well, the topic of audio output is actually hardly known. With the Macbook Air you can still use the audio output as a digital output, for example to digitally connect a high-quality stereo system. This is only possible analogously with the new models.

Isn't the keyboard on the new devices a little too flat? I have to type a lot ...

The Macbook Air, of course, shares the same keyboard as generations of Macbooks before it. Apple, on the other hand, uses a new flat butterfly keyboard for the Macbook and Macbook Pro, which requires some getting used to for blind typists and prolific writers. Especially in the first generations of the small Macbooks, there were apparently minor problems with hanging keys. In the current models, however, Apple has improved the keyboard and most will soon be satisfied with the keyboard.


Personally, we wouldn't buy a Macbook Air anymore, hopefully a new generation is just around the corner. Obviously, the old Air is not a bad choice for many users and this is not only due to the price. Today the Mac no longer plays the important role it once played.