MacBook Air has improved display

The "Airness" has returned.

The new MacBook Air is finally here and taking flight with probably the No. 1 request from users - a Retina display.

For the first time, this Apple laptop model has a high-resolution display of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, instead of its predecessors' meagre 1,440 x 900 pixels with the same 13.3-inch screen size.

The display is also said to have 48 per cent more colour for more life-like images.

As an owner of a 2014 MacBook Air, the new display to me is like watching 4K TV after having a high-definition TV for too long.

The silver bezels of the old model have been replaced by black bezels that make the laptop look like a MacBook Pro when you open the lid.

But the signature thin wedge-shaped aluminium unibody design of the Air remains. The new model is 15.6mm thick at its thickest point and only 1.6mm thick at its thinnest point. It is also 100g lighter than its predecessors.

 
 

While previous MacBook Air came only in silver, the new models are available in gold, space-grey and silver.

On the downside, the pair of USB-A ports, the SD card reader and mini-DisplayPort port of the old MacBook Airs are gone.

There are only two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left and - surprisingly - a headphone jack on the right.

The new MacBook Air also features the third-generation Apple-designed backlit keyboard that is supposed to be more precise and responsive.

I tried it briefly and found it to be no different from that of the latest MacBook Pro, perhaps because it is a tad too quiet - I prefer the loud, clicky tactile feel of my old MacBook Air's keyboard.

But I do prefer the larger Force Touch trackpad of the new MacBook Air. The larger surface area allows for better drag-and-drop actions.

Force Touch also allows the user to preview documents without having to open them.

Apple might be eliminating the Home button, or Touch ID, from its mobile devices, but it is adding it to its laptops.

The new MacBook Air now comes with a Touch ID button, located on the top right-hand corner of the keyboard. Not only does the Touch ID button let you unlock the laptop securely, but it also allows you to carry out online payments via Apple Pay.

To support Touch ID, the new MacBook Air comes with the Apple T2 security chip to store and protect the Touch ID information.

The chip features an always-on processor that supports the Siri voice assistant, so you activate it by just saying, "Hey Siri".

The MacBook Air now comes with an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, up to 16GB of system memory and up to 1.5TB of flash storage.

During my brief hands-on session, browsing the Web and opening photos felt really responsive.

The new MacBook Air starts at $1,789 and goes up to $3,809 with the maximum specifications, which is more than enough to get a high-end version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

However, you are certainly not getting the portability and lightness of the Air with the MacBook Pro.

• The new MacBook Air is available today at Apple online and retail stores as well as authorised resellers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2018, with the headline 'MacBook Air has improved display'. Print Edition | Subscribe