MacBook Air with M2 processor review: The sweet spot for Mac portables in 2022

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 2022
Apple's redesign of the MacBook Air incorporating the M2 Apple Silicon processor makes it the best option for most people who want to own a portable Mac.

The 2022 MacBook Air
The 2022 MacBook Air


The M2 MacBook Air is, once again, one of the initial Macs to be released as part of an Apple Silicon generation. After leading the charge for the M1, Apple's using it again for the M2.

This time though, things are very different.



The M1 MacBook Air was decidedly an internals-only update, with the vast majority of the specifications sheet left untouched. What did change was the core components driving the processing.

For the M2, Apple did what it arguably should've done for the first release. Instead of giving the performance benefits to users in a tired and old package, Apple has taken the opportunity to utterly overhaul the design of its most compact notebook.



Specifications

SpecificationsMacBook Air (2022, M2)
Starting Price$1,199
Best M2 MacBook Air prices
Dimensions (inches)11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44
Weight (pounds)2.7
Display13.6-inch Liquid Retina,
Wide Color (P3),
True Tone
Resolution2,560 x 1,664
Brightness500 nits
ProcessorApple M2
Graphics8-core GPU,
10-core GPU
Memory8GB,
16GB,
24GB
Storage256GB,
512GB,
1TB,
2TB
Battery52.6Wh lithium-polymer,
Up to 15 hours web, 18 hours video
Networking802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Touch IDYes
Camera1080p FaceTime HD
AudioFour-speaker sound system,
Three-mic array with directional beamforming,
Headphone jack with high-impedance headphone support,
Dolby Atmos support with Spatial Audio
PortsTwo Thunderbolt/USB 4,
3.5mm headphone,
MagSafe 3

A taper-less Pro appearance

The first big thing about the MacBook Air's design is that it doesn't really look like a MacBook Air anymore. The old design used a wedge tapered from a thick side to a thin edge, giving its signature appearance.

For the M2, the MacBook Air no longer goes for the tapered look. Instead, we have an aluminum enclosure that's uniformly flat, and one that seems to take a lot of style cues from the 14-inch MacBook Pro (check deals).

2022 MacBook Air
2022 MacBook Air (left) and 2020 MacBook Air (right)


It's still almost the same footprint as the old model at 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches, if a smidgeon bigger, but instead of a 0.63-inch to 0.16-inch taper, it's a flat and straightforward 0.44 inches.

It's still the smallest and thinnest MacBook in Apple's range and also the lightest at 2.7 pounds. It's even lighter than the previous model.

USB-C and MagSafe ports
Type-C and MagSafe ports


Continuing the external tour, there is a pair of Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Though it could be considered a holdover and a missed opportunity, given the plethora of ports you get in the larger MacBook Pro models, you do still get one additional port.

The color-matched MagSafe 3 cable
The color-matched MagSafe 3 cable


MagSafe 3 has joined the party for the MacBook Air, so you can now recharge using a dedicated connection. You can still use one of the Thunderbolt ports for charging, such as using a dock's power delivery capabilities, but if you're using a standard outlet charger, you're not sacrificing a data connection to recharge.

One more notch

One element that has transitioned from the Pro models to the MacBook Air is the updated display, which is both a blessing and a curse.

The screen has been bumped up from a 13.3-inch Retina display to a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina version. It's complete with a slightly taller resolution of 2,560 by 1,664, giving it a pixel density of 224ppi.

The 2022 MacBook Air has a larger display
The 2022 MacBook Air has a larger display


It's also including support for 1 billion colors, Wide Color (P3), a fairly typical 500 nits of brightness, and True Tone. It's still using LED rather than miniLED, so you're not getting the ultra-high contrast ratios or high HDR brightness levels, but it's bright enough for most typical users.

As part of Apple's war against thick bezels, the MacBook Air now sports thin versions on the side and the top. However, this latter element brings in the controversial part of modern MacBook displays: the dreaded notch.

That notch enables the FaceTime HD camera to be positioned correctly, but it does cut into the display estate. This isn't really a problem, as all it does is cut into the menu bar on the desktop, and for fullscreen apps, it's discretely hidden by supportive blacked-out sections.

The new notch and upgraded camera
The new notch and upgraded camera


This latter state brings the overall usable resolution back down to the same level as the M1 MacBook Air. Since it only consumes part of the menu bar on the desktop, you're still benefiting from the extra pixel rows overall, and it shouldn't be a problem except for the pickiest user.

