Notebookcheck

Apple MacBook Air 2020 Core i5 Review – The best MacBook you can get? – No

Missed opportunity - or on purpose? The new 2020 MacBook Air is better thanks to an improved keyboard as well as more powerful CPUs. Many reviews even say it is the best MacBook you can get right now. If you have a closer look, however, you will still see the big problem with the performance and the cooling solution. Apple definitely missed an opportunity here.
Klaus Hinum, Andreas Osthoff (translated by Andreas Osthoff),

After the new MacBook Pro 16 was equipped with a conventional keyboard design, Apple now also replaces the problematic Butterfly keyboard on the compact MacBook Air. It requires more space though, so the case of the 2020 MacBook Air is actually a bit thicker than before. You also get custom processors from Intel, which are still based on the low-power Y-series, but they are now based on the newer Ice Lake architecture and it is the first time you can get a MacBook Air with a quad-core CPU. Apple also improved the speakers on the new model, doubled the storage capacity and slightly reduced the price.

Otherwise, not much has changed, so we also recommend our comprehensive reviews of the previous MacBook Air models for more information. We review the quad-core i5 SKU for 1499 Euros ($1299 US) we purchased in Apple's online store (no press sample). This model is equipped with the aforementioned Core i5 CPU with four cores, 8 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD storage. So is the new MacBook Air really the best MacBook for most users right now, or should you just get a Pro model for this kind of money?

Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5 (MacBook Air 2020 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 4 x 1.1 - 3.5 GHz, Ice Lake Y
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR4X-3733
Display
13.3 inch 16:10, 2560 x 1600 pixel 227 PPI, APPA042, IPS, glossy: yes, 60 Hz
Mainboard
Intel Ice Lake-Y
Storage
Apple SSD AP0512, 512 GB 
Soundcard
Apple Audio Device
Connections
2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: Headset, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 16.1 x 304.1 x 212.4 ( = 0.63 x 11.97 x 8.36 in)
Battery
49.9 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 11 h
Operating System
Apple macOS 10.15 Catalina
Camera
Primary Camera: 0.9 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Magic Keyboard - Scissor, 12 Months Warranty
Released
03/20/2020
Weight
1.289 kg ( = 45.47 oz / 2.84 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
88 %
04/2020
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
i5-1030NG7, Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
1.3 kg16.1 mm13.3"2560x1600
86 %
01/2020
Apple Macbook Air 2019
i5-8210Y, UHD Graphics 617
1.3 kg15.6 mm13.3"2560x1600
91 %
02/2020
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
i5-8257U, Iris Plus Graphics 645
1.4 kg14.9 mm13.3"2560x1600
84 %
02/2020
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
i5-1035G7, Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
1.3 kg14.5 mm13.5"2256x1504
87 %
02/2020
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
i7-1065G7, Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
1.2 kg16.6 mm13.5"2256x1504
89 %
03/2020
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
i5-1035G1, UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU)
1.2 kg14.8 mm13.4"1920x1200

Case – MacBook Air is thicker than before

The case is basically identical to the previous version of the MacBook Air. it is still a very compact, lightweight, and slim laptop. However, the 2020 model is slightly thicker at the rear, but you will have a hard time noticing the difference between 16.1 vs. 15.9 mm (~0.634 x 0.625 inches) in the real world.

The quality of the aluminum chassis is once again excellent. Perfect build quality, sophisticated surfaces, and good stability. You can choose between the three familiar color options: Space Gray, Gold or Silver.

Compared to the more expensive Pro models, we like the tapered front of the chassis. The notebook appears even slimmer than it is, but more importantly, there is no sharp edge that could hurt your forearms during long typing sessions. The latter is actually an issue with the MacBook Pro models.

The footprint of the MacBook Air is still identical to the faster MacBook Pro 13. This is an area where the new Dell XPS 13 9300 definitely has an advantage, and the weight of both the Dell and the Acer Swift 3 are lower. The sturdy chassis made from a single piece of aluminum definitely comes at the cost of the higher weight.

Size Comparison

308 mm / 12.1 inch 223 mm / 8.78 inch 14.5 mm / 0.571 inch 1.3 kg2.84 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 16.1 mm / 0.634 inch 1.3 kg2.84 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 15.6 mm / 0.614 inch 1.3 kg2.76 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.4 kg3.03 lbs302 mm / 11.9 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 16.6 mm / 0.654 inch 1.2 kg2.56 lbs296 mm / 11.7 inch 199 mm / 7.83 inch 14.8 mm / 0.583 inch 1.2 kg2.62 lbs

Connectivity – MacBook Air still without Wi-Fi 6

We can keep it short here, because there are no changes compared to the old MacBook Air. Two Thunderbolt 3 connectors are very versatile, but they also require adapters. The communication module still does not support the fast Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Both Thunderbolt 3 ports worked without any problems during our test period. We managed to copy a large 10 GB file from an external Samsung T5 2TB SSD at an average rate of 438 MB/s. The large Philips 329P9 worked well at 4K (60 Hz) including USB 2.0 hub and power delivery. The same goes for our LG 27UD88-W including hub and power delivery. The Mantiz Titan Thunderbolt Dock was also immediately recognized and we were able to use the Mantiz Venus eGPU in combination with the RX 480 to increase the graphics performance. However, the Ethernet port required additional drivers from Asix.

