The most successful thin and light ultrabook of all times: the 2020 13-inch Apple MacBook Air family, this space gray MGN63LL/A with the Apple’s M1 processor model is no exception.
If you want to have a light solid laptop that has a remarkable 10+ hours battery life, so you can carry it around daily without having the charger, consider this. Also, if you want to have a laptop that will last for a long time, this device is well worth consideration.
But Is it the cheapest yet the best Apple portable laptop out there? Let’s find that out.
It’s known over the years, that Apple products continue to be a lot of people’s favorites, including this 2020 M1 MacBook Air. And no, you won’t regret buying the 2020 version, because Apple does not release new laptops every year, so you will be getting the latest model of the MacBook Air (MBA) for the next years.
There are many reasons why MacBooks are preferable by a lot of computer users. Being a computer user myself, who is using both Windows and Mac computers, I experience the difference between these two platforms myself.
One of the main differences is the stability of the Operating System. The OSX is a brilliant OS. I have never purchased anti-virus software with my Mac. I’ve never purchased separate anti-virus software, and never had malware or viruses.
Other than that, installing and uninstalling applications on your computer is so simple. Just search an app in the App Store and install it, that simple, no more than a few clicks to confirm stuff.
Also, the annoying constant updates, you won’t have those in your Mac yet your Mac will maintain to be still compatible and secure.
Having a Macbook is a good investment, you don’t need maintenance cost and won’t spend your extra valuable time trying to fix this and that.
Is it worth to upgrade?
Even though the MGN63LL/A keeps the MacBooks tradition, which has a top-notch design, and great speakers, there are a few things that are updated and improved. For instance the speed of the Solid State Drive.
The recent benchmark clearly shows that the SSD on this laptop is approximately as fast as the SSD on the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro. And compared to the previous MacBook Air, it’s 2x faster, which is impressive.
Moreover, the M1 processor offers a new level of laptop performance, which is in most cases, beats the A14 Bionic chip. Apple also designed this chip to have special cores for power efficiency and performance.
This smart chip’s transistors can keep the steady low temperature while still being able to deliver swift performance. This special efficiency design makes this Air laptop have better battery life. The battery life is about 25-50% better compared with the previous MBA generations and most of the competitors out there.
Before we read the specs table, I want to note that design-wise, this unit is still an Apple laptop, Aluminum unibody, and a very well-built device. It has also a great glass trackpad, the best trackpad on a laptop of all time. The speakers’ placement and scissor keyboards are also still included.
|2020 Apple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray MGN63LL/A
|0.63 x 8.36 x 11.97 inches (1.61 x 21.24 x 30.41 cm)
|2.8 pounds (1.29 kg)
|Apple M1 chip (8-Core, 4 performance cores, and 4 efficiency cores)
|13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit IPS Retina Display with 2560-by-1600 native resolution, 227PPI, 400nits
|Apple M1 GPU (8-Core)
|1x 3.5 mm Headphone Jack, 2x Thunderbolt (USB 4) ports which support charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s), USB 4 (up to 40Gb/s), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s), and headphone
|720p Facetime HD Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Touch ID sensor, Stereo speakers Wide stereo sound that supports Dolby Atmos playback, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6, various built-in Apps including, Pages, Numbers, Keynotes, GarageBand, iMovie, etc
|Pros & Cons
All that on one M1 chip?
In this section, we will discuss why the 13-inch MacBook Air MGN63LL/A is worth getting. In short, although aesthetically it still looks very identical to the previous generation, it features a lot of internal upgrades. This is the first time, that the MBA, also this base-model variant is comparable to the more expensive MacBooks. Thanks to the M1 processor chip.
The old models of MacBook Airs were known to be great lightweight laptops for daily use only. These devices were not made for the more computer workloads, for example editing HD or 4K videos, or 3D designs. However, this time, the MacBook Air ships the same processor (M1) that is also included in the latest M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch. This said, our 2020 13-inch MacBook Air is a really capable laptop with a more affordable price.
Apple has built the CPU on this MGN63LL/A on SoC (System on a Chip) that has included memory, they call it Unified Memory Architecture. It is built with the new macOS “Big Sur” operating system in mind so that the whole software compatibility and optimization is swift and stable.
Apple’s M1 processor uses the smallest and newest geometry technology available, the 5nm (nanometer) technology. This technology enables one chip to have the CPU, GPU, RAM, and I/O, etc, all in one chip rather than having them on several chips. This tremendous size reduction allows our computer to perform remarkably faster yet consumes very low power or energy. Moreover, the Graphics performance and the battery life are also significantly better. The M1 chip is so much advance than other processors available to this day.
M1 CPU Benchmark
Without too much talking, here is the CPU Benchmark of the Apple M1 chip compared to the 11th Gen (latest) of Intel Core i7-11370H;
And surprisingly, for the single thread rating, this M1 chip outperforms giant CPUs that are often used by gaming notebooks. Note, this MacBook Air MGN63LL was never intended to game intensively and is an entry-level Apple laptop.
Apple’s M1 Highlights
Here are the highlights of Apple’s M1 CPU specs;
- The M1 has 16 billion transistors which are more than the A14 Bionic chip that the iPhone 12 models have (11.8 billion).
- The 16-Core neural engines on this processor can perform 11 trillion operations in 1 second.
- It offers better security with its super enclave feature.
- 8-Core CPU. High-performance cores are in the 4-Core, and for the rest, 4-Core is for power efficiency.
- 8-Cores GPU. For the first time, that you can do casual gaming on a thin and light mobile laptop.
