Listen, I like the MacBook Air a lot, more than I ever could have expected. For reasons previously documented and widely documented, I’ve found this simple mobile device to make one of the best laptops I’ve ever used.
The Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is lightning fast, never gets hot, has the best battery life, and is very light and portable yet extremely durable. Moreover, the current version of macOS Ventura isn’t nearly as vulnerable to viruses or spyware since it doesn’t target walkers like Windows, and there are no updates that constantly break apps and features and need to be patched.
A great laptop, it is. But perfect? of course not.
While there are a lot of features to love about the MacBook Air, there are also a lot of features and tools that even the best MacBooks lack, which makes me a devotee of the best Windows laptops. And Apple apparently hasn’t incorporated any of it into its own products, despite recent design overhauls and more aggressive silicon.
This year, however, Apple has a chance to add at least some of these features to its upcoming laptops. And if the tech giant has at least two (although it prefers all of them) this time around, I’ll be a fully converted Mac head. This is especially important because the Surface Laptop 6 has the potential to challenge the next MacBook Air on several key points.
But what are these magical features that make Windows still attractive and enhance the magic of the MacBook? I’m going to break five of them.
Imagine me writing “Super Trackpad” on the whiteboard with a black marker. Now imagine me taking a red flag and circling the same phrase. This is what I mainly do now writing, because everyone He should Understand the seriousness of this point.
The trackpad on the M1 MacBook Air absolutely sucks. It first tricks you with an incredibly attractive texture that begs you to run your fingers across its smooth, deeply satisfying surface. But when you actually start using it, it becomes a nightmare in terms of sensitivity. The trackpad often doesn’t register your click or double-tap correctly and you end up fighting with it to properly register what you want it to do.
Dragging the cursor to either highlight text or dragging an icon around the dock should be torture in hell. For the former, if you press hard on the first word, the dictionary app will activate, and then you have to reselect the text. For the latter, drag works so inconsistently that I’ve only managed it once so far, and that was to move my Opera GX icon to sit with other browsers. I had to switch to a mouse for peace of mind, which hurts portability.
A mouse with better ergonomics
You just mentioned that I had to switch to a mouse because of the trackpad. At first, I was interested in buying an Apple mouse, specifically the Apple Magic Mouse because you looked at how cool and elegant it was! The fact that it’s so thin really helps with portability, and it matches perfectly with my laptop.
Except it only has one “button” on the whole mouse (so no mapping buttons), the touch surface on the mouse gets tired easily with your index or middle finger, and there’s no real resting spot for your thumb not to pinch between the base of the mouse and the top portion that acts as a button One.
Perhaps this mouse’s worst feature is that the charging port is on the bottom — a topic we touched on in our upgrades and want to see on the rumored 2023 iMac lot. Yes, that means you can’t use it while it’s charging because you need to put the mouse on its side.
If Apple insists on making expensive first-party accessories, they should do better with their designs. Either go the Windows way and rely entirely on third-party options, like the Alienware gaming mouse I’m using for my MacBook Air instead.
Better choice of ports
With laptops like the HP Dragonfly Pro, Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, and LG Gram Style being exceptions to the rule, Windows laptops tend to have a pretty solid port selection, with a wide variety that covers most users’ needs. Port selection is also important to me. Besides the multiple USB ports for devices and thumb drives, I also like having an SD card slot for transferring files, an ethernet port in case you need a more stable Internet connection, an audio/mic jack for lag-free listening and talking, and more.
So imagine how it felt seeing that the MacBook Air only had three ports: two USB Type-C ports and an audio/microphone jack. It’s completely left out, and there’s no excuse for not owning more than this, because some of the best thin-and-light laptops have better assembly. Apple also does this with its desktop hardware, which means it wants you to use cloud storage and other non-physical means to share files and use apps — although, to be fair, it has improved port selection on the MacBook Pro.
Having these ports is vital to many users, and for the price you pay for any Mac product, you should have a decent selection of ports rather than having to use external adapters.
Although Apple is currently making some serious strides in increasing its presence in games, and games like Resident Evil Village do very well on the strength of its M-series chipset, the tech giant still has a long way to go.
I mentioned earlier that Apple would need to incorporate at least two of these features that Windows has, but one of them is non-negotiable and is the ability to play any of the best PC games without strings attached. I plan to test the GeForce Now gaming service on my MacBook, so we’ll see how these prices expand as an alternative option in the future.
As an avid gamer, I need to be able to access all of my Steam library, and only Windows allows me to do that. Seeing how many games become suddenly inaccessible once I switch over to my MacBook Air is somewhat frustrating, especially since I tend to play indie titles, RPGs, and other games my laptop can otherwise handle.
Macs have the potential to become absolute gaming beasts, far outpacing the power of the best Windows laptops, but only if Apple doubles down on its efforts and makes sure you can actually play games on these machines. And if the next MacBook Air can adopt any or all of these Windows features, it will become a laptop better equipped to truly challenge its competition.
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