Left side: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
Left side: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
Right side: Headset port
Right side: Headset port

Communication

Similar to our MacBook Pro 16 review, we once again had some problems with the Wi-Fi 5 WLAN and the iperf test, where the data transfer was occasionally interrupted. However, the connection with a FritzBox 7590 worked well with good range. The results are just slightly below the MacBook Pro 13 from 2019 and are basically identical to the 2019 MacBook Air. Compared to current high-end WLAN modules like the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 or the Killer AX1650, we can see a big difference and the Air is unfortunately just average in this notebook class.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650s
1460 MBit/s ∼100% +139%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1251 (min: 803, max: 1358) MBit/s ∼86% +104%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Broadcom 802.11ac
817 (min: 806, max: 821) MBit/s ∼56% +33%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Broadcom 802.11ac
648 (min: 317, max: 666) MBit/s ∼44% +6%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
612 (min: 576, max: 636) MBit/s ∼42%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
609 MBit/s ∼42% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (30.9 - 1658, n=164)
599 MBit/s ∼41% -2%
Average 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  (32.9 - 1065, n=345)
385 MBit/s ∼26% -37%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
289 (min: 167, max: 328) MBit/s ∼20% -53%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1484 (min: 1342, max: 1614) MBit/s ∼100% +170%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650s
906 MBit/s ∼61% +65%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Broadcom 802.11ac
614 (min: 311, max: 623) MBit/s ∼41% +12%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Broadcom 802.11ac
581 (min: 533, max: 616) MBit/s ∼39% +6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (36 - 1416, n=164)
577 MBit/s ∼39% +5%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
550 (min: 546, max: 561) MBit/s ∼37%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
544 MBit/s ∼37% -1%
Average 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  (31.2 - 966, n=345)
358 MBit/s ∼24% -35%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
49.8 (min: 3, max: 102) MBit/s ∼3% -91%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10: Ø612 (576-637)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10: Ø551 (544-561)

Webcam – Air with low 720p resolution

Apple offers smartphones with great cameras, but still pretty much ignores the cameras in its laptops. And we have the feeling that there has been no improvement since the introduction of the 720p camera. In times with more and more home office and video conferences, the picture quality is unfortunately very poor. Apple is still average among the notebook competition, but you cannot be satisfied with this performance.

ColorChecker
6.8 ∆E
7.1 ∆E
3.7 ∆E
7.7 ∆E
5.8 ∆E
7.3 ∆E
6.7 ∆E
6.7 ∆E
6.8 ∆E
3.2 ∆E
8.4 ∆E
9 ∆E
5.4 ∆E
8.2 ∆E
10.7 ∆E
7.9 ∆E
9.5 ∆E
11.5 ∆E
4.8 ∆E
5.5 ∆E
7.1 ∆E
6.4 ∆E
5.2 ∆E
4.4 ∆E
ColorChecker Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5: 6.91 ∆E min: 3.19 - max: 11.46 ∆E

Maintenance

The teardown from our colleagues at iFixit shows that you cannot upgrade any parts of the MacBook Air. SSD, RAM, and Wi-Fi module are soldered onto the mainboard. You can at least clean the fan pretty easily (if you have the correct screw driver). The battery replacement, however, is easier than before, which is certainly a good thing.

No upgrade options - only the fan can be cleaned (source: iFixit)
No upgrade options - only the fan can be cleaned (source: iFixit)

Input Devices – MacBook Air without Butterfly switches

Keyboard

We have already mentioned that the new keyboard is the biggest change on the 2020 MacBook Air. Apple returns to scissor switches and removes the heavily criticized butterfly keys. Personally, the author actually appreciated the butterfly keyboard in the MacBook Pro 15 thanks to its precise key stroke and well-defined pressure point. With the 2018 models, there were no more problems with ignored keys due to dust particles. The new "Magic Keyboard" will still please more users and should also be the more reliable option for the upcoming years. Especially users of older MacBooks do not have to get used to anew keyboard and just get a familiar typing experience as well as a similar layout.

Magic Keyboard and glass trackpad
Magic Keyboard and glass trackpad

Touchpad

As always, the large Force Touch trackpad is a joy to use thanks to excellent gliding capabilities and the still unique Force Touch. We cannot find any issues here.

Display – Retina with True Tone

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

It looks like the display has not changed: IPS, 16:10, 2560 x 1600 pixels, and a glossy surface, even though Apple's screens are actually pretty good in this regard and they are not as glossy as many other panels/touchscreens (thanks to an anti-reflective layer). Apple's entry-level laptop also supports the True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature based on the environment. The panel ID has changed compared to the old model (now APPA042), but our measurements do not show any significant changes. The average luminance is at around 400 nits and the contrast ratio surpasses 1300:1. The subjective picture impression is very good, but the competition is at least on the same level and even better in some regards like the brightness.

Apple uses PWM to regulate the brightness at 75% or lower. We determine a very high frequency above 100 kHz, but we have received multiple mails from users with problems when working on some of the latest MacBooks. We recommend you test the device for as long a period as possible, to be on the safe side, if you are sensitive to PWM flickering.