MacBook Air camera compare
MacBook Air camera compare


That camera is still a FaceTime HD one instead of a True Depth array, so there are no depth mapping benefits yet. However, Apple did finally move to improve the camera from 720p to 1080p, one boosted by the onboard advanced image signal processor with computational video, which will be a welcome change for home workers.

Below the display is Apple's backlit 78-key (U.S.) or 79-key (ISO) Magic Keyboard, complete with 12 full-height function keys, four arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement, and Touch ID in the corner. Below is the Force Touch trackpad with Force click and multi-touch gesture support.

These haven't gone through any major changes, but they probably don't need anything to be done to them at this stage.

MacBook Air keyboard
MacBook Air keyboard


The slight change Apple made is expanding the size of the function keys. They're no longer short rectangles but full-sized keys. In use, they're easier to hit dead-center as you quickly reach to adjust your music playback, lower the volume, or authenticate via Touch ID.

From M1 to M2

The main reason for the changes is the inclusion of the M2 system-on-chip, the first of a new generation of Apple Silicon chips. While still presumably the entry-level option of the M2 range, it stands to offer quite a few improvements over the M1.

For a start, while it has the same 8-core structure of four performance cores and four efficiency cores, it also runs about 18 percent faster than the M1.



The GPU has also been updated, so instead of choosing a 7-core or 8-core version, you have options for 8-core and 10-core GPUs. Again, Apple claims there is a 35-percent performance improvement just for the GPU.

Memory bandwidth for the Unified Memory has also increased from 68.25GB/s in the M1 to 100GB/s in the M2. It's a nice upgrade, but not as close to the 200GB/s of the M1 Pro as we would like.

The existing 8GB and 16GB memory options have been joined by a third, providing 24GB. Again, it's not quite the 32GB we would expect, but it's still a welcome addition.






Even the Neural Engine has been given a boost, using the same core count as the M1 version but running 40% faster overall. The image signal processor has been updated in the M2, granting it better image noise reduction, which should considerably improve the higher-resolution webcam.

A significant departure with the M2 is the inclusion of the Media Engine, Apple's system for hardware video encoding and decoding. While you had to get an M1 Pro for this in the previous generation, Apple's included it in the M2.

Able to handle 8K H.264 and HEVC video, as well as ProRes 4K and 8K video, the Media Engine can considerably speed up video exports.

The new and fast MacBook Air
The new and fast MacBook Air


The only real drawback to this is the passive cooling of the MacBook Air. While the MacBook Pro lineup offers fans for active cooling, you're limited to heating the MacBook Air's aluminum casing, which typically involves reduced potential processing due to thermal throttling.

For most brief workloads, this won't be a problem. Thermal throttling does threaten performance when under high sustained workloads, such as intensive video edits or if you're gaming, but this is far outside the scope of most typical MacBook Air usage.

If you're using a Mac for these sorts of tasks, you'll probably spend more and get an actively-cooled 14-inch MacBook Pro at the least.

Storage options start at a 256GB SSD for the base model, with 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB options available. Going for the 10-core GPU starts you out at the 512GB level.

Frustratingly, one video feature has made a return for the M2 from the M1. Along with the built-in display, it only supports one external 6k 60Hz monitor, handled via one of the Thunderbolt ports. The M1 Pro and higher broke free of this limitation, but seeing it return in the M2 is saddening.

Performance, speed, and thermals

Turning to benchmarks, our M2 MacBook Air scored 1,898 in the single-core Geekbench 5 test and 8,941 in the multi-core version. Our M1 MacBook Air scored 1,693 and 7,195 on the single and multi-core, respectively. Those are respectable gains for the M2.

The M2 MacBook Air outperforms the M1 version in Geekbench's main tests.
The M2 MacBook Air outperforms the M1 version in Geekbench's main tests.


Since Apple has increased the clock speed on the M2, we see that improvement in the single-core and multi-core tests despite the M2 still being an 8-core chip. Cinebench revealed the same with 1,581 and 8,360 single- and multi-core scores.

The M2 MacBook Air's Cinebench 23 results
The M2 MacBook Air's Cinebench 23 results


We also ran the Affinity Photo benchmark, which taxes both the CPU and GPU. In the combined multi-core CPU test, the MacBook Air reached 765, while the GPU scored 10,397.

Affinity Photo tests for the M2 MacBook Air
Affinity Photo tests for the M2 MacBook Air


For comparison, the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro yielded 12,206 for the GPU test with its ten cores.

