UPDATED MACBOOK AIR AND M2 13" MACBOOK PRO
Let's Start with the Updated MackBook Air
Apple invites us to reconsider lightness with the updated version of their famous MacBook Air. It's a match made in heaven between carrying less and doing more. Redesigned around the next-gen M2 processor, the recently updated MacBook Air is yet thinner (0.44"), lighter (2.7 pounds) and comes with exceptional speed & power efficiency. All within a strong and durable aluminum enclosure. The new MacBook Air is both ultra-fast and ultra-capable for creating, playing and working; anywhere! With up to 18 hours of battery life, a beautiful and generous Retina display and advanced electronics, the MacBook Air's still the king of commuting.
We do admit that the Midnight color scheme stole our hearts right away, but the Apple folks are willing to indulge a broad array of tastes with four stellar finishes they have to offer us. The updated MacBook Air comes in four great-looking finishes, each with its matching MagSafe charging cable, which makes everything look as organic as it should be.
Thanks to the M2's processing efficiency, the new MacBook Air delivers power in a silent scheme. The secret? Fanless array; so it stays completely silent no matter how hard the task you perform. Built to last but also responsible for the planet, the new MacBook Air is constructed with 100% recycled aluminum in its compact and durable enclosure. About the recycled material, it applies to the whole enclosure not the internal components of course and is based on auditing done by UL LLC.
Prepare for Takeoff!
So basically, the M2 chip takes off the next generation of Apple chips with more power and speed efficiency than the still capable M1 chip. The M2 chip is up to 1.4x faster than the M1 model, which means up to 15x faster than Intel-based models. So we can expect more stuff to be done faster with a powerful 8‑core CPU and 10-core GPU for highly captivating images and inspiring animations. Work with more streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video with the high‑performance media engine and keep on doing what you love all day and into the night with up to 18 hours of battery life. Regarding the battery life, the test was conducted with a pre-production MacBook Air system with Apple M2, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. Slight variations might be encountered for each user of course.
The M2 begins the next chapter for us Apple users. Since the M1, we've all witnessed big transformations within the Mac lineup thanks to its blazing performance and power efficiency. The breakthrough system on a chip (SoC) architecture combines the CPU, GPU, memory, and more on a single chip so everything runs way faster while needing less power. Is the best of both worlds for sure. The M2 chip is built using an enhanced second-generation 5‑nanometer technology. It features over 20 billion transistors or 25% more than M1, its 16-core Neural Engine is capable of executing up to 15.8 trillion operations per second to accelerate machine learning tasks and up to 24GB of high-performance unified memory gives the CPU and GPU shared access to a larger memory pool.
The next-generation 8-core CPU on M2 is up to 18% faster than M1. So we can expect to go through everyday tasks more swiftly. From creating documents and presentations to more demanding tasks like Xcode or mixing tracks, everything will be done faster with this array. From documents and presentations to sophisticated coding or track mixing, get everything done uninterruptedly. Make it pretty and fast with up to a 10-core GPU, which is a big boost in graphics performance. Correct color and edit 4K and 8K footage up to 35% faster than M1.
Warping Speed for all our precious apps, including Microsoft 365, over 10,000 apps and plug-ins optimized for Apple silicon. And with up to a 2TB super-fast Solid State Drive, MacBook Air lets us bring plenty of our photos, movies, music, and documents with us. And thanks to the high-performance media engine on the M2 chip, we can play and edit even more streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video, including 4K ProRes video shot on iPhone 13 Pro. And since we'll be carrying all of our stuff with us, keeping it safe becomes a serious thing. So worry not about this, it comes with advanced built-in security to help defend against malware, viruses and other shady stuff from the outside. Also, it has been designed to give us control to pick what we share and how we share it with the world.
But Wait, There's More!
MMacBook Air was designed to thrill the senses, and the Liquid Retina Display in this thing is a gorgeous and breathtaking screen which also happens to be the biggest and brightest ever on a MacBook Air system. It supports 1 billion unique colors, the text is super crispy to read and not to mention how awesome photos and movies are seen in this brilliant and vivid display. It delivers 500 nits of brightness with a P3 wide color array and True Tone technology.
Since 2020, video calls have become the daily thing of our speedy culture, and we all have faced the frustrations of a poor camera and audio quality when it comes to being on the spot from a distant part of the world. So forget about not looking sharp and sounding as you should, the new camera and audio array on the MacBook Air is simply stunning for sure. Make your best impression on video calls with the 1080p FaceTime HD camera and three‑mic array. Surround yourself with an expansive sound stage thanks to the four‑speaker sound system with Spatial Audio which can be explained like this:
- The 1080p FaceTime HD camera doubles the resolution and low-light performance of the previous generation.
- The 3-mic array allows us to come through loud and clear on calls wherever we are thanks to the advanced beamforming algorithms to capture crystal clear audio.
