Apple describes its MacBook Air as its "most beloved notebook ever," and we believe it. It's had a reasonable entry-level price, great portability, and reasonable functionality. But it didn't have was a Retina display -- until now.
The base MacBook Air starts at $1,199. There aren't a lot of upgrade options for the new Air. You either get 128GB or 256GB SSD storage. Equipping 256GB (and you really, really should) moves you up to $1,399.
The only other upgrade is RAM, which can go to 16GB for another $200. This, too, is something I'd consider an essential upgrade. But that's not bad. For $1,599, the MacBook Air can be a genuinely useful device for most Mac users.
As for processor, all you can get is a somewhat anemic (but still way better than the old Air) 1.6Ghz dual-core Coffee Lake i5 processor (which Apple claims can be Turbo Boosted up to 3.6Ghz). Sadly, there is no i7 upgrade option.
On the other hand, the Air does come with a T2 chip, which provides for a Touch ID button at the right of the F12 key. There's no Touch Bar (which is no great loss).
The T2 also provides support for "Hey Siri," and Apple said the new Air is 25 percent louder, has 2x better bass, and a wider stereo sound.