MacBook Air (M2) review: It’s what Apple has at all times wanted

Apple MacBook Air (M2)

MSRP $1,199.00

“The M2 MacBook Air balances size and performance in a way no other laptop can.”


  • Incredibly thin
  • Upgraded webcam and speakers
  • Shockingly good performance
  • Battery life stomps the competition
  • Screen and keyboard are world-class


  • Worryingly hot internal temperatures
  • Still only supports one monitor

The M2 MacBook Air is greater than just one other MacBook. It’s the laptop Apple has desired to make for a lot of, a few years — but couldn’t, attributable to the constraints of the hardware.

But with the M2 intact, Apple’s created the thinnest usable laptop ever made. It’s completely fanless and with no discernible compromises. What more could Mac fans want from the most recent MacBook Air?

It’s not a laptop without some self-created controversies, however the M2 MacBook Air nails the experience Apple has at all times desired to create with its smaller laptops. And for the proper person, it’s downright sublime.


The screen of the MacBook Air M2.

The M2 MacBook Air isn’t as big of a departure from the formula because it was originally rumored to be. No white bezels or fanciful color options. I used to be a bit disillusioned at first, but putting my desire for an exciting change aside, the safer design was probably a superb move for Apple, especially considering all of the outrage across the controversial M1 iMac.

Besides, all these more low-key tweaks to the MacBook Air are advantages over the previous model. Usually, the chassis now carries the identical general shape because the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Meaning the corners are more rounded, the lid cover is flat, and, after all, there’s a notch within the display.

The thinness of this laptop is showstopping.

Those are the plain changes, but there are some even subtler design changes that you just may not notice at first glance. The flatter rubber feet on the underside have been carried over from the MacBook Pro, as have the rounded corners of the screen itself. It even gets the larger row of function keys that I enjoyed on the MacBook Pro.

But it is a MacBook, and it actually still looks like one. What makes this special is what it looks like. It’s a minimal 0.44 inches of metal between your hands if you set it on the table and a couple of.7 kilos of weight if you toss it in your bag.

The thinness of this laptop, particularly, is incredible. I really like how comfortable it’s to make use of on a desk, and even with how thin it’s, there’s never even a touch of flex. The hinge opens with one finger as MacBooks at all times do.

The keyboard of the MacBook Air.

That’s the sensation of a MacBook Air redesigned around the acute efficiency afforded by the M-series chips.

There’s a reason you’ll be hard-pressed to search out one other laptop this thin — no less than, not one without some significant deficiencies. Never has a laptop this small been matched with this amount of performance, and the switch to Apple Silicon is what makes all of it possible. Conventional Intel and AMD-based systems have a protracted solution to go.

Keyboard and trackpad

The brand new MacBook Air doesn’t make any major changes to the trackpad or keyboard than what’s been in recent MacBooks. The standard scissor mechanism used here is gorgeous and familiar to type on. No learning curve here in any way.

The keycaps don’t wiggle and are backlit by brilliant white LEDs with tons of brightness control. Most Windows laptops give just just a few levels of brightness control, but MacOS gives you a whole slider of adjustments. Unfortunately, this has now been hidden away within the Menu Bar somewhat than being given a dedicated key within the function row like up to now.

The lid and keyboard of the MacBook Air.

That is, after all, since the function keys at the moment are full-sized somewhat than half-sized. I believe I’d prefer keyboard backlighting to have a dedicated key as a substitute of sleep or highlight, but hey, that’s just me. As an entire, it’s a net positive to have these larger function keys.

The Touch ID fingerprint reader continues to be present in the highest right of the layout, on top of the facility button.

The haptic feedback trackpad is similar oversized Force Touch one which’s featured within the M1 MacBook Air. It’s extremely precise, never battling accidental clicks or palm rejection. Whilst similar haptic touchpads have begun to roll out in Windows laptops just like the Dell XPS 13 Plus or Surface Laptop Studio, MacBooks remain the perfect within the business.


A side of the MacBook Air showing the ports.

The M2 MacBook Air has received an upgrade in port selection over the previous model. On the left, you’ll find two USB-C ports and a MagSafe 3 charging port. This is similar slimmed-down MagSafe port as was present in the MacBook Pro. On the proper side, there’s a headphone jack.

I do wish they’d split the USB-C ports so there’s one on either side for more convenient charging.

While things like HDMI and SD card slots are reserved for the MacBook Pro, it’s nice to no less than have the extra charging port to unlock the USB-C ports for other uses. Having each USB-C ports available doesn’t, nevertheless, mean you possibly can hook up two external displays. Just like the M1 MacBook Air, this laptop can only connect with one external display (with as much as a 6K resolution) at a time.

The MacBook Air supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity. These are the most recent standards that Apple currently supports in its laptops, but premium Windows laptops have since moved to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.


The MacBook Air’s 13.6-inch panel is what Apple classifies as a “Liquid Retina” display, meaning it’s a more recent LCD technology that permits for higher pixel density and a wider color gamut than the usual Retina displays, as present in the M1 MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook Pro.

