The All New And Powerful 2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
- STRIKINGLY THIN DESIGN — The redesigned MacBook Air is more portable than ever and weighs just 2.7 pounds. It’s the incredibly capable laptop that lets you work, play or create just about anything — anywhere.
- SUPERCHARGED BY M2 — Get more done faster with a next-generation 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU, and up to 24GB of unified memory.
- UP TO 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day and into the night, thanks to the power-efficient performance of the Apple M2 chip.
- BIG, BEAUTIFUL DISPLAY — The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display features over 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color, and support for 1 billion colors for vibrant images and incredible detail.
- ADVANCED CAMERA AND AUDIO — Look sharp and sound great with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.
- VERSATILE CONNECTIVITY — MacBook Air features a MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone jack.
- EASY TO USE — Your Mac feels familiar from the moment you turn it on and works seamlessly with all your Apple devices.
- BUILT TO LAST — The all-aluminum unibody enclosure is exceptionally durable. And free software updates keep things running smooth and secure for years to come.
- SIMPLY COMPATIBLE — All your go-to apps run lightning-fast — including Microsoft 365, Zoom, and many of your favorite iPhone and iPad apps.
- COMES WITH APPLECARE WARRANTY – Every Mac comes with a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary technical support. Get AppleCare+ to extend your coverage.
One of the most radical design overhauls we’ve seen Apple make to an iconic product has reinvigorated the new MacBook Air, and, while you may mourn the loss of the Air’s iconic wedge, it looks far more modern and elegant than previous models.
As the name suggests, the MacBook Air is the thinnest and lightest MacBook Apple produces, and with the new MacBook Air 2022 model, Apple has made further improvements, shrinking the overall size and weight of the unibody design, while actually increasing the screen size.
The company’s engineers have managed this in part by slimming down the bezels that surround the screen by as much as 30% on the top and bottom, while it’s 20% thinner on the sides. The chunky borders of previous MacBook Air screens were beginning to look rather outdated, especially when compared to high-end Windows rivals like the Dell XPS 13, so the thin bezels in the new model make this MacBook Air look much more contemporary.
The MacBook Air’s webcam has been upped to 1080p, to match those found in the MacBook Pros from late 2021, and this boost in resolution (alongside improved image and low-light handling with the new M2 chip), will be welcome for anyone who relies on video conferencing or making video calls to friends and family. And in this age of hybrid working, that’s most of us.
Less welcome will be the news that the combination of a bigger webcam and thinner bezels means there’s a visible “notch” that surrounds the webcam and drops down into the menu bar. This is the same as the notch found in the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), and when it debuted with those MacBooks, it proved divisive.
We didn’t mind the notch on those other systems, as Apple expanded the screen upwards, actually giving you more screen real estate, which made the trade-off worth it.
The same is true with the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which comes with a 13.6-inch screen, compared with the 13.3-inch of previous model. The resolution has also been upped from 2,560 x 1,600 to 2,560 x 1,664. This means the larger screen doesn’t lose sharpness, and once again we think the trade-off with the notch for a larger screen is the right way to go, and you’ll hardly notice it’s there, while still benefiting from the extra screen space and better webcam.
The new Liquid Retina screen is also brighter by 100nits, so it’s now 500nits, and also now supports one billion colors. There’s no ProMotion support, however. Despite that, it means that we have a remarkable situation where the cheaper MacBook Air (M2, 2022) comes with a larger and brighter screen compared to the new MacBook Pro 13-inch. For people relying on visual quality, especially photographers, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) looks like a much better buy.
Another big design change is, as we noted earlier, that the MacBook Air is no longer a “wedge” shape with a thinner front and thicker back. Instead, it’s uniform, bringing it into alignment with virtually every other portable design Apple now produces. It also avoids the awkward issue where the previous MacBook Air was actually a little thicker than the MacBook Pro at one end. Now, there’s no doubt that this is by far the thinnest MacBook you can buy.
There’s also new colors. People hoping for vibrant, pastel-like colors like the iMac 24-inch will be disappointed by the relatively low-key Space Gray, Silver, Starlight, and Midnight Blue colors. They do, though, look very good in person. We saw all of them at Apple’s WWDC event, and our favorite by far was Midnight Blue, which is the color of the review unit Apple sent to us, and it looks just as gorgeous as we remember. Each color comes with matching power cables – a supremely Apple touch.
