The MacBook Air with M2 is in lots of respects a major enchancment over its predecessor. It provides higher efficiency, a extra trendy design, an improved show and a few small however wonderful enhancements. Nonetheless, whereas the M1 mannequin remains to be obtainable there might be many for whom that mannequin remains to be greater than sufficient.
Worth When Reviewed
Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022): $1,199
Apple MacBook Air (2020) M1: From $999
Finest Costs As we speak: Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)
The M2 MacBook Air went on sale in July 2022. Compared to the M1 MacBook Air that launched in November 2020, it has been utterly revised, not simply on the within, however for the primary time in years, additionally on the skin. The 2022 MacBook Air has a greater chip, a much bigger show, and a model-new design. However in case you look within the Apple Retailer you’ll discover you possibly can nonetheless purchase its predecessor (a minimum of for now). Is it price spending extra to get the brand new mannequin?
We have a look at how the M2 MacBook Air compares to the M1 MacBook Air from 2020, inspecting how far more highly effective the brand new mannequin is, and whether or not that further oomph is definitely worth the premium value. For much more info, try our full opinions of the M1 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Air. We additionally consider which Mac laptop is best in our purchasing information.
M2 MacBook Air vs M1: Design
The brand new MacBook Air is definitely an eye fixed-catcher and stands out clearly from its predecessor. The 2022 MacBook Air gained a model new design that features a greater display screen in addition to new colour finishes. However it nonetheless has an analogous footprint to the M1 mannequin:
M2 MacBook Air dimensions
0.44in x 11.97in x 8.46in
1.13cm x 30.41cm x 21.5cm
2.7 kilos (1.24 kg)
M1 MacBook Air dimensions
0.16–0.63in x 11.97in x 8.36in
0.41–1.61cm x 30.41cm x 21.24cm
2.8 kilos (1.29 kg)
The width of the 2 laptops is similar, which is sensible as a result of it permits for a full-measurement keyboard. The M2 mannequin is just a few millimeters deeper to permit for a bigger display screen and on common, this mannequin is narrower than earlier than – though it’s not tapered so the smallest edge isn’t as slim because it was.
Whereas the tapered design allowed Apple to make a light-weight laptop computer, it was additionally an obstacle, because it meant much less area for ports on the skin and restricted area on the within for warmth dispersion. Regardless of the distinction in design, nonetheless, each fashions are fanless, which may very well be an obstacle to energy customers.
Rumors that the 2022 MacBook Air was shedding its tapered design proved appropriate, however any hopes that this is able to imply extra ports have been scuppered. The M2 MacBook Air has the identical two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports as its predecessor and doesn’t have an HDMI port just like the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Professional. The brand new mannequin provides MagSafe for charging to unlock a Thunderbolt port, however in any other case, each fashions are the identical: Contact ID, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, 802.11ax, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0.
One other huge distinction is the colour choices. The M2 fashions have a selection of Midnight (bluish-black) and Starlight (pale gold), in addition to area grey and silver (which appears barely paler than the earlier shade). The 2020 MacBook Air is available in area grey, silver, and gold.
The opposite eye-catching distinction between the M1 and M2 fashions is the addition of a notch for the digicam. Just like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Execs, the M2 MacBook Air has very slim bezels that may’t fairly match the digicam. When the notch arrived on the bigger MacBook Professional fashions in 2021 there was some criticism, however in case you take into account that Apple has added display screen area on both aspect of the notch and made the show taller, you’re not really shedding any area.
M2 MacBook Air vs M1: Show
The show measurement is the opposite key distinction between the brand new M1 and M2 MacBook Air. The 2022 mannequin has a 13.6-inch show, in comparison with the 13.3-inch show on the M1 mannequin. The brand new mannequin can be brighter:
MacBook Air M2: 13.6 inches, 2560 x 1664, 500 nits brightness
MacBook Air M1: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600, 400 nits brightness
The brighter display screen brings it into line with the 13-inch MacBook Professional, however locations it far under that of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional fashions with 1,000 nits of max brightness. It additionally lacks the ProMotion expertise of these fashions.
The M2 MacBook Air has a Liquid Retina show, quite than the Retina show of the M1 mannequin (and the M2 MacBook Professional). The primary distinction is that the Liquid Retina show has higher distinction ratios, assist for extra colours (a billion, quite than thousands and thousands), and extra pixels per inch. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional go a step additional with the superior Liquid Retina XDR show.
