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The M2 MacBook Air – still making me happy!

A month in, and the M2 MacBook Air is still bringing joy to my day

M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy of author

I’m a lucky chap

I get it…really I do. Sitting down to write these blogs during the week, I have choices. I can choose between three Macs to sit and work at.

Each have their place in my working day. Some choices are made from practicality. Video editing is best carried on the beefy M1 16-inch MacBook Pro. With audio work, I’ll often opt for the 27-inch iMac. But some choices are just emotive.

The all-new, M2 MacBook Air is a Mac that just makes me happy.

Happiness is…

Macs typically tend to build up a relationship with you, I find.

My iMac is the perfect example of that. We have been together virtually every day for nearly seven years. I have started new companies with it, learned new skills, created on it, and met crazy client deadlines with it. The iMac memory bank is full to overflowing.

The MacBook Pro is almost like having the boss in the room with me. I want to impress it, and only trouble it when I think I have a task that is worthy of it. I imagine it almost sitting sneering at me, asking if that is all I have! When it is asked to snap in to action, it does so with calm aplomb. It gets the job done, and then regally retreats.

As for the M2 MacBook Air – well, that is a different chappie altogether. Clearly, we have not had that many late nights or hard yards in one another’s company, but already we have a ‘thing’ going on.

Writing is simple

I could open Ulysses, and write on any of the Macs in the office with me today, but it was always going to be the MacBook Air. Funny enough, not until I sat down to start writing, had I realised how subliminal that choice had been.

By the time the espresso had brewed, and I’d settled at the desk, I had the MacBook Air out, opened and ready to rock n’ roll.

Why, though? What made me reach for that one first? What was the pull?

It has character – bags of it. It has an impish, appealing manner to it. Whilst the MacBook Pro is aloof and snarling, the MacBook Air has those come-get-me eyes.

A thing of beauty

The midnight blue colour has gained more than its fair share of attention. At checkout, you have four choices of colours – midnight, starlight, space grey or silver. The other colours seemed a little, well, ‘blah’ to me. I wanted something a little zingy, so it was always going to be midnight for me.

Thankfully, the ‘mark-gate’ story seems to have run its course now, and folks have got bored with it. Buying any device with a dark colour, you just know it’s going to attract marks and grease. It’s a fact of life – deal with it. Perversely, to me, that is part of its appeal. It adds character, and is probably what is making it strike a place in my heart so quickly. You’ll decide soon enough, whether you want to spend every living moment polishing it, or just using it. I think you know where my vote falls!

The lack of any hint of taper is striking as well.

Since we were first ever introduced to the notebook in January 2008, that slim, narrowing side-profile has been its USP. Now, though, in-keeping with Apple’s current design ethos, the MacBook Air has a squared-off look to it. It works too, giving it a contemporary, sharper look.

It’s not just a pretty face though

That is probably what’s surprised me most about the M2 MacBook Air in the month I have spent with it.

I’d erroneously assumed it would be a lightweight not only in form, but also in function. How wrong I was. I’ve made videos about just what a damned great workhorse this MBA is.

The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, with True Tone, invites you to be creative. Ok, it does not quite have the brightness and Pro Motion panel of its bigger brother, the MacBook Pro, but honestly, you don’t miss it that much. Importantly, it’s the best screen that a MacBook Air has ever had. It’s vivid, colourful, and oh-so useable.

Speaking of use-ability, the battery-life makes it a perfect, day-long companion. It goes on and on. Glancing up at the menu bar from time to time, the battery percentage icon barely seems to move. I can have Safari open, along with Chrome (both with multiple tabs), Photoshop and even Premiere, and still, the battery holds up just fine.

The MacBook Air was made for Apple silicon. The two in unison are perfect partners. The chip not only enables its endless supply of power, but also it’s fan-less insides and the super lightweight design. This, I’m certain, is a MacBook Air Steve Jobs would’ve approved of, wholeheartedly.

They listened to us

That is one of the best things about Apple right now – they seem to be hearing, and listening to us. With the MacBook Pro, they gave us ports galore, and even an SD card slot.

The MacBook Air was never going to be that comprehensive, but we have got two USB-C ports, but best of all, MagSafe charging. The charger you get in the box, well, in my case, had a colour-coded, tactile, braided cable and a 35W Dual USB-C Port Power Adapter included. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack to the right of the Mac, which brings us, neatly to audio.

The speaker set-up is pretty decent. The four-speaker system, with Spatial Audio, is no match for the MacBook Pro, but those speakers are un-worldly good for a laptop. But, for the kind of use these MBA speakers will generally be put through, they are ample enough. I’m not going to get in to mids, and frequencies here – suffice to say, they will do the job.

Audio/visually, the M2 MacBook Air is a meaningful step-up from the M1 equivalent. You’ll now get an improved three -mic array for online FaceTime calls, and along with that, a 1080p camera.

Although I was in a minority, in not minding the Touchbar, it’s now gone. In its place, is a row of full-height, function keys, and Touch ID as well. The Magic Keyboard and larger trackpad, all go towards making the MacBook Air, a solid worker.

Performance

I bought the higher spec’d of the two models that were available on pre-order day. That means I have the 8GB model, with 512GB of storage. Having used this MBA for photo work, and both audio and video editing, the 8GB of unified memory has not posed a problem. If I could have though, I would probably have opted for 1TB of storage.

I do run CleanMyMac on it roughly once per week though, just to make sure all unwanted junk is cleared out. So far, it’s working a dream.

Loving it

I have fallen for this Mac way more than I thought I would.

I’d had initial thoughts of buying it, purely for review purposes. But those thoughts were soon dismissed. It was clear that the MacBook Air was going to be a ‘keeper’. And so far, it is racking up the hours.

More than anything, it’s the shape and the lack of any meaningful weight that keep drawing me to it. Studio, office, sofa, bedroom, it’s honestly a jack-of-all-trades.

Are there any downfalls? From my time with it so far, only a couple of tiny ones.

I have so far suffered no chips to the bodywork. I’ve read of some complaining that the anodised paintwork chips easily. But mine, not wishing to tempt fate, is still, as it were, out of the box.

I wish the USB-C ports had been placed, one on either side. I’m guessing there would’ve been a cognitive, engineering decision behind the placement of the ports. Yet, from a user standpoint, one-a-side, would have made sense.

And, stellar as the battery life undoubtedly is, the only thing I have found that makes a meaningful dent in it, is running the MacBook Air, over long periods at full brightness. Just bear that in mind.

Lastly, when the time does finally come to charge up, the supplied 35W Dual charger, is not the quickest. If you are a person in a hurry, you may want to opt for the 67W USB-C Power Adapter option instead.

Wrapping up

I can say nothing but good about this current MacBook Air. Portable, compact, powerful and productive. It’s ticking all the boxes for me, and I could hand on heart, recommend it to anyone.

Bring on the bonding late-nights and hard-yards – memories are waiting to be made…

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