Apple MacBook Air M2 review: The finer issues

The MacBook Air M2 slots in forward of the already excellent MacBook Air M1, tempting would-be house owners with a extra elegant design, larger peak efficiency, and quality-of-life adjustments like a higher-res webcam, brighter display screen, and fuller audio system. The Air M1 is inarguably nonetheless a greater worth purchase, however the little further touches make this the higher laptop — Apple’s greatest MacBook Air to this point, no much less.

The most well-liked laptop on this planet is again, and with it comes a slew of design shifts marking the most important seen adjustments to the MacBook Air line in nearly half a decade. After all, it was the under-the-hood upgrades that set aside its direct predecessor — the game-changing MacBook Air M1. Can Apple’s newest compact laptop reside as much as such lofty expectations? Discover out in Android Authority’s Apple MacBook Air M2 review.

About this Apple MacBook Air M2 review: I examined the MacBook Air M2 (16GB/512GB/10-core GPU) for 3 weeks. It was working macOS Monterey (model 12.4) in the course of the review interval. Android Authority bought the laptop for this review.

What it’s good to know concerning the Apple MacBook Air M2

apple macbook air m2 side

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

  • Apple MacBook Air M2 (8GB/256GB/8-core GPU): $1,199 / £1,249 / €1,499
  • Apple MacBook Air M2 (8GB/512GB/10-core GPU): $1,499 / £1,549 / €1,849

Let’s begin with an necessary clarification earlier than we dig into Apple’s 2022 machine: the MacBook Air M2 doesn’t exchange the MacBook Air M1. The Air M2 is available in at the next price ticket, creeping above the latter’s comforting three-digit MSRP of $999 by including an additional $200 onto the equal base mannequin. Whether or not or not that value delta is resolved by the next worth is a tricky query to reply, however one we’ll completely be tackling all through this review.

The Macbook Air M2 additionally follows scorching on the heels of the 13-inch MacBook Professional, a… unusual laptop, to say the least. Each are powered by the second-gen entry-tier Apple Silicon — the M2 — although the smallest MacBook Professional is in any other case an odd throwback to options Apple has in any other case exorcized — Contact Bar, anybody?

The M2 seems to grab the mantle of Apple’s greatest MacBook Air from the indomitable M1 mannequin.

The headline improve for the Air M2 is the titular processor. Apple claims the chip has an 18% sooner CPU and presents as much as a 35% GPU enhance, in addition to a 40% sooner neural engine for ambient and AI-specific duties. As we’ll see, these numbers don’t paint a full image however, spoilers: this can be a extremely performant and environment friendly fanless laptop.

Maybe the extra thrilling adjustments are these to the general look and have set, with the Macbook Air M2 borrowing some parts and design cues from the revamped 2021 Macbook Professional line. This features a flatter type issue, the oft-maligned notch that homes the next decision 1080p webcam, the return of MagSafe charging, and another minor Professional-like tweaks. Throw in a barely bigger and brighter show with help for extra colours, plus retooled audio system, and also you’ve received a transparent contender for the title of the most effective compact laptop.

The Macbook Air M2 begins at $1,199, however there are many inner improve choices to customized suit your workload, with the top-spec mannequin maxing out at an eye-watering $2,499. Try the bullets under for a breakdown:

GPU

  • 8-core GPU: Base
  • 10-core GPU: +$100

RAM

  • 8GB: Base
  • 16GB: +$200
  • 24GB: +$400

Storage (SSD)

  • 256GB: Base
  • 512GB: +$200
  • 1TB: +$400
  • 2TB: +$800

The MacBook Air M2 comes with a single port 30W USB-C charger as commonplace (together with a elaborate braided and color-matched MagSafe cable), although you may go for a 35W twin USB-C charger or a 67W USB-C charger for an additional $20. Alternatively, for those who’re shopping for a MacBook Air M2 configured with the 10-core GPU and a 512GB SSD or above, you may snag one of many latter two chargers without cost. The ultimate choice earlier than parting along with your money is the colour. It is available in Area Grey, Silver, or the brand new Starlight or Midnight (pictured) colorways.

The Macbook Air M2 was launched in mid-July 2022 after an preliminary launch at WWDC 2022. It’s in the stores on-line from Apple’s web site, Amazon, and chosen retailers together with Finest Purchase, Walmart, B&H, and Adorama.

How is the brand new design?

apple macbook air m2 edge headphone jack

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The wedge is not any extra! The MacBook Air M2 ditches the sloped design of its direct predecessors for a unibody chassis that sits flat when closed. It’s additionally a tiny bit longer to accommodate the bigger show. The result’s a machine that sits far nearer in aesthetics to the redesigned MacBook Professional sequence somewhat than its personal beast, although it nonetheless greater than lives as much as its “Air” moniker.

