Apple MacBook Air M2 review: sleek redesign takes things up a notch

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Apple’s fashionable MacBook Air has been springiness its biggest redesign since it was archetypal introduced successful 2008, ditching its classical wedge signifier and making it thinner, with a bigger surface and amended than ever for 2022.

The revamped laptop builds connected the interior changes made with the gamechanging M1 exemplary successful 2020, introducing Apple’s next-generation M2 spot successful a sleeker level aluminium body.

But successful doing so, it besides gets a nasty £250 terms increase, making the starting exemplary £1,249 ($1,199/A$1,899).

The extracurricular framework has adopted the simplified, retro plan of the 14in MacBook Pro from past year, with nary tapering, conscionable a level apical and bottommost with smoothed sides. However, the M2 Air is 4.8mm thinner, 50g lighter and 20% smaller by measurement than the aged model, making it overmuch slimmer than the comparatively chunky-looking Pro.

A photograph  showing the MacBook Air charging via a MagSafe cable.
The sides of the platform are hardly gangly capable to accommodate the USB-C and MagSafe charging ports. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Despite its slim frame, the laptop feels incredibly solid, with nary flex successful the platform and a rigid lid. Open the lid to uncover a larger, 13.6in screen, which is 25% brighter and conscionable arsenic crisp and beauteous portion providing a small much existent property for enactment than the 13.3in size it replaces.

It has a notch astatine the apical of the surface that, similar the MacBook Pro, houses an improved 1080p webcam, which is simply a well-overdue upgrade for those of america inactive chained to virtual meetings. The Air has 4 speakers hidden successful its platform that are beauteous bully for a laptop and task a reasonably wide and immersive sound.

A photograph  showing the platform  of the MacBook Air including trackpad and keyboard.
The platform of the laptop looks the slightest different. Apple’s best-in-class trackpad, bully keyboard and Touch ID fingerprint sensor successful the powerfulness fastener are conscionable arsenic bully present arsenic past time. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Specifications

  • Screen: 13.6in LCD (2560x1600; 224 ppi) True Tone

  • Processor: Apple M2 with 8 oregon 10-core GPU

  • RAM: 8, 16 oregon 24GB

  • Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB oregon 2TB SSD

  • Operating system: macOS 12 Monterey

  • Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

  • Connectivity: wifi 6, Bluetooth 5, 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, headphones

  • Dimensions: 215 x 304.1 x 11.3mm

  • Weight: 1.24kg

M2 velocity and precise agelong artillery life

The MacBook Air M2 closed connected  a array  showing the digit  articulator  utilized  to unfastened  the lid.
The sleek MacBook Air is casual to gaffe into a container and airy capable to not beryllium burden. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 2022 MacBook Air is 1 of the archetypal machines to person Apple’s next-generation M2 chip. It is an incremental upgrade from the once-in-a-generation leap made by the M1 successful 2020 but is inactive up to 18% faster, with 35% much almighty graphics.

The M2 makes the MacBook Air a rapid, highly susceptible instrumentality that volition easy grip immoderate wide computing request and bursts of much demanding things. It is simply a fanless machine, making it wholly soundless successful operation. The laptop stayed chill for 3 hours of reasonably demanding photograph manipulation enactment with ample representation files portion attached to a abstracted 4K display. Unless you cognize your enactment is precise computationally demanding, I would expect the Air to beryllium much than susceptible for most, contempt the deficiency of a instrumentality for cooling.

The artillery beingness is inactive class-leading, too, regularly exceeding 16 hours of enactment betwixt charges, including respective hours of photograph editing successful Affinity Photo, having 20 oregon tabs unfastened successful Chrome astir of the time, and utilizing Apple Mail, Typora, Evernote and a assortment of chat apps and smaller tools. You won’t request to transportation the charger to lectures oregon work.

It took 2 hours 15 minutes to afloat complaint the Air with the included 35W charger and MagSafe cable, hitting 50% successful astir an hour, but it tin fast-charge to 50% with a 67W oregon higher-power adaptor if you person one.

Sustainability

The underside of the MacBook Air M2 showing its 4  circular rubber feet.
The bottommost of the laptop is level with circular rubber feet to rise it somewhat disconnected a table and tiny screws to access its components for repair. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The MacBook Air is made with recycled materials including aluminium, steel, tin, uncommon world elements and plastic. Apple breaks down the computer’s environmental interaction successful its report.

The machine is generally repairable, and the artillery tin beryllium replaced for £129 by Apple. Apple offers trade-in and escaped recycling schemes, including for non-Apple products.

MacOS 12.5 Monterey

A photograph  of the webcam of the MacBook Air M2 placed successful  the centre of a notch successful  the apical  of the screen.
The webcam is importantly improved but does not enactment Apple’s Centre Stage automatic panning and scanning exertion oregon Face ID, features inactive reserved for Apple’s iPads. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The MacBook Air runs the aforesaid mentation of macOS Monterey arsenic the MacBook Pro from past year. It is mostly an fantabulous level with precocious reliability and debased maintenance.

Since past year, Apple has added the Universal Control feature, allowing the keyboard and trackpad connected a Mac to power different Apple devices, which is peculiarly useful erstwhile utilized with an iPad but it tin beryllium unreliable successful patchy wifi conditions.

Price

The Apple MacBook Air costs £1,249 ($1,199/A$1,899) with an 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Doubling the retention oregon RAM costs £200 ($200/A$300) respectively.

The exemplary with a 10-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of retention costs £1,549 ($1,499/A$2,349) and comes with a two-port 35W USB-C charger oregon 67W powerfulness adaptor.

For comparison, the M1 MacBook Air costs £999, M2 MacBook Pro starts astatine £1,349, 14in MacBook Pro starts astatine £1,899, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 starts astatine £999, and the Dell XPS starts astatine £949.

Verdict

The MacBook Air has been fixed a thoroughly modern makeover and looks amended than ever connected the outside.

Having founded the thin and airy laptop class successful 2008, the Air has ever been the portable to beat. The larger 13.6in surface makes a worldly quality for getting enactment done, portion the thinner and lighter assemblage makes it easier than ever to acceptable successful a bag. The instrumentality of the MagSafe charging cablegram frees up a USB-C larboard for much peripherals, too.

Combined with class-leading artillery beingness of astir 16 hours, accelerated show of the M2 spot and a top-class trackpad and keyboard, you person the champion premium user laptop available.

The lone thorn successful its broadside is the terms summation to £1,249 oregon more, which makes the M1 MacBook Air that is inactive connected merchantability astatine £999 undoubtedly amended value.

Pros: super-fast M2 chip, soundless and chill running, highly agelong artillery life, large 13.6in screen, large keyboard, best-in-class trackpad, MagSafe, bully speakers, bully mics and webcam, tons of recycled materials, Touch ID.

Cons: expensive, lone 2 USB-C ports and nary USB-A oregon SD paper slot, tin lone thrust 1 outer display, nary Centre Stage camera oregon Face ID.

The closed lid of the MacBook Air M2 showing a bluish  tint successful  the midnight colour option.
The caller midnight colour enactment is truly nice, looking similar a matt achromatic with a flimsy bluish tint that shines done successful nonstop sunlight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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