The last computer I bought was a 2018 MacBook Pro when I started writing for iMore. While it wasn’t my first job as a tech writer, I wasn’t sure how much power I would need, so I went with the Pro. I came from a job at the Apple Store and used my employee discount to lower the price.
I haven’t bought a laptop since, but when the MacBook Air with M2 came out I was admittedly intrigued. A few things helped push me towards the buy button and now after a week of using the device I can safely say I have no regrets.
Why I bought the MacBook Air with M2 chip
Although I’m a technical writer, I don’t really need a high-end computer. My workflow is probably not that different from most people who do office work. I mainly use my laptop to write articles and feed them into our content management system. I also scour the web as I write and often have multiple tabs open as I need to link to a number of resources for each article. I frequently check email, calendar, texts, and our work chat in Slack throughout the day, so I usually have a lot of windows open while I work. I do some simple photo edits, I attend online meetings – you get the idea.
As the iMore Show podcast co-host, I use my computer and a RØDE microphone to record my portion of the show. I am also a part-time teacher and use my computer to research, write and organize my classes. That’s pretty much the extent of my computer use. I don’t render video and don’t use Photoshop (or other processor-heavy creative tools).
The 2018 MacBook Pro served me well, although I was starting to see the spinning beach ball more than I would have liked. When I had a lot of tabs open, which is common for my workflow, I often heard the fans spin up and the computer freeze immediately.
I’m probably the perfect audience for a MacBook Air. I’m a “medium” user and travel quite a bit, so portability is important to me. I’ve never bought one because I was afraid it wouldn’t be powerful enough to be my only computer. I didn’t provide a computer, I have to buy my own. So I try to make careful purchasing decisions.
When Apple introduced the MacBook Air with M2 chip, I decided to buy one. When I read our editor-in-chief’s MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review praising the powerful device, my decision was cemented. It’s certainly not cheap, $200 more than its predecessor, but my educator discount helps a little. I chose the tasteful and soft champagne gold color Starlight. While the ultra-deep Blue Midnight certainly has an interesting mystique, it’s a bit too dark for my taste and tends to show fingerprints.
My first impressions of the M2 MacBook Air
I noticed a few things as soon as I started my M2 MacBook Air. The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display screen is significantly brighter and larger than my 2018 MacBook Pro, which is very pleasing to the eye. The larger dedicated Touch ID button is an easy target, especially coming off my MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. The trackpad is a little clickier, which I would never have noticed if I hadn’t directly switched from an older computer to a newer one. Likewise, the keyboard has a comfortable click and travel; Typing feels seamless. The iMore backend or content management system seems to work better on the MacBook Air. It doesn’t get hung up that often.
Unlike most users, I’ve never had strong feelings towards the Touch Bar. It was there, I used it, but not very often and certainly not to its potential. I don’t miss it at all on the MacBook Air; Having the function keys back is fine with me.
I had strong feelings for the MagSafe charger and cable, and was quite disappointed when Apple stopped putting them in laptops in 2016. Not that I trip over MacBook charging cables, but if it does, I certainly don’t want my computer dragged to the floor. I’m glad to see it again on the 2022 model; The braided cable that matches the MacBook Air is a nice touch.
The Air is lighter than the MacBook Pro, but it’s still a respectable weight and doesn’t feel cheap at all. Yet at 0.44 x 11.97 x 8.46 inches and 2.7 pounds, it’s easy to slip into my favorite backpack, one of the best laptop bags, and get going. While I didn’t mind the old wedge shape, this one is actually 20% less volume without it.
Battery life is noticeably better than my older MacBook Pro, which couldn’t even get me through a workday. The 1080p FaceTime HD camera with the better signal processor and computer video is a visible improvement over the “potato” camera (720p) in my MacBook Pro. It definitely looks a bit filtered, but it looks a lot better. The four-speaker sound system also sounds great to my ear.
Some things not great about the M2 MacBook Air
So far there hasn’t been much I didn’t like, but there are a few things you lose when you go from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook Air. The big ones are fans. When I overload my MacBook Air with no fans to cool it, it throttles straight away. But the same workload that caused my MacBook Pro to turn on the fans (and then immediately throttle anyway) doesn’t cause any problems for my MacBook Air. For me and my workflow this has not been a problem so far.
The only loss I feel is USB-C ports. I’m used to four ports plus a headphone jack; Now there are only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and both are on the left side. I don’t use an external display anyway, or many accessories at once, so it’s not a big issue. However, I have to rearrange my desk a bit to get everything on the left side. Since the MagSafe charger is back, at least one of the USB-C ports becomes free as it’s not needed for charging. And I have a pretty amazing USB-C hub in case I need to connect more devices anyway.
Overall, the M2 MacBook Air is a great fit for me and probably for you too
After a week with the M2 MacBook Air, I’m quite happy with my purchase. It feels like the “just right” computer for me and my workflow. It sits right at the intersection of performance and portability. I think it will end up being the best choice for a wide range of people, especially if you need a lightweight laptop and don’t run a lot of intensive programs or software. The improved FaceTime camera is a big bonus, as is the return of the MagSafe charging port. I think a lot of people will be happy with Apple’s latest MacBook Air – it’s made to impress.
MacBook Air with M2 chip
It’s spot on
Apple’s “Goldilocks” laptop offers just the right balance of processing power and portability for many of us. It’s light, powerful, and brings back the popular MagSafe charging port. What’s not to love?
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