It’s been awhile since I’ve bought a ‘new’ computer. The last time was in 2015 when I bought a 2012 MacBook Pro 13″ I’ve had hundreds of computers over the years, literally hundreds (right now, there are probably 20 sitting in the house)
The reason behind the MacBook Air purchase is a bit complicated. I decided to try switching to DaVinci Resolve on a Windows Laptop (Dell Latitude 5580) and it worked really well but the learning curve to use a new software program was difficult. I then decided to switch back to Final Cut Pro X and after watching dozens of reviews, it would seem that the MacBook Air with the M1 processor could handle the basic editing that I required. So here we are. Typing this review on the MacBook Air.
To be honest, I find the keyboard a bit difficult to use when typing anything longer than a sentence. Normally when editing videos, the longest statement that I need to write is the video description so I’m not comfortable on this keyboard yet. The keys are shallow and I’m used to having more play in them when typing. The keyboard on the Lenovo X220 or the T420 are still my favourites but that’s a topic for another post.
The M1 MBA (MacBook Air from now on) has a great screen though. It’s a 13″ 2560×1600 which feels like just the right size. It’s slim and easy to carry but I typically don’t leave my desk with it so maybe the MacMini might have been a better choice for me but they are hard to find right now. I went with the base model which has 8GB ram and a 256GB HDD running Big Sur. I’ve been editing a few videos on it in FCPx and it feels like putting on a comfortable sweater. The MBA handles basic editing really well but I’m worried about filling up the small hard drive so I’ll need to get an external drive. But this is where some issues start.
The lack of ports is a real thing. The MBA only comes with two USB-C ports. One is for the power supply and that leaves a single USB-C port. Lucky for us though, I have a dongle (what a horrible word) that has a full size SD card reader, a mini-SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports and a HDMI out. I use the dongle to push HDMI out to my 27″ NEC screen and it works really well but my one complaint on it is that it takes a few moments for the external screen to wake up from the moment that I press the power button.
Speaking of buttons, the MBA has a fingerprint reader built into it’s power button. I almost bought the 13″ MacBook Pro but I didn’t want that ‘bar’ or whatever it is at the top of the screen and it was $1649 for basically the same hardware specs as the Air which was $1299. The MBA is really sparse when it comes to the keyboard but I don’t need a lot so its great for my basic uses. While we’re on the topic of keyboards, I also like how the MBA has a backlit keyboard to make it easier to use at night. The keyboard is well spaced out and now that I’ve been typing for a few minutes, it’s starting to get more and more comfortable.
The trackpad on the M1 MBA is massive and there is still enough room to offer sufficient palm space for when you type. I don’t find myself hitting the trackpad. It’s not getting in the way which is a nice change of pace from some Windows laptops.
Long story short, if you need a basic computer for video editing, the MBA is a fine choice. The downside to this is the cost though. At $1299, this is a pricey machine. you can find a similar specced Windows computer for under $1000 brand new or even a good used Windows computer for under $500.
Tell me in the comments below what you think of the Apple laptop line up. Would you get one?