For the last 3-ish years, I have been using a 2020 M1 MacBook Air and it has been nothing short of perfection. It is remarkably fast, responsive, reliable with an amazing design down to the hinge … So if it was working this well … What need would I have to replace it? Well in reality I didn’t have much of a reason however by getting myself a new one it would allow me to retire some family members’ laptops by passing it down to them. I am offering them new (to them) ones and then I get to play with another toy.
So why did you pick this particular laptop? Well as you know with my MacBook Air M1, it was one of the most reliable computers I’ve ever owned. Rarely the battery would fail me which was awesome however the model I’ve chosen is a more well rounded variant of the M1 with a few bonuses. It takes everything that I loved about my M1 Air and outright enhances it.
It can also be noted that for my specific use cases, these Macs work amazingly. My use case consists of … in a word, everything. I typically use this for A → Z whether it be used to print a ticket before I go to a movie or quickly touch up a photo in Adobe Photoshop or even if I am to bring it to work for management of network Infrastructure devices, this laptop is always up to the task and rarely has it let me down. I learned with the MacBook Air that even the lowest of the low Macs are able to take on just about every single task I was able to throw at it and maintain a reasonably quick speed for it. This is more or less an enhanced variant of the M1 Air I admired so much. Well how does it stand up?
The M2 SoC is arguably the largest key point, the sequel to the renowned M1 SoC. What do we notice? Well being a strong believer in the M1 SoC design, it served me well enough to upgrade to the successor M2 chip. Even though I didn’t need more than a M1, it’s cool to see if the grass is greener on the other side. This M2 has a level of responsiveness that is on par with the M1 but in some cases even greater. With this I can install the software Parallels with no worries whatsoever as well as being able to have the option of using the amazing creative applications such as Adobe Photoshop CC and Apple Final Cut Pro X with nothing but ease. While I don’t use my laptop to play many games, I have tried a few classic games that are nothing special like mainly DOOM 1993, RollerCoaster Tycoon II and emulators to which they did well. When I try to run something bigger on here, I will happily post the results and my findings. However, typically I have a desktop that I use as a game server and I run Steam Link to connect to it. Also I am able to tap into my XBOX too. They both serve as two render node sorta appliances. As I am well aware, Macs are not quite ready for gaming however every year we do get a fair bit closer, which is something we always will have to look forward to. Complemented by the M2 chip, this brings me to my next talking point.
The Battery – It was charging while I was running the brilliant Migration Assistant that I wish could apply to Microsoft Windows OS. Perhaps I shall discuss this concept with the FTT ANON programmer to bring this along … anyways i’m getting off track … The battery hasn’t been charged in 2 days and we are only down to 51%. The batteries on these M series MacBooks are nothing short of amazing. I can generally expect 3 days or so on average of life VS my Intel Macs which I was lucky for 3 hours. Another welcome introduction is my Magsafe Port returning which is fantastic for me as I really have missed it from my MacBook Air (2012). I no longer need to surrender half of my USB-C ports to have the ability to charge the laptop. With the improvements, I can be away from a charger for longer. However there is another addition, it comes with a 35W dual USB-C port charger.
And quite honestly this is an interesting idea in theory. This is able to provide 17.5w each to two powered devices connected to it. This is part of the beauty of the 15” MacBook M2 Air as it comes with a charger that can be limited to 17.5w meaning it is able to run with ease off a battery bank. Even if I got a battery bank that is able to run a MacBook Pro, the fact that the M2 Air uses a lot less power means I am away from a plug and I can get the best extension on runtime which is really nice for a machine like this. Once again when paired with the genius Magsafe to USB-C charging cable, which is tastefully colour matched by the way, this truly does seem like quite a good pairing. Can ya really ask for much more to charge a laptop? Looking closer at the machine you’ll find.
The Display It still has the same pixel density but on a larger canvas which is a delight. I have more room without losing quality. While there is a display notch, it is a minor hurdle and is moderately easy to correct with an app and comes with the added benefit of offering a new 1080p web camera. The web camera has better quality than just about any other laptop I’ve seen in a while.
The Keyboard – This has a very similar layout to my MacBook Air M1 however it is slightly more spaced out. It offers me a fair bit more room which offers comfort and ends up making my hands feel less cramped which is a great bonus to have. It has the same legendary “Massive” trackpad size that my M1 offered me. It is just scaled to adapt to the larger screen which is an awesome addition to have. A minor thing is the fingerprint reader is slightly larger. It has yet to tell me I’m not me.
The Audio – While it is a lesser known fact about me, I use my MacBooks to DJ certain Venues. A recent addition is that the M2 Air offers me a 6-speaker sound system with Force Cancelling woofers which expands the sound stage beyond what my old M1 Air could ever do. Also arguably a bigger deal is the introduction of High Impedance Headphone support on the new MacBook M2 Airs which is absolutely amazing.
Okay then we clearly gain a lot, what do we lose?
Well with Apple and a lot of the M series Macs they have had sorta a “Play-It-Safe” mentality. With this generally, if you have one and go to upgrade it, rarely you will ever lose something. At most something will be different. However, especially if you are coming from M1 to M2, I must strongly urge you to, if you can, get the 512GB variant. With this you will be getting 2x flash NAND chips similar to the M1 layout to double the throughput. And mind you with a base model of 8GB of RAM you will be writing fairly heavily to the swap file on the machine. So it is a wise investment to get the larger capacity storage for the performance. In some disk speed tests, the M2 can beat the M1 as well as provide more longevity. However rarely will you be disappointed with the smaller flash performance but the 512GB certainly is a worthy upgrade
It is worth mentioning that I am using a Public Beta Copy of the MacOS Sonoma Operating System more or less because I was already enrolled and I wanted to be able to migrate the data from my MacBook Air M1. Other than the odd hiccup, it has been working fantastically so far. I really do look forward to seeing what improvements I do end up seeing and as usual I have installed my Parallels Desktop 18 Virtualization Software for some specialized Microsoft Windows applications.
That being said, let’s address the elephant in the room …
Well fortunately with the 15” size, the elephant is far less noticeable for me. However, given the fact I’m an easily distracted person as well as living with OCD, I decided it would be in my best interest to hide the notch in the top center. It’s not as bad of an eye sore as I thought. However it’s certainly not preferred. I am however happy to report with a free application called ‘Top Notch’ by the developers MTW (https://topnotch.app/) they made a very handy tool that runs at boot that can hide the top notch for me without any issue by making the entire top area black.
Similar to the LG V10/20 cell phones, if you recall that, and as I didn’t need to use the top area for anything more than the menu bar, this app works perfectly for me.
And that really is just it. Anything that was changed since the M1 is either for the better or easily correctable which is more than I could really ask for. It really shows that Apple has entered a new era of the Mac where in contrast not that long ago there would be some rather interesting issues with older Macs. For example with the Intel i9 MacBook Pro, it would get so warm and throttle to the point where the i7 variant would be faster than it. This is an issue that is more or less unheard of on the M series Macs. With the M series Macs, you really do get a good value as it can be challenging to find something that works as well as this. This once again gets a very strong recommendation from me. I have been absolutely delighted with this laptop and I’d imagine anyone else would be too!
That being said, at the moment I am incredibly happy with this laptop and I intend to use it for a long time until I have reason to convince myself to get another one.
Apple Well Done! This machine is perfect … again.