Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) in review: An unbeatable benchmark! – HT Tech | Hot Mobile Press

The Apple MacBook Air M2 comes with a new M2 chipset for increased performance and a revised design. But is that enough to pick it up against its Windows competitors?

The M1 MacBook Air changed our perception of a laptop in 2020! Suddenly a slim-n-trim notebook could have serious firepower inside to edit videos while delivering 10+ hours of battery life and not needing fans to cool the vapor! Everyone loved the M1 MacBook Air and so did I – I bought one and couldn’t be happier. It was almost as if the laptop could not be improved upon. But Apple did, announcing the MacBook Air M2 at WWDC 22 earlier this year.

The new MacBook Air M2 is actually new – it has a brand new design for its body, which houses a brand new display and many other refreshed parts. It also got a new price tag, although that’s not good for consumers. Starting at Rs. 1,19,900, that’s more expensive than the M1 MacBook Air ever was. And in my first few days, I wondered where that extra money was being spent! After two weeks with the new MacBook Air, I now know exactly where the money went.

And before we start, M1 MacBook Air users need not panic – this model is still a very good computer. You don’t need to upgrade yet. This is for those coming from a Windows PC or an older Intel Mac.

For years, MacBook Air design has been about showing how light and slim a laptop can be. With its wedge-shaped profile, the M1 MacBook Air still looks like an artifact from the future alongside Windows laptops from Dell, HP and Samsung. The MacBook Air M2 refines the same with a design reminiscent of the 14-inch MacBook Pro – the wedge shape has been traded for a more conventional and curvy side profile, while the lid is absolutely flat. It looks thick, but when placed next to the M1 MacBook Air, the new model is significantly slimmer. It’s also slightly lighter, although the differences are negligible.

Being an Apple product, the fit and finish of the laptop is unparalleled. Every surface and every line has its purpose – for comfortable and meaningful work on the computer. Open the lid and you’re greeted by a new keyboard deck that has larger keycaps (yay for us writers) with a well-spaced layout and the same large trackpad with Force Feedback. The speakers have been moved from either side of the keyboard to the hinge, giving everything a clean look.

Speaking of cleanliness, the display has narrower but consistent bezels around it. And it’s one of the very light laptops that still uses glass for the display. Oh yeah, the notch is there too and funnily enough it doesn’t bother. For most apps and macOS windows, the notch stays in the menu bar. Notches on laptops aren’t a bad idea, but then you see Dell magic up the XPS 13 laptops and you wonder why Apple couldn’t pull it off.

The sides are all clean, too, and you only see the two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports connected through the new MagSafe connector. Thankfully, the 3.5mm audio jack remains. I still wanted to see the USB-C connector, but since it’s the “Air” the trade-offs are understandable.

Apple MacBook Air M2 display

The second area where the gains are most visible. The M2 MacBook Air gets a “new” 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, which Apple says is bigger, brighter, and better. In plain language, you have an IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1664 pixels and a peak brightness of up to 500 nits. Compared to the M1 MacBook Air, you’ll love this display. This notch frees up more space so more content can fit inside. I was able to use my CMS website on Chrome and view all elements with plenty of space without going into full screen mode! This is not possible with the M1 models due to the limited space available.

It looks brighter and the colors look more vibrant. The automatic brightness sensor is a blessing, as is the True Tone feature. However, this pales in comparison to the OLED display on the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro and Asus ZenBook 14 models. Nonetheless, this is a good display for both work and play.

Apple MacBook Air M2 performance

This is where the MacBook Air M2 shines! The M1 chip is still one of the fastest chips for computing and it only gets better with the M2 chip. This is a second generation 5nm chip with an octa-core processor and a new 10-core GPU. Memory bandwidth has been accelerated to 100 GB/s and there is a new 16-core neural engine. Paired with macOS Monterey, it all seems to be redefining lightweight portable computing.

Unfortunately, I had the base 8GB/256GB model, which gets the 8-core GPU and slower SSD storage thanks to a single NAND chip. My job isn’t to edit 4K and 8K videos and export them to Final Cut Pro; As a result, I could not perceive the difference in speed between this M2 model and my M1 MacBook Air.