In truth, the M2 MacBook Air drops in total quantity by 20%. It’s not as slim at its thinnest level, however at 11.3mm it’s slimmer than the big finish of the wedge on the M1 mannequin. Furthermore, the burden distribution is impeccable — even after hours of use on my lap (scripting this review, no much less) I didn’t ever develop into uncomfortable. The hinge is equally effectively measured, with simply sufficient rigidity to snap shut with a satisfying thud whereas additionally being exact sufficient to raise open with a single finger.

The MacBook Air M2 falls delicately into place behind the revamped MacBook Professionals by its shared visible design language.

In contrast to many light-weight laptops that go for cheaper supplies, Apple sticks with anodized aluminum, providing each a premium really feel and shine that accentuates every colour alternative. The draw back, nonetheless, is that the colour coating might be simply scratched. This presents a little bit of a problem for the Midnight mannequin because it’ll be left with silver gashes that conflict with the alluring deep blue hues. We’ve already seen loads of Midnight Air M2 house owners reporting micro-scratches across the USB-C ports regardless of being extraordinarily delicate when utilizing equipment. I’ve personally managed to keep away from any unpleasant grooves (to date), however I’m very conscious that I’m being further cautious.

To make issues worse, the Midnight end can be an entire fingerprint magnet. Personally, I might nonetheless get this mannequin if I used to be given the selection once more; I’m a sucker for the way unassuming but subtle it seems and my utilization is generally round the home. Nevertheless, for those who suppose you’ll be lugging it round an workplace or faculty all day, I’d counsel going for a extra sensible end the place any minor injury and greasy finger marks gained’t stand out fairly a lot.

apple macbook air m2 keyboard trackpad

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

In case you do wish to reside dangerously and danger these blemishes, you may no less than keep away from overusing the USB-C ports for charging due to the return of MagSafe. It’s been a protracted highway to get again right here, however welcome house, previous (s)port. Similar to the equal on the 2021 MacBook Professional line, the MagSafe connector presents that little peace of thoughts that if somebody (let’s be actual, it’ll be you) journeys over the cable, no less than your costly laptop gained’t go flying alongside along with your dignity.

It’s additionally straightforward to be glad about MagSafe for a barely much less fascinating motive: charging the laptop gained’t occupy one of many MacBook Air M2’s miserly complete of two USB-C ports. Stingy port presence is nothing new for the MacBook Air line (or Apple merchandise generally), nevertheless it’s much more irritating due to its newly uniform peak. The 2 USB-C ports on the left facet are effective, however the proper facet comprises a 3.5mm headphone jack and… that’s it. Whereas HDMI and/or an SD card slot could have all the time been a pipe dream, there’s a copious quantity of actual property on that proper facet for no less than one further USB-C port. Sadly, that is one space the place the trickle-down impact from the retooled MacBook Professional line doesn’t apply — for those who want extra ports, you gotta go Professional.

apple macbook air m2 open

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

An analogous mantra is true of the show for those who’ve received a hankering for some mini-LED, “ProMotion” goodness. As a substitute, we’re an IPS “Liquid Retina” panel right here with a capped 60Hz refresh charge. That’s to not say this can be a dangerous display screen. In truth, it’s a modest step up from the MacBook Air M1’s show, with the newer technology growing the utmost brightness to 500 nits (was 400 nits) and boosting the variety of colours it helps from the hundreds of thousands to 1 billion. Regardless of a minor drop in pixels-per-inch (227 on the M1 Air to 224) that’s imperceptible to the bare eye, the MacBook Air M2’s brighter panel, mixed with wonderful viewing angles, is way extra suited to make use of exterior or in strongly-lit environments. In case you’ve ever forged your eyes over an XDR MacBook Professional display screen or perhaps a mini-LED-equipped iPad Professional — each of which ship smoother 120Hz refresh charges — this could be a sore level, however that doesn’t imply the MacBook Air M2’s show isn’t sharp, colour correct, or typically a pleasure to make use of.

apple macbook air m2 notch webcam

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

One factor that does transition from the new-style MacBook Professionals to the 2022 MacBook Air is the dreaded notch. Preliminary impressions of the small black bar aren’t nice, however give it a number of days and for those who’re something like me, you’ll neglect it’s there fully. Just like the equal on Apple’s telephones, it stays an inelegant answer to an ever-growing demand for bigger shows — and that’s one thing you do get right here, albeit by solely a fraction of an inch (13.6 inches vs 13.3 inches on the M1 Air). The additional vertical house is a good trade-off, and it typically blends in with the toolbar whereas working or will get hidden in letterbox bars whereas watching films or exhibits. However, it’s totally attainable to lose your mouse cursor behind it and, when you’ve got a ton lively suddenly, some toolbar icons as effectively. You possibly can repair the latter with third-party software program, however you actually shouldn’t need to. Come on, Apple.

