The new MacBook Air is a testament to Apple’s innovation and shrewd management of design and technology. It serves as an important symbol of what founder Steve Jobs was capable of, when he pulled the original Air staging a spectacular unveiling out of an envelope.
It’s further proof that Apple can create an ultraportable computer that is entirely centered around its mobile chips, instead of relying on outdated laptop designs, as can be seen in the recently released 13-inch MacBook Pro.
By doing so, they are setting a new standard of innovation and craft that customers expect from their products.
The Air continues to lead the ultraportable pack with a sleek, impressively thin and light design.
But to make things even better, Apple has added a bigger and better screen, a set of powerful speakers and the useful MagSafe power adapter.
The new M2 chip inside the Air makes it far faster than the last model, one that I had already praised as being ‘stunningly fast’ just a year and a half ago.
Apple has consistently raised the bar for what can be achieved with an ultraportable laptop, and the Air is no exception.
Before I explain the impressive technical components, let’s take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this computer is!
The Air’s trademark wedge design is gone now, it’s been replaced by a uniform, ultra-thin design that makes it feel like a MacBook Pro compressed and shrunk down to a fraction of its size.
Apple has taken the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro’s sleek design, with its curved edges and mini notch for the webcam, to a whole new level. It is now an incredible 11.3 millimeters thin in thickness and weighs just 2.7 pounds!
The tenth of a pound reduction in weight from the previous generation might not seem like much, but its ultra-thin design makes it feel like so much more.
Apple MacBook Air M2 BreakDown
When I picked up the MacBook Air for the first time, it felt surprisingly lightweight due to the fact that it weighs just 2.75 pounds – making it more portable than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with its Smart Keyboard, which together totals an astonishing 3 pounds.
Despite its lightweight and thin frame, the MacBook Air is surprisingly more powerful than it looks. While it does boast features like a built-in keyboard and trackpad, it has the convenience of a tablet making it the perfect blend between a laptop and an iPad – allowing you to work with ease.
The iPad Pro has been branded as the future of mobile computing, yet it is surprisingly just as heavy as a 13-inch MacBook Pro. As always, the lightweight and reliable Air triumphs in this instance.
I’m really loving Apple’s new lineup of cases! Not only do they come in the usual space gray and silver, they’re now available in vibrant starlight and stately black midnight options.
I personally have been trying out the starlight model and I absolutely adore how the finish brilliantly shines off the aluminum. It’s always a nice pick-me-up when I take out my device and the bright colors remind me of its beauty.
The MacBook Air has always been beloved for its incredible design and sleek feel; now with the new 13.6-inch Liquid Retina screen, the delight is even greater.
With only a third of an inch larger than the last model, the screen captures the eye and focuses the user’s attention.
Apple has taken their design efforts further by slimming down the bezel and bringing the brightness up to an impressive 500 nits, making it the perfect companion whether inside or outdoors. It truly is a delight to the senses!
The 13-inch MacBook Air now has a Liquid Retina Display, which is largely comparable to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. It’s a great leap forward for the smaller sized MacBook, especially when it comes to visual display.
Since the Liquid Retina Display offers a high resolution and brilliant visuals, it more than makes up for what it lacks in terms of display technologies like ProMotion, although I did find myself a bit disappointed that ProMotion didn’t make the cut with this model.
However, the Liquid Retina Display is an impressive addition, and it’s a significant step up from the old 13-inch MacBook Air.
Despite the Air’s high-performing hardware, my disappointment with the scroller and webcam has prevented me from considering the laptop perfect.
I wanted more; silky smooth scrolling on any given machine. It’s natural to want more out of technology, so I’m not being too desperate in my desire for more.
With its new 1080p webcam, the images looked more pixelated than I had hoped, despite having better quality than the previous 720p cameras. I was still left unsatisfied by the resolution.
The new Apple MacBook Air has truly brought a revolutionary change to sound quality levels for laptops. Equipped with an impressive quad-speaker system, it is supported by the advanced Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos technology from the larger MacBook Pros.
I was impressed; the system is only thin, yet the result is producing a striking sound quality that I never expected. Thus, this new audio set-up is a great addition to the already impressive features of the Air.
The new MacBook Air has a surprisingly powerful speaker system; it’s enough to fill a small room with sound at max volume without any distortion that solves many users’ issues who are podcasting from their laptops.
It also has a three-mic array that helps to improve the sound quality for video chatting and an important standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
Sadly, there might be those in the Apple design team who are looking to remove the headphone jack feature from the MacBook Air, in order to make the already slim case even more slender, similar to how they did with the iPad Pro.
So make sure to take full advantage of the headphone jack while it’s still there!
The Latest Processing Chip
The new M2 chip found in Apple’s MacBook Air is a perfect sequel to the M1 chip, which completely reshaped the PC world.
This new chip offers greater computing power with 8 CPU cores and up to 10 GPU cores, offering an 18 percent improvement in multithreaded performance for those who need the extra power.