386
cd/m²
384
cd/m²
391
cd/m²
387
cd/m²
430
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
397
cd/m²
433
cd/m²
421
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
APPA042
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 433 cd/m² Average: 404.7 cd/m² Minimum: 5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 427 cd/m²
Contrast: 1344:1 (Black: 0.32 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.8 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.8, calibrated: 1.6
ΔE Greyscale 1.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6
98.3% sRGB (Calman 2D) 97.6% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 64.2% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
APPA042, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.3
Apple Macbook Air 2019
APPA041, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.3
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
APPA03D, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.3
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Sharp LQ135P1JX51, IPS, 2256x1504, 13.5
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
BOE, NE135FBM-N41, IPS, 2256x1504, 13.5
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
SHP14CB, IPS, 1920x1200, 13.4
Response Times
-4%
-16%
-57%
-48%
-54%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38.7 (19.6, 19)
42.4 (21.2, 21.2)
-10%
50.4 (24.4, 26)
-30%
59.2 (28.4, 30.8)
-53%
55 (25, 30)
-42%
60 (28.4, 31.6)
-55%
Response Time Black / White *
30.44 (17.9, 12.6)
29.6 (16, 13.6)
3%
35.2 (19.6, 15.6)
-16%
41.6 (23.6, 18)
-37%
31 (17, 14)
-2%
33.2 (16.4, 16.8)
-9%
PWM Frequency
117000 (75)
111100 (66)
-5%
116300 (66)
-1%
21740 (51)
-81%
208 (90)
-100%
2500 (20)
-98%
Screen
-0%
12%
10%
-30%
-33%
Brightness middle
430
421
-2%
603
40%
403.4
-6%
474
10%
619
44%
Brightness
405
393
-3%
577
42%
397
-2%
426
5%
591
46%
Brightness Distribution
89
88
-1%
92
3%
89
0%
82
-8%
91
2%
Black Level *
0.32
0.34
-6%
0.35
-9%
0.34
-6%
0.29
9%
0.35
-9%
Contrast
1344
1238
-8%
1723
28%
1186
-12%
1634
22%
1769
32%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.8
1.5
17%
1.7
6%
0.94
48%
2.38
-32%
3
-67%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
4.6
3.8
17%
3.1
33%
2.92
37%
5.88
-28%
8.2
-78%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.6
0.7
56%
0.99
38%
2.69
-68%
1
37%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.1
1.2
-9%
2.1
-91%
0.9
18%
3.75
-241%
5.2
-373%
CCT
6644 98%
6694 97%
6843 95%
6620 98%
6466 101%
6340 103%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
64.2
61.3
-5%
76.7
19%
62.3
-3%
65
1%
66.9
4%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97.6
94.6
-3%
99.4
2%
98.7
1%
100
2%
99.3
2%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.18 101%
2.13 103%
2.37 93%
2.14 103%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-2% / -1%
-2% / 6%
-24% / -4%
-39% / -34%
-44% / -37%

* ... smaller is better

The display of the MacBook Air is very well calibrated out of the box and almost all the values are within the target range. We have calibrated the panel with the X-Rite i1 Pro 2 spectrophotometer and the professional CalMAN software (icm profile is linked in the box above), but this is not really necessary. Only the 100% blue value is slightly above the target deviation of 3. The MacBook Air still covers the smaller sRGB gamut completely, while the MacBook Pro models are targeting the wider P3 color space.

CalMAN Color Gamut (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN Color Gamut (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN Grayscale (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN Grayscale (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated (target color space sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated (target color space sRGB)
Spectral Distribution
Spectral Distribution
Blue level reduced via Nightshift
Blue level reduced via Nightshift
No visible color differences between the actual colors (upper half) and their reference values (lower half)
No visible color differences between the actual colors (upper half) and their reference values (lower half)

Outdoors, the 400-nit display is unfortunately only really sufficient in the shade. The background illumination is not able to compensate for the reflections in direct sunlight. The Pro models with their brighter panels are better in this regard, just like the current Dell XPS 13 9300.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30.44 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17.9 ms rise
↘ 12.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 78 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38.7 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 42 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 117000 Hz ≤ 75 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 117000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 75 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 117000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17893 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

Except for the reflections, there are no problems with the viewing angle stability of the IPS screen. Colors are stable and the brightness drop is not unusually strong.

Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

Performance – MacBook Air only for light workloads

Quad-core processor, sufficient RAM, and fast PCIe-SSD: The look at the spec sheet suggests a performance level, especially in combination with the price, that you just don't get in practice. Yes, there is a performance improvement thanks to the new quad-core processors, but the MacBook Air is still aimed at casual users that want to write some mails, browse the web, stream videos, or do the occasional light picture editing. The additional price from the Core i3 (2 cores) to the Core i5 (4 cores) is pretty low at 50 Euros ($100 US) for Apple's standards, so we definitely recommend this update.

Note: Some of our benchmarks are performed running on Windows 10 (Bootcamp) for comparison purposes. It is no problem to use the alternative OS, but we don't know how much optimization has been done by Apple. Our power consumption figures in particular show that there are still big differences between the operating systems. Cross-platform benchmarks (like Geekbench) also show a performance advantage for macOS.

GPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z Sensors
GPU-Z Sensors
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWInfo64
HWInfo64

Processor – Core i5 Ice Lake-Y with 4 cores

The MacBook Air is Apple's first laptop equipped with 10nm chip from Intel. The Core i5-1030NG7 is part of the ultra-low voltage Ice Lake-Y generation. It is a custom SoC for Apple in a slightly smaller package size and it has a 1W higher TDP (now 10W) compared to the standard chip without the "N" in the designation. Please see our tech section for more technical details.

Compared to the old MacBook Air with its dual-core i5-8210Y, we obviously see increased multi-core performance, but the Air still falls short against the typical 15W chips, which are common in this price range of ultrabooks. After a couple of seconds, we can also observe a performance drop of around 10%. The performance is at least identical on battery power.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740Tooltip
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5 Intel Core i5-1030NG7, Intel Core i5-1030NG7; macOS 10.15: Ø401 (363.09-448.1)
Apple Macbook Air 2019 Intel Core i5-8210Y, Intel Core i5-8210Y: Ø252 (241.29-254.07)
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD Intel Core i5-1035G1, Intel Core i5-1035G1; Ultra-Performance: Ø526 (443.49-666.89)
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD Intel Core i5-1035G1, Intel Core i5-1035G1; Optimized: Ø528 (367.46-659.7)
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7 Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Core i7-1065G7: Ø553 (544.51-599.88)
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7 Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Core i5-1035G7: Ø609 (588.11-736)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3 Intel Core i5-8257U, Intel Core i5-8257U: Ø634 (611.7-637.97)

