ONE month, ONE laptop! Is it possible for a single laptop to change everything that we know about value and performance?
This is the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air, and here’s my review after using this laptop daily for a month.
Now, before going into this long-term review, just so you know, the variant I have is the base model. I really wanted to know whether or not this baseline model is enough for everyday use – whether or not you are a creator like me or someone who just needs a portable laptop without sacrificing performance and, of course, battery life.
Build Quality and Design
Now, let’s be frank. When it comes to the build quality, MacBook Air, regardless of its size, has come a long way. When it comes to the design, it has become more ergonomic, feels more durable, and even more beautiful.
To maintain the minimalist design, the ports are not as extensive as the Pro variant, of course. Additionally, there is a MagSafe charging port if you require more than a single USB-C connection, or if you need more, you can always get one of those dongles.
Thinking back about WWDC just two months ago – was I the only one wondering about the larger screen, thinking it’s going to be way heavier? Okay, but holy moly, this was light as a feather! It is only 11.5mm thin, and holding this felt like I was grasping the future.
Now, the real best moment? My travels, especially for the past two months. Firstly, it was the perfect laptop because this laptop is not too small like the 13-inch or GINORMOUS like the 16-inch laptop.
The significantly bigger trackpad was also a very welcoming upgrade, and I was editing videos on the plane like a boss, even when Mr. “I’ll-recline-my-seat-all-the-way-back” in front of me decided to test my patience.
Speaking of editing videos, before I go into the performance, let’s talk about the amazing display and these speakers next.
Display & Speaker
The display is a huge upgrade with a higher resolution, more true-to-life colors, and deeper contrast compared to the 13-inch, probably because of its larger screen too.
While some might kick up a fuss about it having just a 60Hz display, I find that this display is plenty responsive even for my video editing work. Because you don’t need a bombastic 120Hz or even a 240Hz display unless you’re planning to play some very competitive gaming.
But for the everyday Joe or Jane and someone who likes to get work done on the go, you are definitely not going to be missing out on the so-called “low” refresh rate or the 60Hz screen.
Now, this 15-inch display size also provides us with additional pixels and visual real estate, which is definitely important for creative work. The idea of having a keynote presentation on one side and a browser on the other, nicely arranged in a single screen, was surely a great experience where you could really take advantage of the Split View.
Moreover, it does support an external display up to a massive 6K resolution at 60Hz, similar to the 13-inch variant. But because the screen is already big, I didn’t find myself plugging into the Apple Studio Display since it had a perfect color accuracy of the P3 wide color gamut and 500 nits of brightness.
Then, if there’s really one major surprise that caught me off guard, it is the speakers’ performance. It’s amazing how Apple has gone all ninja to hide away all their 6 speakers and still produce some great speakers on this laptop.
Now, while the 4 speakers on the 13-inch MacBook Air were a great setup for a device so small, the audio on this 15-inch M2 MacBook Air is loud, crisp, and quite detailed. It avoids distortion altogether and has Dolby Atmos support as well.
This slightly larger body has allowed Apple to add in more force-cancelling woofers, which allow for deeper bass and warmer tones in this overall six-speaker setup.
Why are speakers important on the laptop, you may ask? Because not everyone likes to wear headphones or AirPods when they’re on their laptop.
Now, bringing to the performance of the M2 MacBook Air. This M2 MacBook Air is built to perform, unlike the Intel MacBook Air previously. But if you’re wondering why Apple’s M1 and the M2 Chip are different from other Intel laptops, well, let me explain.
So, like the M1, Apple’s M2 processor ditches a separate RAM for something they call the Unified Memory. Now, this improves performance significantly by reducing the amount of times data is copied between the CPU, the GPU, and the NPU.
So, it’s like you, your boss and your colleague are all working on the same exact project together, which means that work will be done more efficiently.
On the M2 MacBook Air, boot and loading times for apps are about 2x faster than on the M2. Intense work like editing video is also quicker on the M2 MacBook Air.
In fact, even the 13-inch MacBook Air could breeze through workloads that the Intel version struggled with. It can also handle video editing at 4K resolution without breaking a sweat. But the 15-inch version ups the ante even more with 10 GPU cores over the 13-inch’s 8 GPU cores.
And this is ultra-important if you are someone who deals with a lot of spreadsheets and documents, where you’ll be running through them like Speedy Gonzales, even more so with the added power of the 15-inch MacBook Air.
I have also been playing around with this app called Photomator, which has been my go-to app for photo editing. Features like object erasing with the repair tool and replacing colors were really seamless in the overall image processing since it uses machine learning.
And although I don’t game much, but as announced in WWDC this year, my favorite game, Stray, will also be coming soon to the Mac, so I can’t wait for that.
Among everything, I’ve been using this 15-inch M2 MacBook Air mainly to edit videos for my short-form content on Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts. And since this base model has 256GB of storage, I just edit off my external hard disk, and everything went smoothly, even with my 6K high-resolution footage in this vertical format.
But of course, if you’re editing 4K video content, you will breeze through the timeline like butter, even with the additional plugins and callouts being used in the timeline as well. And do remember that this model has no fans, so it is plenty quiet.
And with the amazing battery life on this laptop, I could create video after video without having any battery anxiety, which brings me to my next topic, which is battery life.
And here’s where the new MacBooks often outclass their competition, and the M2 MacBook Air is no different. Now, Apple did mention that these laptops can achieve up to 18 hours of battery life—a statement that I find very credible, because I typically get about 15 hours of battery life on a single charge, even with heavy workloads on a day.
Then, on the days where I’m not editing videos and just doing some regular spreadsheets or checking some emails or so, I found that the laptop was delivering about 16.5 hours or so.
And while that is already mind-blowing, the M2 MacBook Air also comes with the Low Power mode, which underpowers the powerful M2 processor for longer battery life. Now, in this mode, you can typically squeeze in about 2 to 3 hours more on a single charge.
Value for Money
Alright, let’s talk about value. When you say “Mac” most people probably imagine a fancy price tag—not exactly a bang for your buck.
But now, if you really think about it, this is a laptop that can deliver up to 18 hours of battery life, able to edit 4K videos without breaking a sweat, and, most importantly, weighs less than 2kg.
And these specs would typically place it within a RM6,500 to RM8,000 range (US$1,395 – US$1,716), similar to models like the Acer’s Swift X 14 and the ROG Flow as well.
However, the previous 13-inch M2 MacBook Air is priced at RM5,199 for the base model, which can do all of this and has a beautiful finish. But for this case, with a larger display and more performance, you can get it for a RM1,000 bump-up at RM6,199, which, based on my test, was very well worth the upgrade.
So, in conclusion, the Apple M2 MacBook Air might turn out to be their best lineup of MacBooks yet, with the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air leading the pack.
It joins the “golden child of laptops” category with the best balance of screen size, performance, and portability. So, it’s got everything you want in a laptop and a complete package at the right price point.