Apple MacBook Air (M2) overview: Nearly as good as Apple keyboards get

Let me minimize to the chase: When you’ve been ready 4 or 5 years to improve your MacBook Air, go forward and do it now. 

That’s as a result of the brand new 2022 MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s in-house M2 silicon, is simply in regards to the very best work-from-home (or work-from-wherever, actually) companion. For a beginning worth of $1,200, this new M2 Air delivers all the pieces you want any job centered round utilizing a pc: Rock-solid battery life, a bigger 13.6-inch show than earlier fashions, a keyboard that’s to die for, and sufficient horsepower to deal with on a regular basis duties with ease.

Is it good? Completely not. The brand new M2 MacBook Air continues to be in dire want of upgrades to issues like refresh charge and the port choice. However for those who’re like me and also you’ve spent approach an excessive amount of time engaged on an older MacBook Air, this improve is a no brainer.


Right here’s what Apple may showcase on the iPhone 14 occasion in September

Larger, however nonetheless slim

No tapering right here.
Credit score: Molly Flores / Mashable

Apple’s newest MacBook Air is a direct successor to the M1-powered MacBook Air from late 2020, so I’ll use that mannequin as a baseline for many comparisons. Its bodily look is definitely one of many areas through which the 2 fashions differ probably the most.

This new M2 Air mannequin comes with a redesign that received’t imply a lot to the layperson however is perhaps noticeable to extra tech-savvy people. Earlier MacBook Air laptops have include a backside half that tapers down in measurement from one finish to the subsequent. In different phrases, whereas utilizing the laptop computer, the tip of the keyboard and trackpad portion of the physique was thinner than the half that connects to the show. 

That staple of MacBook Air design is a factor of the previous now. Apple as an alternative went with an all-around uniform thickness of 1.13 cm, whereas the 2020 mannequin bottomed out at 0.41 cm however went as much as 1.61 cm at its thickest. As somebody who appreciates symmetry and consistency, this pleases me; I need my laptop computer to be the identical measurement on one finish as it’s on the opposite. Its peak thinness will not be the identical as earlier than, however general, that is nonetheless a very slim machine.

And that’s spectacular as a result of Apple upgraded the show from its former 13.3-inch measurement to a brand new 13.6-inch measurement. A 3rd of an inch might not sound like loads, however in ultra-portable laptop computer phrases, it may possibly make an enormous distinction. I’ve spent the final three and a half years engaged on a 2016 MacBook Professional with a 13.3-inch show and instantly felt the distinction right here, so belief me on this.

2022 MacBook Air

The digital camera notch isn’t nice.
Credit score: Molly Flores / Mashable

That Apple was in a position to measurement up the show whereas sustaining a decent degree of thinness and truly reducing down the load (2.7 lbs. versus 2.8 lbs. on the 2020 Air mannequin) is definitely spectacular. One factor I discover much less spectacular is the brand new digital camera notch, a holdover from the 2021 MacBook Professional. That is one thing I can tolerate on a telephone display screen (although I don’t a lot look after it there, both) as a result of it’s smaller. However I do discover the notch a contact distracting on a bigger laptop computer show. 

To Apple’s credit score, the notch doesn’t truly get in the way in which when streaming movies (all the pieces from YouTube to Sling has black bars the place the notch can be anyway), nevertheless it simply seems to be dangerous to me. 

That stated, the notch accommodates one main improve within the type of a 1080p digital camera, somewhat than the lowly 720p lens from the final go-round. Merely put, your video calls will look a lot better for those who determine to drag the set off on the brand new M2 MacBook Air, and never simply due to elevated decision. I’ve needed to rigorously place myself in entrance of an overhead gentle behind me for each work name for years as a result of, if I didn’t, that gentle would drown out my very own face. With the brand new M2 MacBook Air, that overbearing glare turns into a glowing circle within the nook whereas my face stays seen.

A selfie of the reviewer using the M2 MacBook Air's camera

That gentle made the webcam on my older MacBook Professional unusable.
Credit score: Alex Perry / Mashable

The final huge bodily change is the addition of a MagSafe charging port alongside the 2 beforehand present Thunderbolt / USB-C ports on the MacBook Air’s left facet. This, in fact, means that you can cost the laptop computer whereas conserving two Thunderbolt / USB-C ports open. Nonetheless, I’d’ve preferred one or two extra of those ports to maintain parity with the crappy previous 2016 mannequin I’ve used, which has 4 in complete. One factor I received’t complain about, although: This dangerous boy comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack on the suitable facet. 

Earlier than shifting on to the way it feels to really use the factor, right here’s a extra detailed take a look at the M2 MacBook Air’s specs:

  • 4 colours: house gray, starlight, midnight, silver

  • 13.6-inch show with 60Hz refresh charge

  • 1080p front-facing digital camera

  • 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB RAM

  • 256GB to 2TB storage

  • MagSafe 3 port, two Thunderbolt / USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jack

Kingly keyboard

View of the 2022 M2 MacBook Air keyboard against a blue surface

This keyboard is the best.
Credit score: Molly Flores / Mashable

From the angle of somebody who’s been caught on one among Apple’s horrendous previous butterfly keyboards for years, switching to the M2 MacBook Air was roughly what I think about it feels prefer to go to heaven. This can be a improbable keyboard — one which must be a promoting level for anybody caught on a butterfly keyboard.