The new M2 chip makes the MacBook Air an even better choice for users looking for fast, reliable performance.
If you decide to upgrade to the faster M2 GPU model, you’ll get a performance boost of around 35% over the M1. Apple has also doubled the memory bandwidth of the M2 and quadrupled the maximum RAM size to 24GB, giving it a noticeable extra oomph and making it an ideal choice for any content creators on the go.
It also offers hardware support for ProRes encoding and decoding, massively reducing the amount of rendering time needed and making it a great option for video editors.
However, if your needs are even more demanding and complex, you may want to opt for the more powerful MacBooks Pro.
Ram And Rom
The base model of the new MacBook Air comes with 8GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 16GB or even 32 GB. This should be more than enough for basic computing tasks and even some creative projects like editing photos and videos.
Our review unit was outfitted with a powerful setup of a 10-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, identical to those found in our 13-inch MacBook Pro tester.
Sure enough, the scores in both systems were nearly indistinguishable across testings such as GeekBench 5 and 3DMark Wild Life Extreme, confirming my expectations of how the machines would compare.
Even with an impressive level of performance, the two laptops remain very distinct in terms of portability and display size.
The results of Cinebench R21’s multi-threaded test showcased a stark difference between the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
While this disparity was expected, as the MacBook Air features a fanless system, throttling the CPU to keep temperatures cool, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, equipped with fans and a stronger cooling arrangement, makes it capable of tackling taxing workloads for extended periods of time.
This difference highlights the need for good thermal management, especially when dealing with thin devices such as the MacBook Air.
After extensive testing, it’s clear that the MacBook Air and 13-inch Pro offer nearly identical performance for most tasks, both hitting 30fps in the graphical-intensive game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
This means that even a slim, lightweight laptop like the Air can handle even more demanding games with no sacrifice in performance – making the best of both worlds in terms of portability and power.
The MacBook Air is an ideal device for most people, especially those who don’t need to do any intensive tasks. It offers a lot even for the value compared to higher end models.
Issues like video editing and 3D rendering will give you a bit of slowdown, but for the majority of users this is an acceptable compromise, given everything else the Air has to offer.
Gamers, graphic designers, video editors, and 3D artists may benefit more from the 14-inch or 16-inch models of the MacBook Pro, which are still a better choice than the 13-inch Pro model, despite its higher price.
Ports And Battery Life
I must admit, when I saw the Macbook Air in action, I was pretty amazed – and even more confused by the 13-inch Pro.
Despite being packed with the same wonderful keyboard and trackpad, the Pro still contains the superfluous TouchBar that adds little but extra cost to the device.
In comparison, the Macbook Air offers the simplicity and reliability of requiring just trusty function keys for operation.
The new MacBook Air really packs a punch when it comes to ports. Not only does it have a massive two USB-C ports, but it also features a MagSafe connector for power.
This means you can easily and quickly charge the MacBook Air without using any of the valuable USB-C slots.
In fact, it might as well be called the MacBook Air Pro – Apple did an amazing job of packing in more options than ever before!
The 13-inch Pro has the clear advantage when it comes to battery life, as it lasted a highly impressive 17 hours and five minutes in our benchmark testing.
The Air, however, lags behind but only slightly, as it was able to last for 16 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the Pro’s longer battery life, the Air can still provide enough hours to last you beyond a full day’s work and is upon part with other ultraportables like Dell’s XPS 13, offering exceptional battery life performance.
Apple offers a range of power adapters to suit every need, from a simple two USB-C port charger for powering other devices, to a more powerful 67-watt adapter that is designed for rapid charging.
No matter the task, Apple’s innovative range of trustworthy power adapters can be relied on to keep your devices powered up.
Many people are hesitant about the new revamp of the MacBook Air, given its starting price tag of $1,199 – $200 more than its M1 counterpart.
However, the M2 model is equipped with the latest technology and features that make it well worth the extra investment. If budget constraints are a concern, the M1 model can still provide decent performance if found on sale or as a refurbished device.
But, ultimately, the M2 model packs more of a punch and is worth considering if you’re looking to upgrade your laptop.
Budgeting for your laptop purchase is important, and it’s important to keep in mind that costs can quickly increase as you add extra hardware.
Our review unit showed that an upgrade to the RAM and SSD storage will cost an additional $1,899. I’d highly recommend investing in these upgrades as they will allow for faster performance and better future-proofing.
The M2 chip might be fine without the extra expense of the GPU upgrade, but it certainly won’t be as powerful. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which upgrades are the most essential for your needs.
The MacBook Air has come a long way since it first emerged in 2008. It was initially underpowered and overpriced, representing Apple’s focus on style rather than substance.
Yet, today, the laptop industry as a whole follows Apple’s lead in pushing the boundaries of ultraportable computing, with technological advancement allowing Apple to fit a significant amount of power into a sleek and slender case.
Indeed, the MacBook Air is now widely accepted as the premier laptop from Apple.