Apple’s 2018 MacBook Air debuted Tuesday, to much anticipation—over three long years’ worth, since the prior generation launched in March, 2015. Yes, 2015, which might as well be the Carter Administration in computer years. 

For the new MacBook Air, Apple appears to have consulted our list of things the MacBook Air update needed to have. You know, like narrow bezels, fingerprint readers, a higher-resolution screen, Thunderbolt 3, and the latest-generation CPU. Things you can already get in some of the leading 13-inch ultraportable PCs, like Dell’s XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre x360 13—laptops that are refreshed once or twice a year. What a concept. 

Has the 2018 MacBook Air caught up with the rest of the world? Let’s compare some specs and see. 

dell new xps 13 vs hp spectre x360 13 1 Gordon Mah Ung

Here’s what happens when you pit the new 2018 MacBook Air against the PC’s best and brightest.

2018 MacBook Air vs. Dell XPS 13 9370

The Dell XPS 13 is the laptop that set the stage for smaller bezels. When introduced three years ago, it was nearly as small as a MacBook Air, which at the time had an 11-inch display, but the XPS 13 had a 13.3-inch screen.

Although Dell still carries an older version, Dell gave the XPS 13 a major redesign with the XPS 13 9370, the one we’ll compare to the new Macbook Air.


The only CPU detail we know about the MacBook Air is that it uses an “8th gen Core i5 dual-core.” That doesn’t say much, but Apple’s website says the graphics are Intel UHD 617, which doesn’t officially exist yet in Intel’s database. Given that the CPU is a dual-core 8th-gen, it’s likely the CPU could be a relative of this unannounced Core i7-8510Y, which popped up in a performance database with Intel UHD 617 graphics. 

New XPS 13 Adam Patrick Murray

Dell’s XPS 13 9370 is one of the fastest ultraportables we’ve ever seen, and a formidable rival to the new Macbook Air 13.

No matter which CPU it uses, we can tell you with a high degree of certainty that the Core i5-8250U or the Core i7-8550U option in the XPS 13 will smoke the 2018 MacBook Air. The Core i5 XPS 13 9370 is one of the fastest ultraportable laptops we’ve ever seen. We strongly suspect that even the cheapest Core i3 option in the cheapest XPS 13 will leave the new MacBook Air in the dust.

Sure, you can argue that the CPU in the new MacBook Air is designed for low-power uses, but that also means someone can argue that it’s designed for low-performance uses too.



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