If you need the next refresh charge display screen or extra ports, you have nonetheless gotta go Professional.

The dearth of Face ID appears perplexing contemplating the notch’s comparatively sizable stature, although the laptop’s thinness doubtless means the mandatory sensors gained’t fairly match. It’s a disgrace, and maybe extra of a questionable omission on the pricier Professional line, however as a substitute you do get Contact ID, a.ok.a. Apple’s fancy branding for a fingerprint reader. Embedded throughout the energy button and positioned on the high proper of the keyboard, Contact ID on the MacBook Air M2 is each quick and correct. That mentioned, Apple stays extraordinarily hesitant to allow you to use it repeatedly for what looks as if any affordable stretch of time with out demanding password authentication first.

apple macbook air m2 keyboard trackpad close up

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

In the meantime, the keyboard is improbable. In contrast to the bigger MacBook Professionals, the keyboard tray mirrors the remainder of the laptop’s end, although it does inherit its bigger siblings’ full-size operate keys — a right away upside to the deck’s elevated size. Like all MacBooks, the keys are vulnerable to some shiny finger grease, however the clicky 1mm journey and stable key pitch make typing a dream. Apple’s pedigree for world-class trackpads continues right here too. The “Drive Contact” haptics are pleasingly tactile and the sheer measurement of the trackpad makes it a way more nice expertise than a lot of the competitors. Throw in near-perfect palm rejection and dependable gestures and also you’ve received an elite trackpad.

Earlier than we transfer on, I do wish to point out an amusing design quirk: this MacBook Air doesn’t even have the phrases MacBook Air on it. The acquainted white San Francisco typeface beforehand nestled on the base of recent MacBook shows had already been exorcized from the MacBook Professional in 2021, however the M2 MacBook Air doesn’t even have the previous’s minimal underside branding both. Apple thinks you and everybody else will simply realize it’s an Air — and let’s be sincere, they’re in all probability proper.

Is the M2 MacBook Air extra highly effective than the M1 Air?

How do you enhance on a chip basis that proved monumental within the historical past of client laptop processing? With the M2, Apple’s reply is: very subtly. Whereas Apple’s first stab at Arm-based, in-house silicon with the M1 was a big leap forward of virtually each earlier Intel Mac, the M2 takes the identical blueprint and ekes out just a little extra uncooked compute energy. That it does all this on a fanless machine that continues to be whisper quiet all through any process is greater than spectacular, although there’s so much to unpack right here past Apple’s claimed efficiency boosts.

The M2 follows the identical unified reminiscence structure because the M1 with 4 performance-high cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, although it now clocks in at 3.49GHz in comparison with 3.2GHz for the ‌M1‌. This stays the identical regardless of which MacBook Air M2 mannequin you choose, although there’s an choice to swap out the 8-core GPU for a 10-core cluster for an additional $100. The latter will present a modicum of additional sustainability in GPU-intensive duties, however primarily based alone testing (and people who have examined each), it’s primarily an added luxurious.

You too can max the M2 Air out with as much as 24GB of RAM, although doing so can be overkill within the excessive contemplating the restrictions of a fanless system. For me, 16GB was the candy spot for RAW picture edits and heavy multitasking, however for those who’re not meaning to do a lot past phrase processing, video streaming, or internet searching (even 50+ Chrome tabs can’t dent this factor), the bottom 8GB RAM is completely affordable — simply bear in mind you may’t improve it after the actual fact because it’s built-in with the M2 chip itself.

Apple additional claims its neural engine is 40% sooner than the M1’s equal, however that’s nigh on unattainable to really quantify in testing. It additionally makes use of Apple’s Media Engine for 4K “ProRes” video enhancing, although, as we’ll see, for those who’re something greater than a hobbyist you’ll nonetheless wish to go for an M1 Professional or M1 Max machine for those who want a number of edit streams going suddenly.

apple macbook air m2 cinebench r23 benchmark single coreapple macbook air m2 cinebench r23 benchmark single core 1

As for benchmarks, the MacBook Air M2 at present averages a rating of 1,884 for single-core and eight,719 for multi-core within the Geekbench 5 — a decent improve on the 1,690 and seven,304 respective scores on the MacBook Air M1, and according to CPU scores for the M2-powered MacBook Professional 13-inch. Whereas the single-core outcomes are aggressive with what you may largely anticipate from rival Home windows laptops with comparable Intel Alder Lake chips, the multi-core rating lags just a little behind. For a extra real-world instance, a single-core Cinebench R23 run posted a rating of 1,578 whereas the multi-core take a look at got here in at 8,104 — once more, behind equal twelfth gen Intel processors when positioned beneath stress.

