Apple last week launched a redesigned version of the MacBook Air that’s equipped with a next-generation M2 chip. If you own the original M1 MacBook Air and have been thinking about upgrading, or if you’re simply new to the MacBook Air and are trying to choose between the two machines, we’ve done a hands-on comparison video pitting the M2 MacBook Air against the prior-generation M1 MacBook Air.
Most Mac updates are iterative and focus on the internals of the machine, but that’s not the case with the M2 MacBook Air. Apple overhauled the entire design, getting rid of the tapered look in favor of a flat-edged shape that’s much more similar to the MacBook Pro.
The new MacBook Air is thinner and lighter than the prior-generation version, and it’s available in new colors that include Midnight and Starlight. The design is a notable update that’s fresher and more modern, plus the display is 100 nits brighter.
The M2 chip has the same 8-core CPU as the M1 chip, but it’s just a bit faster and more efficient, plus the base machine has an extra GPU core so GPU performance has been boosted. Both entry-level M1 and M2 machines feature 8GB unified memory and a 256GB SSD, but it’s worth noting that the M1 has two 128GB NAND flash chips, while the M2 has just one, which has resulted in slower performance on benchmarks.
While the M1 MacBook Air was limited to two USB-C ports, the M2 MacBook Air adds a MagSafe port to allow for extra port access and a better charging experience. The keyboard and trackpad are largely the same, but Apple did introduce some major changes that make the speakers sound better.
Apple is selling the base M2 MacBook Air for $1,199 and the base M1 MacBook Air for $999, so is the M2 worth the extra money? For most people, yes. The M2 offers faster performance, a larger display, MagSafe, and Apple’s latest design, which is worth the $200 premium if you can swing it. If you already have an M1, you should probably wait to upgrade because the M1 still offers stellar performance. Make sure to watch our full video up above to see these two machines side by side, and see our M1 MacBook Air vs. M2 MacBook Air guide for a more in-depth comparison.