Test: MacBook Air (2020) M1 – Apple’s best computer ever

Test: MacBook Air (2020) M1 - Apple's best computer ever


Now maybe the headline gives a little too much indication about where this text is going. But there is actually not much else to say. Apple has finally (!) Done everything right.

Apart from parts of the school environment, I grew up completely with Windows as the natural choice of operating system. In fact, I still usually use Windows. Probably mostly out of old habit. I’ve tried macOS most times, but have never really had the patience to get used to the fact that some features work differently and others are missing.

When Apple autumn 2020 introduced its new M1chip, there were many – myself included – who were extremely skeptical of all the nice praise the company surrounded the chip with. Apple summed up all the performance figures by saying that “there has never been a chip that even resembles M1”. After now finally getting their hands on one of the company’s M1computers, I can not do much other than to stand in the chorus of everyone else who has had to admit that Apple was right.

So what is the M1 chip for?

Without getting too technical is Apples M1-chip a self-developed chip where processor, graphics processor, internal memory and other system circuits coexist in one place. The chip is a so-called SoC (System-on-a-Chip). So basically an entire computer system in one and the same chip. This simply allows all components to talk to and send data directly between each other without interfering with transport routes or other components.

As a result, both information can be sent much faster than was previously possible. Also contributes System-on-a-Chipthe structure so that the components used do not become very hot and do not draw as much current. Which of course leads to longer battery life.

Review - MacBook Air M1 2020
Going from a Mac without an M1 chip to one with is a greater technical leap than you might think.

The chip also uses a different so-called architecture compared to the previous processors, which were of the type x86 / x64. Very simply, it means that the parts of the computer speak a completely different language to each other. ARM, as M1-architecture is called, has become more and more common in recent years and is used e.g. exclusively in most cell phones. However, the change of architecture will, as we will discuss in a moment, come with some disadvantages.

Apples M1-chip is today found in all of the company’s computers, apart from the super expensive one Mac Pro (with a starting price of SEK 72,000). Funny enough, however, A sellspple still e.g. MacBook Pro and iMac equipped with the previous ones Intelprocessors. A purchase I would really advise against in the current situation.

The coolest thing about M1the chip is that there is really only one version of it. Admittedly with two sizes of internal memory (8 and 16 GB). Apart from that, it is really only different cooling solutions that affect the performance of the different computers, and then only marginally. This means that it does not matter so much if you choose to buy one MacBook Air, Pro, Mac Mini or a iMac. As long as the computer in question is using M1chip, it will perform much the same as the other computers with the same chip.

A regular MacBook Air – on the outside

Appearance is MacBook Air a completely ordinary Apple-laptop. The design is basically a copy of 2018 MacBook Air. Something that is difficult to complain about then Apple has long been a leader in laptop design.

One thing they have not been a leader in, however, is keyboards for laptops. Thankfully, the unpleasantly low keys are from the previous generation MacBook-computers finally a mere memory. Back is an upgraded variant of the more classic Applethe keyboard that was on the company’s laptops before everything would be as flat as possible. The keys are long enough travel (i.e. how far they need to be pressed down before hitting the bottom) and I have not had any problems at all during longer writing sessions at the computer. The trackpad is also standard Apple-manear the best you can get in just the trackpad road.

MacBook Air - Review - Test - M1 - Keyboard - Touchpad
The combination of touchpad and keyboard in Apple’s M1 computers is basically unthreatened in the laptop world.

Another nice detail is that a fingerprint reader has crept into the top right of the keyboard. A clear improvement when it comes to logging on to the computer compared to having to type a password every time. The screen also has a resolution of a large 2560 × 1600 pixels and is, just like before MacBookversions, fantastically nice to watch.

In terms of gates, there are no changes from previous years’ models. Two Thunderbolt 3contacts i USB Cexecution (3.1 Gen 2) plus a headphone jack is available. Personally, I have started to get used to dongles and online services, but at least one memory card reader would still have been nice to have built-in.

MacBook Air - M1 - 2020 - Ports - USB-C - Design
MacBook Air retains its distinctive sloping design. Something that actually contributes to a slightly nicer writing experience compared to the more angular Pro model.

Something completely different on the inside

IN Mac-way I come from one MacBook Pro from 2018. A computer that with its approximately SEK 15,000 already at the date of purchase was more expensive than what MacBook Air M1 is today (SEK 12,495 at the time of writing). In terms of performance, however, the computer has never really lived up to its price. Sometimes it has not been able to cope with even trivial things such as simpler image and movie editing. At least not without starting to sweat a lot and sound like a smaller jet.

Here sweeps MacBook Air M1 in as a properly healthy fan. A hypothetical one at least. The new MacBook Air does not actually have a single real fan. Which makes the computer shut down. Jämt. No matter what or how much it does. So it can not sound. Big Brother MacBook Pro M1 has a fan solution built in, but should nevertheless also be basically silent if you can believe other tests and reviews.

Furthermore, as I said, you can not say much other than that Apple actually was quite right when they talked about how M1The chip would provide more than double the performance of previous generations Maccomputers. Everything, and I really mean everything, flows on like it has never done before on one Apple-computer. Now I have not gone into depth with any performance tests as this has been done in abundance YouTube and in other reviews. But depending on what is actually done on the computer provides M1chip sometimes up to four times the actual performance compared to the previous generation MacBook Air. The battery life has also been significantly improved and the computer lasts for up to 15 hours during normal use.

Many even believe that there is really no reason to go up the extra 2000 kroner for one MacBook Pro then the only thing you really get (apart from a slightly different design) is a slightly brighter display and a (more or less useful) touchbar above the keyboard. I’m inclined to agree.

ARM architecture with some limitations

When M1The computers were first launched, many users experienced problems with some programs and apps no longer working. Something that in short came from the fact that they were developed for the previous architecture (x86 / x64) and not ARM used by Apples M1-chip. Apple solved this by launching something they call for Rosetta II. Which is a small program that automatically runs in the background and allows programs written for the old architecture to run on the company’s ARM-chip. As most manufacturers have started to update and rewrite their programs so they also work directly with Apples ARM-architecture. But a lot of programs still need to be run through Rosetta II.

Smoothly enough, this is not something that is really noticeable at all. At least not for the programs I tested. For example. uses all of Adobe program (Photoshop etc.) Rosetta IIconversion to run on the new ones Macthe computers. Although in theory it will be a small loss of performance when the program’s code constantly needs to be converted to ARMthe chip should understand what is happening, it is in principle not noticeable at all. The ultimate user experience is with this – and regardless Rosetta IIconversion – still extremely much better than any previous generation of Maccomputers.

MacBook Air M1 2020 - The Sims 4
Now Macs are not slot machines. But it’s still a bit nice to be able to run some games. The Sims 4 worked that way on my previous MacBook Pro and also made the computer sound a lot. On the MacBook Air, the game rolls perfectly and, as you know, the computer does not sound a jolt.

The new architecture has also, unfortunately, resulted in that Windows 10 can no longer be run via Bootcamp. Something I personally really appreciated. It can be used Windows 10 via the software Parallels. However, there are many things and programs that do not yet work properly (or at all). In addition, it is only ARMversion of Windows 10 which works. A version that is still in the development stage. However, the development seems to be progressing and hopefully it will not take too many years before it can run again Windows side by side with macOS.


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