Apple MacBook Air 2020 Review: Is the Core i3 the better choice?

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With all the discussions about the performance of the new quad-core CPUs, you should not forget that the MacBook Air is still primarily a device for casual users with simple workloads. This includes basic things like writing mails, video playback, or web browsing. The MacBook Air is great for this stuff, also thanks to the fast SSD storage. Because of the limited TDP configuration, the entry-level MacBook Air is even on par with the supposedly faster quad-core i5 when it comes to the single-core performance, which is still important for everyday tasks. There are also noticeable advantages in terms of the emissions, and especially the fan is much quieter with a slower maximum speed. This means the i3 MacBook Air is quieter for longer periods of time, even when you stress it.

The MacBook Air with the dual-core i3 processor is the better device for basic workloads. The subjective performance impression is very good in these scenarios, the fan is quieter, and you can still enjoy the good display as well as the improved keyboard.

There are still drawbacks, because the overall level of performance is just very low. This would not be a huge problem, but why does Apple not manage to create a completely passively cooled device? A silent MacBook Air would be a great, but we have the suspicion that Apple limits the Air on purpose. This step might be reserved for future models with the heavily speculated ARM SoCs.

The price is another problem, because you can get Windows laptops with much more performance for 1200 Euros. Still, thanks to the high-quality case, the good panel, and the good optimization for macOS, the MacBook Air is a very well-balanced package for your basic tasks. If you need more performance or if you already know that you will stress the components a lot, however, we believe you should skip the more expensive quad-core models of the Air and just get a MacBook Pro 13 (or something similarly powerful) instead.

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