Apple’s MacBook Air is the company’s lightest, thinnest and most affordable laptop. The Air is regularlyfor anyone in need of a solid, reliable everyday laptop. And when Apple released the system-on-chip, the performance was as impressive as its design for the $1,000 price.
On Monday at Apple’s developer conference,, Apple announced its second-gen M2 SoC and with it, a redesigned with the new chip (as well as an updated ). The M2-based Air looks better in every way but you’re going to pay more, too, with a starting price of $1,200.
MacBook Air (13-inch, M2) vs. MacBook Air (13-inch, M1)
|MacBook Air (13-inch, M2)||MacBook Air (13-inch, M1)|
|Starting price||$1,199, £1,249, AU$1,899||$999, £999, AU$1,499|
|Display||13.6-inch 2,560×1,664-pixel Liquid Retina (500 nits brightness)||13.3-inch 2,560×1,600-pixel Retina (400 nits brightness)|
|No. of CPU cores||8||8|
|No. of GPU cores||Up to 10||7|
|Starting / max RAM||8GB / 24GB||8GB / 16GB|
|Starting / max storage||256GB / 2TB||256GB / 2TB|
|Wireless||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Connections||Thunderbolt/USB 4 USB-C (x2)||Thunderbolt/USB 4 USB-C (x2)|
|Webcam||1080p FaceTime HD camera||720p FaceTime HD camera|
|No. of speakers / mics||4 / 3||2 / 3|
|Battery life||Up to 18 hours||Up to 18 hours|
|Power adapter||30-watt USB-C (8-core GPU), 35-watt dual USB-C (10-core GPU)||30-watt USB-C|
|Weight||2.7 pounds (1.24 kg)||2.8 pounds (1.29 kg)|
The MacBook Air M2’s design changes from the tapered wedge look of the 2020 and earlier models to more of a blocky slab, more like thefrom late 2021. The 2022 Air didn’t receive all of the additional ports of the 2021 Pro models: There’s no SD card slot, it doesn’t get an HDMI output for an external display and it has just two USB-C Thunderbolt ports. However, the updated Air does have MagSafe charging.
Built around a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, the MacBook Air M2 has a new fanless body available in four colors: silver, space gray, starlight and midnight. The laptop is just 11.3 millimeters thick and weighs only 2.7 pounds (1.2 kilograms) — a touch lighter than the M1 version.
If video call quality is important to you, which is probably a “yes” for everyone at this point, going with the M2-based Air gets you a higher-resolution 1080p webcam along with three mics and a four-speaker sound system.
The MacBook Air M2 unsurprisingly is expected to deliver better performance. Apple said with the new M2 chip, Final Cut Pro performance is nearly 40% faster than on the M1 Air and Photoshop is up to 20% faster. Battery life is up to 18 hours of video playback and with an optional 67-watt power adapter it can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes.
With all of that said, though, many people don’t need all those extras, especially at a $200 premium. The good news is that Apple is keeping the M1-powered MacBook Air in the lineup at its $1,000 starting price. Though the new model looks like it’s going to be great, the Air M1 should still provide excellent performance for everyday use for years — particularly important if you’re looking for a lower-cost option to get through high school or college.
The updated Air not only has a new look but its performance is expected to be closer to that of a MacBook Pro than past Air models. Along with the upgraded processing power, you’ll find a larger, better display, a full-HD webcam, four-speaker audio and it’s even a touch lighter. Unfortunately, you will pay a little more for it.
Read our hands-on with the new M2 MacBook Air.
The M1-powered MacBook Air from 2020 stays on as Apple’s entry-level laptop. The design hasn’t been updated since 2018 really but not exactly a knock against it — it’s still one of our all-time favorites. Performance and battery life remain excellent for anyone looking for a grab-and-go productivity machine. Plus, the starting price, especially with an educational discount, makes it a great pick to carry a student through high school or college.
Read our MacBook Air M1 review.