4 years ago, I bought the latest MaBook Pro 13". It was the brand new late 2016 model, which introduced the Touch Bar. I wasn't particularly excited about the Touch Bar, but I loved the design of the laptop.
Well, I sold it a month ago, and replaced it with the brand new MacBook Air of late 2020. The one with the Apple Silicon M1 chip.
Now, the 2016 MacBook Pro was a great machine. I thoroughly enjoyed using it. Except for the Touch Bar, which I've always hated. Also, I had to bring the laptop back to Apple 3 times, to get the keyboard replaced. Those damn butterfly switches.
If it weren't for the fear of having another keyboard failure, I probably would have have sticked to my 2016 machine for at least another year. Maybe even two. But I had no trust in the keyboard. I didn't want to be stuck for several days, unable to work without my laptop, in case of another keyboard problem. So when Apple announced the new MacBooks in November 2020, I sold my 2016 MacBook Pro and ordered a brand new MacBook Air.
It's now been three weeks I've been using it as my main computer. Here are my thoughts.
- The trackpad is a little smaller than on the MacBook Pro. It's not a problem at all. I don't feel the size reduction when using it, To me, the difference is purely visual.
- The speakers: omg! I thought the speakers on my 2016 MacBook Pro were great. Well, they were. But the sound output on this new MacBook Air is even better. It just blew me off.
- Luminosity: everyone is saying the MacBook Air's screen is more dim than the MacBook Pro. That's probably the case if you compare those from the same generation. But compared to my 2016 MacBook Pro, the Air actually looks brighter.
- Keyboard: it's a great keyboard. Oddly, I think I prefer the typing experience of the old butterfly switches of the MacBook Pro 2016. There's one thing much better though: the inverted T arrows. I used to always struggle to hit the correct arrow.
- No Touch Bar 😍: I never got used to the Touch Bar and the physical buttons feel much, much better.
- Touch ID: works great. It's fast. Feels faster than on the 2016 MacBook, but it might be psychological.
- Battery life is phenomenal. I fully charged it once last Saturday, unplugging it at 6PM. At the time of writing this, it's Tuesday 3AM and I still have 25% battery. I must have been using it a solid 8 hours total, doing all sorts of tasks like browsing, coding, watching videos, running updates and installing apps.
The not so good
- Only 2 thunderbolt/USB-C ports on the left side. Not a huge bummer, but when you got used to 2 ports on each side for several years, it takes a bit of adaptation. The real frustration here is not that there aren't enough ports, but that I had to change the side of the desk my laptop was on.
- The thickest side of the MacBook Air is actually thicker than the MacBook Pro! I didn't know that. It's only a tiny difference, just a few millimetres. Nothing terrible, but it surprised me. I'm nitpicking, but I really thought the Air was the same thickness as the MacBook Pro at its thickest side. But for any practical purpose, it's a negligible difference.
Should you buy it?
If you're on the fence, and your current MacBook is older than 2019, and you can afford it, buy it. There's no debate. Even just for the battery life. It's on another level.
But if you have a recent machine, say 2019 or early 2020, and more importantly with the scissor mechanism, don't bother. I wouldn't.
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