As we expected, Apple unveiled a brand new MacBook Air (M2, 2022) at this year’s WWDC 2022 keynote at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.
We were there to get our first hands-on review of the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), and spent quite a bit of time playing with the new laptop.
The current MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is our pick for the best laptop you can buy right now, and from our short time with the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), there’s a good chance Apple has another winner on its hands.
Price and availability
We’re still waiting for a ship date from Apple, but pre-orders are now live from June 6.
This MacBook Air will be available in July from $1,199 (£1,249). The M1-based Air will remain available for $999, although education users can pick one up for slightly less for $899.
This price increase is understandable, but it means it’s worth less than the older MacBook Air, which is a shame, because one of the best things about the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) was its low price and excellent performance.
The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) has undergone one of the most radical design overhauls Apple has seen make for any of its iconic products. As the name suggests, the MacBook Air is the thinnest and lightest MacBook that Apple produces, and with the new MacBook Air 2022 model, Apple has made further improvements, reducing the overall size and weight of the laptop, while increasing the screen size.
It partially succeeded in this by slimming down the bezels around the screen. The thick bezels of previous MacBook Air displays were starting to look quite outdated, especially when compared to high-end Windows rivals like the Dell XPS 13, so the thin bezels in the new model make the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) looks much better modern.
The MacBook Air’s webcam has been increased to 1080p, to match that of the new MacBook Pros, and this increase in resolution (in addition to an improved image and better low-light processing with the new M2 chip) will be welcome. are for anyone who depends on video conferencing or making video calls with friends and family. In this era of hybrid work, many of us are.
Less welcome will be the news that the combination of the larger webcam and thinner bezels means there’s a visible ‘notch’ around the webcam, which falls down into the menu bar. This is the same as the notch in the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), and when it debuted those MacBooks, it proved divisive.
We didn’t mind the notch as Apple extended the screen upwards, which actually gave you more screen real estate, which made the trade-off worth it.
The same goes for the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which comes with a 13.6-inch display, compared to the previous model’s 13.3-inch display. The resolution has also been increased from 2,560 x 1,600 to 2,560 x 1,664. As a result, the larger screen does not lose any of its sharpness.
The new liquid retina display is also 100 nits brighter, so it’s now 500 nits and now also supports a billion colors. From our time with the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), we saw an immediate improvement in display vibrancy in the new model. However, there is no ProMotion support.
Another major design change is that the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is no longer a “wedge shape” with a thinner front and thicker back, but is instead uniform.
We are also getting new colors. While those hoping for vibrant, pastel colors like the iMac 24-inch will be disappointed by the relatively low-key colors of Space Gray, Silver, Starlight and Midnight Blue, they look good in person. We saw them all at Apple’s event, and our favorite by far was Midnight Blue. Each color comes with matching power cables.
Beyond the various shades available, it features MagSafe charging, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone jack. It’s also as slim and lightweight as we expected, measuring just 11mm thick and weighing 2.7lbs.
The standard base MacBook Air comes with a 30W charger, but you can choose to upgrade it to a 67W adapter for $59, which will give you 80 percent battery life in just 20 minutes.
In our hands in time, we haven’t been able to fully test the performance of the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), but we liked what we saw.
The new M2 chip powering it is a second-generation 5 nanometer chip that Apple says will offer an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (now 10 cores), and a 40% faster neural engine than its predecessor.
The previous version of the laptop came with Apple’s M1 SoC or system on a chip, which combines CPU, GPU and other components into an 8-core processor that delivers surprisingly stunning performance.
The 2020 model is much more powerful than the Intel-powered version it replaced, running 3.5 times faster when it comes to CPU performance and 5 times faster for its GPU performance. And we know that the M2 chip also brings a lot more to the table.
We played with the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) and macOS Monterey (the new macOS Ventura won’t be launched until later this year), and it was fast and responsive, opening multiple apps at once. We played fast in Final Cut Pro, edited a movie with multiple 4K sources, and it performed brilliantly and was completely silent thanks to the lack of fans.
We’ll give the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) a more in-depth review soon, but our early hands-on time with it shows Apple could have another hit on its hands.