Gaming with the MGN63LL/A M1 13″ MacBook Air?
It’s important to know that this MBA was not designed to game. If your main purpose is to game, I recommend you get a new dedicated gaming laptop like this one. But you will be able to game a few titles on this device.
Also, a lot of computer games are PC games and are not yet made for the Apple Silicon M1. However, the Rosetta 2 can perform them without issue. So yes, you can play casually on the MGN63LL/A 13-inch MacBook Air M1.
A game like Fortnite is playable at 60 FPS with high-quality settings and maximal resolution. Also for League of Legends, with every setting set to the max, the M1 Apple MacBook Air can play at 70 FPS (see video below).
This gaming result is impressive considering you are playing a popular game on a base model, and a fanless laptop running on Rosetta 2. Once those games are made for the new M1 MBA, they will be playable at more FPS.
Is 8GB of RAM enough?
The 2020 M1 13-inch MacBook Air MGN63LL/A variant comes with 8GB of RAM. The new M1 CPU was optimized so that the 8GB of memory is more capable than those other 8GB RAM devices.
So for multitasking, like having multiple tabs on Safari, video call, Zoom conference, editing documents, and many other basic to intermediate tasks the 8GB of memory is insanely efficient. Remember, this is a stable computer environment, you won’t see the slowdowns, as long as you don’t do extreme heavy computing jobs.
MGN63LL/A is fanless!
For the first time, Apple has delivered the MacBook Air that has no fan. Thanks again to the M1 chip, which is a super-efficient processor chip. Low power consumption also means low heat generation.
Apple has designed this chip to be optimized for passive cooling. This means you don’t need to have a fan to keep the laptop’s temperature cool. Additionally, the Aluminum unibody also helps to keep the low temperature. The CPU’s heat will dissipate through the metal frame. On top of that, the M1 includes low and high power cores which can balance the performance and the heat efficiently.
So if you want to have a laptop that will not burn this lap, this is the one.
This MGN63LL/A truly lives up to all the hype about Apple laptops battery life, so I don’t need to say a lot about it. With its 30W USB-C power adapter and built-in 49.9 WH Lithium-polymer battery, you will get about 10-15 hours of battery life for basic use. The battery life also depends on the apps you are running.
This lengthy battery life is very rare on a PC laptop at this price range. It is incredibly helpful when you need your MacBook for work or school all day. You don’t need to worry when you forget the charger at home. This laptop won’t give up on you, never.
Other Beautifully-Made Features
When it comes to appearance and design, there are no other laptops that come close to Apple’s. They have the finest laptops. People who do not use Apple would choose to agree on this.
IPS Retina Display
The unparalleled feature on the MBAs is without a doubt, the Retina display. The 2020 M1 13-inch Apple MacBook Air MGN63LL/A comes with a beautiful 13.3-inch (measured diagonally) non-touch IPS Retina display. The panel is not all just “beautiful”. Is it crispier? You will need to see it yourself. If you ever used a Retina display, you won’t want to use a standard IPS panel again. But if you still want to have a touchscreen laptop, consider this HP notebook.
The LED-backlit IPS Retina display has 227 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) that supports millions of colors. This is more PPI than most “expensive” laptops that cost 1.5K and more! With this high number of PPI, you will get better real estate of your screen. You’ll get crisper text and sharper images, which will please your eye, reducing the eye strain possibilities. Being an IPS gives you a better viewing angle experience. And, because it is a Retina display, it also means, it gives you better viewing angles than an IPS screen.
Moreover, the Retina display has 2560-by-1600 native resolution, Wide Color P3, True Tone Technology, and 400 nits brightness! It’s really rare to see a screen that has 400 nits brightness at this price range, but this MGN63LL/A packs it.
Most laptops at this price point only have a maximum of 200 nits screen, meaning they are not ideal for outdoor use. For outdoor use, we recommend getting 300 nits or even higher, the higher nits the better. Our MacBook Air here is an ideal ultrabook for both indoor and outdoor use.
Backlit Keyboard & Trackpad
The other best feature of this MGN63LL/A is its famous keyboard and glass trackpad.
The keyboard is called Apple’s Magic keyboard, if you have used a MacBook before, the keyboard in this MBA feels much nicer. Why? Because this Magic Keyboard has 11mm key travel and a Scissor Switch mechanism which makes your typing experience a dream. If you like to type on your laptop for a long period, you will love the backlit keyboard.
Furthermore, the keyboard has the Touch ID key, it will log you in by using your fingerprint in a second flawlessly. You must have heard a lot of complaints from a lot of PC users for not being able to use their notebook’s Fingerprint reader feature, but not with this Apple’s notebook. Their products are iconic when it comes to the quality and their promises.
The glass trackpad is the best in the market, so smooth and large. Thanks to the Force Touch technology, you can navigate with your gestures precisely and comfortably.
MacBooks have the best keyboard, hands down.
If you like to listen to music when you are working on your projects on this laptop, you will be surprised by the speaker’s sound. For this very thin and lightweight laptop, the quality of the speakers is pretty good, has details. It is not the best speaker out there of course, but for tiny speaker internals, it is loud and clear.
Apple once again did it! This device is a top-notch ultrabook, and it isn’t merely a bluff. Almost everything is sublime, design, keyboard, trackpad, battery life, build quality, screen, and of course the M1 chip performance.
In addition to all of these, this model is the base model, the cheapest MacBook you can get for now.
The Space Gray 2020 M1 13-inch Apple MacBook Air MGN63LL/A is light and thin, yet it is capable to blow away the competitors by a mile, clearly the winner.