The compact MacBook Air performs a bit better in the Geekbench tests, especially the single-core result shows a smaller gap to the competition. Still, the Core i5-1030NG7 once again cannot keep up when we stress all cores. It is quite interesting to compare the result with the iPad Pro 11, which is faster than the MacBook Air in both tests. It looks like it is just a matter of time before the Air is shipped with Apple's own ARM processors.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (macOS 10.15.1)
184 Points ∼100% +31%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼100% +31%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
175 Points ∼95% +25%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
172 Points ∼93% +23%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
166 Points ∼90% +19%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
159.33 Points ∼87% +14%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS 10.15)
140 Points ∼76%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
127 Points ∼69% -9%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (20 - 185, n=318)
120 Points ∼65% -14%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (macOS 10.15.1)
1435 (min: 1401, max: 1435) Points ∼100% +220%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
1362 (min: 1268.87, max: 1362.31) Points ∼95% +204%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
736 Points ∼51% +64%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1 (Ultra-Performance)
667 Points ∼46% +49%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1 (Optimized)
659 Points ∼46% +47%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
637.97 (min: 611.7, max: 637.97) Points ∼44% +42%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
615 Points ∼43% +37%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS 10.15)
448 (min: 363, max: 448) Points ∼31%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (32 - 1051, n=332)
376 Points ∼26% -16%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
254 (min: 241.29, max: 254.07) Points ∼18% -43%
Geekbench 5
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
7161 Points ∼100% +178%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (mac OS 15.1.0)
6841 Points ∼96% +166%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
Apple A12X Bionic
4661 Points ∼65% +81%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4368 Points ∼61% +70%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
4181 Points ∼58% +63%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
2972 Points ∼42% +16%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (293 - 5018, n=24)
2811 Points ∼39% +9%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7
2572 Points ∼36%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
1433 Points ∼20% -44%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
1301 Points ∼100% +28%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (mac OS 15.1.0)
1239 Points ∼95% +21%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
1186 Points ∼91% +16%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
Apple A12X Bionic
1114 Points ∼86% +9%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7
1020 Points ∼78%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
989 Points ∼76% -3%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
936 Points ∼72% -8%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (260 - 1312, n=24)
911 Points ∼70% -11%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
660 Points ∼51% -35%
Geekbench 5.1 / 5.2
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
7109 Points ∼100% +147%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
4707 Points ∼66% +63%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
Apple A12X Bionic
4620 Points ∼65% +60%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4374 Points ∼62% +52%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
4372 Points ∼61% +52%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (591 - 4855, n=41)
3014 Points ∼42% +5%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS)
2881 Points ∼41%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win 10)
2539 Points ∼36% -12%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
1316 Points ∼100% +13%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
1229 Points ∼93% +5%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS)
1167 Points ∼89%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win 10)
1010 Points ∼77% -13%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
1127 Points ∼86% -3%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
Apple A12X Bionic
1120 Points ∼85% -4%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
1115 Points ∼85% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (310 - 1324, n=41)
955 Points ∼73% -18%
Blackmagic RAW Speed Test - 12:1 8K CPU
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
39 fps ∼100% +129%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7
17 fps ∼44%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (7 - 23, n=4)
15 fps ∼38% -12%
Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
453 Points ∼100% +21%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
442 Points ∼98% +18%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
441 Points ∼97% +18%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
439 Points ∼97% +17%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
425 Points ∼94% +13%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
388 Points ∼86% +3%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS)
375 Points ∼83%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win10)
330 Points ∼73% -12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (73 - 466, n=59)
353 Points ∼78% -6%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
312 Points ∼69% -17%
CPU (Multi Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
3422 Points ∼100% +247%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
3057 Points ∼89% +210%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
1630 Points ∼48% +65%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
1533 Points ∼45% +55%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
1494 Points ∼44% +51%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
1392 Points ∼41% +41%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (110 - 2410, n=59)
1169 Points ∼34% +18%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS)
987 Points ∼29%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win10)
764 Points ∼22% -23%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
601 Points ∼18% -39%
Blender 2.79 - BMW27 CPU
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
1680 Seconds * ∼100% -28%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win 10)
1310 Seconds * ∼78%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (4.2 - 6277, n=51)
1296 Seconds * ∼77% +1%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
835 Seconds * ∼50% +36%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
771 Seconds * ∼46% +41%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
766 Seconds * ∼46% +42%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
714 Seconds * ∼43% +45%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
343 Seconds * ∼20% +74%
7-Zip 18.03
7z b 4
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
39455 MIPS ∼100% +261%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
19620 MIPS ∼50% +80%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
19168 MIPS ∼49% +75%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
18535 MIPS ∼47% +70%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
16982 MIPS ∼43% +55%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2692 - 27115, n=46)
14820 MIPS ∼38% +36%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7
10924 MIPS ∼28%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
7936 MIPS ∼20% -27%
7z b 4 -mmt1
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
4837 MIPS ∼100% +39%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
4397 MIPS ∼91% +27%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7
4252 MIPS ∼88% +22%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
4087 MIPS ∼84% +18%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U
4083 MIPS ∼84% +18%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1653 - 15198, n=46)
4033 MIPS ∼83% +16%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7
3472 MIPS ∼72%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y
3405 MIPS ∼70% -2%
R Benchmark 2.5 - Overall mean
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (macOS)
0.922 sec * ∼100%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7 (Win 10)
0.909 sec * ∼99% +1%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (0.629 - 2.43, n=36)
0.922 sec * ∼100% -0%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1035G1
0.722 sec * ∼78% +22%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7
0.691 sec * ∼75% +25%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (macOS)
0.6904 sec * ∼75% +25%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
0.661 sec * ∼72% +28%

