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MacBook Air tested: new laptop has M2 chip, FaceTime camera and ‘ridiculous’ battery life

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Apple’s latest laptop may come with a hefty price tag, but Elly Awesome was blown away by its performance, display, sound quality, and battery life.

This week Apple launched its MacBook Air 2022 and it’s back with a fresh look and updated features.

The MacBook Air comes in four different colors—silver, space gray, and new starlight and midnight—I played with both.

Unpacking

There’s not much in the box – just everything you need to get started. The MacBook Air, Apple stickers, documentation, new MagSafe to USB-C charging cable and a 30W USB-C power adapter.

I love how versatile this new MacBook Air is when it comes to charging. Not only can you charge it via one of the two Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports, but you can also use the new MagSafe port, which quickly detaches if accidentally pulled.

For example, if you trip over the cable, it won’t pull the entire laptop off the table. We’ve had MagSafe on Apple laptops many times in the past, so this isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s great to have it back.

New MacBook Air Colors

Got my hands on both the new starlight and midnight MacBook Air colors. Starlight is a really nice color scheme that looks a bit like silver mixed with gold, but also tends to pick up hues from the light sources around you. Sometimes it looks more gold, sometimes silver or even pink. I like it very much.

Midnight is another unique color that lies somewhere between black and dark blue depending on your environment. However, in my opinion it tends towards a dark blue most of the time, so don’t expect a jet black color.

Functions

More importantly, the new MacBook Air now has Apple’s M2 chip – a major performance boost for the slim machine. With a faster 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine, it really does offer some seriously professional performance.

In fact, the new Macbook Air 7 can edit streams of 4K video with titles and effects, which video editors would know is really impressive for such a thin, fanless laptop. I edit a lot of video content and now I’m considering using the Air as my on-the-go machine over my 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The design is less tapered and has returned to the classic rectangular shape with rounded corners. And it really does feel like two super-thin iPads stuck together, but one side has a keyboard and trackpad. It’s pretty much the same weight as the previous model, but the screen size has increased slightly from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches and features a new Liquid Retina display.

There’s also a new four-speaker sound system, including two tweeters and two ultra-thin woofers, as opposed to stereo speakers.

They must be making a difference as my partner asked if I was watching TV when I was testing the speakers on the Macbook Air.

I was watching the show Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV+ and the sound quality, clarity and volume were amazing for such a thin laptop – quite impressive if it could be mistaken for the sound quality of a large TV. The video and image quality of high-resolution content is also seriously great.

New 1080p FaceTime Camera

Other new and notable features should be the 1080p FaceTime camera that has finally arrived on MacBook Air after years of being a 720p camera.

The camera quality looks better when you have good lighting, but to be honest I think it’s still a bit lacking in low light compared to my iPhone. I’ll forgive that though, because later in the year, Apple will allow you to use your iPhone as your webcam with iOS 16 – how cool is that?

Battery life

The battery life is ridiculous on this thing. It can take up to 18 hours. While testing the MacBook Air, I kept checking the battery percentage every now and then during my workday, expecting it to drop seriously, but I just didn’t.

From editing some videos in the morning to doing a workout on Apple Fitness+ (with AirPlay from my iPhone), playing some games on Apple Arcade and writing this article, I was still sitting at 8pm decent on 54 percent of battery.

Should you buy it?

I’m really impressed with the performance, screen, sound quality, and battery life of the 2022 MacBook Air.

The new M2 chip has given me the ability to pack a lighter computer in my bag while still being able to use my intensive video editing programs, along with some streaming and games in my spare time.

Apart from the fact that there aren’t many ports and no old-fashioned USB ports or HDMI ports that some people might miss, this is now such a versatile machine for everyone.

The price is definitely on the higher side for us Aussies starting at $1899, but the features are well worth it. I think students in particular would find the new MacBook Air a great investment, with new age technology that should last well into their careers.

Elly Awesome is an Australian tech and lifestyle vlogger | @ellyawesometech | YouTube

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