2017 MacBook Air: Still Worth Buying?

Hey, everyone. As you may recall, I’ve been taking a break from software development lately, and this has given me more time to spend on my other hobbies. To achieve this, there’s one tool I’ve been using a great deal: my 2017 MacBook Air. I’ve had this compact computer for nearly a month now, and I seem to have come to a realization. If you want a thin, light, reasonably powerful, and relatively affordable Mac laptop, this might just be one of your best options. How come? Read on to find out!



Design and Build

This laptop’s design is one of the main reasons why you might want to consider buying one of these MacBook Airs. It’s fairly thin and super light, but it still keeps our beloved USB-A ports, MagSafe, and SD card reader. Furthermore, it has an excellent non-Butterfly keyboard, a nice trackpad, a sturdy aluminum chassis, and a fairly large 13-inch display. Said display isn’t the sharpest or most color accurate, but the worst thing about it has to be its atrocious viewing angles. Regardless, the screen looks fine straight on, so I can live with it. Anyway, while this laptop doesn’t look as modern as newer MacBook models, it’s still a very snazzy piece of kit. Plus, who doesn’t love that sweet glowing Apple logo? (Not counting people who hate Apple products.)

 

In terms of build quality, this MacBook Air is miles ahead of my fairly premium HP laptop from around 2017, and it feels very nice to use. To be clear, this laptop is not without its flaws, especially considering its mediocre speakers and potato-quality webcam, but it certainly features the impressive build and design that you’d expect from a MacBook.




Performance

In terms of performance, this MacBook is no slouch, either. Don’t get me wrong, this laptop is not going to put most newer Macs to shame, but it’s still plenty performant. I have the maxed-out model, featuring a dual-core i7, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and a 512 gigabyte SSD, and it’s incredibly fast for productivity tasks. Granted, there are things that will slow it down. For example, editing a 4K video in iMovie was initially very rough, and exporting it took forever. However, 1080p video editing was no problem on this computer, as was doing some basic photo editing in GIMP and working in Xcode. As I mentioned before, productivity tasks like word processing, web browsing, and media playback almost always work flawlessly on this laptop, so it’s an excellent machine for everyday tasks.

 

Overall, macOS 12 has been working great on it, and I truly have no complaints. Plus, this model of MacBook is more or less guaranteed to be updated for several years to come, as it’s only around four years old. While I do recommend a MacBook Pro over an Air for heavy workloads, this laptop is still an impressive performer. It works just fine most of the time, and its performance should be more than adequate for the majority of people.




Price

Ultimately, the most important thing about this MacBook nowadays is what it goes for used. Thankfully, at least as I’m writing this, you can find these laptops for surprisingly low prices. I was able to find my maxed out 2017 Air for only about $450, which is kind of insane considering its specifications. Sure, it has some noticeable cosmetic flaws, and the battery life isn’t like new, but it still looks great and runs for a while on a charge. If you opt for the slightly less powerful i5 model and/or one with less storage, you can get it for even less, which is impressive considering that it is only a few years old. For around half the price of the current M1 MacBook Air, I really am amazed by how much value this machine offers.




Worth Buying?

So, with 2022 rapidly approaching, is this MacBook worth your money? If you’re on a budget but want a reliable and fairly new Mac that will be supported for a few more years, then it’s definitely worth your consideration! Again, if what you’re after is a serious content creation machine and one that’s capable of handling pro workloads, this is almost definitely not the computer for you. Even if you’re a more casual user, you might find yourself being pretty frustrated if you opt for a lower-spec model, especially one with only 128 gigabytes of storage. That being said, if you find the i7 model with a decent amount of storage for under $500 like I did, this laptop really is an excellent deal. If what want is a solid everyday Mac laptop, the 2017 MacBook Air will likely work very well for you. At the very least, I know that it has for me!




I hope that this review of sorts has helped you make a decision on whether or not to purchase one of these older MacBooks. I still recommend that you take a look at some reviews from around the time it was released for more information about the laptop itself, but I sincerely feel that it’s a great option for a lot of people. Anyway, that's about all I have to say for this post, so thanks for reading!

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