2020 MacBook Air vs 2019 MacBook Air – What Changed?

The 2019 Macbook Air has had a mixed ride in terms of user reviews. Though a lot of people actually chose the 2019 MacBook Air for its awesome display and premium design elements, some of them actually regretted the decision owing to the issues with the butterfly keyboard.

Now, Apple has released the 2020 Macbook Air. But, is the 2020 Macbook Air really better than the 2019 Macbook Air ? Are there any changes? If yes, are these changes significant enough for existing users to upgrade to the new model ? Read on to find out more.

2020 Macbook Air vs 2019 Macbook Air – What Changed?

The 2020 MacBook Air does pack some new features over its 2019 predecessor. The key changes between the 2020 MacBook Air and 2019 MacBook Air can be summarised as follows.

  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Scissor-based Magic Keyboard
  • Faster 3733 MHz 8 GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 256 GB SSD for the base model
  • Lower starting price ($999) for the base model
  • Introduction of i3 processors in the base model

2020 MacBook Air base models now come with 10th generation i3 processor and 256 GB SSD

The 2020 MacBook Air comes with a 1.1GHz dual core 10th generation Intel i3 processor and the 2019 MacBook Air comes with a 1.6GHz dual core 8th generation Intel i5 processor.

You can easily do a geekbench test for performance and can see that for both single core and multi-core tests, the 2020 MacBook air scores higher points than the 2020 MacBook Air.

From the geekbench scores and the fact that the i3 processor here is of the 10th generation, we can conclude that it is as strong or stronger than that of the 8th generation i5 processor in the 2019 MacBook Air.

2020 macbook air vs 2019 macbook air

Having said that, from a performance standpoint, the 2020 MacBook Air is pretty much sorted for daily usage. The base model of the 2019 MacBook Air with the i3 can easily take up any daily task that you throw at it.

The base model of the 2020 MacBook Air now offers you more storage space too as it comes with 256 GB SSD. The base variant of the 2019 MacBook Air still comes with a 128 GB SSD.

2020 MacBook Air has Magic Keyboard with Scissor Mechanism

The most criticised feature of the 2019 MacBook Air was its Butterfly keyboard. The Butterfly keyboard faced huge criticism from Apple users as keys started developing issues (sticky keys, unexpected character repetitions etc) over time. Apple had even rolled out a free of charge Keyboard Service Program for MacBook models with the butterfly keyboards.

2020 macbook air vs 2019 macbook air

With the 2020 MacBook air, Apple bid goodbye to the Butterfly keyboard and introduced the Magic Keyboard with its traditional scissor mechanism. The new keyboard system in itself is the single most reason to pick the 2020 MacBook Air against the 2019 MacBook Air.

2020 MacBook Air Base models are cheaper than 2019 MacBook Air Base models

For new buyers planning to get a MacBook Air, this is good news. The 2020 base model of the MacBook air at $999 is actually cheaper than the base model of the 2019 MacBook Air at $1099. But the caveat here is that the base models aren’t exactly the same. The 2020 MacBook Air base model hosts a 10th generation i3 whereas the 2019 MacBook Air base model hosts an 8th generation i5.

The presence of a much cheaper base model has actually put the 2020 MacBook under the radar of a lot of people with a $1000 budget.

2020 MacBook Air comes with Intel Iris Plus Graphics

The 2020 MacBook Air comes with the Intel Iris Plus graphics as against the Intel UHD Graphics 617 in the 2019 MacBook Air. The geekbench graphics performance score for the 2020 MacBook Air is approximately 1000 points more than that of the 2019 MacBook Air. Hence, when comparing graphics, the 2020 MacBook Air is much faster than the 2019 MacBook Air.

2020 MacBook Air supports one 6K external display

2020 MacBook Air supports one external 6K display, one external 5K display , and two external 4K displays. This means that you can now use Apple’s Pro Display XDR (which is a 6K display) with the 2020 MacBook Air. But that again is a super expensive display.

2020 macbook air vs 2019 macbook air
Apple Pro Display XDR | Source – Apple

The 2019 model does not have a 6K display support and supports only one external 5K display and two external 4K displays. This change does not become much of a decision making factor as a 6K display is something that you would not be using frequently.

2020 MacBook Air is slightly heavier than the 2019 MacBook Air

The 2020 MacBook Air, like its predecessor is quite the looker. In fact, when you keep both laptops side by side, you literally cannot spot the difference. However, when it comes to holding them in your hand, there is a slight difference. This is because the 2020 MacBook Air at 2.8lbs is slightly heavier than the 2019 MacBook Air at 2.75lbs.

Should you buy the 2020 MacBook Air or the 2019 MacBook Air ?

If you are an existing 2019 MacBook Air user, we do not recommend an immediate upgrade to the 2020 MacBook Air as the device that you have is already capable of taking up all of your daily tasks. Even if you upgrade to the 2020 model, you will not notice any major changes in your day to day usage.

But, in case you are in the market for a new laptop suited for your daily needs, we would recommend the 2020 MacBook Air. For $999, you get a pretty good device which is compact, easily portable, has just the right amount of power, ample SSD storage, and a really good user experience. We would further recommend that you pay an extra 100 bucks, and get the 2020 MacBook air with 10th generation quad-core i5 processor as this upgrade can boost your laptop performance by a huge margin.

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