In the Speedometer browser benchmark, testing produced 398 runs per minute. This is perfectly on par with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, seemingly without any hit to performance.

The M2 MacBook Air's Speedometer result is practically the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro
The M2 MacBook Air's Speedometer result is practically the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro


On graphics, the M1 model reached 20,284 on the Geekbench Compute benchmark running with Metal, while the M2 scored 26,123. This is a more notable result as the M1 used an 8-core GPU, the high-end model of the time, while the M2's 8-core GPU is the new low-end model.

Geekbench's Metal results show the M2 MacBook Air outpaces the M1 with each using 8-core GPUs.
Geekbench's Metal results show the M2 MacBook Air outpaces the M1 with each using 8-core GPUs.


The M2's GPU is better than the M1's with equal core counts, because of Apple's improvements. If you opt for the 10-core GPU M2, you'll see an even higher graphical performance.

Throttling and storage bottlenecks

By the time you read this, the wailing and gnashing of teeth about "thermal throttling" by a segment of the Apple review base has already begun.

Barring some kind of fan curve problem, which this machine does not appear to have, this has been and always shall be an issue generated by folks who believe in clicks and views over anything else. And, they will generate that traffic by sacrificing accuracy, context, and the actual, real-world hardware and usage.

This content is generated by the click-hungry either generating bespoke tests with a conclusion in mind rather than making that conclusion based on real-world data. Or, they're thinking about what a computer's theoretical maximum performance could be in an ideal world where you can ignore friction and fire spherical chickens for the sake of easy math, more than they do actual use-cases.

Benchmarks with 100 Chrome tabs while rendering a video and doing intensive disk I/O isn't remotely real-world. Skipping the Media Engine when encoding media to prove a point just proves that traffic is addictive, and doesn't say anything accurate about the hardware.

As has been the case for 20 years or more, a chip will get hot and slow down temporarily until it cools. The machine does not spontaneously combust, cartoon flames will not erupt from the keyboard, it won't automatically cause some kind of neurological disorder that attracts palms to foreheads in thumbnails, nor does it imply any kind of engineering failure.

We tested the base 256GB model of the M2 MacBook Air, and when we ran it through the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, we saw similar results as with the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro. Namely, a decrease from the last-generation model.

The 2020 MacBook Air saw write speeds of 2,689 MB/s and read speeds of 2,248 MB/s. The 2022 MacBook Air now only has 1600 MB/s for the write speed and 1158 MB/s on the read speeds.

With the MacBook Pro, these slower SSD speeds only applied to the base storage configuration and the 512GB and higher were all faster. We typically advise not to buy the base storage so this should be a non-issue for most users, but it is unfortunate that the slower speeds exist at all.

Like we've said so many times before, if your time is that valuable and you need that absolute peak performance, get a Mac Studio or larger MacBook Pro. With the upgrades to the 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, you'll need to do those calculations as you're already in the price range anyway.

And, you already know going into this review that you need the hardware that's actually designed with those long runs in mind. We can't imagine that this computer will be paired with a $10,000 8K HDR camera.

A higher power

MagSafe isn't the only power-related change to the M2 MacBook Air. The battery has been updated, with an increased 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery instead of the 49.9-watt-hour version.

As for how long you get to use it for, that hasn't changed. On a single charge, Apple claims it can last for up to 14 hours of wireless web access, or up to 18 hours of Apple TV app movie playback, the same as the previous one.

Dual 35W Compact Power Adapter
35W Dual Output Power Adapter


Another thing that has changed is the power adapter, as you can switch out the unchanged 30W USB-C Power Adapter you get with the base-spec model for a new 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter if you go for the 10-core GPU and 512GB of storage.

As the name suggests, you get another USB-C port, so you could feasibly recharge an iPhone at the same time as the MacBook Air.

If you happen to have a higher wattage of charger, such as the 67W USB-C Power Adapter, the MacBook Air has a fast-charge capability.

Audio and networking

Yet another change that can't be seen in the MacBook Air is the audio, with the stereo speakers switched for a four-speaker system. There's still support for Wide Stereo Sound and Spatial Audio through speakers when listening to Dolby Atmos.

Keyboard with no speaker grille on the side
Keyboard with no speaker grille on the side


Apple did remove the grilles on either side of the keyboard, which is probably for the best. They tended to trap dust, and the change hasn't impacted the audio quality negatively.

There's also support for Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking with compatible AirPods models. If you are an audiophile, there's support for high-impedance headphones with the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Getting audio in hasn't changed, with Apple continuing to use a three-mic array with directional beamforming.

