If the MacBook Air 13 with M2 was really good for on-the-go work, then the bigger Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) is even better. As the name suggests, it comes with a 15.3-inch display, and weighs just 1.5kg. Despite having the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air 13, the 15-inch Air actually performs better, thanks to improved thermal management. The bigger size also allows for much better speakers.
- Apple M2 chip (8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine)
- 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB or 512GB storage
- 15.3-inch IPS LCD with 500 nits brightness
- 66.5 watt-hour battery, MagSafe 3 charging, 2x USB 4 ports
Obviously, the first thing that stands out is how much more screen real estate you get with the 15.3-inch display. The screen's 500 nits brightness is great for photo and video editing. Having a larger screen also makes it easier to take advantage of macOS Ventura's Split View. This lets you line up your app windows side by side. It's also great for watching videos. Which brings me to the next point, you'll love watching videos on this, thanks to its six-speaker setup. Bass is strong, and you can enjoy spatial audio when watching on the Apple TV app or Netflix.
Like the 13-inch version, the keyboard is great with no flex, and the whole laptop feels premium. However, the 15-inch version doesn't come with extra ports. This laptop only has two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports. I think it would be nice to have at least two more on the right side. An SD card reader would have been great, too. In short, you'll likely need a USB-C hub. There are two base models available. They share the same 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU M2 chip. This is unlike the 13-inch MBA, which comes with an M2 chip with an 8-core CPU, with either an 8-core GPU or a 10-core GPU option. The only difference with the 15-inch models is the storage, with one model starting at 256GB and the other at 512GB.
Performance-wise, the MacBook Air 15's bigger size seems to help with thermals. I didn't notice any throttling when benchmarking or trying out games. For our Handbrake test, a one-hour video took 7m 55s, which is a lot faster then the MBA 13. The laptop also performed slightly better in Civilization VI, and could do 60fps with the second highest setting for Dota 2. But once team fights happen, frame rates dropped to below 30. However, if you're fine with the second lowest graphic settings, it's pretty smooth even when action is all over the place. On GeekBench 6, the MacBook scored 2,589 (Single) and 9,661 (Multi-core). Battery life is great, the laptop will last for a full day and more. Our video loop test came in at 7h 55m. Apple rates it at 18 hours for video playback on Apple TV.
At S$1,899, the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) proves that you can make things bigger and better. I do recommend going for larger storage and more RAM (unified memory) if you can afford it, but this will rapidly increase the price. Otherwise, this is a really good laptop to pick up if you're a student, as you'll never have to worry about charging while you're in class the entire day. Note that while the Midnight version is really nice, it's a fingerprint magnet. Get Starlight if you want something that stands out without fingerprint smudges. Get the MacBook Air 15 from Lazada, Amazon, Shopee, or Apple directly.
Note: Review unit provided by Apple.
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