The battery is one area that definitely benefits from this change in processor, with the “up to 12 hours” claim by Apple resembling a real world result not far off, and sitting in the rough area of “around 10 to 11 hours”.
That’s what we had, and we even found that we could leave it off charge and work on the MacBook Air 2015 for a few days without needing to plug it in provided we kept our working to around two hours per day.
If you had to go without a power port for a while, that’s a pretty stellar result, and we had WiFi on the entire time. We can only imagine that the 12 hours claim by Apple might even be reached if you were sitting on an aircraft typing away. Not too shabby at all.
Over to the keyboard and mouse, and these haven’t changed. It may have been over a year since we last saw the MacBook Air, but Apple has kept the excellent keyboard and solid glass-button trackpad around from last time, meaning there’s no learning curve associated with this laptop, and anyone familiar with a Mac from the past decade — or even a computer from that time — can likely get stuck into using it without having to relearn how either of these bits and bobs work. No worries.
And you’ll even find a familiar assortment of ports, which are just enough to get your work done and not have to worry about buying extra cords or cables, with two USB 3.0 ports, an SDXC card slot, the standard headphone jack we all love so much, and a Thunderbolt port if you decide to send video to a different monitor.
We wish there was an HDMI port here, but given the size requirements and Apple’s tendency to choose Thunderbolt over HDMI aren’t terribly surprised.
But while Apple may well have updated what’s on the inside, one of the things that so desperately needed a refresh on the outside is still very much the same.
We are of course talking about the screen, which is still one of the less-than-fantastic parts of the MacBook Air package, especially in comparison to everything else you’re being sold.
Like last year, this is a screen that still feels old in the grand scheme of things, displaying a resolution we’re honestly surprised Apple is still going with, sitting at 1440×900, marginally higher than the 1366×768 resolution we still see on some PC laptops of this size, though very few.
We wouldn’t be surprised if this was the same resolution Apple used on its MacBook Pro without the Retina, as this is much lower grade, with weak viewing angles, looking good dead on, usable to the left or right, and downright washed out from the top or bottom.
Sufficed to say, you won’t likely want to use this in close or cramped quarter because looking down at the screen, you won’t be able to see anything as the display washes out and inverts.
Reflections are also easily noticed, so make sure to find somewhere that isn’t too bright or reflective to work in, otherwise you might struggle to see what you’re doing.
Beyond these issues, the screen is still bright, still vibrant, but just nowhere near the impressive display seen on the MacBook Pro with Retina, which means it also isn’t in the same category of screen that will be gracing the recently announced MacBook with its super-thin Retina-class display.
And that makes us wonder: is the MacBook Air the new entry-level Apple laptop?
We think so, or we will when Apple decides to finally kill the optical drive altogether and remove the MacBook Pro without the Retina screen from its line-up, though this is a little less expensive than that model, too.
If thin and light are the main things you’re looking at when it comes to a computer, it’s hard to look past Apple’s 2015 MacBook Air, even if the screen needs a bit of work. It has the looks, a solid design, enough ports, and a battery life that we wish other machines in its class neared, and now it has a system that stay cool under pressure.
Next time, we’d really like to see a different screen, but if you don’t care, this is a computer worth considering.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Still really thin and still really well built; Upgraded processor with impressive battery life; Very, very quiet;
Screen is still lacking in viewing angles and features a relatively mediocre resolution (or to put it another way, isn’t Retina); Misses out on those new Force trackpads; No HDMI port;