Despite so much being updated, Apple is still sticking to including Wi-Fi 6 support, as well as Bluetooth 5.0. This does still mean you can connect to pretty much any modern network or device, so long as the supportive infrastructure is in place, but you're not going to benefit from Wi-Fi 6E or Bluetooth 5.1 if they're available.

The (current) best M2 choice

The M1 MacBook Air was an excellent example of the compact notebook form factor. The M2 version continues the story.

Compared to the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, the M2 MacBook Air is the better overall package by a wide margin. With Apple's thorough modernization of the classic lightweight MacBook Air, there are very few reasons anyone should go for the Pro over the Air.

Setting aside the M2 stablemate comparison, the M2 MacBook Air is a very good notebook in its own right. It's still qualifying for the "Air" suffix by being extremely light and powerful, but it does so by departing from its wedge-like lineage.

As we've said for about six years, nearly every workload applied by almost every user is single-core and a burst process. The processor isn't running long enough, hot enough, for any of this to make a real difference to the vast majority of Mac users looking at this price point.

MacBook Air
M2 MacBook Air


If you render videos, compile code, do fluid dynamics calculations, and the like, the lack of a fan versus the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro will make a tiny difference in how long the job takes to complete. Reviewers using those applications and utilities to benchmark these computers are being disingenuous to appeal to an audience that they've cultivated to expect those.

If you're word processing, getting your email, doing most gaming, or just about anything else other than calculations that need the extremely long runs of computational grunt, it will not be noticeable or matter much, even if you can perceive the difference.

Change is not always good. But, it certainly is here.

MacBook Air with M2 processor pros

  • New redesign feels thinner and is lighter than last-gen
  • Decent performance improvements, especially with graphics, for the M2
  • Better value than 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2
  • MagSafe 3 addition frees up an additional port
  • Plenty of minor improvements to audio, camera, keyboard, and more
  • Larger and brighter screen
  • New 24GB memory option

MacBook Air with M2 processor cons

  • Display notch
  • Slow SSD speeds on base model
  • 256GB is not enough entry-level capacity, especially with M1 Air still around
Score: 4.5 out of 5, or 3.5 out of 5 for folks with long processing runs. If that's you, get a 14-inch MacBook Pro or Mac Studio instead.

Where to buy

Apple's M2 MacBook Air starts at $1,199 and is available to purchase from the resellers below. You can also compare prices and check for M2 MacBook Air deals in our M2 MacBook Air Price Guide. Alternatively, you can save up to $300 on Apple's 14-inch MacBook Pro with exclusive savings, plus discounts on AppleCare. The latest deals are at your fingertips in our 14-inch MacBook Pro Price Guide.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,917member
    First thing first. M2 Macbook Air is in The sweet spot for Mac portables in 2022. "Correction". The M2 Macbook Air is in the sweet spot for all portables/laptops under 14" in 2022.
    One question. Is front FaceTime HD camera that big so it must need whole notch area to cover ? Couldn't it be just a small Hole like every laptops have ? On iPhone, notch is larger because of FaceID components but for M2 Macbook Air; it is just a web front camera. Could it be to present symmetry and ecstatic viewing experience on display ? Any Apple genius to answer ?
    edited July 2022 williamlondonappleuseryeahwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 2 of 28
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    MplsPappleuseryeahthtwatto_cobraretrogustoOferStrangeDaysAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,828member
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    Well the lack of multiple display support is the very reason I bought a 14" MacBook Pro this week instead of a MacBook Air. I like the M2 MacBook Air a lot and its all I need technically as far as how powerful it is, but I like to use multiple displays and it lacks support for that so 14" MacBook Pro it was. I played Apple's game...I don't think there's really any reason why they can't design it to support multiple displays. Maybe not multiple 6K displays, but it should be able to support dual 4K displays at the very least. I think Apple did this on purpose because it will make people like me spend more money and get a MacBook Pro instead. 
    edited July 2022 appleuseryeahwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 28
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,954member
    macxpress said:
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    Well the lack of multiple display support is the very reason I bought a 14" MacBook Pro this week instead of a MacBook Air. I like the M2 MacBook Air a lot and its all I need technically as far as how powerful it is, but I like to use multiple displays and it lacks support for that so 14" MacBook Pro it was. I played Apple's game...I don't think there's really any reason why they can't design it to support multiple displays. Maybe not multiple 6K displays, but it should be able to support dual 4K displays at the very least. I think Apple did this on purpose because it will make people like me spend more money and get a MacBook Pro instead. 
    Most people who need more than one external display will also want the added power of the MBP. The MBA is not meant to be all things; the overwhelming majority of users don't need more than one external display so it makes perfect sense for its intended market.
    watto_cobraretrogustodewmeStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 28
    KBuffettKBuffett Posts: 95member
    These new M chip laptops (Air and Pro) feel thicker and heavier when carrying. The Air certainly doesn’t feel as light and slim as previous generations
    retrogustowilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 28
    wood1208 said:
    First thing first. M2 Macbook Air is in The sweet spot for Mac portables in 2022. "Correction". The M2 Macbook Air is in the sweet spot for all portables/laptops under 14" in 2022.
    One question. Is front FaceTime HD camera that big so it must need whole notch area to cover ? Couldn't it be just a small Hole like every laptops have ? On iPhone, notch is larger because of FaceID components but for M2 Macbook Air; it is just a web front camera. Could it be to present symmetry and ecstatic viewing experience on display ? Any Apple genius to answer ?
    Knowing you would ask this question, Apple generously made the notch, just for you. Apple works In mysterious ways, and they clearly value your astute line of questioning and reasoning over many years here at AppleInsider, so in a fit of pique decided to honor your insatiable desire for curious courage and notched up a win for you. 

