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MacBook Recommendation: Q1 2020

It’s been roughly a year since I last wrote about a portable macOS computer, but considering that Apple just announced an updated MacBook Air, the timing is right to update my recommendation.

Context

My views here are based on the daily usage of a regular office person. This means email, browsing, music, file management, and other basic tasks. I’m not considering heavy tasks such as photo or video editing, or anything more taxing.

Recommendation

Get the 2020 MacBook Air.

I’m not bothered about processor speed (and you probably shouldn’t either), but bump the RAM up to 16GB (you’ll thank me in a year or two) and see if you’re willing to stretch for the 1TB storage space, though 256GB-512GB will suffice for most users.

If your computing needs are more demanding, and you can afford it, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a real winner. Though it really is very pricey.

Benefits

It’s an “affordable” portable macOS computer that is physically lightweight, and yet powerful enough to handle day to day work.

More importantly they’ve rolled out the updated (read: fixed) keyboard that is currently working very well in the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Concerns

  • Dongletown: We’re still living in a world where USB-C devices have a premium attached to them and aren’t as commonplace as USB-A. Things will only get better, but as of now, dealing with dongles and is still going to be slightly uncomfortable.
  • 2 USB-C ports: You only get 2 USB-C ports, and one of those parts is going to be taken up by the charging cable, so you effectively only have 1 USB-C port to use. That should be fine for light use, but it could get tricky when you need additional ports.

In closing

Considering that the keyboard should be fixed, there really isn’t any major reason why I wouldn’t recommend the latest MacBook Air, it’s a great general purpose computer with a small physical footprint. While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s still affordable for what you get, especially when we live in a time where people are happily paying well over RM5,000 for an iPhone.

The last thing I’d mention is that aside from the past few years of well documented keyboard design hubris from Apple, MacBook Pro computers have been extremely durable and age well. I’m typing this on my late 2013 model, and the only time I remember that I’m using an old computer is when I’m typing articles like this, or when the 6-year old battery doesn’t hold up well.

At least I no longer have to recommend folks buy a 2015 MacBook Pro anymore. That’s the real relief.

By matt

A tech enthusiast who spent his first paycheck ever on a mobile phone. Over a decade later, he's still throwing all his money at mobile technology, much to the chagrin of his wife.