Outside of the different shades available, the laptop features MagSafe (yes, it’s back) charging as well as two Thunderbolt ports and even a 3.5mm headphone jack, which will be welcome for people who use non-Bluetooth headphones and headsets. The MacBook Air (M2) is also as slim and lightweight as we hoped for: just 11mm thick and weighing in at 2.7 pounds.
The standard base model MacBook Air ships with a 30W charger, but you can opt to upgrade this to a 67W adapter for $59, which can get you to 80% battery capacity in just 20 minutes, and comes with two ports, so you can also charge up your iPhone, iPad or other devices at the same time, though this does impact charging times slightly, as the 67W is split between devices.
Overall, the redesign is, in our view, a triumph. It’s made the MacBook Air feel more modern, increasing the screen size and quality, and making it thinner and lighter. It’s pretty much everything you’d want from a visual overhaul, and while anyone hoping for vibrant, multi-colored, pastel shades will be disappointed, the new colors are nevertheless stylish and attractive.
The new MacBook Air (M2, 2022) comes with the M2 System on Chip (SoC), Apple’s second-generation, 5-nanometer chip that the company claims will offer an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (now 10 cores), and a 40% faster neural engine than its predecessor. It’s worth noting that the base system of the MacBook Air ships with an 8-core GPU, but you can upgrade to a 10-core GPU.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 13-inch base model comes with an M2 chip and 10-core GPU as standard for not much more
During our time with the MacBook Air, the laptop performed incredibly well. The pre-installed macOS Monterey boots quickly and runs well, while also looking fantastic on the new screen. As usual, we used the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) for day-to-day use.
Browsing the web in both Safari and Chrome was fast and responsive, even with multiple tabs open (the model we have on test comes with 16GB of unified memory, which certainly helps here), and typing up documents on the slightly redesigned keyboard (which is slightly narrower due to the redesign, but keeps the same Magic Keyboard switches) feels nice and comfortable.
Since the launch of the M1 chip, an increasing number of applications have released M1-compatible apps, which also work with the M2, and that means your favorite apps should run brilliantly, and take advantage of the M2’s capabilities. Not just Apple apps, either, but applications from the likes of Adobe and Microsoft have M1 and M2-native versions.
For those that don’t, Apple’s Rosetta 2 tool once again helps here, allowing you to run apps made for Intel-based Macs almost as if they were designed for M2, with minimum impact on performance.
We also played around with Garage Band (Apple’s music-making software that comes pre-installed) and edited 4K home movies in iMovie, and again, the improved performance of the M2 chip kept everything running extremely well. We’d even go so far as to say that we didn’t notice any perceptible difference to the M2 MacBook Pro when using it for similar tasks.
One difference Apple likes to point out is that the MacBook Air has a fanless design, while the MacBook Pro 13-inch uses fans to keep its components cool. This should mean that the MacBook Pro 13-inch is better at sustained performance – it can work at full pelt for longer without overheating.
In practice, it means the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is thin and light, and also completely silent when in use. However, we found that the MacBook Pro 13-inch’s fans rarely – if ever – kicked in, which suggests that it’ll only make a difference for seriously heavy workloads (think Logic Pro projects with hundreds of tracks, or 8K video editing in Premiere Pro), and you wouldn’t really buy the MacBook Air – or the MacBook Pro 13-inch for that matter – for that kind of demands. You’d be better off getting the more powerful MacBook Pro 14-inch or 16-inch.
Our benchmark tests again showed how similar the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch are when it comes to performance. Single-core performance in both Cinebench and Geekbench were almost identical for the two devices, which makes sense as they both use the same 8-core M2 processor.
Multi-core performance was also very similar in Geekbench, but in Cinebench, the 13-inch MacBook Pro had a slight edge. So, you may get a bit better performance when multitasking with the Pro, especially if some of those tasks are graphics-based, but otherwise, performance is so similar, that it’s hard to recommend the Pro over the MacBook Air, considering the Air has a new design, bigger screen and is cheaper.
So, we’re in a very odd situation. It looks like the MacBook Pro 13-inch wasn’t killed off by a competitor like Dell or HP… but by Apple’s own MacBook Air.