Apple MacBook Air M1 vs MacBook Air M2: which one should you choose?

Apple MacBook Air M1 vs MacBook Air M2: which one should you choose? The MacBook Air M2 is obviously a better machine than the MacBook Air M1, so why hesitate? Because the price difference between the two machines is significant enough to ask the right questions. MacBook Air M2 series launched in India with many new features

After long months of rumors, Apple’s MacBook Air M2 is commercially available. The new high-end ultraportable incorporates a new chip and offers, among other things, a new chassis. With its selling price starting at 1,499 euros (at Amazon), the new flagship must however deal with internal competition. That of the still very good MacBook Air M1 at 1,199 euros (Boulanger), recommended price. Between the two machines, is the MacBook Air M2 really the wisest choice?

Apple MacBook Air M1 vs MacBook Air M2 Specs

Model Apple MacBook Air 2020 M1 Apple MacBook Air 2022 M2
Screen size 13.3 inches 13.6 inches
Definition 2560 x 1600 pixels 2560 x 1664 pixels
Display technology LCD IPS
Touchscreen Nope Nope
Processor (CPU) M1 M2
Graphics chip (GPU) Apple GPU Apple GPU
Memory (RAM) 8 GB, 16 GB 8 GB, 16 GB, 24 GB
Internal memory 256 GB, 512 GB, 1024 GB, 2048 GB 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 6 (ax) Wi-Fi 6 (ax)
Bluetooth version 5.0 5.0
Operating system (OS) macOS macOS
Dimensions 304.1 x 4.1 x 212.4mm 304.1 x 11.3 x 215mm
Weight 1290 grams 1240 grams
Repairability Index? N/C
6.0/10
Price €1,169 €1,499

A whole new design

Present among the first machines to switch to Apple Silicon, the MacBook Air M1 had not had the chance to benefit from a custom design. Apple was content to integrate its own components into the chassis of the review Intel MacBook Air. The only improvement was the removal of the fan for absolutely silent operation. The New MacBook Pro 2022 with M2 could be coming soon

The MacBook Air M1, therefore, has rather wide borders around the screen, compared to what is done on the high-end market, with a larger than expected footprint and connectivity limited to two USB-C ports and a 3.5mm jack port.

MacBook Air M1
Source: FRANDROID

The MacBook Air M2 features a major design change. We are entitled to a brand new chassis for Apple taking up the orientations of the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, thus abandoning the iconic shape of the MacBook Air. This new design offers above all reduced dimensions, thinner edges around the screen, and lighter weight.

The connection is changing slightly since Apple has added a MagSafe charging port in addition to the two USB-C ports and the 3.5 mm jack port. Unfortunately, Apple continues to only offer the ports on the left side of the machine rather than balancing the distribution. We would also have liked to see a USB-A port or an SD card reader, like the MacBook Pros. 5 reasons why you should buy a Desktop Mac instead of a MacBook

A screen with a high refresh rate

The MacBook Air M2 introduces a slightly larger 13.6-inch LCD screen with a 2,560 x 1,664-pixel definition and an announced brightness increase of 500 nits. Unlike the MacBook Pro, we, therefore, have neither mini LEDs nor high refresh rates up to 120 Hz or even HDR compatibility for this panel.

The reviews agree without surprise with the excellent calibration that we expect from Apple. At this price level, laptops intended for professionals generally have screens of this quality. We are also far from the best in the sector who can offer Oled or better DCI-P3 coverage.

The new MacBook Air M2 in 13.6 inches
The new MacBook Air M2 in 13.6 inches

Here, it will be necessary to be satisfied with an excellent screen in sRGB and blocked at 60 Hz. Suffice to say that compared to the MacBook Air M1, the experience is not transformed. The little space saving offered by the enlargement of the diagonal is also tarnished by the integration of the notch. Corsair Introduced A Gaming Laptop With A Touch Bar Like A Macbook

More performance, but why?

The other major change, even in the name of the product, is the integration of an Apple M2 chip. This is the first time that Apple has changed the generation of its own SoCs for MacBook. Until now, the firm had contented itself with increasing performance while remaining on the same foundations of the M1.

At equal consumption, Apple promises up to +18% CPU performance compared to the M1. This difference is specially made at the highest level of consumption, at 15 W. It is, in particular, the graphics chip that gains from the change with up to + 35% more GPU performance promised by Apple, thanks in particular to the passage of a 7 or 8 core GPU to an 8 or 10 core GPU, depending on the configuration.

More performance
Source: Frandroid

In fact, there is a difference in performance between the two generations, which are always pleasant to have. However, this gain must be tempered. First of all, several reviews point to a natural limitation of performance: without a fan, the MacBook ends up heating up and must limit the power of its chip. Beyond that, the performance boost doesn’t unlock a new use for the MacBook Air M2.

The new MacBook targets the same clientele as the previous generation, with the same uses: office automation, work on the web, a little retouching, and video or audio editing, but never too heavy tasks such as video games or 3D creation. For these needs, Apple markets the MacBook Pro line.

Is the difference enough to justify the M2
Is the difference enough to justify the M2?

As a result, you really won’t do anything more with an M2 chip than you could do with the M1 chip. The power difference may be more interesting in the long term when the M1 chip will eventually show its limits. As it stands, unless you’re a benchmark buff, the M2 chip won’t change your daily life.

Charging

Despite a larger battery of 56.2 Wh compared to 49.9 for the MacBook Air M1, the two machines have similar charging. This is the conclusion of several reviews, and even Apple does not promise on its site better charging with the M2. The idea is that you will be entitled to more performance from one generation to the next, without affecting your charging.

As the result, it is not on this criterion that we can decide between the two machines. Just note that the MacBook Air M2 can be charged with the MagSafe port. A good point for some, but quite useless for others. Fortunately, in both cases, USB-C works perfectly. Engineers create a brain-like optical chip that processes two billion images per second!

Choice of reason or heart

While one might instinctively think that the new MacBook Air M2 will be an easy recommendation over the previous generation, that’s far from the case. It’s even quite the opposite. Should we really recommend the MacBook Air M2 when we know the price difference, 300 euros officially, but which potentially goes up to 500 euros through promotions.

Reading the reviews, the MacBook Air M2 stands out as an excellent machine. Buyers will undoubtedly be very satisfied with it, and there is no mistake in leaning towards this proposal. Especially since the design is after all a matter of taste and the new MacBook can quite catch the eye. However, the MacBook Air M1 was also a recommendable product. To choose between the two, and having compared them point by point, one is tempted to affirm that the choice of reason clearly leans in favor of the MacBook Air M1.

Only those who need that extra level of performance (but for what purpose?), or more storage and RAM should favor the MacBook Air M2. Indeed, with the generation change, Apple only offers the basic configuration for the MacBook Air M1. Be careful, however, by increasing the capacity and the RAM of the MacBook Air M2, we quickly arrive at the price of the MacBook Pro 14. The beginning of a completely different compared to being made.

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