    Of course salmon is also a great reason for the notch, and it’s one of my favorite foods. 

    /So good luck to you, /sir, and may you notch this up as a victory. ✌️ 🖖🏻 👍🏻 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    KBuffett said:
    These new M chip laptops (Air and Pro) feel thicker and heavier when carrying. The Air certainly doesn’t feel as light and slim as previous generations
    Oh well, just have to wait for 2024’s MBA M3
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 28
    M68000M68000 Posts: 761member
    KBuffett said:
    These new M chip laptops (Air and Pro) feel thicker and heavier when carrying. The Air certainly doesn’t feel as light and slim as previous generations
    Yeah.  They may be great from performance and battery standpoint but the look and feel is a letdown.  The iconic wedge design will be missed.   I cherish my 2018 air now.  The current air and pro seem to look the same,  should there be two models now?
    retrogustowilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 28
    Despite the very few cons for this model, it will become Apple’s best selling Mac to date, if not best selling laptop model, including current PCs. They really got all the important things right with this Air - return of MagSafe, 1080p camera and one of the best battery life in the industry - not to mention incredible performance for the price point.
    watto_cobraOferMisterKitwilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,868administrator
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    In our speaking with enterprise, an incredibly common administrative setup with MBA users is a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 Type C dock at a workstation with a pair of 1080p displays, a keyboard, and sometimes a wired network.

    There is notably less 8K video handling with this segment, meaning none.
    edited July 2022 watto_cobraOfer
  • Reply 11 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,828member
    MplsP said:
    macxpress said:
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    Well the lack of multiple display support is the very reason I bought a 14" MacBook Pro this week instead of a MacBook Air. I like the M2 MacBook Air a lot and its all I need technically as far as how powerful it is, but I like to use multiple displays and it lacks support for that so 14" MacBook Pro it was. I played Apple's game...I don't think there's really any reason why they can't design it to support multiple displays. Maybe not multiple 6K displays, but it should be able to support dual 4K displays at the very least. I think Apple did this on purpose because it will make people like me spend more money and get a MacBook Pro instead. 
    Most people who need more than one external display will also want the added power of the MBP. The MBA is not meant to be all things; the overwhelming majority of users don't need more than one external display so it makes perfect sense for its intended market.
    It makes no sense at all. It's just Apple's way of getting you to spend more money and that's really at it is. There's no reason what so ever that it can't support multiple displays. They're purposely not supporting it. You can't honestly tell me that it will support one 6K display, but not 2 displays at a lower resolution. It's not like the graphics on the M1 or M2 is so shitty it can't possibly support that. Supporting multiple displays is a basic thing nowadays.  
    muthuk_vanalingamOferwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 28
    thttht Posts: 5,494member
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    In our speaking with enterprise, an incredibly common administrative setup with MBA users is a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 Type C dock at a workstation with a pair of 1080p displays, a keyboard, and sometimes a wired network.

    There is notably less 8K video handling with this segment, meaning none.
    Heh, Enterprise IT has been and will remain a drag on company productivity. What’s stopping IT from providing a larger 4K monitor or a 4K-ish ultra wide?

    Probably some kind of lease agreement or sourcing of monitors or some such. Ultimately, they try to be minimum cost, and put users into an unproductive situation. 

