When the M2 MacBook Air first launched in July 2022, there were two main storylines. Amazingly, it was $200 more than the M1’s predecessor, and the new Midnight Black finish was a fingerprint magnet. But those two points missed the bigger story.
After using the M2 MacBook Air daily for over two months, I can confirm that the midnight black finish is indeed a fingerprint magnet, though fingerprints are easily wiped off. And I can assure you that the extra $200 is well worth the increased performance for those who need it. The M2 MacBook Air also includes many other improvements that make it one of the most impressive laptops ever made.
ZDNET’s audience is primarily professionals, tech enthusiasts, and innovation enthusiasts, so we have no hesitation in naming the M2 MacBook Air Product of the Year for 2022.
Why it’s the top product of 2022
One of the other common criticisms of this product when it was first released was that it was a bit lacking in the Mac product line. The sub-$1,000 Mac laptop and robust MacBook Pro line is the go-to option for professionals and creatives who want something more powerful.
But a closer look at the M2 MacBook Air allowed me to throw in a ton of power-hungry tasks and wait for it to die. I transferred ridiculously large files, created multimedia-intensive PowerPoints, rendered and compressed video files, and loaded three of my favorite Adobe Creative Cloud apps (Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom).
I was very surprised that the machine never flashed.
My work laptop is a 16″ MacBook Pro (2021) with the M1 Pro chip. That machine is an absolute beast that offers incredible desktop-class performance.What surprised me in my testing of the M2 MacBook Air was that it came close enough to match my MacBook Pro for most tasks is.
My bottom line: The M2 MacBook Air can now handle about 75% of the work that once required a MacBook Pro.
This can potentially save you $500-$1,000. The M2 MacBook Air I tested had a 10-core GPU and 16 GB of RAM and retailed for $1,700. But his MacBook Pro equivalent costs at least $2,000-$2,500.
Another factor with the M2 MacBook Air is that it greatly reduces strain on your back. My 16-inch MacBook Pro weighs 4.7 pounds, is 14 inches long and 9.77 inches wide. It seriously reduces the weight of the bag. The M2 MacBook Air weighs 2.7 pounds and measures 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches. Featherweight by comparison.
Of course, professionals and creators doing complex video and photo editing, animation, illustration, and rendering of large files need the full power of a MacBook Pro to handle these tasks. The biggest thing I miss when using the MacBook Air is my MacBook Pro’s spacious and smooth 16.2-inch XDR display.
But many will be surprised at just how much the M2 MacBook Air can do and how well it does.
Beyond its raw power, the M2 MacBook Air is also the first redesign of the MacBook Air product line in over a decade, with Apple delivering an impressive hardware design in both form and function. The upgrade includes:
- A much improved webcam, now in 1080p
- Thinner bezels around the screen, more usable space
- 20% brighter 13.6-inch display
- Full-size Touch ID fingerprint scanner
- full size function keys
- Bigger, clearer speakers
- MagSafe power connector with color-coded cable to match your laptop
No Apple product has caught the eye, but the M2 MacBook Air’s accomplishments have been underestimated in 2022.
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