The latest addition to Apple’s MacBook lineup is the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2. This laptop offers the benefits of a lightweight and portable design, combined with a larger display. But is it worth considering over its smaller counterpart? To find out, I spent a month using the 15-inch MacBook Air, thoroughly testing its design, performance, and battery life.
The 15-inch MacBook Air follows the same design language as the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air. It features flat sides, slim bezels, and the distinctive notch. The main difference lies in the larger 15.3-inch display, which immediately catches the eye. Despite the increased size, the MacBook Air remains surprisingly portable. It easily fits into bags and weighs just a little over 1.5kg, slightly more than the 13-inch MacBook Air. This larger MacBook Air lives up to its name by offering a lightweight and thin laptop that is a pleasure to carry around. The bigger display makes a noticeable difference in the visual and user experience.
The 15-inch MacBook Air provides a more comfortable workspace compared to its 13-inch counterpart. The larger screen real estate allows for more spacious app previews, a roomier timeline in video editing software, and a less cramped arrangement of tool windows in creative apps. Watching videos on the bigger display is also a joy. However, it’s worth noting that the display itself offers no extra advantages over the 13-inch model. It has the same Liquid Retina display panel, just in a larger size. This means you can expect the same 500 nits of brightness, pixel density, and P3 wide color gamut. While it may lack some of the advanced display technologies found in the MacBook Pro, the display on the 15-inch MacBook Air is still excellent. In day-to-day usage, I found that I often set the brightness level below the maximum of 500 nits, making any differences between the display of the 15-inch and 16-inch models less noticeable.
Sound quality is another area where the 15-inch MacBook Air shines. It features a six-speaker system that surpasses the audio performance of the 13-inch MacBook Air. Considering the laptop’s slim profile, the sound quality is impressive, with a bit more bass, richness, and clarity compared to its smaller counterpart. The sound system is amazing for watching movies thanks to a wide stereo sound stage, and it also supports Spatial Audio. Additionally, it features a three-microphone array that is great for video conferences and calls. While it may not reach the audio prowess of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 15-inch MacBook Air delivers remarkably good sound, surpassing many gaming laptops I’ve used.
In terms of ports and hardware features, the 15-inch MacBook Air offers the same options as the 13-inch model. It includes two ultrafast Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, a 3.5mm mic/headphone jack, and a dedicated MagSafe charging port. However, given its larger size, it feels like a missed opportunity not to include an extra port or even an SD card slot. If you require those additional connections, you might consider a MacBook Pro model instead.
The keyboard layout and size remain consistent with the 13-inch model, albeit with larger borders surrounding the keys. The typing experience is still excellent, and the Touch ID system provides quick and secure access to the laptop using your fingerprint. The trackpad is slightly larger than the 13-inch model, although both offer ample space for smooth navigation.
In everyday tasks, the 15-inch MacBook Air performs on par with its smaller counterpart, launching apps quickly and providing a responsive and smooth user experience. The base model, equipped with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, should perform great for most users. However, if you use graphics and CPU-intensive applications like Final Cut Pro or Lightroom, opting for more RAM and storage would be beneficial. It’s important to assess your needs before deciding on the base model or considering one of the MacBook Pro options if additional upgrades are required. It’s worth noting that you can’t upgrade any of the memory modules afterwards.
In conclusion, the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 offers a compelling choice for those seeking a lightweight and portable laptop with a larger display. It stays true to the MacBook Air’s design philosophy, impresses with its performance and battery life, and provides excellent sound quality. However, it’s important to consider that there are no extra display advantages over the 13-inch model, and the port selection remains the same. If you have specific requirements for additional ports or a more advanced display, exploring the MacBook Pro lineup might be a better fit. Nevertheless, for users looking for a balance between portability and a larger visual workspace, the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 is a commendable option.
MacBook Air 15 M2 is available in a choice of four colors from €1,649. MacBook Air 13 M2 is available in a choice of three colors from €1,229.