Buyer’s Guide: M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air | Is Upgrading Worth It?

M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air Is Upgrading Worth It

Introduction of Apple laptop M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air

The latest iteration of Apple’s MacBook Air, equipped with the advanced M2 chip, arrives a year and a half after its M1-based predecessor. The company recently introduced a 15-inch variant to expand the lineup. The redesigned MacBook Air boasts both aesthetic enhancements and crucial improvements under the hood, making it a compelling upgrade for many users, albeit potentially less significant for some.

  1. Performance and Chip Architecture: The M2 chip in the new MacBook Air represents a notable advancement in performance compared to the M1 chip. With refined architecture and optimized processes, users can expect faster computing speeds, improved graphics performance, and enhanced efficiency in multitasking.
  2. Aesthetic Enhancements: The MacBook Air M2 features aesthetic improvements, possibly in design, materials, or display technology. These enhancements contribute to a sleeker and more modern appearance, enhancing the overall user experience.
  3. Price Point: Priced at $1,099, the MacBook Air M2 is positioned slightly higher than its predecessor, the M1 model, which continues to be available at its debut price of $999 since November 2020. Users must weigh the performance benefits of the M2 against the potential cost savings of $100 by opting for the M1.
  4. Product Line Expansion: Apple has expanded the MacBook Air lineup by introducing a 15-inch variant, providing users with more options in terms of screen size. This expansion caters to a broader range of preferences and use cases.
  5. Target Audience: While the MacBook Air M2 is a compelling choice for users seeking cutting-edge performance and the latest technology, the M1 model remains a viable option for those who prioritize budget considerations. The decision between the two models depends on individual needs and the importance placed on having the latest hardware.

Comparison of M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air

Buyer's Guide M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air Introduction

Despite differing designs, several key features are shared between the M1 and M2 Air models:

Similarities

  • True Tone and P3 broad color on a Retina display
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Fanless design with passive cooling
  • Apple silicon chip with 8-core CPU
  • Hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC video encoders and decoders
  • Various SSD storage configurations (256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB)
  • Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Wide stereo audio and Dolby Atmos playback compatibility
  • Three-mic array with directional beamforming
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Available in Silver and Space Gray

Differences Between the two MacBook models

Apple laptop: M1 MacBook Air

  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • 400 nits brightness
  • Up to eight GPU cores on an Apple M1 chip
  • 720p FaceTime HD camera
  • Stereo speakers
  • 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Available in Gold

Apple laptop: M2 MacBook Air

  • 13.6-inch or 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Apple M2 processor with GPU up to 10 cores
  • Hardware-accelerated ProRes encode and decoding engine Video in ProRes and ProRes RAW
  • FaceTime HD camera in 1080p
  • A sound system with four or six speakers and force-cancelling woofers
  • 52.6-watt lithium-polymer battery capacity
  • 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter (with 10-core GPU model) or 30W USB-C Power Adapter (with 8-core GPU model)
  • Allows for quick charging with a 67W USB-C power adapter.
  • Available in Starlight and Midnight

Design

The most noticeable distinction lies in their designs. While the M1 MacBook Air maintains the familiar tapered “wedge” design, the M2 model adopts design cues from the latest 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, featuring uniform thickness and a flat top with rounded bottom edges. The M2 MacBook Air presents a more modern appearance with a full-height function key row, unlike the half-height row on the M1 model.

Dimensions and Weight of M1 vs. M2 MacBook Air

The 15-inch M2 MacBook Air is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, offering a 25 percent volume reduction and weighing 0.1 pounds less. Although the M1 MacBook Air is already compact and lightweight, the M2 variant provides improved portability, fitting easily into tight bag compartments.

M1 MacBook Air

  • Height (at thickest point): 0.63 inches
  • Height (at thinnest point): 0.16 inches
  • Width: 11.97 inches
  • Depth: 8.36 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

M2 MacBook Air (15-Inch)

  • Height:  45” (1.15 cm)
  • Width: 34.04 cm
  • Depth: 23.76 cm
  • Weight: 3.32 lb (1.51 kg)

Color Options: Both models are available in Silver and Space Gray. The M2 MacBook Air introduces Starlight and Midnight options, excluding Gold, providing additional choices that may appeal to users with matching Apple devices in those colors.

Display of M1 vs. M2 MacBook

Both models feature a high-resolution Retina display with a P3 wide color and True Tone. However, the M2 Chip MacBook Air boasts Apple’s latest Liquid Retina display, offering slimmer borders for a larger display within a similarly sized device. The M2 model’s display is 0.3 inches larger and 25 percent brighter than the M1 model, enhancing visibility in various environments.

The M2 MacBook Air includes a “notch” housing the FaceTime HD camera, providing a more modern appearance. While the resolutions differ, both displays maintain the same 16:10 aspect ratio below the notch.

