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Apple MacBook Air (2018) vs MacBook Air (2015): Should you upgrade?

08 November 2018 6

Back in 2015, Apple announced MacBook Air as an entry-level offering with slightly toned down hardware as opposed to the premium MacBook Pro lineup. Considering it was unveiled back in 2015, it wasn't amongst the best in 2018. However, the good thing is when the MacBook Air was looking dated, the Cupertino giant took the stage on October 30th to announce the latest MacBook Air with all goodies to be amongst the best in 2018.

The MacBook Air 2018 certainly has enough goodies to attract new buyers who are looking for an entry-level MacBook laptop. Ahead of new MacBook Air release, the Cupertino giant was criticized for not delivering the refreshed model of MacBook Air but the good thing is Apple brought significant changes under the hood and also few external changes to ensure it emerges as a worth upgradeable laptop. So if you already own MacBook Air 2015 and planning to grab MacBook Air 2018, today we will put both the machines in side-by-side comparison to know in detail the real differences and similarities.

Despite the fact, the new MacBook Air is overhauled in most aspects but still many of its features are same like the predecessor. Without any further delay, let's start with the design which is certainly an important aspect which every buyer considers before making any purchase.

Design

From the look of the things, the Cupertino giant doesn't want to fix design language until it is broken because they retained the almost same design which we have seen on the MacBook Air 2015. The display is once again covered with thick bezels. However, it is pretty much understandable why Apple retained a similar design because it still looks quite attractive because of cutting edge design. The design still looks better and more refined than most of the latest machines available in the market.

The MacBook Air sleek design prompted other PC manufacturers to bring Ultrabook lineups to compete well against ultra slim design language of MacBook Air lineup. Still, we can rate the new MacBook Air is amongst the thinnest, sleekest and strikingly beautiful laptops in the market.

The first prominent change in the design language is the absence of gray bezels instead the company opted slightly thin black bezels around the display. According to Apple, the black bezels are 50% slimmer than the predecessor model.

Overall the new MacBook Air is 10% thinner than the predecessor, the thickest portion is at 0.61-inches and weighs 2.75 pounds only. The company opted fanless Intel Y-series chipset that's why it is smaller than the predecessor in terms of dimensions. Another good thing is the latest MacBook Air features butterfly switch keyboard. The Trackpad comes with Force Touch and also it is 20% larger than the predecessor.

As a biometric unlocking option, the MacBook Air comes with Touch ID placed on the top right side. One of the most missed aspects on the MacBook Air 2015 was lack of dedicated grills for speakers. However, the good thing is Apple resolved this issue with the latest MacBook Air 2018. The company claims the new gen MacBook Air speakers are 25% louder and also has 2X Bass than the 2015 model.

The full frame is made up of aluminum like the predecessor. In terms of color options, the MacBook Air 2018 can be purchased in Silver, Gold and Space Grey colors whereas the MacBook Air 2015 was available only in Silver color only. Overall the new gen MacBook Air footprint is 17% smaller than the predecessor. The keyboard on both the machines is backlit so you don't have to worry about using it in low-light scenarios.

Display

Undoubtedly one of the biggest upgrades with the MacBook Air 2018 is indeed the better display. The MacBook Air 2018 features a 13.3-inches display with Quad HD screen resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels. According to Apple, the new MacBook Air display is 4x sharper than the predecessor and also the new Retina panel renders 48% more colors which are worth appreciating.

The MacBook Air 2015 also has 13.3-inches display and the screen resolution is 900 x 1440 pixels. It is quite average considering the latest standard but it was even average at the time it was announced. At that time other laptops of same price bracket have better display panels.

The average display on the MacBook Air 2015 was certainly one of the aspects why it has awesome battery life. If you are media fan you may disappoint with the display quality but if you use a laptop for writing papers or doing non-media tasks you can easily bear the display. So if you have issues related to the display quality of MacBook Air 2015, you will certainly find the latest MacBook much better.

Connectivity

In terms of wireless connectivity, both devices have the same hardware. However, the latest model brings significant change in the physical connectivity options. The MacBook Air 2015 comes with SD card readers, USB slots and MagSafe charging connector and 3.5mm headphone jack. The MacBook Air 2018 retains the headphone jack.

It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports which not only provides support for charging but also all goodies of Type-C port, you can also utilize it as a Displayport. Overall this port is pretty helpful in performing all sorts of tasks. The SD card slot is now part of history, you need a card reader to access card.

Hardware

Being the new entry-level offering from Apple the MacBook Air 2018 still lags behind the MacBook Pro lineup in terms of performance. It is pretty much understandable considering Air lineup falls behind the Pro lineup. However, the new MacBook Air brings significant change over the predecessor in terms of performance.

The MacBook Air 2015 is powered up by the Intel fifth gen Core i5 processor with max clocking at 1.8Ghz. The built-in native storage is 128GB SSD. On the other hand, the latest MacBook Air comes with the latest 8th gen Intel Core i5 processor with max clocking at 1.6Ghz and the native storage remains similar to 128GB SSD.

The latest MacBook Air top of the line variant comes with 16GB RAM and native storage of 1.5TB SSD. However, this variant is almost $1000 expensive than the base model. As far as graphics is a concern the new MacBook Air comes with Intel UHD Graphics 617 whereas the older model comes with previous gen GPU. So if you consider power efficiency the new MacBook Air definitely has an upper hand.

Battery

As far as battery is a concern the older gen has a mammoth battery life. It also charges pretty quickly thanks to 45W MagSafe 2 charger. The new MacBook Air certainly won't have as good battery life as the older variant due to better screen resolution. However, the new chipset is more power efficient than the fifth-gen chipset. It has a Type-C 30W charger.

Price

The MacBook Air 2015 was announced at a price tag of $999 in the US, £770 in the UK, AU$1,410 for Australian customers. However this year Apple increases the price tag significantly. The base model is now available at $1,199 in the US, £1,199 in the UK, AU$1,849 in Australia.

Conclusions

It is understandable why the latest MacBook Air 2018 is better in many aspects. We can't blame an older MacBook Air for not being as good as the latest gen. The MacBook Air update was long due as the company took three years to release the successor variant. In the past couple of years, Apple brought improvements exclusively for the Pro variants only.

So if you already own the MacBook Air 2015, the latest gen certainly brings significant changes in display, hardware, and connectivity and also its has slightly trimmed bezels than the predecessor. The new laptop has enough goodies on board to be your next companion with its larger trackpad, improved keyboard, Touch ID, smaller overall footprint and attractive color options.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts in the comments section below regarding the MacBook Air 2018 vs MacBook Air 2015. Stay tuned for more comparisons.


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