In point of fact, it’s not too big of an upgrade, though. The panel has a 2560 x 1664 resolution, which equates to 224 ppi (pixels per inch). That’s not quite as sharp because the “3.5K” configuration of the Dell XPS 13 Plus, for instance, which hits 304 ppi – and it’s just barely less pixel-dense than the 13-inch MacBook Pro attributable to its larger screen size.

The screen of the MacBook Air on a table.

That extra 0.3 inches of screen real estate is because of some dramatically decreased bezels. It’s still a 16:10 aspect ratio, however the smaller bezels allow for more screen in the identical footprint, just like what Apple did with its larger MacBook Pros. And which means the inclusion of a notch, too.

The difference between this and the 14-inch MacBook Pro is substantial. The incredible HDR performance is a no-go here, and also you’ll should pay big bucks for that mini-LED XDR display.

But what you get here’s a very solid display for a laptop at this price. It’s brighter than most Windows laptops at a max of 486 nits, and the colours are sensible, with a large gamut (90% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB) and good color accuracy (Delta-E of 1.08). It’s not the leader, especially not against the OLED 4K laptops on the market, however it stays a fantastic panel for the value.

Speakers and webcam

The webcam of the MacBook Air.

Apple continues to have the perfect speakers on its laptops, no less than in comparison with the competition. The M2 MacBook Air uses a four-speaker setup, a bump up from the usual stereo speakers on the M1 MacBook Air. They sound incredible, especially for a laptop of this size.

In fact, comparing them next to the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t totally fair. Those laptops manage to conjure up a healthy amount of bass, while it’s still lacking within the MacBook Air. Still, these are the perfect speakers you’ll find on a 13-inch laptop.

The MacBook Air also uses an upgraded 1080p FaceTime webcam. This matches the trend within the industry toward higher-resolution webcams, and what the larger MacBook Pros have. And due to the neural engine within the M2, the image processing is great, ensuring that your face is at all times in focus and never overexposed — whatever the lighting situation. It’s actually amongst the perfect video conferencing laptops you possibly can buy.

Like all Macs, the MacBook Air still doesn’t have Face ID, unfortunately.


The brand new MacBook Air also features a next-generation chip, the M2. Although Apple is attempting to sell this as a real sequel to the revolutionary M1, the rollout of this recent chip has felt a bit strange. It was announced at WWDC 2022 and has initially shown up in only two devices: 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Behind the scenes, we all know why. Reports indicated that what was originally intended to be the true M2 had been delayed attributable to manufacturing issues surrounding its production. Reasonably than skipping to a 3nm TSMC node, Apple was stuck working with a “refined” 5nm node. So, the M2 became the M3, and the M2 became a more iterative update to the M1.

But none of that matters if Apple is in a position to crank out enough performance to make the M2 feel like a worthy upgrade, right? It’s particularly essential since Apple still sells the M1 MacBook Air for $300 cheaper.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Pugetbench Premiere Pro
MacBook Air (M2) 1,925 / 8,973 151 1,600 / 7,938 497
MacBook Air (M1) 1,727 / 7,585 156 1,479 / 6,680 320
Dell XPS 13 Plus (Core i7-1280P) 1,316 / 8,207 170 1,311 / 6,308 269
HP Spectre x360 13.5 (Core i7-1255U) 1,566 / 7,314 169 1,623 / 5,823 n/a
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,650 / 8,080 116 1,587 / 7,682 n/a
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro) 1,760 / 1,2307 99 1,624 / 12,235 911

Tested in benchmarks, the brand new MacBook Air maintains an honest bump up over the M1 MacBook Air. In Geekbench 5, it scores 11% higher in single-core performance and 18% higher in multi-core. That verifies the 18% claim that Apple made, so props to the marketing team for not attempting to stretch things further.

That’s not going to blow your socks off. There’ll, in all likelihood, be little or no discernible performance difference between working on an M2 MacBook Air and on an M1 MacBook Air. That’s normal for raw performance in generational CPU upgrades, however it shows just how substantial the M1 really was. And none of that goodness is lost with the M2. It’s still insanely efficient, and even in a totally fanless system, delivers incredible performance.

The largest enhancement to the M2 MacBook Air’s performance is the improved neural engine and media engine. The upper-bandwidth video decoder and ProRes video engine should make the M2 MacBook Air a greater video editing machine. I put this to the test within the PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark, which tests every little thing from video playback to export times. It might also test the capabilities of the GPU, which hypothetically show the impact of the 2 extra GPU cores that Apple charges an additional $100 for.

The trade-off for all this extra performance is in heat.

The M2 received a 36% higher rating for applying GPU effects than the M1 MacBook Air. The CPU and GPU also worked together to supply 51% faster export times — and hey, that’s a difference you may actually notice. In fact, moving as much as the M1 Pro within the 14-inch MacBook Pro continues to be a big leap, especially in multi-core performance and GPU performance — only a bit less now that the M2 stands within the gap.

