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If you’re looking for the best MacBook for college but don’t have the funds for a MacBook Pro, consider this 2017 Apple MacBook Air instead! Although it’s not a newer model, it still brings many of the performance perks & proprietary features to the table that Apple is known for. Enjoy 128 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor packed into this 2.96-pound machine.

Why We Like It – Apple MacBook Air Core i5

This Apple MacBook Air Core i5 may not have the specs of a new Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch model, but it still packs a punch for the price. Powered by a 5th generation Intel core processor, Intel HD Graphics 6000, and a 128 GB SSD with 8 GB of RAM, this 13 inch MacBook Air brings the reliability and performance that Apple products are known for at a fraction of the price.

  • Up to 12 Hours of Battery Life
  • 16:10 Aspect Ratio
  • Capable of Connecting to 5 GHz Wi Fi Networks
  • Only 128 GB of Storage
  • This Model Lacks a Retina Display

Power & Performance

This MacBook Air is powered by a 1.8GHz dual-core 5th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. Using Turbo Boost, it can run at speeds of up to 2.9GHz. For graphic rendering, it uses the Intel HD Graphics 6000, and it has 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. While this setup definitely won’t be able to keep up with modern high-requirement games, you should still be able to play older games on lower settings without any issues. That said, the MacBook Air Core i5 feels much more at home with media creation than gaming.


Internally, this MacBook Air houses a built-in 54 Wh lipo battery that provides the laptop with up to 12 hours of battery life during casual use, and up to 30 days if it’s left on standby. Along with the MacBook, you also get a 45W MagSafe 2 power adapter. This charger has a self-preserving design because the charger is held in by magnets, meaning it will easily disconnect instead of pulling your laptop to the floor. You can plug the charger directly into a wall, or use the cable if your outlet is far away.

Ports & Expandability

Since it’s an older model, it doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) connections found on the newer Apple MacBook Air 13, but it still has a fair amount of connection options. This 2017 MacBook Air has two USB 3 ports, a Thunderbolt 2 port, and an SDXC card slot. By today’s standard, the internal SSD is rather low at 128 GB, but it’s still far more than most Chromebooks. On the other hand, the included 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM feels much more modern.

Build Quality

Apple’s MacBooks are known for their iconic aluminum body shells, which undoubtedly contributed to the large amount of metallic-chassis laptops on the market today. This model is no exception; it has a full aluminum body, weighs a total of 2.96 lbs., and is 0.7 inches thick when closed. Although it’s no longer one of the thinnest laptops on the market, the Air still is fairly lightweight & very thin, making it easy to transport. Unfortunately, this model lacks the Retina display found on the Apple MacBook Pro M1 13″, but it still offers a great visual performance nonetheless.


Originally retailing for $999, this MacBook Air is now available for $642.92. It may be a nearly 3-year-old device, but we still think this is a fair price. Scoring 4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 7,499 Amazon ratings), this Climate Pledge Friendly device comes with a 1-year Apple limited warranty. Taking into account the fact that this device is still capable (and outperforms many modern devices), has an adequate amount of internal storage, and is an Apple-labeled product available for less than $650, we can definitely recommend this device with confidence.

Apple MacBook Air Core i5 Wrap Up

This Apple MacBook Air Core i5 is an older model that’s still worth the price. While the 128 GB of SSD storage may be too little for some people, you can always use an external HD with this laptop. The 8 GB of RAM should be adequate for the majority of users, and although this laptop doesn’t have a Retina display, we still would recommend it for anyone who wants a MacBook but doesn’t want to break the bank.

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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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