    I’m currently caught in this box. I need to have 1 TB of storage, which my 2018 MBP15 has. I’m up for a refresh, and our IT department is offering M1 Pro MBP16 machines as a replacement, but they are offering only 512 GB storage models. Well, I will continue using my 2018 MBP15 until 1 TB is available, even though the 2021 MBP models are so much better than the 2018 models.

    It may be that I will have to carry around an external SSD in order to get a new machine, but then I’ll have to deal with encryption crap with it. 

    Blaming IT for this mess is just perfectly fine. 
    watto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 28
    sloaahsloaah Posts: 25member
    Benchmarks with 100 Chrome tabs while rendering a video and doing intensive disk I/O isn't remotely real-world. Skipping the Media Engine when encoding media to prove a point just proves that traffic is addictive, and doesn't say anything accurate about the hardware.

    Just a side note, as a filmmaker both of these scenarios are in fact a regular occurrence for me. I have terrible tab hygiene and keep dozens of tabs open at a time, whilst editing and rendering video. And when doing H264 exports, quality is higher doing a 2-pass software encode rather than using the Media Engine - so that’s the standard practice for any final deliveries. 

    Of course, I’m also not going to be doing this on a MBA. But just wanted to note that for a certain segment these are very much real-world scenarios. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,868administrator
    sloaah said:
    Benchmarks with 100 Chrome tabs while rendering a video and doing intensive disk I/O isn't remotely real-world. Skipping the Media Engine when encoding media to prove a point just proves that traffic is addictive, and doesn't say anything accurate about the hardware.

    Just a side note, as a filmmaker both of these scenarios are in fact a regular occurrence for me. I have terrible tab hygiene and keep dozens of tabs open at a time, whilst editing and rendering video. And when doing H264 exports, quality is higher doing a 2-pass software encode rather than using the Media Engine - so that’s the standard practice for any final deliveries. 

    Of course, I’m also not going to be doing this on a MBA. But just wanted to note that for a certain segment these are very much real-world scenarios. 

    Right. The bolded is the entire point.
    edited July 2022 dewmewatto_cobrachiaOferStrangeDaysMplsP
  • Reply 15 of 28
    wiseywisey Posts: 31member
    I find this review to be disingenuous.  Instead of saying up front that Apple goofed and put a base SSD configuration that halved the speed of the M2 MacBook Air, that the one fan-version of the M2 MacBook Pro 13” did not provide sufficient cooling to prevent throttling of the computer after 15 minutes of hard usage, that differences of size and weight between the M1 MacBook Air/Pro, and the M2 MacBook Air/Pro at best minor, the review suggested that the 2022 Air and Pro hit the “sweet spot”.  The only thing that did hit the “sweet spot” was the longer battery life but that is not worth the price.  This is whether people should by an M2 Air/Pro laptop with several serious deficiencies.  I have a M1 MacBook Air with 16 Gb RAM and 2 Tb SSD that I bought in 2020.  An honest reviewer would have told me that upgrading my M1 Air to an M2 Air to 2 Tb SSD and 16 Gb RAM would  a serious mistake and that I would have seriously regretted investing >$2500 to buy a 14” M2 Pro with 2 Tb SSD.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,868administrator
    wisey said:

    (snip)

    An honest reviewer would have told me that upgrading my M1 Air to an M2 Air to 2 Tb SSD and 16 Gb RAM would  a serious mistake and that I would have seriously regretted investing >$2500 to buy a 14” M2 Pro with 2 Tb SSD.  
    1. The review does address the SSD speeds. It also addresses that if you don't get the 256 GB model, they aren't slower.
    2. This is very specifically not a a review of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. We spoke about that model in another review.
    3. An incredibly low percentage of purchasers are coming from the previous model. If numbers are correct for Apple Silicon to Apple Silicon as they were from Intel to Intel model, it's less than about 2%. It doesn't make any sense to position a review to those people, much less a heavily upgraded version. Apple might be able to run a configurator in a browser window to identify what you have and tell if you should or shouldn't buy a newer model, but even if we could do that, we wouldn't.
    4. We've discussed the speed differences between the M1 Air and M2 Air in several other pieces.
    5. A M1 Air with 16GB of RAM and 2TB SSD anymore costs $2000. A M2 Air with 16GB of RAM and 2TB is $2300. For the media engines alone that the M1 doesn't have, it's worth the $300. What's better at this price point for most doing those long processing runs is the 14-inch MBP. This is addressed in the article.
    6. Your M1 is waiting on you most of the time, and also slows down if you hammer on it for a long time, like literally every computer have done for about 20 years. This is addressed in the article. If you do those long processing runs and your time is money, you wouldn't regret investing $2500 to buy a 14-inch MBP with 2TB SSD.