The trade-off for all this extra performance is in heat. I saw CPU cores spike to as high as 108 degrees Celsius on full load. That is way too hot. Intel laptops often don’t allow temperatures to get above 100 degrees for safety concerns. There are some concerns in regards to the long-term durability of seeing temperatures this high — which is clearly something Apple doesn’t expect you to do. The thermal issues were an issue noticed first within the M2 MacBook Pro, with Apple very slowly ramping up using fans. Within the case of the M2 MacBook Air, which is fanless, Apple letting temperatures get too hot, pushing more power into this technique than it might really handle. That is all in service of hitting the performance delta it needed for marketing purposes, even when Apple should probably be throttling frequencies a bit lower to maintain the temperatures down.

So far as surface temperatures go, the underside of the laptop does get quite warm under full load. But what the MacBook Air continues to achieve this well is keep those hot spots away out of your hands. The palm rests and keyboard stay cool just about regardless of what. The system also cools down remarkably fast. In comparison with the lingering warm temperatures in something just like the XPS 13 Plus, that’s an enormous profit.

Configuration issues

Normally, the choice of which configuration of MacBook you purchase largely has to do with how much storage and memory you wish. You get something top quality no matter what you select, though. With the M2 MacBook Air, though, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I received the identical review unit that many reviewers have tested, which is the $1,499 model that comes with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This model also comes with a 10-core GPU.

The keyboard and trackpad of the MacBook Air.

But as has been identified by eagle-eyed YouTuber, Max Tech, there have been some serious performance issues with the bottom model. The mixture of the significantly slower storage, attributable to it having only a single NAND chip, and the limit of 8GB of RAM seems to cause an enormous slowdown in certain tasks — specifically those who rely heavily on memory. In real-world tasks like exporting images out of Lightroom or transferring files from an external SSD, the bottom configuration appears to be exponentially slower.

The configuration I tested, after all, doesn’t suffer from these sorts of issues. The 512GB storage The shared 8GB of RAM will definitely be a limitation, which may easily be noted by watching Activity Monitor. And yet, while running the multi-core Cinebench rest, had 15 heavy Chrome tabs open, Spotify stream music, and a YouTube video playing — and didn’t see a major slowdown. That was all while being unplugged, too.

For those who’re buying a laptop solely for web browsing, social media, and watching Netflix, you’ll probably even be superb on that base configuration. Because it is a MacBook Air (and never a MacBook Pro), Apple will likely get away with cutting corners on its SSD with few complaints — apart from from reviewers.

But in case you intend to make use of your MacBook Air for anything mildly taxing, even some light photo editing or graphic design on the side, you’ll be much happier choosing no less than the $200 upgrade as much as the 512GB model. $1,399 continues to be an honest value for this machine, even without the additional GPU cores and memory.

Battery life

Battery life continues to be an area where MacBooks have a transparent and undeniable lead. While ARM-based Windows laptops also improve battery life, their performance continues to be way behind. The MacBook Air manages to have each, and that also looks like a revelation, even almost two years for the reason that M1 was launched.

The MacBook Air M2 lasted slightly below 18 hours in our web browsing test, which cycles through a series of heavy web sites until the machine dies. That’s well over double nearly all of its competitors — and it’s in keeping with what the M1 MacBook Air could do. Amazingly, the MacBook Pro 16-inch lasts even longer.

To check the utmost capability of the battery, I ran a looped 1080p video on the laptop until the battery died. It lasted an astounding 21 hours and 9 minutes on this test. Again, that is in a distinct league in comparison with its competitors.

What which means is you’ll haven’t any problem making it through a full day of labor away from the wall. On a lighter day, it could even make it through two days.

Our take

Only Apple could make the M2 MacBook Air. No other laptop balances performance with chassis size just like the MacBook Air, all while featuring top-of-the-line components, starting from the webcam to the keyboard.

The bottom configuration appears to have some deficiencies, yes. And Apple appears to have pushed too hard for higher performance on the expense of the machine itself. But I’m still in awe of what the M2 MacBook Air can do, and at a price that isn’t too far off from much worse laptops.

Are there any alternatives?

The M1 MacBook Air stands as the largest hurdle. It’s still the laptop most individuals should select, especially for the reason that performance isn’t price upgrading to the M2 model — and neither is one single aspect of the brand new design. There’s also the M2 MacBook Pro, however the M2 Air is a much better purchase.

On the Windows side of the fence, the closest competitors are the Dell XPS 13 Plus, the HP Spectre x360 13.5, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. None have the battery life or performance of the MacBook Air but stand as its closest rivals.

How long will it last?

The MacBook Air should last you a lot, a few years. These M-series chips are so ahead of the competition, you might end up pleased with the performance 4 or five years down the road. There have been some concerns with the long-term durability of the MacBook Air’s memory and storage, and since every little thing is soldered down, nothing could be easily replaced.

Do you have to buy it?

Yes. Selecting the right configuration has never been so essential, but when it comes to size, battery life, and performance, the M2 MacBook Air is a laptop unlike another you possibly can buy.

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