From a layman’s point of view, there’s nothing the MacBook Air M2 can’t do. Running 12-13 tabs in Google Chrome while writing pages is no deal for that. Editing high-resolution 8K images in Photoshop and online editors was also a breeze. The M2 chip appears to be almost as fast as the M1 chip in real use, and for non-creative people that’s a crucial thing, although in theory it has enough room for serious calculations. Other content creators have seen faster 4K video export times on FCP, proving the power of the new M2 chip. In terms of performance, therefore, this M2 MacBook Air is ready for the years to come. And I didn’t experience any performance throttling from heating during my use; Creators can see this when editing multiple feeds of 4K video on a single FCP timeline.

But what’s even more impressive is the hardware-software integration. macOS Monterey and the M2 chip work together to provide a highly efficient and well-organized computing experience. macOS needs no introduction – it’s super polished and fun to work with. With macOS you get the typical benefits of the Apple ecosystem, my favorite being AirDrop and AirPlay. Oh, and Universal Control is something I swear by at my WFH desk. There are occasional hiccups with certain apps and I’ve observed the laptop forcibly close them, particularly the Apple Music app. But that was rare, and I was hooked on the stability compared to a Windows 11 laptop. Personally, I was very pleased that the MacBook Air managed my mobile data allowance extremely well – it never reached 50 percent of the daily data allowance of 1.5 GB in a full workday! A Windows 11 laptop makes me buy extra data on days like this.

Then there’s the hardware that’s critical for us writers—the keyboard. The Magic Keyboard with its larger keycaps still offers the same comfortable typing experience. The keys have a large drop and offer satisfactory feedback. Backlight bleeding is well contained and overall writers will love this keyboard setup. The trackpad is precise and works well with macOS gestures. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is also fast.

The new 1080p webcam is also better for video calls – it’s clear and captures skin tones much better. The microphone reception was also satisfactory.

The only slight disappointment comes with the audio section. Apple treats it to a new quad-speaker system that promises performance improvements. While the speakers are better than most competing Windows laptops, I prefer the M1 MacBook Air’s speakers. Perceived quality is better on the old model, and the top-mount positioning makes it sound louder.

Apple MacBook Air M2 battery life

The MacBook Air M2 retains the same 52.6 Wh battery as the M1 model, and that’s not a bad thing considering Apple Silicon chips introduced greater power efficiency back in 2020. Therefore, on this new MacBook Air, I can still extract up to 16 hours of battery life from my regular office workflow. And mind you, my workflow includes power-hungry Google Chrome, streaming Apple Music, writing to Pages, and taking calls from my iPhone. In practice, I can work for up to two days with a lighter workload.

The base model includes the 30W Apple Charger along with the MagSafe Cable. The MagSafe charger is convenient and does its job well; It even has a handy charge status LED that toggles between amber and green. Having a faster 67W charger lying around, I occasionally paired it with the MagSafe cable and the standard USB-C cable to top up the battery. A 2-50 percent charge takes 30 minutes and I had a full battery in just about an hour.

Verdict

Either way, the new MacBook Air M2 is simply a brilliant computer, and if you don’t have OS preferences, we recommend this one blindly. This is one of the most beautifully built, light and slim laptops you can get your hands on, and the design still makes it unmistakably a MacBook Air. The display is good, although the OLED displays of competing Windows laptops do give it an edge to have. The M2 chip is fast and powerful, and coupled with macOS Monterey, this is a highly efficient computer to work with – both in terms of performance and battery life. And yes, this is a battery life champ! Even the webcam is impressive.

So the question arises – should you buy the new 2022 Apple MacBook Air M2? If you are looking for a no-nonsense and efficient laptop on a budget of just around Rs. 1 lakh, the M2 MacBook Air is a fantastic choice. Many might recommend the M1 MacBook Air at the lower price point, but in reality the improvements justify the extra price you pay – they’re worth spending more. This M2 MacBook Air is the benchmark against which all other slim and light “ultrabooks” are measured; and Apple has set that bar very high.

product name

Apple MacBook Air M2

advantages

  • Excellent performance
  • Excellent build quality
  • Unprecedented battery life
  • Nice webcam

Disadvantages

  • Slow save on base model
  • No HDMI, USB-A ports
  • Expensive

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