Test: MacBook Air M2 – Digi.no

Test: MacBook Air M2 - Digi.no

Apple has updated the design and included its latest processor in this year’s MacBook Air model. Apple’s Air series has been the best-selling computer from the company, and since it launched its first MacBook Air in 2008, there’s been a good balance between price and excellent value. Now the company is getting rid of the look they have relied on in their devices since its launch and raising the price somewhat.

Will they continue to maintain their market position, or will Apple erupt into a frenzy? We tested the latest MacBook Air model from Apple.

new design

MacBook Air

Monitor: 13.6 inches
Healer: Apple M2, 10 cores
Graphics: Apple M2 10 cores
System memory (RAM): 8 GB
Storage space: 512 GB
camera: FaceTime HD 1080p camera
wireless: WiFi6, Bluetooth 5.0
links: 2 USB4 / Thunderbolt Ports, 1 Magsafe Charging Port, 3.5mm Headphone Input
The operating system: Mac OS 12.5
battery: 56.2 watt-hours
Miscellaneous: Connection ID
size: 1.3 cm x 30.41 cm x 21.5 cm
Weight: 1.24 kg
price: 19900 (15,990 for the cheapest alternative)

In my opinion, Apple made a good choice with the design upgrade. The old look is outdated and doesn’t fit well with the rest of the company’s design language. The new MacBook Air is still thin and sleek, but now looks more like a new, modern MacBook alongside its more powerful older siblings in the Pro series. There was a short time when Apple had the MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro. Now it’s easier for consumers using Pro or Air, and the two model series seem to belong together.

One of the happy things about the new design is the return of the mag safe. Although the Air did not receive more USB ports, the device only has two USB4 / Thunderbolt ports, the magsafe charger allows you to go from having one when charging to two. If I were to choose, I would probably have wanted two more, at the same time I see after the testing period that I used no more than two outlets at the same time, a machine that wasn’t made for much more of daily use and office work/study.

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There are USB-C and magsafe ports on the left side of the device, and on the right side there is a single headphone jack

On the left side of the device, we find a secure charging socket and two ports that support USB4 / Thunderbolt. Photo: Oscar Hope Pulsrud

The best touchpad on the market

The screen is fitted with a webcam carrier pocket, but I haven’t experienced a higher quality webcam compared to laptops that have equally thick borders around the screen. Here, Apple will likely cut into the bus pocket. Apart from the fact that it looks a bit strange, there is nothing to notice in everyday life when using the machine. The pocket isn’t wider than the toolbar, and when you’re watching a full-screen video, there’s a black frame there anyway.

The screen offers good brightness, our measurements showing around 480 lux, which is also where most of the competitors are. In general, the screen is very good and comfortable to work on. The cover the screen is in, Apple has worked with for many generations, the mechanism is solid enough to keep the laptop closed, while thin enough to open the device with one hand.

The Apple keyboard has short presses. It takes a while to get used to at first, but after Apple reverted to its old keyboard technology, it’s back at the top among the best laptop keyboards for typing.

Picture of the keyboard and touchpad on a Macbook Air
Apple’s keyboard and touchpad are among the best on the market. The company chose to allow the touchpad to take up a lot of space. Photo: Oscar Hope Pulsrud

Apple’s touchpad is probably the best on the market. Apple realized that the screen had to be large and the glass had to be smooth. The vibration motor that simulates touchpad clicks is also perfectly tuned to feel like physical pressure, even when simulating everything. I haven’t been a regular Mac user in years, but the touchpad is almost enough to get me back.

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Perfect for everyday use

I have little to complain about in daily use. The device is easy to carry with you, takes up just the right space in your bag and works excellent for regular office work or light photo processing tasks. During the testing period, I used it with Mac Studio, and the device worked smoothly as part of the setup. It’s a setup that few people have, and if I didn’t need to edit video and do a little heavier tasks, my MacBook Air would probably suffice for typing, searching, and processing a few photos now and then.

Photo: Oscar Hope Pulsrud

I had no protection on the device when it was in the bag, which resulted in some scratches on the aluminum. It’s something you have to reckon with when the machine is made of soft metal and you don’t do anything to keep it perfect. Had this been my machine, I might have considered putting in some frustration the kind that Cover-Up, Dbrand, or slickwraps sell.

Too hot when pressure is applied

The MacBook Air is one of the two models that Apple sells with the new M2 chip. The other is the 13-inch MacBook Pro variant. The MacBook Pro variant with the M2 chip has the old Apple Pro design with Touch Bar and no security.

If you configure the MacBook Air variant we tested, with an octa-core processor and a 10-core graphics processor, the hardware cost is about the same. If you opt for the somewhat cheaper version of the M2 chip, the Air model is less than the Pro model by about a thousand kroner. Here, Apple misses the balance it has been able to strike perfectly with the Air model in the past.

It also shows when we perform performance tests. We have run a test where we convert large image files from one raw format to another. It is a process that requires a great deal of force. During the 13 minutes it took, the machine got so hot that it wasn’t safe to put it on your lap. The machine cooled down quickly, but without any fan, the internal cooling is too poor to do any heavy tasks. The overall performance in the other performance tests was quite good.

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The battery life on the device is very good. This is one of the strengths of Apple’s own chips. I’ve had two working days of the device battery just fine. He likely finished the first day with about 50 percent battery and power delivery in the last hour on the job, although that wasn’t really necessary.

Conclusion and alternatives

The new MacBook Air is a machine that didn’t generate much enthusiasm in me. I had no positive or negative feeling left after testing it for a week. Overall, I think the new design is much nicer than the old one, it’s great that the magsafe is back, and the keyboard and touchpad are at the top of their class. Performance isn’t something to brag about, but nothing to complain about either.

Given the options around you, the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro is a very good choice. It’s pretty much the same device, just without the MagSave, with a touch bar and fans to cool the processor. The price difference is around 1,000 NOK, and if you want the model with a 10-core graphics processor, the Pro version is actually cheaper. At the same time, Apple is still selling the M1 version of the MacBook Air, which is perhaps the most reasonable model to buy in terms of price.

If it is not important for you to have an Apple operating system, there are many good alternatives with Windows. You can read about some of these options in the Digi Student Computer Handbook.

we had fun We didn’t like it
cute design Poor cooling leads to inappropriate heat
good keyboard Can be more USB ports
good touchpad camera bus pocket
Magsafe is back exorbitant price
Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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