Apple MacBook Air With M2 Chip Review: Lightweight Build and Supercharged Performance

Designed around the latest chip, the new MacBook Air is thinner, lighter and faster with all-day battery life, in four striking finishes.

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Apple revealed a multitude of new hardware releases during its 33rd annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last month, notably revamping the MacBook Air with its newly-powered M2 chip. The laptop, made popular by its slim design and versatile functionality, has been improved from front to back, marking one of the largest updates to the device since its original debut.

The M2 chip, the latest generation of Apple silicon, is constructed using a second-generation 5-nanometer technology and boasts over 20 billion transistors. With that power, the chip is capable of supplying 50% more bandwidth than M1 and hosting up to 24GB of unified memory. Notably, M2 is able to provide up to 18% higher multithread performance over M1, thanks to a next-generation 8- or 10-core CPU and advancements in the efficiency and performance cores. 

For video, M2 employs a media engine with a higher-bandwidth decoder that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC playback. The chip also integrates a ProRes media engine for accelerated encoding and decoding, alongside Apple’s newest Secure Enclave and a high-performance Neural Engine that can process an impressive 15.8 trillion operations per second. 

The device itself, which weighs 2.7 pounds and measures 0.44 inches thin, arrives in four finishes: midnight, space gray, silver and starlight. It features a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, which is larger and 25% brighter than the previous model with 500 nits of brightness. Conveniently, the display also provides a lower minimum brightness of 2 nits for dimly-lit spaces.  

Elsewhere, the device introduces a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which boasts twice the resolution and low-light performance than the previous MacBook Air. It is equipped with a three-mic array that utilizes enhanced beamforming algorithms to record crisp audio, while also comprising a new four-speaker sound system with total integration between the keyboard and display for improved stereo separation and vocal clarity. The revamped speaker system also supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. 

Impressively, the new MacBook Air still supplies the same all-day battery life — with up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback using the MagSafe charger — despite opting for a larger display and upgraded performance across the board. And with the M2 chip, the MacBook Air is designed without a fan, meaning that the device will operate silently no matter the task’s intensity. 

 

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The MacBook Air with Apple’s M2 chip is now available for pre-order and begins shipping on July 15. Prices start at $1,199 USD, marking $200 USD above the MacBook Air with the M1 chip, which starts at $999 USD.

Overall, the new MacBook Air is a very impressive next step in the Apple lineup, with an improved screen, thinner and lighter composition, upgraded speakers, a better FaceTime camera, convenient charging and all-day battery life. The M2 chip further enhances the device’s capabilities with much higher bandwidth and performance capabilities than previous models. If you’re thinking about upgrading your device or are looking for a sleek, higher-performing alternative to your default laptop, the new MacBook Air is certainly a main contender.

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