The place the MacBook Air M2 excels, nonetheless, is GPU efficiency, and never simply in benchmarks — although it aces these too, with a peak rating of 6,243 in a Wild Life Excessive stress take a look at on the 10-core GPU mannequin we examined. Sure, we see a dramatic dip after the fifth run, however even after 20 loops the MacBook Air M2 nonetheless posts greater than respectable numbers. Moreover, there are many reviews for the bottom mannequin with the 8-core GPU that present equally spectacular numbers.

apple macbook air m2 3dmark stress test benchmark

What actually issues, although, are the real-world advantages, and people are most tangible when utilizing Apple Silicon-native artistic apps like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Basic, and even primary Last Minimize Professional initiatives. 4K video transcoding, specifically, is way sooner than it has any proper to be on a fanless laptop, and whereas it does get scorching, the warmth is distributed effectively sufficient to not burn your legs for those who relaxation it in your lap. Once more, you may’t anticipate MacBook Professional-tier efficiency right here both; throttling is rarely too far-off, however for informal creatives, the MacBook Air M2 is a dream machine.

It’s possible you’ll be considering that GPU benefit makes the M2 Air a good gaming system, however let’s be frank: gaming shouldn’t be what you come to a MacBook for. Can it play video games? Sure, undoubtedly. All the pieces on Apple Arcade, specifically, will run completely at an affordable clip. Much more superior video games I grabbed from Steam ran by Apple’s Rosetta 2 compatibility layer at low settings at a not-particularly-pleasant-but-playable sub-30fps. Regardless, lengthy play periods are ill-advised as Apple’s fanless system can’t lower it. Apple could also be cameoing native ports of AAA video games at its conferences, however the M2 MacBook Air gained’t ever be the most effective showcase for them.

The MacBook Air M2’s larger efficiency peaks are perfect for workflows that require brief bursts of intensive processing energy.

Placing apart all of the benchmarks and stress checks, the MacBook Air M2 actually shines for on a regular basis use whereas additionally having the latent potential for fast bursts of intensive processing energy. Nevertheless, this was additionally true of the MacBook Air M1. Sure, the peaks are just a little larger, and it could possibly maintain heavier workloads for a fraction longer, however the M2 mannequin is an iterative enchancment, not an enormous development, and one which comes at a slight price to total effectivity. Put merely, the M2 shouldn’t be sufficient of a motive to drop $1,200 or extra for those who’re already the proud proprietor of an M1 MacBook Air.

After all, for those who’ve learn something in any element concerning the efficiency of the MacBook Air M2, you’ll know there’s an elephant within the room we haven’t addressed: the 256GB base storage controversy. Earlier than we get into the weeds, I’ll begin by saying that this complete situation might’ve been averted by having 512GB be the bottom storage — I don’t suppose that’d be unreasonable contemplating Apple is already asking for an extra $200 over its predecessor.

The gigabyte complete shouldn’t be the problem, nonetheless. In contrast to the bottom M1 mannequin and each different storage improve choice on the M2 model, the bottom 256GB SSD on the MacBook Air M2 is saved on a single NAND chip (the others get two). This poses two issues, considered one of which can have an effect on everybody, and one other that will solely be a fear for these seeking to push the system so far as it could possibly go.

apple macbook air m2 disk speed test

The core situation is that switch charges through the 256GB drive take a major dip. We don’t have this mannequin readily available to confirm this ourselves, however intensive testing has proven that write speeds drop by nearly 1 / 4, whereas learn speeds can plummet by as a lot as half in comparison with all different configurations. We should always be aware, although, that even the 512GB mannequin we examined delivers mediocre learn/write speeds. Blackmagicdesign’s 5GB disk pace take a look at delivers ~2,100-2,300MB/s for write speeds and ~2,700-2,900MB/s learn speeds. Anticipate to attend a good whereas when copying bigger recordsdata.

The much less urgent, however doubtlessly deal-breaking situation for some, is that the system will fall again on the SSD as non permanent reminiscence every time the RAM is maxed out. With the usual 8GB RAM, this can doubtless occur throughout intensive multitasking, when working with large video recordsdata, or when you’ve got a number of non-native apps working concurrently by Rosetta 2. With sooner drives, that is completely acceptable, however the result’s a extreme efficiency drop when mixed with the slower single-NAND 256GB SSD.

