It’s not that we don’t like the MacBook Air M2. On the contrary, we handed Apple’s ultraportable our Editor’s Choice award and an impressive 4.5 stars in our review. It’s a fantastic machine if you’re looking for a solid all-rounder and are familiar with the MacOS landscape. It’s fast, it’s powerful, it has an impressive battery life, and is outfitted with a small, but gorgeous 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display — and that’s more than enough for most people.
That being said, a jack of all trades is usually a master of none, and this certainly applies to the MacBook Air M2. Most people will be fine with this, especially when looking at the Air M2’s not-overly-outlandish $1,199 price tag. However, being limited to just 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage is a problem that will become progressively more apparent the longer you own the device.
The best experiences on a MacBook Air M2 come from its much more premium-priced configurations — and if you’re willing to pay for premium you might as well invest in a device that offers the most bang for your buck or is at least more specifically tuned to your needs. This is why we’ve drawn up our selection of the best MacBook Air M2 alternatives for work, play, and maximum versatility.
Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1360P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inch OLED, 2.8K (2880 x 1880) @ 90 Hz
Size: 12.5 x 9.1 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3.09 pounds
Lenovo has rebounded from the lackluster previous iteration of the Yoga 9i to deliver one of the best 2-in-1 laptops we’ve seen in some time. The Yoga 9i (Gen 8) is a phenomenal ultralight that doesn’t slack when it comes to performance, design, display, or sound.
Taking a glance under the hood, at the heart of the Yoga 9i is one of Intel's latest 13th Gen mobile CPUs, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a lightning-fast 512GB SSD for storage. The Yoga’s Intel Core i7-1360P processor is tuned for both performance and efficiency which goes some way to explain both its crushing performance in our synthetic benchmark tests and its above-average 10+ hour battery life.
When it comes to sound and display, the Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8) is no slouch either. Lenovo’s laptop features one of the most glorious 2.8K OLED touchscreen displays you’re likely to come across, with a speedy spritely 90Hz refresh rate and an unparalleled color depth to boot. Bowers & Wilkins audio springs forth from a cleverly designed soundbar hinge to deliver a soundscape most laptops can only dream of.
Why choose the Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8) over the MacBook Air M2? For a true rival to the MacBook Air M2, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8). Outside of intensive gaming, Lenovo’s ultralight can do just about anything, and do it in style. Not only is the Yoga 9i (Gen 8) a more powerful option in terms of performance, it has the versatility of a 2-in-1, and it’s available for less than the price of some of the M2’s higher configurations.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8) review.
Dell Latitude 9430
CPU: 12th-Gen Intel Core i7-1265U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, WQXGA (2560 x 1600) @ 60 Hz
Size: 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 3.2 pounds
If you’re going to spend premium levels of cash, make sure you get premium levels of quality. The Dell Latitude 9430 is a premium 2-in-1 that boasts a power-efficient 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and a brilliant battery life of over 12 hours that can be charged up to 80% capacity within just 40 minutes. Add to this Dell’s eye-catching InfinityEdge display and you have yourself the total package for work and home use.
The Dell Latitude 9430 is a business laptop at heart, and there’s more to a business laptop than being able to run Excel and Word. Sure — you likely need those things, but what you also need is the peace of mind of knowing all of your documents and data are safely held for your eyes only.
To this end, the Latitude is packed with security features from the typical Windows Hello sign-in, to more environment-conscientious features such as Onlooker Protection or Look Away Detect to hide or dim your screen based on user behavior.
More advanced features like Dell SafeID and SafeBIOS protect the device on a deeper level, but a MIL-STD 810H certification offers an impressive level of protection against the dangerous end-user (read: you) and the potential of everyday drops, shocks, and spills.
Why choose the Dell Latitude 9430 over the MacBook Air M2? Sure, the MacBook Air has a few built-in security features like secure startup and storage options, but it's hard to beat the multitude of levels of security on offer from Dell on this one. When paired with a powerful 12th Gen Intel Core processor and the versatility of a 2-in-1, the Latitude 9430 makes for an ultra-viable alternative to Apple’s ultrabook.
Read our full Dell Latitude 9430 review.
Alienware x14 R1
CPU: Intel Core i7-12900HK
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Storage: 2TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) @ 144 Hz
Size: 12.7 x 10.3 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 4.1 pounds
14-inch gaming laptops are becoming increasingly popular due to their smaller size and portability when compared to the behemoth scale that some of the best gaming laptops on the market have grown to. Not only is the Alienware x14 R1 a prime example of this, but it’s also one of the best 14-inch laptops available today.
Alienware’s portable gaming platform is powered by a mighty Intel Core i7-12900HK and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. While the x14’s CPU is already among the most powerful chips in Intel’s 12th generation of mobile processors. it can be overclocked to squeeze out even more performance if that’s what you’re looking for (and trust yourself enough to do so.)
The x14’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU might not be top-of-the-line, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of some seriously decent results. Pair this with Nvidia’s DLSS technology and you’ll still be set to make the most of the x14’s FHD screen and its super-speedy 144Hz refresh rate.
Why choose the Alienware x14 R1 over the MacBook Air M2? Is the M2 chip capable of gaming? I guess.. But if gaming is one of your primary goals when it comes to choosing a laptop, there’s no beating the offerings from either an Nvidia or AMD discrete GPU in your system when it comes to graphical fidelity and performance-enhancing features such as DLSS and FSR in your games.
Read our full Alienware x14 R1 review.