    We're not going to hit every "I'm coming from X, and I want to buy Y" use cases in a review, especially those who've upgraded the previous machine. What we can do for those edge cases, is provide the data so folks can make that decision for themselves -- which we have done.
    edited July 2022 dewmeOferStrangeDaysMplsP
  • Reply 17 of 28
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    In our speaking with enterprise, an incredibly common administrative setup with MBA users is a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 Type C dock at a workstation with a pair of 1080p displays, a keyboard, and sometimes a wired network.

    There is notably less 8K video handling with this segment, meaning none.
    Suggestion: include the IT department context in the articles. My own experience with corporate IT is that they typically prefer to buy refurbs or models from the previous year in order to save $$. 
    edited July 2022 Ofer
  • Reply 18 of 28
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,413member
    macxpress said:
    MplsP said:
    macxpress said:
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    Well the lack of multiple display support is the very reason I bought a 14" MacBook Pro this week instead of a MacBook Air. I like the M2 MacBook Air a lot and its all I need technically as far as how powerful it is, but I like to use multiple displays and it lacks support for that so 14" MacBook Pro it was. I played Apple's game...I don't think there's really any reason why they can't design it to support multiple displays. Maybe not multiple 6K displays, but it should be able to support dual 4K displays at the very least. I think Apple did this on purpose because it will make people like me spend more money and get a MacBook Pro instead. 
    Most people who need more than one external display will also want the added power of the MBP. The MBA is not meant to be all things; the overwhelming majority of users don't need more than one external display so it makes perfect sense for its intended market.
    It makes no sense at all. It's just Apple's way of getting you to spend more money and that's really at it is. There's no reason what so ever that it can't support multiple displays. They're purposely not supporting it. You can't honestly tell me that it will support one 6K display, but not 2 displays at a lower resolution. It's not like the graphics on the M1 or M2 is so shitty it can't possibly support that. Supporting multiple displays is a basic thing nowadays.  
    It does seem a little strange that the MBA can support one super high resolution external display (6K) but not two lower resolution displays. I do believe that the ability to support multiple lower resolution external displays is possible using the right kind of TB docking station. With all that said, and lumping in most of the other complaints about the M2 Air, I still would have zero heartburn buying one of these delightful little computers and for several reasons:

    - The MBA is Apple's lowest-end and lowest-cost notebook computer. Say what you want about the MBA, but it's still at the bottom of the MacBook hierarchy and it's still an amazing piece of technology when you factor in what is does, how lightweight it is, its performance for mainstream personal and professional tasks, how well built it is, and how it blends seamlessly into Apple's ecosystem.

    - Did I mention the MacBook Air is Apple's most-affordable notebook computer and most affordable complete computer system? To hit that mark and still deliver the most value to the most number of Mac buyers in its price range Apple had to make some serious choices about what's in and what's out. When it comes to the MacBook Air what's "in" is everything that makes it a stellar portable computer. What's "out" are some of the features that would make it a powerful desktop workstation. 

    - When you start adding multiple additional displays to a notebook computer it essentially transforms the notebook into a desktop machine. This begs the question - are your computing needs more aligned with a portable machine or with a desktop machine? Obviously the answer for a lot of folks is - both. But again, at the MacBook Air's price point and place in the Mac food chain, do you really expect that Apple's lowest-end Mac system (including keyboard, trackpad, monitor, camera, and audio) is going to sufficiently fill all the needs of a desktop workstation? The cost of adding one 6K display to the MacBook Air is going to triple your total cash outlay. 

    - It's very obvious that Apple intentionally chose to bias the MacBook Air towards portability while compromising some of the things that would make it a better workstation. They absolutely knew going-in and from past and current sales that they would hit a sweet spot with a huge number of customers by making the intentional choices that they made. But that's not all. For Apple customers for whom Apple's most affordable Mac system is not enough they offer the MacBook Pro line, which has all kinds of options for achieving true workstation performance from a portable computer that you can take with you or dock with multiple external displays on your desk. 

    Now that I've seen what Apple can do by redesigning a popular product from the ground up around Apple Silicon I can't wait to see what they do with the next release of the Mac mini. 
    edited July 2022 muthuk_vanalingamStrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,868administrator
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    In our speaking with enterprise, an incredibly common administrative setup with MBA users is a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 Type C dock at a workstation with a pair of 1080p displays, a keyboard, and sometimes a wired network.

