M2 Powerhouse: Unveiling the Details of the MacBook Air with the M2 Chip

By ANAS KHAN 11 Min Read

According to our testing, the MacBook Air M2 is currently regarded as the most superior laptop for the majority of individuals. While the more affordable MacBook Air M1 is adequate, the Air M2 outperforms it in terms of being slimmer, lighter, and faster, along with having an improved webcam resolution.

The new MacBook Air M2, priced at $1,099 (tested at $1,799), combines a more robust M2 processor with a far more elegant design. Transporting and utilizing this lightweight 2.7-pound notebook evokes memories of the legendary first Air laptop that Steve Jobs unveiled from a manilla packet many years ago.

MacBook Air M2 review: Performance

MacBook Air with M2 chip details

The most commendable aspect of the MacBook Air M2 is its seamless handling of demanding tasks during Prime Day discounts. I was multitasking by managing numerous open tabs on Google Chrome, navigating through various Slack messages, and manipulating images in Photoshop, all while simultaneously uploading data to our Content Management System (CMS). The MacBook Air M2 effortlessly handled all tasks.

I observed a single instance of slowness with the new Air, which occurred while I had over 100 tabs open in Chrome across numerous windows. However, I did not observe a decrease in performance for routine operations compared to the MacBook Pro 14-inch equipped with the M1 Pro CPU, which is quite significant praise.

The MacBook Air M2 achieved a score of 1,932 on the single-core CPU test and 8,919 on the multi-core test, as measured by Geekbench 5.4, which evaluates total performance. During testing on a somewhat older 5.3 version, the MacBook Air M1 achieved a single-core score of 1,736 and a multi-core score of 7,575. The performance improvement is 11% for single-core tasks and 17% for multi-core tasks. The performance of the MacBook Pro M2 was comparable to that of the Air M2, achieving scores of 1,898 and 8,911, respectively.

The Air M2 outperforms top-tier Windows laptops, surpassing competitors such as the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED (7,606) and Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (7,140). Nevertheless, the recently released Dell XPS 13 Plus, equipped with a cutting-edge 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, achieved an impressive score of 10,621. 

The new MacBook Air M2 completed the Handbrake video editing test, which entails transcoding a 4K video clip, in 7 minutes and 52 seconds. The previous iteration of the Air M1 required 9 hours and 15 minutes, thereby indicating a significant enhancement in performance. Nevertheless, the MacBook Pro M2, equipped with active cooling to enhance long-lasting performance, achieved a time of 6 minutes and 51 seconds, which is 1 minute faster than the new Air.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus completed the task in 8 minutes and 31 seconds, but the Yoga 9i took longer. The Zenbook S 13 OLED achieved a faster time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds, while it remained slower than the MacBook Air M2.

Notably, the performance of the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro M2 was comparable in the PugetBench Adobe CC Photoshop test. The new Air achieved a score of 821, surpassing the Pro’s score of 817. However, the Pro further extended its advantage on the Premiere Pro video editing test, achieving a score of 552 compared to the new Air’s score of 452.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus achieved a score of 670 in the Photoshop benchmark and 279 in the Premiere Pro benchmark. 

There has been speculation over the potential sluggishness of the new MacBook Air’s SSD. During the Blackmagic Disc Speed test, the 1TB SSD on our new Air model achieved an average read speed of 2,800 MBps and an average write speed of 2,210 MBps. The read and write speeds of the 1TB SSD on the MacBook Pro M2, which is of the same capacity, are 2,794 MBps and 2,953 MBps, respectively. In comparison, the mentioned SSD is slower. 

Remarkably, the Dell XPS 13 Plus achieved write and read speeds of 4,879 and 3,638 MBps, respectively, making it significantly quicker. For more detailed information, please refer to our benchmark comparison between the MacBook Air M2 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

That is unfortunate, but I never saw any noticeable decrease in performance with the Air M2. My primary grievance is that the new Air is limited to supporting only one external monitor with a maximum resolution of 6K. I would have preferred the availability of dual monitor connectivity, a feature commonly found in Windows laptops within this price bracket.

To obtain further information, please refer to our comprehensive analysis of the MacBook Air M2 benchmark outcomes, comparing them to the MacBook Pro M2. Additionally, we have prepared a study on the thermal throttling problems seen in the MacBook Air M2.

MacBook Air M2 review: design and colors

MacBook Air M2 review: design and colors

The MacBook Air M2 is exceptionally slim, to the extent that it could be readily confused with an iPad when shut, particularly if the Apple logo is visible on the outside. This notebook is exceptionally thin. With a thickness of only 0.44 inches when the lid is open, this machine makes a Bic pen appear bulky in comparison.

In terms of volume, the Air M2 is 20% smaller than its predecessor while offering a larger 13.6-inch display. I find the notch at the top of the screen unappealing, as it disrupts the visual harmony by extending down to the bottom of the menu bar. However, it did not significantly hinder my daily work activities.

The 2.7-pound chassis, made entirely of aluminium, offers a commendable combination of sturdiness and lightness. I particularly admire the elegantly rounded corners and prominent lip, which facilitate single-handed gripping and opening of the laptop.

If you desire to express a distinct preference, I recommend acquiring the MacBook Air M2 in either the Starlight variant, which exhibits a pale gold color, or the Midnight variant, which showcases a dark blue shade. However, if you prefer a more conventional approach, you may consider selecting either the silver or space grey options. Be cautious of potential scratches when choosing the Midnight variant, as this specific hue is said to be prone to scuffing. 

MacBook Air M2 review: Ports

MacBook Air M2 review: Ports

Apple maintains a minimalist approach when it comes to the port selection on the MacBook Air M2. On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 connections, as well as a MagSafe power adaptor. The latter connection facilitates the magnetic attachment of the cable connector to the system, thereby preventing the laptop from falling in the event of unintentional strong tugging on the cable. I like the reintroduction of this feature by Apple.

The right side has a headphone connector for those still using wired headphones, and it’s handy to have just in case your wireless earbuds or wireless headphones run out of charge.


The MacBook Air M2 is currently the best laptop for most people, with a thinner, lighter, and faster design. It pairs a more powerful M2 chip with a sleeker design, making it a reminder of the iconic original Air. The Air M2 handles intense workloads with ease, outperforming the MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip. The Air M2 also beats the best Windows laptops, defeating notebooks like the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED and Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7.

The Air M2 also has a faster 1TB SSD than the MacBook Pro M2 at 2,794 MBps for reads and 2,210 MBps for writes. The Air M2 is 20% smaller than the previous Air in volume but offers a bigger 13.6-inch display. The 2.7-pound all-aluminum chassis delivers a great balance of durability and is lightweight, with sleek rounded corners and a pronounced lip.


What does the M2 chip in the MacBook Air do?

The M2 chip enhances the overall performance of various tasks, such as video editing, corporate collaboration, and online shopping while streaming content. Furthermore, because of its extended battery life, you can confidently skip using the power adapter.

What do you get with a MacBook Air M2?

To utilize your MacBook Air, it is necessary to have two accessories that are provided in the package—a cable and one of the power adapters mentioned below. The 30W USB-C Power Adapter is compatible with both the MacBook Air equipped with the M1 chip and the 13-inch MacBook Air equipped with the M2 chip.

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