Thanks to those adjustments the show of the M2 MacBook Air isn’t solely higher than its predecessor—it’s additionally higher than the 13-inch MacBook Professional. In on a regular basis life, nonetheless, these variations will not often be noticeable, though the elevated brightness is a plus. The higher colour illustration, then again, might be a profit for skilled design work.
If an enormous display screen is what you’re after you may be to study in regards to the 15-inch MacBook Air that’s mentioned to be launching in 2023.
M2 MacBook Air vs M1: Processor, RAM, and battery
Apple at the moment sells three MacBook Air fashions: one M1 mannequin and two M2 fashions. There are additionally various construct-to-order choices.
MacBook Air M1 with 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,199/£1,249
By way of improve choices, you possibly can add 16GB RAM for $200, 512GB storage ($200), 1TB storage ($400), 2TB storage ($800). The 8-core GPU possibility is not obtainable for this mannequin.
MacBook Air M2 with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 8GB reminiscence, 256GB storage: $1,199/£1,249
By way of improve choices, you possibly can add 16GB RAM for $200, 24GB ($400) 512GB storage ($200), 1TB storage ($400), 2TB storage ($800).
MacBook Air M2 with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB reminiscence, 512GB storage: $1,499/£1,549
By way of improve choices, you possibly can add 16GB RAM for $200, 24GB ($400), 1TB storage ($200), 2TB storage ($600).
We’ll look into these elements in additional element under:
Just like the M1, the M2 has 4 efficiency cores and 4 effectivity cores, for a complete of 8 CPU cores, however the effectivity cores have been enhanced and there’s a bigger cache (16MB quite than 12MB). Consequently clock speeds might be quicker and you may anticipate improved multithreaded efficiency in comparison with the M1. In our testing, the M2 has an 18 % quicker CPU than the M1.
The brand new chip doesn’t simply imply that the brand new Macs can accomplish extra although, they use much less energy doing so: Apple guarantees an elevated CPU efficiency of 18 % with the identical vitality consumption thanks to varied optimizations.
We additionally ran the Cinebench R23 benchmark, right here it was extra apparent that the energetic cooling of the MacBook Professional makes a distinction regardless of the identical M2 chip getting used. However the brand new MacBook Air was 15 % quicker than the M1 mannequin.
The upper-finish M2 with 10 GPU cores provides a 35 % extra highly effective GPU than the M1, based mostly on benchmarks. Nonetheless, the bottom mannequin of the M2 Air has a barely lesser GPU with solely 8 GPU cores, so we anticipate the good points to be much less with the $1,199 mannequin.
One other issue aiding the M2’s graphics prowess is the addition of engines particularly for video modifying within the M2. Plus Apple claims that the Neural Engine is 40 % quicker than within the M1.
We ran the Geekbench 5 Compute check on the ten-core GPU MacBook Air. This mannequin was virtually 60 % quicker than the outdated 7-core M1 MacBook Air (which isn’t any actual shock), however they had been additionally about 40 % quicker than the 8 GPU cores within the M1 MacBook Professional and on par with the identical M2 chip within the MacBook Professional.
In our assessments the M2 MacBook Air, with a full 10-core GPU, was additionally roughly 40% quicker than the M1 Air with 7 GPU cores in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and between 20-50 % quicker in Civilization VI, relying on the settings.
Reminiscence and Storage
Whereas the usual reminiscence supplied by each the M1 and M2 MacBook Professional is similar: 8GB Unified Reminiscence, the efficiency is just not the identical. In line with Apple, the M2 delivers 50 % extra reminiscence bandwidth in comparison with M1 (100GB/s reminiscence bandwidth) so there must be some noticeable enhancements.
However the largest distinction is the quantity of reminiscence. The place the M1 MacBook Air tops off at 16GB reminiscence, the M2 MacBook Air can take as a lot as 24GB. That’s nonetheless lower than the 32GB of the M1 Professional fashions, however it’s an enchancment and can little doubt please those that had been involved that 16GB wasn’t sufficient.
As for storage, each the M1 and M2 MacBook Air ship with 256GB as customary and max out at 2TB for as much as $800 extra.
