Joanna Stern: ‘A MacBook Air Review at the Worst Possible Time’

Joanna Stern, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

It’s hard to know if the satisfyingly bouncy yet quiet keys are fabulous by themselves, or just a welcome relief after years of the flat, loud yet delicate butterfly keys. You know what? I’m going to go with “fabulous.”

Since those butterfly keys began to show issues after a few months of use, I’d hesitated to declare everything fixed. I’m happy to report, however, that six months into using the 16-inch MacBook Pro, I’ve had no issues with the new keyboard. In fact, it now feels even more broken-in — versus, you know, just broken.

She makes a great point about laptop web cameras sucking — and how their suckiness has been brought to the forefront during our collective stay-at-home saga. Her video comparing webcam footage from a bunch of laptops — including a 2010 MacBook Pro, whose camera at times outperforms the new MacBook Air’s — is excellent. But I think the problem here is technically difficult — laptop lids are way thinner than phones and tablets, and that thinness severely limits camera sensor size. Everyone wants a better MacBook camera, but I suspect few would accept the tradeoff of a MacBook with a lid as thick as an iPad.

(Apple News link, for News+ subscribers who don’t have a standalone WSJ subscription.)

Monday, 6 April 2020