Key presses really feel substantial however hardly make any noise. Merely pushing the keys in whereas typing feels good, man. It truly appears like urgent an actual button, in contrast to the butterfly keyboard, which felt like pushing down on one thing that was caught in molasses. That stated, this keyboard appears almost an identical in really feel to the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, so it’s not some revolutionary vanguard of keyboard design. Relatively, it’s a continuation of a optimistic pattern.

There’s one main change, which is that the operate row alongside the highest has been prolonged so the keys are full-sized somewhat than half-sized like they have been on the 2020 Air. In observe, this largely means the escape key feels big, coming in on the identical kind issue because the tab key. I gotta say, I dig it. I’ve considerably huge fingers so extra measurement is all the time higher, in my opinion. There’s nonetheless a Contact ID key on the higher proper nook of the keyboard, too, and it really works flawlessly as a way to log into the machine somewhat than sort out a password each time. 

Evidently, this keyboard is the best motive to improve for those who’re nonetheless on a considerably older MacBook. I want I might say the identical for the show.

Wants extra hertz

2022 M2 MacBook Air open and in profile view against a blue backdrop with repeated cloud patterns

The show is nice, however might be higher.
Credit score: Molly Flores / Mashable

To be clear, this new M2 MacBook Air’s show is, broadly talking, a great one. Its 2560×1664 decision retains photos, movies, web sites, and what have you ever wanting sharp as might be on a show this measurement. At 500 nits of max brightness, it’s 25 % brighter than the 400-nit-max 2020 Air mannequin. You’ll not run into any issues with this show when utilizing it for nearly any on a regular basis job.

I simply have one huge beef with it: The refresh charge tops out at 60Hz. For a laptop computer that prices a minimal of $1,200, that’s simply not adequate. It’s sufficient for streaming, as that simply occurs to be the max refresh charge on nearly each streaming website, however primary net shopping seems to be and feels so a lot better at 120Hz. I need that smoothness, people. I want it.

Nonetheless, don’t let the show be a motive not to get the brand new M2 MacBook Air. Like I stated, it’s greater than adequate in each different respect, and I fairly loved utilizing it as a second display screen for watching baseball whereas I used my major TV for different issues. The refresh charge will not be as quick as potential, however its general efficiency profile paints a extra nice image.

Quick and quiet

A view of the 2022 M2 MacBook Air's MagSafe charging port as well as Thunderbolt / USB-C ports

You’ll cost up with MagSafe this time round.
Credit score: Molly Flores / Mashable

The M2 processor, identical to its M1 and M1 Professional predecessors, retains this new MacBook Air working actual quick. This isn’t terribly shocking, as top-of-the-line efficiency is likely one of the causes persons are so prepared to pay the exorbitant “Apple tax” on each gadget the corporate makes. We anticipate greatness from Apple merchandise and that’s what this new MacBook Air offers.

In my testing, I primarily used it as an on a regular basis work-and-web-browsing machine. Which means speaking with my boss on Slack, taking part in video calls with dozens of coworkers, shopping Twitter, writing articles, streaming aforementioned baseball video games, and bulk-deleting emails to get all the way down to that candy, candy “inbox-zero” feeling. 

These are all issues that, in a technique or one other, would decelerate my 2016 MacBook Professional. They’re additionally all issues that, under no circumstances in any respect, hindered the 2022 M2 MacBook Air.

All the expertise is speedy and fluid, backed up by GeekBench benchmarking scores that put it close to or above the dearer 2021 MacBook Professional in some respects. And whereas Apple doesn’t charge the battery life any in a different way than the 2020 Air (i.e., 15 hours of net shopping / 18 hours of video playback), that’s not essentially a nasty factor. I used to be in a position to get 24 hours of real-time utilization between fees, which is greater than acceptable for a laptop computer like this.

And the best half is that it’s completely, 100% silent the whole time. No fan, no downside.

A straightforward determination, both approach

There isn’t any debating that the brand new M2 MacBook Air is about nearly as good as you’ll be able to hope for from the Air line. The one factor that’s value discussing is how crucial of an improve it’s for you.


Apple MacBook Professional (M1 Professional) overview: A expensive however killer laptop computer for creators

Fortunately, I don’t suppose it’s that troublesome of a name to make. When you nonetheless have a butterfly keyboard or a MacBook from earlier than Apple switched to its do-it-yourself M-series silicon (and you’ll afford $1,200+ for a brand new laptop computer), go forward and make the swap. Whether or not you commute to and from an workplace, or do business from home full-time, the brand new MacBook Air is a perfect job companion with glorious efficiency and one of many biggest keyboards round.

With that in thoughts, nevertheless, the M1 MacBook Air from 2020 is barely cheaper, beginning at $1,000. It has a barely completely different design, however is barely a tiny bit heavier and could also be barely extra compact because of a smaller show. Its keyboard is additionally glorious, although not fairly as a lot because it doesn’t have a full-sized operate row. However the M1 processor, older as it might be, is not any slouch, and if you have already got a type of machines, there’s no motive to improve proper now. And for those who really feel like saving a bit of cash, you should buy the older M1 Air with out shedding too a lot.

A 90Hz to 120Hz show would’ve made the M1 mannequin extra out of date, however for now, there are good causes to stay to that one.

Both approach, Apple’s new MacBook Air is a superb machine that may be a gentle on the finish of a protracted, winding tunnel for somebody who’s been utilizing a type of terrible previous keyboards for years.