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The M2 Macbook Air Is Great, But There Are Compromises

Apple Macbook Air M2

Apple just dropped a new Macbook Air during WWDC 2022 and it's indeed powered by their next-gen M2 chip. That shiny new Apple Silicon is bringing some significant performance gains over its predecessor and that should already make the new 2022 Macbook Air tempting enough for a lot of people.

There is also a complete redesign, MagSafe 3, a bigger battery, a better 1080P webcam, a brighter display, and double the speakers. So, that means it's quite the upgrade over the 2020 M1 Macbook Air right? Well, the answer is both 'Yes' and 'No'. If that sounds complicated, it's because Apple also made major compromises in several areas.

First, let's go through every upgrade coming to the 2022 Macbook Air,

  • The physically larger Apple M2 with 25% more transistors, 5nm Process, 8-core CPU with 18% & (up to) 10-core GPU with 35% performance improvements, 8K and ProRes video support, upgraded ISP, and improved efficiency.

  • 13.6 inch (Notched) Display with a higher 500 nits of brightness

  • Quad speakers with support for Spacial Audio

  • Thinner 11.3 mm form-factor with a reduced weight of 1.24 kg (2.7 lbs)

  • Higher-res 1080P webcam with 2x low-light performance

  • Bigger 52.6 Wh battery with 67W fast charging and MagSafe 3 support

  • 3.5 mm Headphone Jack now supports high impedance headphones

  • New Midnight and Starlight (replacing 'Gold') colors alongside the regular Silver and Space Gray

That is a pretty comprehensive set of upgrades and anyone buying the new M2 Macbook Air is definitely going to notice the improvements that come along. Apple is definitely trying to lure a lot more Windows users to MacOS and it seems like they're doing enough to keep the Apple Silicon speed train on the tracks.

Apple Macbook Air M2

However, in order to ensure that the new Macbook Air doesn't become a threat to the 14-inch & 16-inch Macbook Pros, the company made a series of compromises that seems inappropriate and unfair to the end consumer. The fact that the new model also comes with a hefty price increase, makes the situation even worse.

Here's the list of compromises you have to live with if you're buying the M2 Macbook Pro,

  • The base model, although more expensive compared to the M1 Macbook Air, still starts at 256GB of storage, has only 8 GPU cores instead of 10, comes with a single USB-C port, and the supplied charger is 30W while you need to pay an extra ₹2000 ($20 in the US) to get the 67W Fast charger or the 35W dual-port charger.

  • Even two years later, they went ahead and provided Thunderbolt 3 port(s) instead of the newer Thunderbolt 4, which is available on the Pro models.

  • Although the display got a hefty update, it's still stuck at 60 Hz and it's still IPS. This is bad when the competition is moving forward with brighter, higher-res, 90 Hz and 120 Hz OLED displays.

  • There is no Wi-Fi 6E or Bluetooth 5.2 which is becoming a standard on modern-day ultrabooks. Instead, Apple stuck with the older Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

  • Even with the increased battery size, the battery life claims seem very similar to M1 which indicates that the M2 might actually be more power-hungry than the M1.

  • Multi-display support is still not present. This is going to cause issues for creative professionals and developers.

To make things worse, Apple is keeping the older baseline Macbook Air (M1 with 8-core CPU & 7-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) at a still somewhat high price (for a two-year-old device) of ₹99,900 ($999 in the US). Even the older 13" Macbook Pro is there with an M2 upgrade of course With everything else remaining exactly the same, the 13" M2 Macbook Pro makes absolutely no sense right now.

Talking about the pricing though, the Macbook Air with M2 starts at ₹1,19,900 ($1199 in the US) and that gets you 8 CPU cores, 8 GPU cores, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and the slower 30W power brick. The more expensive model, gets you 8 CPU cores, 10 GPU cores, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and you get to choose between the new 35W dual-port adapter and the 67W fast charging adapter. However, this model will cost you ₹1,49,900 ($1499 in the US) which is quite a bit more than the base option.

Should You Consider The M2 Macbook Air As Your Next Computer?

Apple Macbook Air M2

The new M2-powered Macbook Air is hitting the shelves next month. Before that, we'll have a pretty good idea about how the M2 performs in real life alongside how the Macbook Air fairs as a thin & light ultrabook, once the tech community gets their hands on it. But, considering how good the M1 was, those shouldn't stand in your way.

What you need to decide is whether you are willing to deal with all of those compromises I've mentioned and are happy with what Apple is offering with the 2022 Macbook Air. If these seem fair to you or if you need to keep your laptop unplugged for entire days at times, the M2 Macbook Air is probably going to be more than satisfactory for you.

However, I won't recommend upgrading from an M1 Macbook Air as there aren't really that many upgrades to make the switch. This new model is going to be a huge upgrade only if you are coming from older Intel-powered Macs. Windows users, on the other hand, need to evaluate their workflow and decide if they can actually use the Macbook Air without giving up on any significant aspects or features they're using on a daily basis.



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