Tested: MacBook Air with M2 chip | Aerial, but heavyweight

With its M2 chip, the latest MacBook Air combines finesse and performance and is almost indecently ahead of the competition. All that’s left is for Apple to convince more developers and studios to get involved.

Posted at 4:00 PM

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The press

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Ever since Apple presented the MacBook Air as “the thinnest notebook in the world” in 2008, we’ve known the concept, which has been widely copied. In an ultra-light 1.24 kg computer, just 11.3 mm thick when closed, we assemble high-quality components that can satisfy both the student and the video editor, at a price lower than that of the Macbook Pro.

The new MacBook Air that hit the shelves last Friday pushes the note a little further with the second-generation of Apple’s home chip, the M2. Geekbench 5’s benchmarking software, which sends a series of queries to determine CPU and graphics processing power, is unequivocal.

So here we have a very comfortable MacBook Air to open a game from 22 GB with a maximum resolution like Rise of the Tomb Raiderand who will be able, we are promised in 2022, to honor a great production such as: Resident Evil Village. Editing video with Final Cut and working in Adobe Photoshop is smooth with no noticeable lag, with encoding operations that are 5 to 24 times faster than older Intel-based MacBook Airs. As for the software used on a daily basis, browsers, text editors and email software, opening them is almost instantaneous.

The 13.6-inch screen is labeled Liquid Retina, a technology based on light-emitting diodes. It doesn’t offer the infinite contrasts of AMOLED screens, but it does offer a resolution of 224 pixels per inch, 1 billion colors and a brightness that goes up to 500 nits.

Unlike the previous MacBook Air, this one now has a magnetic MagSafe charging connector, leaving the other two Thunderbolt ports available for the monitor and accessories. We also note that the 35-watt charger that comes with the most expensive model also includes two USB-C ports to charge other devices.

The keyboard is backlit and the power key, at the top right, also hides a fingerprint reader for authentication. A good note for the FaceTime HD camera with 1080p resolution, which skillfully compensates for the lack of lighting during video conferencing.

The 52.6-watt battery can provide 18 hours of video streaming “on Apple TV,” according to Apple. We tried it on Disney+ instead and got 16 hours.

In terms of sound, we equipped this MacBook Air with four speakers that deliver fair performance, fairly well calibrated, but with a bass that is too discreet. On the other hand, we have the funny Spatial Audio function when using headphones: the sound seems to come from the computer when we move around.

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From time to time we end up with a driver, software or utility that is not optimized for the M2 chip. The site isapplesiliconready.com specializes in reporting these incompatibilities, which are primarily the responsibility of developers. Microsoft Teamsseemed a bit erratic to us.

Even if this MacBook Air is AAA video game ready, it’s missing the essential: studios still very rarely offer a macOS version of their big games. After all, Apple only controls about 15% of the computer market.

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For the Mac enthusiast, the new MacBook Air delivers on all its promises and more, with an extremely stunning M2 chip and beautiful design. The price is high, but the quality is undoubtedly there, whether in the day-to-day work or heavier video manipulations.

the pure gamer won’t choose a Mac, for lack of high-quality games. The unreserved Windows user can always turn to serious competitors, but not yet as powerful as the MacBook Air: Samsung’s Galaxy Book2 Pro.

MacBook Air with M2 chip

  • Manufacturer: Apple
  • Price: $1499 (256GB SSD storage, 8-core GPU) and $1899 (512GB SSD storage, 10-core GPU)
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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