Looking very much like a sleeker version of the handsome Apple MacBook Pro (2021), the new Apple MacBook Air with M2 offers great performance (with a caveat) and portability. If you need a laptop that you can bring anywhere to write, and edit photos and videos, the MBA is a good choice.
- Apple M2 chip (8-core CPU, 8 or 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine)
- 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB or 512GB storage
- 13.6-inch IPS LCD with 500 nits brightness
- 52.6 watt-hour battery, MagSafe 3 charging, 2x USB 4 ports
At 1.24kg, the MBA is as light as some Windows ultrabooks. I do think the MBA feels really well-built and premium. There's also no flex on the keyboard, which makes the typing experience a breeze. Design-wise, the MBA comes with a display notch, two USB-C ports, and a MagSafe port. While the 2021 MBP finally brought back the SD card slot, there's no space for it on the sleek MBA. You'll need a dock such as the Flujo, if you want more ports. I do like the new colors available, particularly Starlight, which looks pretty with its champagne-gold-like finish.
The MBA comes in two versions — both use an 8-core CPU, with either an 8-core GPU or a 10-core GPU. The 10-core GPU comes with 512GB of storage. You will need that if you plan to do lots of video editing on the go. RAM starts at 8GB, but can go up to 16GB or 24GB. However, I did not notice any issues with just 8GB for photo editing, writing, or some light video editing using Final Cut Pro X. I mentioned a caveat earlier about performance. This is due to the MBA's fan-less design that relies on passive cooling. If you're doing heavy duty stuff such as encoding a video, the resulting heat will cause the M2 chip to throttle down. It feels quite cool for normal use, though.
Using Handbrake to convert an hour-long video to 1080p took around 11min 32s. That's twice what it took for the MBP 2021. Temperatures went above 80 degrees, before dropping to 60 degrees. The encoding rate also dropped from 200-ish fps to 100-ish fps when things got hot. On the MBP 2021, the fans kicked in, and encoding performance remained constant throughout. On Civilization VI's AI benchmark, the MBA took 10.67s for a turn, and the game ran at around 30fps at High settings in Dota 2. You'll get better frames at Med, around 40 to 60fps. Geekbench 5 scores were 1,886 for single-core — comparable to the M1 Pro chip — and 8,755 for multi-core. Our video battery test lasted 5hr 24min, though Apple rates it at 18 hours for Apple TV playback. The MBA lasted for more than a full day of normal work use.
Lastly, the 13.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, while the four-speaker system delivers a great audio punch. The Apple MacBook Air with M2 (2022) makes the ultrabook segment a lot more competitive, especially the base model which retails at a mere S$1,699. Its performance and portability stand out, and offers a compelling alternative against similar Windows notebooks. Get it from Lazada or Apple.
Note: Review unit provided by Apple.
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