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MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019: How much better is Apple’s new student-fave?

Apple decided to shake things up with the fairly shocking reveal of the new MacBook Air 2020. There’s a good range of new features to attract new buyers and some that might even persuade Apple fans to upgrade – but how much does it come out on top in the MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019 battle?

The MacBook Air has long been a favourite of students across the globe, offering a great solution for working on the go and coming it at the lowest price point that Apple offers for its laptops.

One of the biggest issues with the MacBook Air 2019 (and the Apple laptop range on the whole) was the loathed butterfly trackpad. Apple has been quick to oblige and updated its 16-inch MacBook Pro 2020 with the new Magic Keyboard and, now, the MacBook Air has gotten the very same treatment.

Related: Best Student Laptops

MacBook Air 2020

Credit: Apple

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019 – Price

This is always quite a complicated question when it comes to Apple products, rarely changing prices throughout the lifecycle of a device. However, the new MacBook Air 2020 starts at £999. £999 is surprisingly £100 less than what the previous MacBook Air retailed for and now with a range of improvements.

Apple has immediately stopped selling new MacBook Air 2019 models so you won’t see any discount there, but you may be able to find some reductions from other retailers (although this can be rare too) or some secondhand deals.

Therefore, getting all these new features but for the reduced £999 price makes the new MacBook Air 2020 seem like a cracking value offering.

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MacBook Air

Image Credit: Apple

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019 – Performance

The MacBook Air 2019 ran on Intel’s 8th Gen processors, so we are expecting to see a big step up in performance when it comes to the MacBook Air 2020.

The MacBook Air 2020 has Intel’s latest 10th Gen chips onboard – from a dual-core 1.1GHz i3 processor up to a 1.2GHz quad-core model. Apple claims the CPU upgrades offers up to double the processor performances and 80% faster graphics(!).

A big welcome change comes in the form of internal storage. MacBook Air 2019 started with a lowly amount of just 128GB storage but this isn’t available on the 2020 version. The £999 begins with double the capacity at 256GB – lovely stuff.

new MacBook-Air-2018 colours

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019 – Features and design

The one thing all recent MacBook owners have been asking for is a new keyboard – and this includes owners of the MacBook Air 2019 – and Apple has said: “Yeah, go on then.”

The new MacBook Air 2020 gets the same Magic Keyboard that Apple launched with the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2020, ditching the pesky butterfly switches from the last model.

While Apple has answered the biggest request of many, it did fail to spice up the MacBook Air 2020 in a few other areas. The MacBook Air has always been known as a supremely light offering and – while it is – we had hoped the latest model might even be able to shave off a tad more weight.

However, the new MacBook Air 2020 is up from the 1.25kg of the 2019 model, now weighing in at 1.29kg. The small increase is obviously a point that is splitting hairs but it, of course, means we didn’t get the lighter model this time out.

The general design and the colours on offer for the MacBook Air have stayed the same this year too. You still get two USB-C ports and a headphone jack as well as the option of choosing between Gold, Space Grey and Silver – meaning there was no room for some iPhone 5c and iPhone XR-style jazzing up this time out.


We won’t have a final verdict until we’ve got our hands on the new MacBook Air 2020 for a full review but the changes are pretty promising. If you are thinking of moving to macOS or upgrading from an older machine then you’ll be in safe hands here, with plenty of storage and Intel’s latest processors.

If you’re a MacBook Air 2019 owner then there aren’t a ton of game-changing reasons to upgrade right now. If you are struggling for storage, dealing with insufficient or reduced performance, or really want to be rid of the butterfly switch keyboard then a MacBook Air 2020 upgrade would be a great buy.

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