Is Macbook air 2020 good enough for UX design, Figma or Sketch

October 21, 2020

After lots of consideration. I bought a 2020 macbook air for UX, product design. You would wonder why not a Macbook pro? It would be answered in my review of the Macbook air 2020 for using around 3 months.

Why I got a Macbook air

I wanted a lighter Laptop

From work I got a maxed out 2018 macbook pro 13 inch. I had the option to get a 15 inch or 13 inch. I chose a lighter one. Because I already own a 2015 Macbook pro 15 inch. And realized that I don’t use the 15 inch macbook that much. Cause it’s bulky to move around. And had the tendency to sit down with my smartphone and watch youtube rather than doing something productive with my laptop.

My old setup.

These are my requirements

My comparison

Macbook pro 13 base model vs Macbook air with upgrades

When I start to add upgrades to macbook air 2020. CPU and more RAM. The price is actually similar. (Same in US)

Air with upgrades 1300 USD. Pro base model at also 1300 USD.

If you needed to choose a laptop for work. Paid by the company, I would get a macbook pro. Or if I’m a freelancer, and have some miscellaneous tasks. Defeinitly I would go for the macbook pro. But as I needed a laptop for more private projects. Macbooks pros is a very expensive toy for me.

Why I chose the macbook air over the macbook pro

Some doubts

Not a big difference in weight and size

Final choice

Base model with 256GB. CPU upgrade to i5. RAM upgrade from 8GB to 16GB. I also considered not doing any upgrades. Cause those upgrades really cost a lot. But decided to upgrade.

i5 and i7 not a big difference
Single core i3, i5, i7 similar performance

Review of macbook air for 3 months

Can you do UX, product design on a macbook air?

With some upgrades. Yes you can. I’m pretty satisfied with the performance.

Thermal issues? Heating and fan noise

Palms are cool and fans are quiet

I was pretty worried about this. I noticed that the macbook air could get hot when watching some videos and doing some graphic work. But It’s actually better than my i7 macbook pro 13 inch. That one is always hot and fans kick in alot.

The macbook air eventhough cpu temparture stats reach the max 100 degrees. Heat on palms are not that bad. But if your editing video, which I tried once. It would get pretty hot. I guess most tech reviews were focused on video editing. But for product design, I can say it’s fine.

Battery life

I could get pretty long hours of battery life. Don’t really feel that it drains that fast. I wasn’t running anything intensive unplugged. I did notice using safari get’s me a lot of hours on it. Chrome really drains the battery fast.

Screen color and brightness

You would definatly notice outdoors that it’s not bright enough for watching movies. Other things are OK. It’s just that movies in dark lighting can’t see anything correctly. For colors I don’t have any issues.

Overall

I’m satisfied with the decision.