The 2 points mixed shine an embarrassing mild on the 256GB base MacBook Air M2, which represents a stark regression from the entry-level MacBook Air M1. I don’t suppose everybody ought to rule out going for the bottom unit, as these with a light-weight workload (e.g. internet searching, docs, and video streaming) that simply need the prettiest and most transportable MacBook gained’t essentially be closely impacted. However for individuals who need the scope to stretch the system just a little additional, the 512GB mannequin that begins at $1,499 is a safer start line.

How good is the MacBook Air M2’s battery life?

apple macbook air m2 magsafe ports

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The MacBook Air M2’s unibody chassis homes a bigger battery than the MacBook Air M1 (52.6Wh up from 49.9Wh). The M1 MacBook Air was already a battery life monster, and the MacBook Air M2 continues that legacy, albeit with none noticeable enhancements.

Apple makes staggering guarantees of as much as 18 hours of Apple TV film playback or 15 hours of internet searching — notably the identical claims it made for the MacBook Air M1. In my testing with adaptive brightness and True Tone (Apple’s adaptable-contrast characteristic) turned on, I averaged between 10-12 hours on a single cost when following my traditional workflow in my capability right here at Android Authority. This usually contains an innumerable amount of Chrome tabs, checking emails, Slack chats, video calls, picture enhancing, and some cheeky video games of Soccer Supervisor (throughout breaks!). I additionally discovered that the standby battery drain is within the low single digits.

The M1 MacBook Air was already a battery life monster, and the MacBook Air M2 continues that legacy.

Contemplating the MacBook Air M2 is rocking a bigger, brighter display screen than its predecessor, it’s forgivable that battery life is actually 1:1 despite the bigger cell. Furthermore, it’s nonetheless leaps and bounds forward of any rival Home windows laptops. Sure, you may drive down the overall screen-on time with x86 apps and video games or any workload that causes extreme warmth, however the effectivity on show for on a regular basis use is exemplary.

As commonplace, the MacBook Air M2 comes with a 30W USB-C charger, however to get the quickest cost occasions you’ll want no less than a 67W plug with help for Energy Supply requirements — one thing Apple is eager to upsell to you for an additional $20. We opted for the 67W brick and would counsel anybody shopping for the MacBook Air M2 ought to do the identical, or on the very least purchase a Energy Supply-compatible adapter with sufficient grunt to refill a laptop. There’s an alternative choice on the similar value for a two-port 35W USB-C charger, however for those who hook that as much as a second gadget for a recharge it’s going to drastically cut back the draw heading in direction of the MacBook Air.

Apple’s official 67W charger topped up the MacBook Air M2 in just below an hour and a half from zero, and 50% in half an hour, give or take a couple of minutes for variance. As a welcome contact, you may cost by MagSafe or both of the 2 USB-C ports and it gained’t make a distinction to the recharge speeds.

The rest?

