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When you’re looking for the best MacBook for college, consider skipping the MacBook Pro, saving some money, and opting for the Apple MacBook Air instead. This 13 inch MacBook Air costs just under $800, has 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, and offers up to 11 hours of performance on a single charge, making it the perfect laptop for class.

Why We Like It – Apple‌ ‌MacBook‌ ‌Air‌ ‌13

This Apple MacBook Air 13 is a year older than the new MacBook Air, but it still has a lot to offer. From its backlit magic keyboard to its beautiful Retina display, the MacBook Air is still one of the nicest laptops on the market today.

Pros
  • Has Touch ID
  • Up to 12 Hours of Battery Life
  • Has a 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Cons
  • Doesn’t Have the Touch Bar
  • Only Available in Three Colors (Space Gray, Silver, & Gold)

Power & Performance

Although (unlike the Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch) this Apple MacBook doesn’t have a Touch Bar, it does have Touch ID, a backlit Magic keyboard, a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage. It has a Retina display, which provides a beautiful display with a resolution of 2560p by 1600p (similar to the Apple MacBook Air M1 13 inch). It’s capable of displaying millions of colors and has a density of 227 pixels per inch, so it will be perfect whether you’re writing essays or watching Netflix.

Battery

When compared to the up-to-20-hour battery life of the Apple MacBook Pro M1 13″, the Apple MacBook Air 13’s 11-hour battery life doesn’t seem very good. Still, an 11-hour battery life will last you all day, but realistically you can expect anywhere from 6 to ten hours of performance per charge. This will largely depend on what you use the laptop for, but the 49.9 Wh LiPo battery should be enough to carry you through your daily classes (just limit the gaming!).

Ports & Expandability

Unfortunately, connection options are extremely limited on the Apple MacBook Air 13. It only has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports – nothing else. No USB 2.0, no USB 3.0, no DisplayPort, no HDMI, and no SD card slot. Literally everything you connect to this device will require a USB-C plug or an adapter. While the 256 GB of internal storage may be enough for most users, it will likely pose a problem for heavy users with an abundance of files, as they will quickly run out of space.

Build Quality

True to the MacBook line, the Air 13 has a fully-aluminum chassis. This results in a compact, yet sturdy laptop that will hold up well against normal use. Although the Air 13 is not military-grade resistant & won’t deal well with splashes, dust, or drops, under normal circumstances you shouldn’t have any issues at all with the durability & longevity of this device. This version includes the addition of the “Magic Keyboard”, a keyboard with 1mm of travel that’s backlit, quiet, and comfortable to use.

Value

At $799.99, the MacBook Air 13 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s fairly low-priced by MacBook standards. For that price, you get the laptop, a charger, and a one-year warranty through Apple. Most customers seem happy with their purchase as the laptop scores a 4.8 out of 5 (based on 10,041 ratings), but if you don’t think the internal 256 GB of storage will be enough for you, you can always spend an additional $100-$350 (depending on the seller) to get the 512 GB version instead.

Apple MacBook Air 13 Wrap Up

While it’s not as cutting-edge & high-tech as the newest MacBook, the Apple MacBook Air 13 is definitely worth a second look. Offering a sleek, aluminum body, 256 (or 512) gigabytes of storage, 8 GB of RAM, & a 13-inch Retina screen, this MacBook is the best way to make an impression when you walk into class on your first day of the new semester.

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Kevin Foley

Kevin Foley is a writer from Florida who specializes in working with small businesses regarding finance, marketing, & technology. When he's not working on a project for a client, he can often be found listening to podcasts, enjoying time outdoors, or planning his next big adventure

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