The new MacBook Air is a remix – a bunch of ideas already seen on other Apple laptops, whether we’re talking about the previous MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro or 14-inch MacBook Pro.
In that sense, it’s not too exciting, as we’ve seen most of its individual features before. But it’s interesting in another sense: It’s the first major redesign in years for Apple’s most popular laptop, what we’ve previously called the best Mac laptop for most types of users.
This flat, plain, slate-like machine is also a pure whiteboard for the famous MacBook Air, and it’s the first time that the Air has been redesigned around the company’s own silicon. Apple has improved the previous design in almost every way, although the laptop loses a bit of its unique identity in the transition. It’s still the best MacBook for people who’s okay with paying its relatively high purchase price, but it’s not a mandatory upgrade over its M1 predecessor.
Let’s get into why this is the case – and why it’s still not for everyone.
|Specifications at a glance: 2022 M2 MacBook Air|
|Screen||2560 × 1664 at 13.6 inches|
|U.S||macOS Monterey 12.4|
|Network||Wi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||MagSafe, 2x Thunderbolt / USB 4, 3.5 mm headphones|
|Size||0.44 × 11.97 x 8.46 inches (1.13 × 30.41 × 21.5 cm)|
|Weight||2.7 lbs (1.24 kg)|
|Guarantee||1 year or 3 years with AppleCare +|
|Price as reviewed||$ 1,899|
|Other perks||1080p FaceTime HD camera|
Truth be told, the specs are not the highlights here, except for Apple’s inclusion of the all-new M2 chip, which so far has only been seen in last month’s update of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. We start there.
5 nm M2 comes in two configurations. One has eight GPU cores and the other has ten. This upgrade will set you back an additional $ 100 on top of the laptop’s $ 1,199 base price.
In either case, you get 10 CPU cores and Apple’s Neural Engine NPU with 16 cores. Apple claims that the CPU cores are faster than the M1s and that the NPU can process up to 40 percent more operations per second than the NPU in the M1. But it is really on the graphical side that users will notice the biggest improvements. There is also a 50 percent bump in memory bandwidth, which may be the biggest benefit of all.
The M2 now also supports up to 24 GB of total memory. That’s up from a maximum of 16GB in the M1, but it’s worth noting that both of Apple’s standard 2022 MacBook Air configurations are equipped with just 8GB. Going to 16GB adds $ 200 to the base price, and jumping all the way to 24GB adds $ 400 over the base.
There are two other configuration options at the time of purchase. The entry-level configuration includes 256 GB of solid-state storage, and you can upgrade to 512 GB ($ 200), 1TB ($ 400) or 2TB ($ 800). The upgrade to 512 GB is definitely worth it.