* ... smaller is better

This leaves us with the question of the two alternative processors. The Core i3-1000NG4 should only be a little bit faster than last year's Core i5-8210Y with two cores, and also has the slower G4 version of the integrated graphics card. If you know that you are just doing basic stuff with your MacBook Air, then the Core i3 should suffice, but the additional price for the 4-core Core i5 should pay off with the next years in mind. The Core i7-1060NG7 on the other hand should benefit from a slightly higher single-core performance, at least for a very short period of time. However, it is doubtful that you will notice this difference in you day-to-day workloads. We will try to review the two alternative processors as soon as possible.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9432
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4250
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8356
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 32Bit
3.2 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.21 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.37 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 32Bit
1.14 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.3 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
38.4 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
140 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
448 Points
Help

System Performance

There is no good system benchmark for macOS, so we still test the MacBook Air with the PCMark products from Furturemark running on Windows 10. The results are a bit surprising: The 2020 model with the Core i5 is on average not faster than the i5 model from 2019 – despite 2 additional cores, new 10nm process, and new architecture. There is still a difference to the MacBook Pro 13 and the Windows competition is much faster. Here we can clearly see the limitation of the cooling system and that Apple (intentionally) limits the performance of its entry-level series.

Performance Rating - Percent
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
98.6 pt ∼99%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
95.6 pt ∼96%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
92.2 pt ∼92%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
88.2 pt ∼88%
Average of class Subnotebook
 
77 pt ∼77%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5 -2!
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
58.4 pt ∼58%
Apple Macbook Air 2019 -2!
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
57.1 pt ∼57%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
3817 Points ∼100% +76%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
3587 Points ∼94% +65%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
3281 Points ∼86% +51%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
3260 Points ∼85% +50%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (405 - 4728, n=132)
2625 Points ∼69% +21%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
2174 Points ∼57%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
1637 Points ∼43% -25%
Productivity
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
6766 Points ∼100% +123%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
6765 Points ∼100% +123%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
6301 Points ∼93% +108%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1014 - 7676, n=132)
5352 Points ∼79% +76%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
4786 Points ∼71% +58%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
4458 Points ∼66% +47%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
3033 Points ∼45%
Essentials
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
9086 Points ∼100% +35%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
8568 Points ∼94% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
8343 Points ∼92% +24%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
8302 Points ∼91% +23%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2062 - 9664, n=132)
7053 Points ∼78% +5%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
6746 Points ∼74%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
5752 Points ∼63% -15%
Score
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
4421 Points ∼100% +74%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
4122 Points ∼93% +62%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
3975 Points ∼90% +56%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
3751 Points ∼85% +48%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (743 - 4886, n=135)
3283 Points ∼74% +29%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
2540 Points ∼57%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
2491 Points ∼56% -2%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
4832 Points ∼100%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
4802 Points ∼99%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
4755 Points ∼98%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
4238 Points ∼88%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1283 - 5363, n=246)
4090 Points ∼85%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
3988 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
3986 Points ∼100%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
3759 Points ∼94%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
3725 Points ∼93%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1027 - 4251, n=275)
3093 Points ∼78%

DPC Latencies Windows

The measured DPC latencies via LatencyMon and our test sequence (web browsing, YouTube video, CPU load) only show a mediocre result. It is evident that Apple did not really optimize the Windows drivers. You cannot transfer the result to macOS though, where we have no suitable tool for tests.

Not suited for real-time audio when you use Windows according to LatencyMon
Not suited for real-time audio when you use Windows according to LatencyMon
The drivers responsible for the delays
The drivers responsible for the delays
DPC Latencies / LatencyMon - interrupt to process latency (max), Web, Youtube, Prime95
Dell XPS 13 9300 Core i7-1065G7
14995.4 μs * ∼100% -469%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G7 20R1-000YUS
5639.9 μs * ∼38% -114%
Eve-Tech Eve V i7
5612 μs * ∼37% -113%
Average of class Subnotebook (266 - 22074, n=23)
3315 μs * ∼22% -26%
Asus Zephyrus G14 GA401IV
2840.6 μs * ∼19% -8%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
2635 μs * ∼18%
Schenker VIA 14
2339 μs * ∼16% +11%
BMAX MaxBook Y11 H1M6
2142 μs * ∼14% +19%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
1368 μs * ∼9% +48%
LG Gram 14T90N
1208.3 μs * ∼8% +54%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
907.6 μs * ∼6% +66%

* ... smaller is better

Integrated NVMe-SSD - Not the fastest drive

Apple has doubled the storage capacity for the different SKUs, but the SSD performance is still average at best and clearly behind faster drives in the Acer Swift 3 or MacBook Pro 16. Even the average for this laptop category is slightly better. Whether you notice the faster performance of high-end SSDs is another question though and also depends on the usage scenario.

Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Apple SSD AP0512
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Apple SSD AP0256
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Apple SSD AP0256
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Apple SSD AP1024 7171
Average of class Subnotebook
 
AS SSD
-16%
-4%
49%
139%
218%
193%
12%
Copy Game MB/s
725
627.08
-14%
849.94
17%
368.39
-49%
819.74
13%
1135
57%
332 (10.9 - 1584, n=258)
-54%
Copy Program MB/s
363
302.12
-17%
406.91
12%
256.11
-29%
480.42
32%
584
61%
186 (8.56 - 714, n=258)
-49%
Copy ISO MB/s
1433
1204.88
-16%
1404.43
-2%
763.78
-47%
1400.88
-2%
1995
39%
496 (10.1 - 2761, n=265)
-65%
Score Total
1528
1283
-16%
1465
-4%
1520
-1%
2313
51%
3189
109%
4317
183%
1469 (28 - 5191, n=286)
-4%
Score Write
321
311
-3%
313
-2%
525
64%
1085
238%
1455
353%
2018
529%
524 (8 - 2379, n=286)
63%
Score Read
793
638
-20%
752
-5%
678
-15%
811
2%
1180
49%
1536
94%
633 (12 - 2339, n=286)
-20%
4K-64 Write
159.51
181.58
14%
163.02
2%
354.86
122%
783.07
391%
1220.39
665%
1748.84
996%
327 (0.22 - 2105, n=359)
105%
4K-64 Read
665.24
533.89
-20%
642.97
-3%
497.4
-25%
583.98
-12%
899.28
35%
1266.78
90%
435 (0.41 - 2011, n=359)
-35%
4K Write
24.52
15.03
-39%
15.95
-35%
119.96
389%
164.37
570%
120.63
392%
39.88
63%
66.6 (0.2 - 180, n=359)
172%
4K Read
12.95
10.53
-19%
11.35
-12%
42.35
227%
56.81
339%
48.07
271%
15.85
22%
26.8 (0.35 - 63.8, n=359)
107%
Seq Write
1367.4
1139
-17%
1340
-2%
503.83
-63%
1373
0%
1137
-17%
2288.6
67%
554 (14 - 2564, n=360)
-59%
Seq Read
1152.6
933
-19%
974
-15%
1387.11
20%
1703
48%
2328
102%
2531.3
120%
901 (50.5 - 2980, n=360)
-22%
Apple SSD AP0512
Sequential Read: 1152.6MB/s
Sequential Write: 1367.4MB/s
4K Read: 12.95MB/s
4K Write: 24.52MB/s
4K-64 Read: 665.24MB/s
4K-64 Write: 159.51MB/s
Access Time Read: 0.295ms
Access Time Write: 0.163ms
Copy ISO: 1433MB/s
Copy Program: 363MB/s
Copy Game: 725MB/s
Score Read: 793Points
Score Write: 321Points
Score Total: 1528Points

GPU Performance – Ice-Lake-GPU with 64 Shaders

Intel's new Ice Lake processors are equipped with much faster integrated GPUs. The two quad-core models get the Iris Plus Graphics G7 with 64 EUs; the entry-level Core i3 only the 48 EU iGPU. Our synthetic benchmarks show almost twice the GPU performance compared to the previous MacBook Air and pretty much the same level of performance as the 2019 MacBook Pro 13 (2x TB3) and its Iris Plus Graphics 645. However, the performance is not steady, because the 3DMark stress test shows a performance drop of around 20%.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
14725 Points ∼100% +404%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G7
4279 Points ∼29% +46%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4138 Points ∼28% +42%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (2914 - 4630, n=21)
4087 Points ∼28% +40%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
3044 Points ∼21% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, Intel Core i5-8257U
2985 Points ∼20% +2%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
2924 Points ∼20%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
2761.5 (min: 2743, max: 2780) Points ∼19% -6%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G1
2578 Points ∼18% -12%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 617, Intel Core i5-8210Y
1509 Points ∼10% -48%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (230 - 11501, n=404)
1487 Points ∼10% -49%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
3364 Points ∼100% +540%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G7
794 Points ∼24% +51%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (526 - 847, n=17)
734 Points ∼22% +40%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (85 - 3098, n=66)
626 Points ∼19% +19%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
624 Points ∼19% +19%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
555 Points ∼16% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, Intel Core i5-8257U
550 Points ∼16% +5%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
526 Points ∼16%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G1
472 Points ∼14% -10%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 617, Intel Core i5-8210Y
300 Points ∼9% -43%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
10399 Points ∼100% +463%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
2743 Points ∼26% +49%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G7
2692 Points ∼26% +46%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (1418 - 3156, n=20)
2604 Points ∼25% +41%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
2070 Points ∼20% +12%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, Intel Core i5-8257U
1893 Points ∼18% +3%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
1846 Points ∼18%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G1
1755 Points ∼17% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
1698 Points ∼16% -8%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (222 - 8093, n=283)
1187 Points ∼11% -36%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 617, Intel Core i5-8210Y
1047 Points ∼10% -43%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
65776 Points ∼100%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
16731 Points ∼25%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G7
16695 Points ∼25%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (7024 - 18881, n=19)
15567 Points ∼24%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
14343 Points ∼22%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
13153 Points ∼20%
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
Intel UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G1
12698 Points ∼19%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1484 - 30436, n=301)
8317 Points ∼13%
Unigine Valley 1.0 - 1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
45.6 (min: 22, max: 82) fps ∼100% +443%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
12.2 fps ∼27% +45%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, Intel Core i5-7267U
10.5 (min: 6, max: 18) fps ∼23% +25%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
8.4 (min: 5.8, max: 13.8) fps ∼18%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
 
8.4 fps ∼18% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1.7 - 12.2, n=10)
8.07 fps ∼18% -4%
Basemark GPU 1.2
3840x2160 Metal High Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 11 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic GPU, Apple A12Z Bionic
70.03 fps ∼100% +1978%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
30 (min: 25, max: 42) fps ∼43% +790%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
3.37 (min: 1, max: 205) fps ∼5%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
 
3.37 fps ∼5% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
 
3.37 fps ∼5% 0%
1920x1080 Metal Medium Offscreen
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
356 (min: 57, max: 763) fps ∼100% +471%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2018
Apple A12X Bionic GPU, Apple A12X Bionic
195 (min: 74, max: 979) fps ∼55% +213%
Apple iPad Pro 11 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic GPU, Apple A12Z Bionic
192.49 fps ∼54% +209%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1030NG7
62.33 (min: 32, max: 112) fps ∼18%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
 
62.3 fps ∼18% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
 
62.3 fps ∼18% 0%
3DMark 06 Standard
8821 points
3DMark 11 Performance
2848 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1605 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
587 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The gaming performance is definitely limited by the CPU or more precisely the low TDP configuration. The iGPU itself is pretty powerful, but you are still limited to the lowest details, even when you want to play older titles. However, there is still the problem with the reduced performance after a little while, which is also evident in our Witcher 3 loop (in this case with the Min preset). The MacBook Air starts with strong 40 fps, but then quickly drops to just ~20 fps, so it is not playable smoothly anymore.

