M1 MacBook Air: 3 things I LOVE & 3 things I HATE in this laptop (Brutally Honest Review)!

So I purchased the base model of M1 MacBook Air, and after using it for a couple of weeks, here are the 3 things that I love about this laptop and 3 things that I hate.

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1a) I love the Build Quality

Let's start with the gorgeous 2560x1600 resolution screen which is way higher than typical 1080p panels that you will find on comparatively priced windows laptops. It's also really bright clocking 400 nits of brightness and offers wide viewing angles and 114% sRGB color gamut. These are insane numbers for any laptop in this price range. I find Macbook air’s all aluminum build quality just amazing. There is no creaking, flexing or bending and the fit and finish is impeccable. It almost feels like a unibody design with no visible gaps or seams. 

You have a choice of going with traditional colors like Space Gray or Silver, but I decided to go with the Gold color which looks stunning in my opinion. I appreciate the fact that Apple doesn't litter their laptops with ugly stickers. You also won't find any vents at the bottom of macBook Air because of its fanless design. Now let's talk about the keyboard. Ever since Jony Ives introduced the dumbass butterfly keyboard, macbook users have been plagued with horrible typing experience. But not anymore since the M1 Macbook Air uses a more traditional Scissor Switch Keyboard. I love typing on this laptop. It provides nice balanced keys that offer just the right amount of key travel and perfect actuation force resulting in great tactile feedback. 

When it comes to the typing experience, I will put the Macbook Air right up there with Thinkpad Carbon X1 which has the best keyboard in my opinion. Moving on to the trackpad, M1 MacBook Air offers a large glass trackpad which is a joy to use thanks to its smooth surface. Interestingly this trackpad doesn't physically move or click, but simulates clicking using some voodoo magic called Force Touch. I also appreciate the fact that this laptop comes with a fingerprint sensor that doubles as power button

1b) I hate the lack of touchscreen

While the screen on the M1 MacBook Air is great, I hate its chunky bezels and the lack of touchscreen display. Being used to touchscreen displays on both my windows laptops and chromebooks, it's very jarring to suddenly use a laptop without any touchscreen functionality. It feels weird and archaic in 2021. 

Honestly I don't understand why Apple is resisting touchscreen displays on their laptops. Especially now when the M1 MacBook air natively supports many iOS apps that are designed for touch. My guess is that Tim Cook wants you to buy both a macbook air and an ipad. While that's great for Apple's bottom line, it sucks for us consumers. After using Yoga 7i and Flex 5 touchscreen laptops with support for Active Pens, I am convinced that all thin and light laptops need these features. So here is my advice to Tim Cook. Stop being a douchenozzle and release M2 Macbook Air with touch screen and Apple Pencil support in 2022. 

2a) I Love its Crazy Performance

For the price, M1 MacBook Air is a ridiculously fast machine. In fact this is the fastest thin and light laptop that I have ever used. And mind you guys, I am only using the base model of MacBook Air which comes with a puny 8GB system RAM. Yet, I can run over a dozen apps and smoothly toggle between them without any lag. Resource hungry apps like Davinci Resolve video editing software runs butter smooth despite low system RAM. Now a typical thin and light windows laptop with only 8 gig system RAM will choke if you try running anything like Davinci Resolve on it. You will most likely need a fat gaming laptop with tons of system RAM and a discrete nVidia GPU to run such a resource hungry app. 

So why is the M1 MacBook Air able to deliver this crazy performance despite low system RAM and lack of discrete GPU? First and the obvious reason is the M1 silicon. It's the fastest chip in the market in low thermal envelope category, putting both Intel and AMD to shame. Enough has already been said about this chip, so I will move on to the second reason which is the on-die unified memory architecture. It allows the system RAM to sit very close to the CPU and the GPU cores. As a result both graphics and compute cores can fetch opcodes and data packets very quickly resulting in a blazing performance. I think both Intel and AMD should consider using this unified memory architecture in their future chip designs. So guys here is the bottom line. Apple’s M1 chip is a total beast and there is nothing in the windows world as of now that can compete with it. Added bonus is its blazing fast SSD which keeps up with the M1 silicon resulting in a kickass overall performance.

2b) I hate the zero upgrade options

In my opinion, Apple has learned all the wrong lessons from the success of iPad. I hate the iPadification of the new M1 Macbook Air. Apple has gone full proprietary mode with this laptop, and there is literally nothing that you can upgrade on M1 Macbook Air. This is a tightly locked and sealed device with zero upgrade options down the road. So that means you are stuck with the 256 gig SSD storage and the 8 GIG system RAM that comes with the base model. You have the option of picking more RAM and SSD during purchase, but Apple will charge you an arm and a leg for these upgrades. 

Now the good news is that the base model with 8 GB system RAM is plenty for most folks. Like I mentioned before, the base model of M1 MacBook Air performs like a champ and chews through any task that I throw at it. But who knows how the macOS and various popular apps will behave in future. Software tend to get bulky and resource hungry over time, and if you intend to keep this laptop for a long time, the lack of upgrade options may be its Achilles heel. 

3a) I love it Battery life

The 3nd thing that I love about the MacBook Air is its fan-less design and stellar battery life. Apple claims 18 hours of battery life during typical video playback and 15 hours during internet surfing with WiFi turned on. Unlike other laptop makers who proclaim long battery life but fail to deliver on their promise, Apple is shockingly accurate with its claim provided you are using the Safari browser. But I found that while using Google chrome or Mozilla firefox browser, the battery life takes a hit by almost an hour. 

M1 Macbook Air has broken my nightly ritual of charging all my devices before going to bed. Since its battery life is so good, I don't feel the need to charge it frequently unlike all my other windows laptops. I also love the M1 MacBook Air’s fanless design. It runs whisper quiet, even while running demanding tasks like video and photo editing. This almost feels magical because intuitively I expect the fans in my laptop to kick in and make a lot of noise, when I am doing something CPU intensive. But the M1 MacBook air keeps chugging along nicely and all I hear is a pin drop silence. 

3b) I hate Mac-OSX. Where is the dual boot option?

Mac-os looks pretty but boy do I miss windows. There are some basic features that I took for granted on windows 10, and I sorely miss them on mac-os. For e.g. when I am downloading or copying a file, I can see its progress right in the taskbar since windows explorer icon is dynamic and shows the progress in real time. Similarly while rendering a video, I can see the progress by just looking at the application icon on the taskbar. This functionality is missing in Mac-os and as a longtime windows user, I find this omission very surprising. 

Also windows 10 allows you to automatically snap windows by dragging them to the corners. You can't do that on mac. I am sure there are third party apps that replicate this feature, but mac-os natively doesn't support it. In Windows 10 you can use something called Microsoft PowerToys which makes it easy to create complex window layouts and quickly position windows into these layouts. So long story short, while I love the M1 macbook Air’s hardware,I miss features from windows 10 operating system. In the past Apple allowed dual booting via Boot-Camp, but unfortunately the M1 MacBook Air doesn't support it and that sucks. 

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