M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review

Apple has unveiled the M2 MacBook Air 2022 to its finest Air lineup.

Against all odds, we were able to get a first peek at the brand-new M2 MacBook Air 2022 only seconds after it was announced at WWDC 2022. In recent weeks, there has been a lot of conjecture about this powerful small laptop, from the possibility of a variety of color options to the possibility that it would not make an appearance at the event owing to manufacturing problems created by Covid-19 lockdowns across China.

We’re delighted Apple persevered and delivered, but will the M2-powered MacBook Air be a worthy advance over its predecessor? Fortunately, one of our sources was present for the in-person event which was one of the few events by Apple in years following pandemic-related lockdowns — we got complete details related to this new laptop, resulting in our first assessment of the atmospherically thin new Air.

The current M1 MacBook Air 2020 is our vote for the finest laptop you can purchase right now, and based on our brief experience with the 2022 MacBook Air which is powered by Apple’s newly revealed M2 CPU, we believe Apple has another winner on its hands.

M2 MacBook Air 2022: Price and Availability

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-price
(Image credit: Future)

Although Apple has yet to announce a shipping date for the new laptop, preorders have begun as of June 6. Starting at $1,199 (£1,249), this M2-powered MacBook Air will be available in July. The M1-based Air will remain available for $999, however education users will be able to get one at $899.

This increase in price is acceptable, but it makes the 20202 MacBook Air feel less valuable than the earlier model, which is unfortunate because one of the finest features of the 20202 MacBook Air was its low price and good performance.

M2 MacBook Air 2022: Design

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-design
(Image credit: Future)

The new MacBook Air has undergone one of the most significant design overhauls we’ve seen Apple do to an iconic product, and while you may lament the loss of the Air’s famous wedge, it looks a lot more contemporary and attractive.

The MacBook Air is, as its name implies, Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook, and with the new M2 MacBook Air 2022 model, Apple has improved, even more, lowering the total size and weight of the unibody design while also expanding the screen size.

Engineers at the business have achieved this in part by reducing the bezels that surround the screen by up to 30%. (Top and bottom, 20 percent thinner on the sides). Previous MacBook Air screens had bulky borders that were beginning to seem antiquated, especially when compared to high-end Windows rivals like the Dell XPS 13, so the new model’s small bezels made this MacBook Air look much more current.

Webcam

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-Webcam

The webcam on the Air has been upgraded to 1080p to match those on the new MacBook Pros, and this increase in resolution (together with enhanced picture and low-light handling thanks to the new M2 processor) will be welcomed by anybody who uses video conferencing or video conversations with friends and family. And, in this day and age of hybrid work, it includes the vast majority of us.

Notch is back with a bigger display

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-Display size

The fact that a noticeable “notch” surrounds the webcam and slides down into the menu bar due to the combination of a larger webcam and narrower bezels may be less pleasant. This is the same notch that debuted with the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), and it caused controversy when it first appeared.

On those previous systems, we didn’t mind the notch since Apple extended the screen upwards, thereby giving you more screen real estate, making the trade-off worthwhile. The same can be said with the M2 MacBook Air 2022, which has a 13.6-inch display instead of the previous model’s 13.3-inch. In addition, the resolution has been increased from 2,560 x 1,600 to 2,560 x 1,664. As a result, the bigger screen maintains its sharpness.

The new Liquid Retina screen is also 100nits brighter, currently at 500nits, and supports one billion colors. We saw an immediate enhancement in the brilliance of the screen after using the M2-powered 2022 MacBook Air. However, there is no support for ProMotion.

Another significant design change is that the MacBook Air is no longer a “wedge” form with a slimmer front and broader rear, as we previously mentioned. Instead, it’s uniform, putting it in line with almost every previous Apple portable design.

Color Options

We’re also receiving some new hues. The rather low-key Space Gray, Silver, Starlight, and Midnight Blue colors may disappoint those looking for vivid, pastel-like colors like the iMac 24-inch. They do, however, appear to be attractive in person. We saw all of them during Apple’s presentation, and Midnight Blue was by far our favorite. Each color has its own power cord, which is a very Apple touch.

MagSafe and Charging options

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-Charger

Apart from the many color options, the laptop has MagSafe (yep, it’s back) charging, two Thunderbolt connections, and even a 3.5mm headphone connector. When you consider the intended market: education that outdated audio port makes sense. Wired headphones are still widely used by students.

The M2 MacBook Air is also as thin and light as we had hoped: it’s only 11mm thick and weighs 2.7 pounds. The regular base model MacBook Air comes with a 30W charger, but for $59, you can upgrade to a 67W adaptor that will charge your MacBook Air to 80 percent capacity in just 20 minutes.

Speakers

Between the keyboard and the display, the new MacBook Air includes two woofers and two tweeters instead of a pair of speaker grills. In principle, this should result in a better sound experience, but it was difficult to hear much of anything in the packed environment where we played with the laptop. It does, however, have a considerably cleaner appearance.

M2 MacBook Air 2022: Performance

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-Performance

We didn’t get to fully evaluate the performance of the new MacBook Air during our hands-on time, but we liked what we saw, which included over a dozen 4K streams playing back in iMovie at the same time.

Apple says that the new M2 processor, which is a second-generation, 5-nanometer chip, would deliver an 18% faster CPU, a 35% faster GPU (now with 10 cores), and a 40% faster neural engine than its predecessor. The system comes with an 8-core GPU as standard, but you can upgrade to a 10-core if you like.

The Apple M1 SoC, or system on a chip, which integrates the CPU, GPU, and other components into an 8-core processor capable of shockingly astonishing performance, was used in the previous iteration of the laptop.

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Hands-on review-M2 Chip

The 2020 model was far more powerful than the Intel-powered model it replaced, with a CPU performance that was 3.5 times quicker and a GPU performance that was 5 times faster. The M2 chip adds a lot more functionality to the table.

We found the MacBook Air to be speedy and responsive, even with many programs at the same time, during our brief time with it, which was running macOS Monterey because the new macOS Ventura won’t be released until later this year.

We tried editing a video with several 4K sources in Final Cut Pro, and it worked flawlessly — and was entirely silent owing to its lack of fans. The system can also handle 8K h.264 footage and, for the first time, the ProRes format, but we weren’t able to test any of these features.

We’ll give the M2 MacBook Air 2022 a full review shortly, but our early impressions suggest Apple may have another winner on its hands.

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