- The 4-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio enables us to immerse in movies and music thanks to the improved stereo separation with vocal clarity, all made possible with the two tweeters and two ultrathin woofers inside this thing. Oh, and Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos places sound is available too.
The Magic Keyboard empowers our fingers to fly. It is comfortable, it is quiet, and it is Magic. The new Magic keyboard features a full‑height function key row for quick access to favorite controls and shortcuts. Touch ID makes it easy to unlock your Mac, enter passwords, and make secure payments and purchases, all with the ease of a finger tap.
And last but not least, ports! First, the already beloved MagSafe power connector for quick and safe detachment. Then, two Thunderbolt ports allow us to connect and power high-speed accessories, even a 6K display! And of course, the standard headphone jack for high‑impedance headphones.
M2 13" MacBook Pro
But if we want true pro specs, then we need to be willing to sacrifice a bit of weight. The new M2 chip makes the already powerful 13" MacBook Pro even more capable of doing its thing. The same compact design from the previous 13" MacBook Pro supports up to 20 hours of battery life and an active cooling system for substantially enhanced performance. It is simply the most portable pro laptop ever made by Apple.
Supercharged by the mighty Apple M2 chip, the latest MacBook Pro rips through any workflow thanks to its powerful 8-core CPU & 10‑core GPU. Meaning we can create stunning graphics with lightning-fast speed, all at once with up to 24GB of faster-unified memory! In simple terms, this laptop is 1.4x faster than MacBook Pro 13" with the M1 chip or 6x faster than MacBook Pro 13” with quad‑core Intel Core i7.
Just make sure that you are buying it from an authorized Apple dealer because it features the same design as the previous 13" MacBook Pro with an M1 chip, the same design (we just can't say this enough).
Alright, but How Does it Behave?
In a nutshell, stunningly good… The Active cooling system delivers blazing‑fast performance. The advanced thermal array and the efficiency of Apple silicon make this MacBook Pro capable of truly sustaining pro levels of performance demands, so we can run intensive tasks for hours without skipping a beat. The M2 chip has a faster memory capacity of 100GB per second of memory bandwidth, 50% more than the M1! And it supports 24GB of unified memory for extremely fluid multitasking working with massive files.
And just like the Updated MacBook Air M2 mentioned above, it also performs exquisitely with pretty much any app you can think of. Also, the high-performance media engine on M2 supports ProRes encode and decode. So we can play and edit up to 11 streams of 4K ProRes video and up to 2 streams of 8K ProRes video, including 4K ProRes video shot on iPhone 13 Pro. Some other feature which makes it distinct from the MacBook Air is the bigger battery capacity which enables this laptop to last for up to 20 hours of battery life. It is a true portable editing bay built to behave like a pro.
It also comes with built-in protection against malware and viruses which is a nice thing to have, especially for the freedom to pick what to share and how to share it. Another nice feature is the Touch ID and Apple Pay, which are designed exclusively to safeguard our data and privacy at every working stage.
Besides the Weight, What Else?
Now that's a good question. Besides thickness and battery life, both laptops discussed here seem pretty identical to each other. According to our research, the retina display in the MacBook Pro seems a bit richer and more reliable for color editing. The bright LED back-lighting renders deep blacks and bright whites and the P3 wide color brings even more vibrant greens and reds than sRGB. Both laptops feature True Tone technology, so the white balance gets automatically adjusted to match the color temperature of the light around us which is great for post-processing. The camera is pretty much the same, so thanks to the advanced image signal processor on M2, we will look our best on video calls. But the microphone seems a bit different thanks to the Studio quality compound which delivers an improved signal-to-noise ratio which pars to pro grading mics.
The difference seems to be on the magic keyboard since it features a pretty interesting scissor mechanism which still feels nice after hours of writing with it. Every stroke, every line of code, everything feels just right. The Magic Keyboard delivers a comfortable, quiet, and responsive typing experience. Equally Popular and Unpopular, the Touch Bar gives the commands we need the most right where we need them, saving valuable time and keystrokes on the go. And of course, the Touch ID gives us fast, easy authentication for secure logins and purchases.
Last but not least, the Ultra‑high bandwidth meets ultra‑versatility. Thunderbolt enables data transfer, charging, and video output all through a single port, and surprise surprise, MacBook Pro has two of them! Wi‑Fi 6 kept our MacBook Pro strong as yet more devices kept joining the network, and the headphone jack also supports high‑impedance headphones.
Which One to Buy?
well, both the Updated MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13" with M2 chips seem pretty much identical, so these are the main reasons why we would pick one from another:
- MacBook Air M2 Chip: It implies a $100 saving and it weighs just a bit less, but the Midnight color won both our eyes and hearts.
- MacBook Pro 13" M2 Chip: It has a better battery life and feels great while typing.
So it is a tough call, but we are sure if Midnight was available in the MacBook Pro 13" M2 we wouldn't be having this debate, so make your conclusions based on that slightly significant insight.
PS: In the end, we went with the MacBook Air.