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A MacBook Air is fine for sitting at a desk at home or in the office, but it’s really a laptop that needs to be on the go with you to shine. So it came with me, to the coffee shop, on the subway, to the office and more.
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I could barely breathe on the midnight MacBook Air without leaving smudges and fingerprints all over it. It’s a common issue with dark matte objects, and I had to give this laptop a thorough wipe down before snapping each photo.
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Apple’s MacBook Air is a laptop that I’ve sometimes described over the years as “the most universally useful laptop you can buy.”
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Thanks to a new design, larger display (13.6 versus 13.3 inches), faster M2 chip and long-awaited upgrade to a higher-res webcam, I feel comfortable keeping that “universally useful” title for the new 2022 version.
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At $1,199, the $200 increase over the traditional $999 MacBook Air starting price is a disappointment. The previous M1 Air, with an older design, remains available at $999, somewhat mitigating the price increase on the new version.
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The new Air’s footprint is a hair smaller than before, and it feels slimmer. It’s 11.3mm thick overall, while the previous design tapered thinner at the front, but grew to 16mm at its rear hinge. It’s also a bit lighter, at 2.7 versus 2.8 pounds.
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The new Air is only slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor, so don’t expect a revelatory experience. But it’s a great fit for my small travel bag, and I wouldn’t object to taking it on a daily commute.
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The slightly larger screen, which measures 13.6 inches diagonally versus 13.3 inches, also aids visibility. Yes, I’ve gotten to the age where most of my Google Docs are at 125% by default, so a bigger screen definitely helps.
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However, keep in mind that the webcam knocks a little notch into the screen, much as it does on the iPhone and some MacBook Pro models.
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The 1080hp camera in the M2 MacBook Air (left) has better resolution and image processing compared to the 720p webcam in the M1 Air (right).
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The Air now gets the updated MagSafe 3 power connection found on the 14/16-inch Pro (and absent from the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro).
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The new 35-watt power adapter is pleasantly compact and includes two USB-C ports (one for the power cable and one extra). But it’s $20 extra on the least expensive M2 configuration.
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Besides the MagSafe connection, it includes two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports and, yes, a headphone jack.
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There are a lot of different MacBook models, prices and specs to keep track of. To sum it up, the key reasons you’re going to prefer the new Air over the previous model are:
- Slimmer, more modern design in new colors
- Upgraded full-HD webcam
- Larger, brighter display (13.6 vs. 13.3 inches)
- Faster M2 processor