051015202530354045Tooltip
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5 Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512: Ø20.2 (14-39)
The Witcher 3 - 1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
49 fps ∼100% +74%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (28.2 - 58, n=15)
47.3 fps ∼97% +68%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (7.4 - 160, n=80)
31 fps ∼63% +10%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
28.2 (min: 17, max: 42) fps ∼58%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1280x720 Lowest Preset
Average of class Subnotebook
  (9 - 102, n=15)
30.9 fps ∼100% +98%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (15.6 - 33, n=13)
26.4 fps ∼85% +69%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
26 fps ∼84% +67%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
15.6 fps ∼50%
Dota 2 Reborn - 1920x1080 high (2/3)
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
32.8 (min: 26.7) fps ∼100% +60%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (6.5 - 107, n=54)
30.2 fps ∼92% +47%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
29 (min: 26.7) fps ∼88% +41%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (17.5 - 38.5, n=11)
28.5 fps ∼87% +39%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
20.5 (min: 16.6) fps ∼63%
Apple Macbook Air 2019
Intel Core i5-8210Y, Intel UHD Graphics 617
14.6 (min: 13.1) fps ∼45% -29%
BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Intel Core i5-8257U, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
51.6 fps ∼100% +77%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Core i7-1065G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
50.9 fps ∼99% +75%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (21.1 - 61.5, n=16)
50.7 fps ∼98% +74%
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Intel Core i5-1035G7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
50.4 fps ∼98% +73%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (6.96 - 169, n=195)
30 fps ∼58% +3%
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Intel Core i5-1030NG7, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
29.1 (min: 4, max: 78) fps ∼56%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 55.6 33.5 29.1 10.9 fps
GTA V (2015) 24.8 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 28.2 5.13 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 59.4 30.7 20.5 19.8 fps
Rocket League (2017) 22.1 24.9 fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 24 11.6 10.8 fps
World of Tanks enCore (2018) 92.9 14.6 fps
Far Cry 5 (2018) 11 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 15.6 fps
Battlefield V (2018) 7.87 fps
Anno 1800 (2019) 19 fps
FIFA 20 (2019) 0 game wont start fps

Our tests with macOS confirm the results from our Windows benchmarks. Even the quad-core SKU we are reviewing cannot offer decent gaming performance due to the poor cooling performance and the low TDP limits for sustained workloads. Fortnite, Counterstrike GO and Dota 2 suffered from annoying stutters, even though the system requirements are not very high. Fortnite was hardly playable at all, the other two games only with limitations. League of Legends ran well at the lowest settings and the very undemanding Hearthstone provided the best gaming experience. It either ran at the native resolution in combination with medium details or maximum details and 1440 x 900 pixels.

Emissions – The MacBook Air is just too loud

System Noise

Fan intake and exhaust on the rear
Fan intake and exhaust on the rear

The basic cooling system has not changed, which means the processor of the MacBook Air is still cooled passively. There is a small fan inside the chassis, but there is no direct connection with the heat sink from the processor. The only task of the fan is to improve the air circulation inside the chassis. The new quad-core Core i5 processor, however, produces much more heat than the old dual-core, and the slightly larger heat sink does not really help, either. Compared to the previous model, this means the fan is running more often and it also gets louder. We are not only talking about extreme load scenarios, but daily stuff, like the installation of applications or OS updates. At more than 40 dB(A), the small fan is clearly audible under sustained workloads.

However, the MacBook Air is usually silent while idling or light workloads like web browsing with a few tabs. We usually saw around 2700 rpm with an external monitor and light multi-tasking (e.g. YouTube video and web browsing), where the notebook is still not audible from a normal working distance. Even light picture editing via Affinity Photo (JPG) is possible without activity of the fan. When you start to stress the processor or even the graphics card though, the fan will speed up to its maximum 8100 rpm and loud 45.8 dB(A) within a couple of minutes. In addition to a comparatively slow device, you also have to live with a loud device and a chip temperature of 100 °C (212 °F).

Noise Level

Idle
30 / 30 / 30 dB(A)
Load
45.5 / 45.8 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)
Apple MacBook Air 2020 i5
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1030NG7, Apple SSD AP0512
Apple Macbook Air 2019
UHD Graphics 617, i5-8210Y, Apple SSD AP0256
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3
Iris Plus Graphics 645, i5-8257U, Apple SSD AP0256
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 Core i5-1035G7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i5-1035G7, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDGTNG
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), i7-1065G7, Intel SSD 660p 1TB SSDPEKNW010T8
Dell XPS 13 9300 i5 FHD
UHD Graphics G1 (Ice Lake 32 EU), i5-1035G1, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
Noise
7%
9%
12%
9%
12%
off / environment *
30
29.5
2%
29.5
2%
28.5
5%
30.3
-1%
29.3
2%
Idle Minimum *
30
29.5
2%
29.5
2%
28.5
5%
30.3
-1%
29.3
2%
Idle Average *
30
29.5
2%
29.5
2%
28.5
5%
30.3
-1%
29.3
2%
Idle Maximum *
30
29.5
2%
29.5
2%
28.5
5%
30.3
-1%
29.3
2%
Load Average *
45.5
34
25%
31.1
32%
28.5
37%
31.7
30%
30
34%
Load Maximum *
45.8
41
10%
39.3
14%
40.4
12%
32.7
29%
32.4
29%
Witcher 3 ultra *
40.4

