After waiting for a month and a half my M2 Macbook Air finally showed up. While this is not as groundbreaking performance-wise as its predecessor there is still a lot to like about this new “sorta entry level” device in the MacBook line.
The biggest change with this new device is the hardware – it is a completely new design that comes in a bit thinner and lighter than the M1 model that was introduced almost two years ago. They improved the display, webcam (complete with notch), and of course added the M2 processor for a performance boost. The keyboard is similar to the one found on the 14 and 16 inch pro models although the thinner case results in shallower key travel.
I opted for the 8 core CPU/10 core GPU model along with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. I went with the extra GPU cores because I plan to edit video occasionally on it along with a game or two. I am not certain if this would result in any substantial performance difference but I’ve found when buying Macs you’ll get more longevity by getting the best performing one you can afford.
The MacBook Air is a fanless device so it will throttle down by about 30% when placed under heavy consistent load. That negates to some degree the GPU performance of the 10 core unit although you’ll still have more cores available vs the base model. For video editing and other tasks that use the GPU in a more “bursty” fashion I’ve found it’ll run at full speed for about 3-5 minutes before it gets too warm.
Having used the Macbook Air M1 (and my Macbook Pro M1 Max) every day for the last two years I can say this M2 feels a bit zippier doing basic tasks. My benchmark tests indicate a nice speed bump in both single and multicore performance over the prior architecture but the M1’s found in the 14 and 16 inch pro models still have much better GPU performance.
Battery life remains exceptional – you’ll have a hard time not making it through the workday with this one. I have yet to get a low battery warning on mine – very similar to the M1 series in that regard.
The previous MacBook Airs suffered from a lack of ports – this one improves the situation slightly by adding a Magsafe 3 power connector that allows both of its thunderbolt/USB 4 ports to be used while plugged into power. The Magsafe connector terminates to a USB-C connector so it can be used with any Apple or compatible third party power supply.
The Thunderbolt ports are full service ports so they can also provide power to the laptop if you’re using a USB-C or Thunderbolt docking station. But this MacBook Air, like the previous one, only supports one external display. My 14″ Pro can support two 4k 60hz displays with a single thunderbolt connection by comparison.
Next up we’ll do some experiments with Parallels and see how the laptop performs running Windows 11 ARM and Linux distros.
All together this laptop is one of the few on the market that checks all the boxes: portability, performance, and battery life. This one will be right up there with some of Apple’s best laptops.