WELT test MacBook Air: Apple succeeds in a coup

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Whe would have thought that the volume of a notebook would one day become one of the most important features? But that’s exactly what happens with the new MacBook Air from Apple. Not having a fan in the device is a boon that you learn to appreciate at the latest when you have a video conference in your home office.

Because after a minute at the latest, the previously used MacBook Pro had started its hair dryer to cool the processor. The new Apple chip M1 does not need this – in contrast to the Intel processors that Apple has built into its notebooks so far. We simply didn’t manage to get the new MacBook Air running hot in the test.

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Apple had high expectations when it presented its MacBook Air. The device should be 3.5 times faster than before, the graphics even up to five times faster. The memory built into the device is still twice as fast. All of these are first of all theoretical values, measured against a rather weak predecessor model.

We tested the performance with the Geekbench 5 benchmark application and competed against a MacBook Pro from last year. The result looked sad for the Pro device. The MacBook Air beat the MacBook Pro by almost double in both the single core score and the multi core score.

Accessing websites is also lightning-fast

However, that doesn’t mean it’s twice as fast in all respects. But it is definitely faster. This was shown in the test, for example, when exporting an Ultra HD video in the Final Cut Pro application. So far, users on the MacBook Air have preferred to do without complex 4G video processing.

Accessing websites in the Safari browser is also lightning-fast. During the entire test, we never saw the “wheel of fortune”, the indication that the computer had stalled for a short time. Overall, Apple claims that its computers with its own M1 chip are more powerful than 98 percent of all PC notebooks that were sold in the past year.

The new MacBook Air from Apple

The screen is not touch-sensitive, and there has been no significant progress with the built-in camera either

What: Apple

The switch to its own chips, which are called Apple Silicon, turns things upside down with the MacBooks. Because with it Apple is introducing a new architecture in which the processor, the graphics unit and the main memory are housed on one chip. For this, however, applications have to be adapted separately so that they run natively on the M1.

Apple has done this with its own programs, including Safari, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, and Garageband. Other developers like Microsoft and Adobe with Lightroom and Photoshop want to follow soon. Google’s Chrome is also already available as a native browser.

Many mobile applications also run on the MacBook

But all other applications that have been running on MacBooks so far will also work on the new devices, even if they have not yet been rewritten. The reason is the translation software Rosetta 2, which is built into Apple’s Big Sur operating system. The applications do not quite achieve the performance of the native programs. In the test, however, they were almost as efficient.

Because Apple Silicon is based on the chips of iPhones and iPads, their applications even work on the MacBook, provided the developers have not opted out, which has happened on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney +, Facebook and Snapchat .

However, most iPhone and iPad applications are no fun on the MacBook display anyway, not least because the size of the program window often cannot be changed. Many apps require an internet connection, which is not always available with the MacBook. There is also no rear camera or GPS function. Apple could have gotten some problems out of the way with a touch-sensitive display.

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Conclusion: The MacBook Air is Apple’s entry-level notebook, but it does more than most Pro models. It has not only become significantly stronger, it is also more enduring. In the test, we did not manage to exhaust the battery within a working day. Many should even get away with it for two days. In the test, the device streamed a high-resolution YouTube film for 12.5 hours at a screen brightness of around 50 percent.

One advantage of the new chip is that the system is immediately available when the MacBook is opened. Just like it is the case with iPhones and iPads. Unfortunately, Apple cut back on the ports, of which there are only two Thunderbolt ports (USB-C) and a headphone jack. Unfortunately, the FaceTime camera, which has become so important in home office times, has not made a significant leap in quality.

Overall, however, Apple has achieved a coup with its MacBook Air, which costs from 1100 euros depending on the configuration. This is only the first serve with Apple Silicon. One can expect Apple to reshuffle the cards in the computer market, as has already happened with smartphones.



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