* ... smaller is better

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2030.732.334.439.534.540.341.64230.52529.630.431.129.732.33030.829.729.73129.429.631.431.629.529.928.831.131.34032.229.92831.630.432.630.132.336.25028.229.62927.62728.129.429.328.4632729.628.228.226.927.42929.228.48026.527.92826.627.42730.625.827.810026.22827.627.226.225.229.624.527.612527.629.527.625.824.826.230.324.728.11602628.727.926.324.424.324.924.826.520025.428.427.325.823.322.124.622.226.525027.83128.626.722.622.224.62228.331531.434.231.528.923.221.326.921.831.240035.935.63429.823.820.431.720.635.450032.735.333.427.821.819.629.519.532.863034.239.335.829.322.119.332.118.834.380033.934.533.12820.418.43018.434.4100035.433.633.329.519.418.428.818.435.7125038.235.432.728.222.11832.718.138.3160034.836.334.325.419.918.129.918.235.4200031.833.930.624.621.319.131.517.731.8250031.531.529.422.120.917.932.417.832.1315031.132.429.7241917.730.917.931.4400032.933.229.324.220.319.132.917.733500030.132.725.822.518.718.231.317.830.3630029.13024.32320.619.528.817.929.4800022.723.620.421.820.619.421.718.1231000020.721.919.520.820.519.419.218.120.6125002020.919.419.520.619.418.418.119.1160002020.119.119.320.219.11818.219.1SPL4545.845.543.137.932.83142.630.545.3N55.45.34.331.91.54.21.45.1median 31.1median 32.4median 29.3median 25.8median 20.9median 19.4median 29.6median 18.2median 31.2Delta3.933.82.81.51.63.41.93.54241.629.732.731.131.232.33029.330.129.227.625.825.824.526.224.727.724.825.622.226.92230.421.834.220.63719.533.518.836.618.436.518.434.318.137.218.23517.732.217.831.517.931.717.732.117.830.217.927.918.121.518.119.218.118.518.218.230.545.31.45.1median 0median 0median 0median 0median 0median 0median 0median 0median 06.84.2hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseApple MacBook Air 2020 i5

Temperature

Contrary to the internal temperatures, the external temperatures of the aluminum chassis are completely okay. Even after one hour of extreme load, we can only measure up to 42 °C (107.6 °F) at the top of the base unit. The chassis stays comfortably cool while idling or during light workloads and the hotspot is in the upper part of the chassis, so the palm rests are never too warm.

Max. Load
 41 °C
106 F
48 °C
118 F
35 °C
95 F
 
 34 °C
93 F
36 °C
97 F
32 °C
90 F
 
 29 °C
84 F
29 °C
84 F
29 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 48 °C = 118 F
Average: 34.8 °C = 95 F
36 °C
97 F
40 °C
104 F
36 °C
97 F
32 °C
90 F
35 °C
95 F
33 °C
91 F
29 °C
84 F
30 °C
86 F
31 °C
88 F
Maximum: 40 °C = 104 F
Average: 33.6 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Fluke 62 Mini
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.8 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 30.7 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Subnotebook.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 48 °C / 118 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22 to 57 °C for the class Subnotebook.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.7 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 32.8 °C / 91 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 29 °C / 84.2 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.5 °C / 83.3 F (-0.5 °C / -0.9 F).
Surface temperatures stress test (top)
Surface temperatures stress test (top)
Surface temperatures stress test (bottom)
Surface temperatures stress test (bottom)

The internal temperatures are a different story. The CPU and therefore also the integrated graphics adapter quickly reach 100 °C (212 °F), even during short peak load. This is not a great indicator for the durability. Apple just implemented a weak cooling system to keep the distance to the Pro models under sustained workloads.

99°C core temperature, thermal throttling and 400 MHz core clock. Not a good result in our stress test.
99°C core temperature, thermal throttling and 400 MHz core clock. Not a good result in our stress test.
Cinebench R15 macOS - 100°C, 11.6 W Package, 1.7 GHz
Cinebench R15 macOS - 100°C, 11.6 W Package, 1.7 GHz

Speakers

Apple also improved the stereo speakers of the 2020 MacBook Air. It looks like the manufacturer uses the slightly thicker chassis of the notebook for better speaker modules. The frequency diagram shows a much more linear curve across the audible frequencies very similar to the Surface Laptop 3. The Dell XPS 13 and typical notebooks are clearly beaten, but the current MacBook Pro 16 is still the best laptop in terms of notebook speakers.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204244.12529.731.13131.133.84032.332.65029.3306329.233.38025.837.910024.548.812524.759.716024.863.620022.261.22502261.831521.864.840020.670.350019.56963018.862.880018.464100018.466.1125018.169.7160018.267.5200017.767.1250017.866.4315017.964.1400017.765500017.865.2630017.965.5800018.1621000018.158.11250018.156.21600018.257.4SPL30.578.1N1.445.9median 18.2median 64.1Delta1.93.128.430.225.626.830.528.730.326.529.930.824.227.222.331.22443.322.648.222.754.522.253.721.552.420.656.420.160.52060.319.363.318.963.719.661.318.16417.365.416.768.416.4661663.715.963.715.661.2