apple macbook air m2 speakers

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

  • Audio: Appearances are definitely deceiving with the MacBook Air M2’s audio setup, which jettisons the normal keyboard-flanking, upward-facing audio system discovered on different MacBooks. As a substitute, the M2 MacBook Air has a dual-tweeter and dual-woofer association pointing up at and alongside the display screen, hidden from view adjoining to the hinges. By some means, it really works, and works very effectively, with wealthy lows and mids, although it does lack on the bass entrance when pushed to larger volumes. Whereas not a patch on the MacBook Professional’s six-speaker array, it’ll simply suffice for binge-watching your favourite exhibits. Throw in help for Apple’s Spatial Audio commonplace and a 3.5mm headphone jack and it’s exhausting to have any actual grumbles.
  • Webcam: The MacBook Air M2’s 1080p FaceTime webcam shouldn’t be going to blow you away, nevertheless it gained’t make you depressing just like the MacBook Air household’s low-res cams of previous, both. Photographs are extra detailed and ship extra correct distinction. Not does Apple’s entry-level MacBook make its topics seem like the residing lifeless. Whereas it’ll greater than suffice for informal group chats and work meets, for those who want a top-tier webcam you’ll nonetheless need an exterior one. Alternatively, for those who’ve received a suitable iPhone, you would all the time watch for the Continuity Digital camera characteristic on the upcoming macOS Ventura which can flip your telephone right into a high-res webcam.
  • Software program: With Monterey on board and Ventura anticipated later this fall, there’s a lot to love, and certainly love, about macOS. That’s doubly true for anybody already trapped inside Apple’s high-walled backyard as current variations have solely elevated interoperability throughout the Cupertino firm’s huge product portfolio. Acquainted options like Common Clipboard, Handoff, and AirDrop are all nice, nevertheless it’s Monterey’s addition of Common Management that basically strikes the needle for those who even have an iPad and/or iMac. Flicking between a number of screens with the identical keyboard and mouse is genuinely magical. You’ll nonetheless need to emulate some older x86 apps, nevertheless it’s no shock that many devs have transitioned to native apps following the success of Apple Silicon. The poisoned chalice half is that there continues to be no help or substitute for Boot Camp, so if you wish to run Home windows, you’ll must depend on third-party software program. Although actually, for those who’re excited about superior stuff like partitioning drives and dual-booting, you ought to be a MacBook Professional as a substitute.
  • Connectivity: Apple continues to disregard the Wi-Fi 6E commonplace throughout its many merchandise, nevertheless it does no less than supply Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with suitable networks. In the meantime, Bluetooth help languishes on the virtually six-year-old Bluetooth 5.0 spec. Apple additionally lists the USB-C ports as having Thunderbolt 3, not 4 just like the MacBook Professional sequence. Whereas the necessary specs are essentially the identical, Apple’s reasoning for itemizing it as solely Thunderbolt 3 could have one thing to do with the exterior monitor help state of affairs. Talking of…
  • Exterior monitor help: You possibly can solely hook up one exterior monitor to the MacBook Air M2 at as much as 6K decision at 60Hz. This may increasingly not matter to anybody solely shopping for one for transportable use, nevertheless it looks like an arbitrary restriction when most comparable Home windows laptops help three. In case you want further exterior screens, the MacBook Professional helps as much as 4.

Apple MacBook Air M2 specs

MacBook Air M2

Show

13.6-inch Liquid Retina (IPS)
2,560 x 1,664 pixels, 224 ppi
Vast colour (P3)
True Tone technology
Help for 1 billion colors
500 nits max brightness

CPU/GPU

Apple M2
8-core CPU
8- or 10-core GPU
16-core Neural Engine
100GB/s reminiscence bandwidth
Media Engine: {Hardware}-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW

RAM

8GB
Configurable as much as 24GB

Storage

256GB SSD
Configurable as much as 2TB

Cameras

1080p FaceTime HD camera

Audio

4-speaker sound system
Vast stereo sound
Spatial audio
Three-mic array with directional beamforming
3.5mm headphone jack

Battery

52.6Wh lithium-polymer battery
67W charging
MagSafe 3

Community

802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac suitable
Bluetooth 5.0

Connectivity

2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports with help for:
Charging
DisplayPort
Thunderbolt 3 (as much as 40Gb/s)
USB 4 (as much as 40Gb/s)
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (as much as 10Gb/s)

Software program

macOS Monterey

Dimensions and weight

1.13 x 30.41 x 21.5 cm (0.44 x 11.97 x 8.46 inches)
1.24kg

Colours

Silver
Area Gray
Starlight
Midnight

Biometric safety

Contact ID

Worth and competitors

2022 Apple MacBook Air (M2, 8GB, 256GB)

2022 Apple MacBook Air (M2, 8GB, 256GB)

Skinny and light-weight weight • As much as 18 hours battery life

Apple’s greatest MacBook Air to this point.

The redesigned MacBook Air is extra transportable than ever at simply 2.7 kilos. It is next-generation 8-core CPU, as much as 10-core GPU, as much as 24GB of unified reminiscence, a 13.6-inch show and as much as 18 hours of battery life will preserve you working all day.

The MacBook Air M2 finds itself caught in a little bit of an identification disaster and with the unenviable process of convincing the world that the MacBook Air line is as soon as once more value spending over that candy $999 value level.

That is made even trickier by the continued existence of the MacBook Air M1 ($975.85 at Amazon), which is a tricky comparability level for any ~$1,000 laptop. In case you’re a staunch notch hater, you’ve in all probability already made your thoughts up, and, fairly frankly, you may’t go flawed with the notch-less M1 MacBook Air model — it stays a staggering achievement. But whereas there aren’t important enhancements in essential areas like efficiency or battery life, the MacBook Air M2 has simply sufficient polish to warrant the extra spend. That mentioned, for those who’re counting each greenback, the price-to-performance ratio offered by the MacBook Air M1 is difficult to disclaim.

