Written by Gijs

Compare the MacBook Air (2018) to the MacBook Air (2017)

You are about to purchase a new MacBook Air but you do not know exactly what the differences are between both generations of MacBook Air. In this article I compare Apple MacBook Air from 2018 with its predecessor: MacBook Air from 2017.

Compare the MacBook Air (2018) to the MacBook Air (2017)

Macbook Air (2018) Macbook Air (2017)
Resolution WQXGA (2560 x 1600) QHD (1,440 x 900 pixels)
Retina Yes No
Generation processor 8th generation Intel Core 5th generation Intel Core
Thunderbolt connection Thunderbolt 3 Thunderbolt 2
Slot for SD card No Yes
Touch ID Yes No

Finally a Retina screen

MacBook Air (2017)

MacBook Air (2017): a QHD resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels

MacBook Air from 2017 has a great screen, but cannot compete with its successor. Because the 2017 model does not have a Retina screen, individual pixels are visible. The screen is also less sharp due to the QHD resolution. This makes the image less sharp. I notice that, for example, when I edit photos in Photoshop.

  • This model does not have a Retina screen.
  • A QHD resolution (1440 x 900 pixels).
MacBook Air (2018)

MacBook Air (2018): 48% more color thanks to the Retina screen

The time has come: the new MacBook Air (2018) has a Retina screen. With a Retina screen, the image is so sharp that I can no longer distinguish individual pixels and the image shows 48% more colors. With the WQXGA resolution, images are displayed even sharper, which is very nice if you work in programs such as Photoshop.

  • No more visible pixels thanks to the Retina screen.
  • A WQXGA resolution (2560 x 1600 pixels).

Lighter and a new color

MacBook Air (2017)

MacBook Air (2017): a weight of just 1.35 kg

MacBook Air from 2017 is 1.35 kg and is therefore slightly heavier than its successor. The keys are also slightly smaller, which means that I am looking for the right keys a little more. The screen has the same 13.3 inch size, but is slightly smaller thanks to the wider edges on the side.

  • It weighs 1.35 kg, which is more than the new variant.
  • This model has wide edges around the screen.
  • It is not available in a golden color.
  • This model is not made from 100% recycled material.
MacBook Air (2018)

MacBook Air (2018): even lighter and an almost borderless screen

The 13.3-inch MacBook Air from 2018 is smaller than its predecessors. This is mainly due to the Retina screen, which is now almost borderless. Because the aluminum case is smaller, the 2018 version only weighs 1.25 Kg, making it easier to take MacBook Air to work or college, for example. This new MacBook Air is also available in a new warm golden color.

  • This new model only weighs 1.25 kg.
  • It has an almost borderless screen.
  • This model is also available in a new golden color.
  • It is made from 100% recycled aluminum.

Better performance and more economical than its predecessor

MacBook Air (2017)

MacBook Air (2017): suitable for photo and video editing

MacBook Air from 2017 was a fast MacBook in its time, where photo and video editing was no problem. However, the development is not standing still and in the meantime we are a few steps further in the area of the processor and battery than in 2017. The newest generation of processors are more economical and the battery lasts longer.

  • This MacBook Air has a 5th generation Intel Core processor, this is less powerful than that of MacBook Air (2018).
MacBook Air (2018)

MacBook Air (2018): 60% faster than the previous generation

The components in the latest MacBook have been upgraded. The Intel Core processor has been updated to the 8th generation, making the new generation around 60% faster. This allows you, for example, to export projects faster from Photoshop. That speed is not at the expense of the battery: with almost 10 hours on one charge, I work a whole day without having to look for an outlet.

  • It has an 8th generation Intel Core processor.
  • This model has a battery life of 10 hours.

Getting started with Touch ID, among other things

MacBook Air (2017)

MacBook Air (2017): with slot for an SD card

MacBook Air from 2017 has 2 Thunderbolt 2 connections. That way I transfer files less quickly than with MacBook Air (2018), whereby the usb c connections are equipped with Thunderbolt 3. MacBook Air does have a slot for an SD card, with which I can easily transfer data on an SD card to other devices.

  • It has a slot for an SD card.
  • This model is equipped with a slower Thunderbolt 2 connection.
  • There is no Touch ID present.
MacBook Air (2018)

MacBook Air (2018): my fingerprint is my password

The new MacBook Air (2018) comes with a Touch ID, which allows me to log in to my MacBook through my fingerprint. The 2018 version also has 2 USB-C connections with Thunderbolt 3, with which I connect extra screens, transfer data to an external device and charge the MacBook. Unfortunately, an SD card slot is missing. Fortunately there is just a headphone connection.

  • I can easily log in and make payments with Touch ID.
  • It is equipped with a faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.
  • There is no input for an SD card.


So, those were pretty much the most important differences between MacBook Air (2017) and MacBook Air (2018). The new variant is actually an improvement on all fronts. A Retina screen with 48% more colors, a faster 8th Intel Core processor, Thunderbolt 3 and TouchID are all things that you will probably experience as a big plus during daily use. Just a pity about the missing slot for an SD card. It is present on MacBook Air (2017).

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