MacBook Air

4 things that stand out about Apple’s new MacBook Air

Apple is releasing a completely redesigned MacBook Air this week. Is it time to upgrade? We list four things that stood out when testing the laptop.

First some facts in a row: the new MacBook Air has a slightly larger screen thanks to the thinner screen edges, with a notch at the top for the webcam. On the inside is an M2 chip, the successor to Apple’s previous M1 processor.

The laptop no longer has a tapered design, but is now straight and a bit more angular. That looks a bit bulky, but it is still very thin and light. It is, however, somewhat easier to unfold than the predecessor, which often lifts up.

4 things that stand out about Apple’s new MacBook Air

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1. The battery cannot be broken

The battery in this new MacBook is better than we’ve ever seen. Apple promises a battery life of 18 hours and after a few days of testing we were close to that. A day’s work, which consists of eight hours of visiting websites, processing text and playing videos, often drained the battery to approx. 60 percent.

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Even with more serious battery tests, it holds up for a long time. We were able to watch a 2.5-hour movie on Netflix while only 21 percent of the battery disappeared. A heavy game like Divinity Original Sin 2 takes a little more processing power and drains 31 percent of the battery in an hour. That’s really good for a laptop.

2. He’s ‘just’ fast, just like the previous one

If you look at pure computing power and technical tests, the MacBook Air M2 is faster than its predecessor from 2020. In practice, you don’t notice that much with light tasks. Web browsers, photo editors and Office apps are still about as fluid and start up quickly again.

You’ll notice more of a difference in more serious tasks like video editing – videos export faster on the new M2. But even then the difference is not huge.

The SSD drive can process files a little less quickly than with the MacBook Air with M1 processor, but in practice we didn’t notice much of this. Simply put, this is a fast laptop.

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3. It’s pretty good for gaming (but it’s not a gaming laptop)

MacBooks have always been notoriously bad gaming laptops. Most video games didn’t have a Mac version, and anyone who wanted a Mac with a video card had to dig deep into their pockets right away. The latter has not been the case since 2020: all Apple’s laptops with M1 and M2 are equally powerful, and all do quite well with games.

In 2022, most games still don’t work on macOS, but we were surprised at how many games are still supported. To illustrate, with a game library of 770 games on Steam, 202 work on the Mac. And some Windows titles still work in a roundabout way.

With its Arcade platform, Apple also has a collection of Mac games that you can play for a fixed amount per month, although these often feel like smartphone games. Since the M2 chip resembles a smartphone processor, you can also download games made for iPhone or iPad.

Does that make it a gaming laptop? Absolutely not. For the money of a MacBook Air, you can buy a Windows device that runs more games. But if you bring it in for other things, it’s a nice bonus.

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4. It’s a good laptop, but we’d recommend two other Macs

Above all, the MacBook Air M2 is a simply good laptop. But at the same time, the price has gone up to 1,519 euros since the previous model. That old laptop is still for sale for a lower price – often you can find it for around a thousand euros. And because that old laptop is still very fast, we would rather recommend it as a budget Mac.

If you prefer a more powerful machine, the MacBook Air M2 seems like a better option. But: there is a good chance that you will then use it for video editing or other heavy tasks and want more storage and working memory. Then the laptop costs almost 2,000 euros – and for a few tens more you have the MacBook Pro 14 inch, which also has a nicer screen and more connections.

Does that make the MacBook Air M2 a bad laptop? Absolutely not. But there are – especially at Apple itself – two options that we would rather opt for.

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