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M2 MacBook Air – the almost forgotten hero!

With all the releases this year, it’s easy to forget about this gem from only a few months back

M2 MacBook Air midnight blue
image courtesy of author

So much stuff

Remember the M2 MacBook Air? It was pretty much the star of the show back in June, but now, you barely hear of it.

Apple has certainly been on a roll this year and drenched us, with heaps of exciting, new, shiny gear. It’s been a bit of a blur, if I’m being honest. Let’s just take a moment to take stock, and review the list;

  • iPhone SE
  • Mac Studio
  • Studio Display
  • IPad Air
  • M2 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • iPhone 14
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch 8
  • AirPod Pro 2

It’s easy to overlook some of the releases, as fast & furious as they’ve been. Of that list, the most innovative are probably the Mac Studio, Studio Display and the recently released Apple Watch Ultra. And also on that ‘innovative’ list, high on that list, in my opinion, was the M2 MacBook Air.

Guilty as charged

This year, I have turned my workflow upside down. For years, my trusty steed had been a 27-inch iMac desktop. But, in the spring, after carefully weighing up the pro’s and con’s, that all changed.

Now, my daily driver, the Mac at the very core of my workflow, is a 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s all stacked out, and is every bit as competent as I had hoped. It handles everything I throw at it, from audio production, Photoshop edits and video timelines. It is so good, it had actually made me overlook my lovely M2 MacBook Air.

It’s always with me every day, and on the desk, but generally never really being put to any meaningful work. I use it with Universal Control as a second monitor, to check email and Twitter, but that has been about it.

Time to fall in love again

I’m not gonna lie, last week had been a tad brutal. Early starts, late finishes and just a heap of hours. It had seen me at my desk, and in just the one location, for far too long. I know – needs must and all that, but as the work tripped over in to the weekend, I just fancied a change of environment.

So, welcome back to the fold, my M2 MacBook Air. Over the past couple of days, it has been a godsend, and helped me retain a little sanity. I have been able to keep plugging away at the work, but away from the desk. It’s made a huge difference in keeping me fresh and, hopefully, creative.

I’ve worked on it at the dining room table, on the sofa, in a park and a coffee shop. Undoubtedly, the M2 MacBook Air has been my saviour this past couple of days.

Not just a pretty face

This past weekend, though, the MBA has truly flexed, and proven to me once again, what a great workhorse it can be.

Pretty by design it may be, but that in no way detracts from it being a serious bit of kit. It has handled some Indesign edits on a large project I am working on, tidied up a thumbnail design in Photoshop, produced an audio podcast, and even helped me post the video that went up over the weekend. And this morning, you’ll find me back in the studio this time, but writing this blog on it, and editing the image you can see at the top.

Lightweight, but only in design!

I took the MacBook Air with me this weekend, over the MacBook Pro, mainly, due to its portability. It is so damned light. You can tuck this MBA in your rucksack, or under your arm, and just forget it’s there.

The model I have, has 8GB of unified memory, and 512GB storage. I possibly would have gone for more storage if I could have, but I wanted my one on release day for review purposes. That said, I have not had to be that careful with what I put on it, honestly, it’s been just fine.

My workflow relies heavily on Dropbox, and for that, I use their SmartSync feature. If you’ve not tried, or enabled it, do…it’s a game-changer. It lets you see all your files locally, without having to go to the web app, and view them as if they’re on your Mac – only they’re not, not until you decide to download the full file that is.

I’m so in to SmartSync, that I use it across all my Macs now. But, on the MacBook Air with only 512GB of storage, it’s essential. The other big drain for me, had always been my music library, but again, now, I only download albums occasionally. Other than that, it’s streaming all day long for me.

Portable and creative

The fact I was not chained to my desk, in no way slowed up the creative flow. In fact, if anything, it probably increased it. Had I carried on working in the same four walls over the weekend, staleness would have bitten at some point. That would have been reflected in the work I was doing in one way or another. But, by having the ability to grab the MacBook Air and work anywhere, it gave me a fresh perspective.