Webcam and Audio system
The webcam within the M2 helps a decision of 1080p, which is considerably higher than the low-grade 720p FaceTime HD digicam within the M1 MacBook Air. That leaves the M1 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Professional as the one laptops with the outdated digicam.
The audio system have additionally been up to date within the M2 MacBook Air. As an alternative of counting on a stereo system, the 2022 MacBook Air options 4 audio system with assist for 3D audio, aka Spatial Audio. As well as, the three.5mm headphone jack provides superior assist for top-impedance headphone.
Energy and battery
With a brand new 67W energy provide (offered individually for $20 with the 8-core GPU mannequin, or a free possibility with the ten-core GPU mannequin) you possibly can shortly cost the M2 MacBook Air to 50 % cost in half-hour. The M2 MacBook Air fees through the magnetically connected MagSafe port, so that you not have to fret about pulling your MacBook off a desk once you stumble over the cable. There’s a 30W USB-C Energy Adapter (included with the 8-core GPU M2 and the selection of a extra compact 35W Twin USB-C Port Compact Energy Adapter (with the ten-core GPU M2).
The M2 MacBook Air has a bigger battery than its predecessor: a 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery quite than the 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery of the earlier technology. Coupled with Apple’s claims that the M2 means the 2022 MacBook Air is extra energy environment friendly would possibly lead you to suppose that the brand new MacBook Air would have higher battery life, however Apple states that battery life is similar 18 hours.
In our personal battery assessments the battery lasted 17.5 hours, which was very shut sufficient to Apple’s 18-hour declare. In our assessments the M2 MacBook Air battery beat the M1 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Professional by virtually an hour and a half.
The brand new mannequin provides a M2 processor with extra GPU cores, a much bigger display screen, and a model new design for simply $200 greater than the M1 mannequin. This appears like an ideal deal. Nonetheless, that viewpoint is determined by the place on this planet you’re based mostly. Exterior the US the worth comparisons aren’t fairly so beneficial (within the UK there’s a £250 distinction, in Europe a €300 distinction, and in Australia a AU$400 distinction).
Within the US the brand new mannequin additionally appears like a superb deal compared to the one it replaces: at $1,199 it replaces a M1 MacBook Air mannequin that beforehand price $1,249. Nonetheless, elsewhere on this planet the worth of the M2 mannequin is both the identical as earlier than, or greater than it was. Within the UK the worth stays at £1,249, in Europe the worth is €100 extra at €1,499, whereas in Australia it’s now up AU$50 at AU$1,899. Clearly forex-based mostly value fluctuations are to be anticipated throughout these unsure financial instances, however it does imply that the choice of whether or not one thing is an effective value or not may be very a lot relative to the place you reside.
It also needs to be famous that the place this M1 MacBook Air with 8-core GPU had a 512GB SSD, the M2 MacBook Air that has taken its place solely provides a 256GB SSD, which can be mirrored in Apple’s value discount, a minimum of within the US.
There’s one cause to contemplate the M1 MacBook Air–it will not be on sale for for much longer. If Apple does introduce a 15-inch MacBook Air it might on the identical time discontinue the M1 MacBook Air. So this can be your final probability the most cost effective MacBook Air!
M1 vs M2 MacBook Air: Our suggestion
The MacBook Air with M2 is in lots of respects a major enchancment over its predecessor. It provides higher efficiency, a extra trendy design, an improved show, and a few smaller however notable enhancements.
If you’re a kind of customers who use the MacBook primarily for on a regular basis duties, comparable to browsing the online, studying emails or watching movies, it’s best to take into account whether or not the brand new design is price it in comparison with the cheaper $999/£999 M1 MacBook Air. A M1 Macbook Air will have the ability to deal with all these duties with none issues.
However in case you do extra along with your MacBook or use it for skilled functions comparable to video modifying or photograph modifying, the M2 MacBook Air is unquestionably price the additional cash in comparison with its predecessor. Actually, in case your funds permits, we suggest leaping to the upper-finish mannequin with a ten-core GPU for the additional storage and higher graphics. And as at all times, you should purchase as a lot reminiscence as you possibly can afford
The M1 MacBook Air remains to be a great machine, even at greater than two years outdated, however you’ll be a lot happier with the newer MacBook Air in a 12 months or two.
The perfect costs for the MacBook Air M1, often $999/£999 are under. Wish to get a great deal on both of the MacBook Air fashions? See our round-up of MacBook Air deals.