– SCREEN looks great! 2560×1600 resolution is bright and sharp and looks good with the thin black bezel. I usually don’t go above 50% brightness.
– KEYBOARD is good. Some have mentioned that it still sucks, but I find it much better than the older MBAs that I own and better than say, the Magic Keyboard. Even with a thin silicone keyboard cover I find the typing experience to be much better and I can type faster and with fewer mistakes.
– BATTERY LIFE is fantastic. Haven’t done any real testing yet and obviously it depends on a lot of factors (wifi usage, video streaming, HD vs 4k video viewing/processing/etc., screen brightness, type of app being used, etc.) but for my usage (mostly web browsing, video viewing on YouTube, accessing VPN for work (Citrix, EPIC), etc., it has been great. Easily tops 10 hours and super impressed so far.
– LOOKS GREAT. Love the newer (I know that the actual exterior design is a few years old by now) design, looks and feels great. Form factor is nice and it is a reasonable weight.
– NO FAN. That’s awesome, as it not only stays quiet all the time but you also do not need to worry about blocking any fan vents on the bottom or back of the case while you have it on your lap. Pretty amazing really for a laptop to have no fans.
– PERFORMANCE. It works great so far on what I have used it for, which is not terribly a lot, but it is what it is for a laptop using Apple silicon for the first time. For just day to day use and things like Chrome, Office (Word, Excel), Citirx, EPIC, etc., it has been super smooth and fast. Have not tried gaming yet but do not have high hopes given it is the base model with 7-core GPU. Also, things like start up are noticeably faster with the M1 versus my 2020 iMac 27″ (top end) with Intel chips.
– TOUCH ID is great still. Works very fast and the button does not get greasy (which makes it not work well) like the old iPhone home buttons. On the other hand, it should really have Face ID at this point.
– APPLE ECOSYSTEM is great as usual and a real reason to get this MBA. Apple Watch easily unlocks it (so you do not really need Face ID if you have the watch). You can easily send/receive files using AirDrop or cast using AirPlay. And so on and so forth.
– BIG SUR comes preinstalled but you need to update to get 11.0.1.
– WEBCAM still sucks. Still low resolution and just does not look good in FaceTime, Teams, etc. Shame that Apple is so slow to upgrade webcams on the Macs (the 27″ iMac FINALLY upgraded to 1080p front cams only a couple months ago… I got one and it looks so much better than this MBA’s camera).
– ONLY 2 PORTS. Sad that this thing has only 2 USB-C ports (that cover thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, charging, DisplayPort). Given that it is used to charge, it leaves only one USB-C port for other use, pretty lame. I wish they had squeezed (I think it would fit) a USB-A port so that I could plug in my wireless mouse USB-A dongle as I have never liked any bluetooth mouse, or at least one more USB-C port.
– NEW TECH (Apple silicon) means the M1-optimized apps are still being rolled out, e.g. Photoshop still not available at release.
– BATTERY still cannot be removed, no surprise here, but means that like all Apple mobile tech it will have a useable lifespan determined at least partly by the non-removable battery. Easier to have an iPhone’s battery replaced than a MBA I would imagine but hopefully it maintains a high level of performance for 4 years at the minimum.
A few negatives (mostly the webcam) but enough significant improvements that this MBA is really a no-brainer for anyone needing a non-power notebook compute, especially if s/he is already in the Apple ecosystem. Love it so far!