Sticking near house, the MacBook Air M2 takes up residence proper subsequent to 2022’s 13-inch MacBook Professional ($1249 at Amazon). But regardless of seeming like an apparent improve with solely $100 between them, the MacBook Professional is a weird machine caught in a time warp. Sure, it unlocks the potential of the M2 chip by pairing the 10-core GPU variant with devoted cooling followers, nevertheless it doesn’t do so much else to earn its “Professional” moniker because of the restricted ports, lack of MagSafe, and the retention of Apple’s historical 720p webcam and the continued use of the controversial Contact Bar versus precise operate keys.

apple macbook air m2 side closed

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

No, the actual MacBook Professionals are the 2021 iterations, however Apple is asking a princely payment for its flagship laptops. It’ll price you a minimal further $800 for the 14-inch MacBook Professional ($3099 at Amazon), although for those who want extra ports, higher audio system, a fancier show with a silky 120Hz refresh charge, sustained top-grade efficiency for demanding artistic duties, or are simply craving the easiest MacBook cash should purchase, the 2021 MacBook Professionals are as tantalizing as they’re spectacular. Plus, that value disparity isn’t fairly as intimidating for those who’re contemplating something however the base MacBook Air M2 — issues rapidly begin to add up with further storage or RAM.

And that’s the actual query: is that this really a $1,199 laptop when you think about the problems with the bottom mannequin? The reply finally relies on your supposed workflow. The one-NAND SSD is way from ideally suited, however except you completely know you’re going to check the machine’s limits, I don’t suppose it ought to be an entire deterrent. That mentioned, upgrading to 512GB storage with its sooner drive is unquestionably one thing to think about for $200 extra. Doubling the RAM would additionally assist future-proof it, however then you definitely’re stretching the worth to $1,599 — now solely $400 shy of the new-style MacBook Professional. Regardless, I’d advocate in opposition to the 10-core GPU; there could also be area of interest situations the place it’s helpful, however we’ve but to seek out any.

apple macbook air m2 vs ipad pro

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Take note, nonetheless, that the laptop panorama has remodeled because the M1 MacBook Air hit the scene. Intel’s Evo program, enabled by its formidable twelfth gen Alder Lake chips, has resulted in a crop of Home windows laptops which have narrowed the hole with Apple Silicon machines.

On the high of the checklist for design aficionados is the Dell XPS 13 Plus ($1,299) — an undeniably good-looking laptop that smashes any remnants of the stigma that Home windows ultrabooks are all the time uninteresting to take a look at. With a stable, invisible trackpad, quad audio system, and hardware-based face unlock, the XPS Plus claims a number of wins over Apple’s machine, although it has a low-res webcam, far weaker battery life and, controversially, it has Dell’s personal, equally controversial tackle a operate row contact bar. It additionally prices just a little extra and, if you need the nicer OLED display screen, will begin to actually hit your pockets.

Apple’s largest rival within the smartphone house can be encroaching on its territory within the compact laptop market. The Samsung Galaxy Guide 2 Professional ($1249.99 at Amazon) undercuts the Air M2 with its base mannequin and packs a stunning AMOLED panel, a plethora of ports, and a 1080p webcam. The one actual downsides are the weak, bizarrely-placed audio system and a few pesky pre-installed bloatware. Creatives may additionally wish to contemplate the Galaxy Guide 2 Professional 360 ($1,449) with its 2-in-1 type issue and S Pen help (with an included stylus).

The laptop panorama has remodeled since Apple Silicon hit the scene, however the M2 MacBook Air simply competes with the easiest ultraportables.

Whereas we’re ready on newer fashions, the Floor Laptop computer 4 ($999.99 at Amazon) continues to be a dependable alternative for a light-weight laptop due to Microsoft’s stellar ergonomics, although massive display screen bezels and 720p webcam are beginning to present their age. It does ship wonderful battery life although, with even AMD’s older chips proving their effectivity chops.

That pedigree ought to carry by to what’s anticipated to be the most effective MacBook Air M2 various, Asus’ Ryzen 7-powered Zenbook S13 OLED ($1,299). The ultraportable could fall behind on the webcam, however the remainder represents the most effective of Home windows {hardware} and software program in a slim bundle, with a high-res 2.8K OLED panel, a trackpad that doubles as a numpad, built-in graphics efficiency that may rival laptops with entry-tier devoted GPUs, and battery life that may nearly rival the MacBook Air M2. It’s not in the stores on the time of this writing, however when it’s, you would possibly wish to give it a glance earlier than committing your money.