If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud user, like myself, then you are in good shape if you are considering buying an M2 MacBook Air. The ‘CC’ app was one of the first apps I installed on here back when the Mac arrived. I have all my essential Adobe apps on here now, and they run like a dream.

All charged up

The battery life on here is just astonishing! I still haven’t unpacked the power brick from the box, actually. When it, (infrequently), does need some ‘juice’, I just hook it up to the Studio Display via the Thunderbolt 4 cable supplied with that.

To give you some reference though, it got me through my required work each day over the weekend, with little or no battery anxiety. I headed out the door, both days, without any thought of needing to take the charger along with me. I guess I was working, in some form of creative app for around 6 hours each day, and the MacBook Air stayed the pace of the day, just fine. It makes working remotely such a distinct reality. This week, I am on the road, interviewing another creator, for my Minus Sixteen podcast, and you can be sure that the MBA will be with me – 100%, it’s in the kit-bag!

We’ve already mentioned it’s super-lightweight, which makes working with it on your lap an easy and comfortable option, but I’d forgotten just how quiet and cool it is as well. No burnt, red knees any more!

Even editing a podcast in Audition, with a fair few effects running, the fans never once spun up. The MacBook Air was quiet the whole time. I’ve almost (thankfully) started to forget what the bad old Intel days were like. You get so accustomed to Apple Silicon, that you soon start to take it as a given.

Good to go

Blessed with a Magic Keyboard, Touch ID and a set of full-height function keys, this Mac is every bit as comfortable to work on as my main, MacBook Pro.

I generally use AirPod Pro when I am working, pretty much on any of my Macs, and certainly on this one. That said, the built-in speakers are good enough to not offend for general, day-to-day listening. Clearly, they are in a small case & body, so will always be limited by that, but if you want to use them, they are honestly fine.

The 1080p webcam is way better than that of the Studio Display and matches the quality of its bigger brother – the MacBook Pro. And the display is a total joy to work with, make no mistake. 13.6-inches of real estate, packed with P3 wide colour, True Tone and up to 500 nits of brightness, this LED-backlit panel is gorgeous. Working on that thumbnail this weekend, was no hardship on here.

Colour me blue

Back in the summer, at its release, there were as many column inches about the fingerprints it attracts, as there were the M2 MacBook Air itself.

I chose the demon colour – the M2 MacBook Air in midnight. I am a self-confessed neat-freak, and wherever I work, or whatever I work on, a microfibre cloth is never far from reach. I just love my tech to be factory fresh…can’t help it!

But, even with that problem, I never really felt the fingerprint issue was a real issue. Sure, it did smudge and mark, but it was not as bad as you may have been led to believe from certain reviews.

Even some four months on, I am still happy with the choice of colour, too. Actually, it almost seems to have ‘bedded’ down. I don’t know if a layer of life has built up over the bodywork, but it no longer seems to attract finger grease as readily as it once did.

And before moving on from the whole fingerprint thing, don’t forget, when you are working on it, you won’t actually see any offending marks anyway! Choose the midnight, it’s a lovely colour, the best of the four in my opinion, and it’s ageing just fine. There were concerns about the paint chipping around the ports, but again, mine is still scratch and chip free.

Wrapping up

I had been guilty of forgetting just how good this M2 MacBook Air really is. It took a very tired me to pick it up again this weekend and put it through its paces, and that’s a shame. Not that I picked it up, rather that it took some extreme conditions for me to start working on it again.

Having fallen in love with it again, I will not leave it so long next time. The M2 MacBook Air is no lightweight, it’s more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Pretty as a penny, do not be fooled by its demeanour, this MBA is up to the task.

My only regret, is that I left it so long. Welcome back to my life my little beauty!

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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening tohttps://music.apple.com/gb/album/love-luther/265915490

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