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MacBook Air 2022: New design, M2 chip and more

Apple MacBook Air 13
(Image credit: Apple)

The wait is finally over. After two long years, the MacBook Air is finally here and its got a host of new features to get excited about. There's a new design with a host of colors, an upgraded web cam and of course, at long last, the M2 processor makes its grand appearance. Let's dive into all the new features you can expect. The wait is finally over. After two long years, the MacBook Air is finally here and its got a host of new features to get excited about. There's a new design with a host of colors, an upgraded web cam and of course, at long last, the M2 processor makes its grand appearance. Let's dive into all the new features you can expect. 

Pricing and configurations

Apple's trying to keep things affordable, at least its iteration of affordable. The new MacBook Air will launch at $1,199 ($1,099 for educators). The company is retaining the M1 Air to keep that $999 ($899 education) entry-level price point. 

Design

Say bye-bye to the wedge design. In lieu of the iconic design, the new MacBook Air is taking on the design of the M1 MacBook Pro. If that wasn't enough, the notebook is available in four color schemes, including a stately dark blue. It's not the splashy colors inspired by the iMacs we were hoping for, but it's a step in the right direction. 

Despite its new design, the laptop is still as lightweight as ever measuring a mere 0.4 inches thick and weighing only 2.7 pounds. That puts it on a par with the Dell XPS 13, HP Specter 14 x360 and Asus Zenbook 13. 

Other design notes, Apple finally listened to the masses and shrank the bezel significantly. There is however, a notch at the top. But despite a new 1080p webcam, Apple made no mention of any Face ID technology. Still, anything's better than the chunky bezels of old. 

Ports

Well hello there MagSafe. Similar to the MacBook Pro, the Air is bringing back the MagSafe charger. But being that this is a MacBook Air, don't expect too many ports. In fact, you get a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headset jack. No SD card slot, but at this point, that's more of a nice to have than a necessity. 

Display and audio

The new MacBook Air is equipped with a 13.6-inch Retina display that can reach up to 500 nits. Apple claims its 25% brighter than its predecessor, something that we're eager to put to the test. 

In terms of audio, you have an integrated three-mic array with four speakers which should deliver full, balanced sound. And like many Apple audio products, the speakers will support spatial audio for an immersive sound experience. 

Performance

And now, what most of us have been waiting for, the M2 chip. The new chip comes with a few new cores and some lofty claims. In terms of the CPU, you have 8-cores, split evenly between performance and efficiency. It's pretty much in line with the M1 chip. Where the M2 deviates is the GPU cores, which has 10 cores instead of its predecessor's 8. 

So what can this new chip do? According to Apple, the M2 chip is 18% more powerful than its predecessor. In terms of PCs, the company claims 1.9x better performance than a 10-core CPU at 1/4 the energy cost. For the GPU, Apple states a 35% increase in performance over M1. 

Lofty claims indeed, but as we've learned time and time again, it doesn't pay to underestimate Apple. The question isn't whether or not it's an improvement, but how much?

Battery life

Apple is promising all-day battery life pointing to 18 hours of video playback. We used the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. To give you a taste of what that looks like, the 2020 MacBook Air lasted 14 hours and 41 minutes on our proprietary test. 

When it comes time to recharge your laptop, you'll be pleased to know that this is the first MacBook Air to utilize fast charging. That means you can get a 50% charge within 30 minutes with the 67-watt charger. Apple will also sell a charger that houses two USB-C ports so you can power an additional device. 

Conclusion

The MacBook Air is here with after a two-year long wait with a gaggle of new features. You've got a sleek redesign, a 1080p webcam and most importantly, the new Apple M2 chip. This will be the first MacBook Air to use fast charging which should be music to the ears of many mobile professional. I for one am eager to see how the latest MacBook Air holds up to the competition and our benchmarks. Stay tuned for the upcoming review. 

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.