    There is notably less 8K video handling with this segment, meaning none.
    Suggestion: include the IT department context in the articles. My own experience with corporate IT is that they typically prefer to buy refurbs or models from the previous year in order to save $$. 
    As a general rule, when I say "enterprise," it's folks with big contracts with Apple like Deloitte, IBM, Disney, and the like. I do agree that where you are on the enterprise "scale" per se changes up what gets bought and when.

    As a general rule, these folks that we get to speak to will replace a certain percentage of their hardware per year, like clockwork, so it's all swapped out over as low as two years for some computational-heavy departments and as many as six for others on a bell-curve, where the average seems to be about 3.5 years. Sometimes that gear that's swapped out on a two-year cycle is sent back to the gear pool, and sometimes it isn't, depending on department compartmentalization and other factors.

    So, the folks that are looking at the M2 MBA probably last had Intel, and with those Thunderbolt or USB-C docks could support multiple externals on their last Intel MBA, and now can't.

    There are enormous tax benefits for depreciation of new gear for big business. Just huge.
    muthuk_vanalingamdewme
  • Reply 20 of 28
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,413member
    It doesn’t really make sense to say that MBA users generally won’t be using apps that need active cooling and then also complain that the MBA doesn’t support multiple external monitors. Being able to handle a 6K 32 inch external seems fine for something claimed to be for non-demanding apps.
    In our speaking with enterprise, an incredibly common administrative setup with MBA users is a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 Type C dock at a workstation with a pair of 1080p displays, a keyboard, and sometimes a wired network.

    There is notably less 8K video handling with this segment, meaning none.
    Suggestion: include the IT department context in the articles. My own experience with corporate IT is that they typically prefer to buy refurbs or models from the previous year in order to save $$. 
    As a general rule, when I say "enterprise," it's folks with big contracts with Apple like Deloitte, IBM, Disney, and the like. I do agree that where you are on the enterprise "scale" per se changes up what gets bought and when.

    As a general rule, these folks that we get to speak to will replace a certain percentage of their hardware per year, like clockwork, so it's all swapped out over as low as two years for some computational-heavy departments and as many as six for others on a bell-curve, where the average seems to be about 3.5 years. Sometimes that gear that's swapped out on a two-year cycle is sent back to the gear pool, and sometimes it isn't, depending on department compartmentalization and other factors.

    So, the folks that are looking at the M2 MBA probably last had Intel, and with those Thunderbolt or USB-C docks could support multiple externals on their last Intel MBA, and now can't.

    There are enormous tax benefits for depreciation of new gear for big business. Just huge.
    What you are describing Mike exactly matches the computer refresh pattern that I have seen in large companies that I have worked for, those with ~25K or more computer users. General office productivity, sales, marketing, field service, i.e., non-engineering/design, got refreshed about every 4 years or so, and engineers/developers/designers every 3 years, but exceptions were possible.

    As you said, it's like clockwork. The asset tags on all of the computers have an expiration date on them, at which point individuals will either be contacted to have their current unit swapped out for a new equivalent unit or they could go to an internal "store" and select the replacement from a list of predefined configuration. It is also possible to get a replacement earlier than planned or to order a custom (BYO) configuration that is not on the predefined list. Anything outside of the normal refresh cycle or a BYO configuration requires management approval, but I've never seen a special request denied, at least not in engineering. 

    Moving from your old computer to a new computer is very fast and usually bump-less since IT maintains full backups of all computers. They generally guarantee a less than 2 hour disruption for swap-out, whether your old computer crashed and had to be restored or replaced with a loaner or if you're moving to a new machine.

    If you turn in a computer before its expiration date it went into a pool for loaners, new employees waiting for computers, or "travel" computers (engineers not allowed to bring work laptops outside of the country). When company issued computers hit their expiration they get crated up and sold (salvage value part of depreciation), donated to local schools, or used for in-house hosted student programs like FIRST robotics and STEM.

    As you mentioned, a lot of this is driven by depreciation schedules. Additionally, depreciation schedules are often accelerated by the government/congress on certain capital investments (computers and manufacturing equipment for example) to help stimulate certain parts of the economy and encourage investment/growth. Another factor behind what we are seeing is that a lot of larger companies have outsourced their IT departments so a lot of the IT practices have normalized across companies to ensure they extract the greatest benefit for the clients of those IT service providers.
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