There’s additionally the actually on the market choice: the 12.9-inch iPad Professional ($1088.94 at Amazon) for those who pair it with a Magic Keyboard ($349). As a long-time iPad advocate who used this actual setup as a laptop substitute for a number of years, I can let you know it’s removed from ideally suited — iPadOS simply isn’t as versatile as macOS for day-to-day busywork. It’s, nonetheless, a media marvel, with a panoramic, excessive refresh charge show which is ideal for digital artists. The pseudo-app dock Stage Supervisor in iPadOS 16 ought to assist bridge the hole between Apple’s tablets and its MacBooks, however for now, this can be a wildcard various that may even price you greater than a MacBook Air M2 with a storage bump whenever you issue within the Magic Keyboard’s steep asking value.

Apple MacBook Air M2 review: The decision

apple macbook air m2 top

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Apple has turned the idea of product pricing technique into an artwork type. Be it a telephone, a watch, a pill, a pair of true wi-fi buds, a desktop laptop, or, as on this case, a laptop, it doesn’t matter what gadget you’re eying up for buy, there’s nearly all the time a barely fancier mannequin with some bonus extras that’s so perilously shut in value {that a} voice in your head whispers to you: “…perhaps I ought to spend just a little bit extra.”

For any present potential MacBook Air consumers, the M2 mannequin is that gadget. It’s a contact extra elegant, it’s a shade extra highly effective, the audio system are a contact fuller, the display screen is a tinge bigger and brighter. Put merely, it’s simply that tiny bit nicer than the standard MacBook Air M1, which is about to stay on sale because the entry-level MacBook Air for the foreseeable future. Are all these prospers value an additional $200?

The M1 Air is inarguably a greater deal, however the MacBook Air M2 is a greater laptop.

For me, that reply is sure. As is the case so typically with iterative client tech, it’s the little touches that make the distinction, and the MacBook Air M2’s quality-of-life adjustments enhance the standard of the general expertise (the slower SSD excluded).

Generally it’s okay simply to need the nicer product, not the one with the tightest worth equation. Occasions are powerful, cash is tight, and the M1 Air is inarguably a greater deal. However the MacBook Air M2 is a greater laptop — the most effective transportable laptop that runs macOS, no much less, and for those who’re nonetheless lugging round an Intel Air mannequin and are seeking an improve, you gained’t be dissatisfied.

Prime Apple MacBook Air M2 questions and solutions

Is it value shopping for M2 MacBook Air?

So long as you may abdomen the marginally raised MSRP, the MacBook Air M2 is unquestionably value shopping for for its refined design and highly effective specs.

Is the MacBook Air M2 good for gaming?

Whereas it has a formidable GPU setup, with out devoted followers and a restricted library of native video games for Apple Silicon, the MacBook Air M2 isn’t significantly good for taking part in video games exterior of Apple Arcade titles and some light-weight Steam video games.

Is the M2 MacBook Air good for college kids?

The MacBook Air M2 is a good purchase for college kids, particularly these with mild workloads who want a transportable laptop. It isn’t low-cost, although.

Ought to I put a case on my MacBook Air M2?

We’d advocate having no less than a carry case on your MacBook Air M2 to keep away from scratches whereas on the go.

Can the MacBook Air M2 run two exterior screens?

Sadly, the MacBook Air M2 is proscribed to 1 exterior monitor through USB-C as much as 6K/60Hz.

Does the MacBook Air M2 have heating points?

In our testing, we didn’t encounter any heating points with the MacBook Air M2, however it’s going to get fairly scorching beneath stress because of the lack of followers.

How lengthy does the MacBook Air M2 battery final?

The MacBook Air M2 battery lasted between 10-12 hours on a single cost in our testing, although endurance will fluctuate relying in your workload.

Is the MacBook Air M2 good for video enhancing?

The MacBook Air M2 can be utilized for mild video enhancing, however for those who want it for skilled use we’d advocate a MacBook Professional as its fan cooling will result in smoother efficiency for high-resolution/multi-stream video edits.

Is it value getting the 24GB RAM MacBook Air M2?

Whereas there’s nothing flawed with shopping for the 24GB RAM MacBook Air M2, it’s overkill for a fanless system constructed for light-to-medium workloads and places the laptop in the identical value tier because the superior MacBook Professional line.

Does the MacBook Air M2 have USB ports?

The MacBook Air M2 has two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3. It doesn’t have any USB-A ports.

Are you able to improve the SSD on the MacBook Air M2?

No, you can not improve MacBook Air M2’s SSD.

Are you able to improve the RAM on the MacBook Air M2?

No, you can not improve MacBook Air M2’s RAM as it’s built-in with the M2 chip itself.

Does the MacBook Air M2 have a touchscreen?

Like all MacBooks, the MacBook Air M2 doesn’t have a touchscreen.

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