M1 vs. M2 Chip

A significant differentiator is the Apple silicon chip. The M2 chip, based on the A15 Bionic chip from the iPhone 13, brings moderate performance and efficiency improvements, along with up to two additional GPU cores. Notable improvements include a ProRes encode and decode engine for hardware-accelerated ProRes and ProRes RAW video, a higher memory bandwidth (100GB/s compared to 68.25GB/s), and the option for an additional 24GB of unified memory.

For professional workflows, the MacBook Air M2 chip demonstrates notable advantages, with Apple claiming nearly 40 percent faster performance in tasks such as editing complex timelines in Final Cut Pro and up to 20 percent faster application of filters and effects in Adobe Photoshop.

Unified Memory of MacBook Air M1 and M2

Both the M1 and M2 models offer configurations with 8GB or 16GB of unified memory, but the M2 introduces a top-tier option with 24GB. The higher memory option benefits multitasking and memory-intensive workflows, allowing faster access to more memory.

Camera

The Apple laptop M2 MacBook Air features an upgraded 1080p FaceTime HD camera, providing twice the resolution and improved low-light performance compared to the 720p camera in the M1 model. This enhancement promises a substantially better video-calling experience.

Speakers

The Apple M2 MacBook Air comes with a four-speaker sound system (or a six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers), enhancing stereo separation and vocal clarity. The Apple MacBook Air M1 chip retains a stereo speaker setup, suitable for most users, supporting wide stereo sound and Dolby Atmos playback.

Ports and Charging

The M2 Chip MacBook Air enhances audio capabilities by supporting high-impedance headphones, similar to the higher-end MacBook Pro models. Notably, it reintroduces the MagSafe port, facilitating easier connection and detachment of the charging cable, especially in accidental pulling situations. Both models maintain two Thunderbolt ports, but the M2 model’s MagSafe port frees up.

Ultra latest of MacBook Air Model| Revealed date

Apple makes its M3 Mac roadmap more explicit. Based on this, we anticipate that the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air M3 updates will be revealed either in June 2024 at WWDC or during a spring event. Apple may make an appearance at the same event as the Vision Pro, given the company has already stated that it will ship in early 2024. For latest update about Apple Laptop visit their official website at: https://www.apple.com/

Pros and Cons

MacBook Air M1

Reviewers Liked Reviewers Didn’t Like
Employs the high-speed M1 Processor (ARM) for exceptional performance Poor audio quality from the factory speakers
Compact size for space efficiency Lacks dual-boot support
Cost-effective option Does not support external GPUs
Features a sleek and minimalist design Limited port availability
Capable of supporting resolutions up to 6K Inability to upgrade the RAM
Native support for dual monitors N/A
Equipped with Thunderbolt 4 for versatile connectivity N/A
Adds a cool and stylish element

MacBook Air M2

Reviewers Liked Reviewers Didn’t Like
Thinner and lighter Only supports one external screen
Gorgeous 13.6-inch screen Notch display design won’t be to everyone’s liking
1080p webcam More expensive than M1 model
M2 chip delivers excellent performance Few ports
N/A No ProMotion
N/A Fast charging costs extra
N/A Shorter battery life than 2020 M1 MacBook Air
N/A Gets warm and throttles aggressively under intense workloads

Conclusion of MacBook Air M1 and M2

In conclusion, the Apple MacBook Air with the M2 chip represents a notable upgrade from its M1 predecessor, featuring enhanced performance, a modern design, and expanded options, including a 15-inch variant. Priced at $1,099, the M2 model prompts users to weigh its benefits against the still-available M1 model at $999. Shared core functionalities, design distinctions, and improvements like the Liquid Retina display and upgraded camera make the M2 a compelling choice, catering to users seeking cutting-edge technology and enhanced multimedia experiences. The decision between the M1 and M2 models ultimately depends on individual needs, budget considerations, and the importance placed on having the latest hardware.

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FAQs

Is the MacBook Air M2 better than M1?

Performance and battery life: According to Apple, the M2 chip boasts up to 1.4 times faster performance than the previous M1 model, while maintaining a battery life of up to 18 hours. In our tests, the latest M2 MacBook Air exhibited significantly longer-lasting battery performance compared to its predecessor.

Is the M1 MacBook Air worth it in 2023?

The M1 chip’s exceptional performance makes the M1 MacBook Air a worthwhile consideration in 2023. If Apple continues to officially sell it, and your Mac requirements aren’t exceptionally high, while budget plays a crucial role in your decision-making, then yes, the M1 MacBook Air remains a viable option.

Is there any difference between MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro M2?

The M2 Pro and M2 Max chips bring additional CPUs with up to four extra cores and GPUs with up to 28 additional cores. Although the M2 chip in the MacBook Air performs equally well in single-core tasks, the M2 Pro and M2 Max outshine it significantly in multi-core and graphics-intensive operations.

Should I buy M1 or M2 in 2023?

Even after being on the market for over a year, the MacBook Air M1 remains a compelling laptop choice in 2023 when compared to the newer Air M2. The M1, which revolutionized the industry upon release, still delivers excellent performance for everyday tasks and even lighter photo or video editing workloads.

Is M1 still good in 2024?

Yes, they’re still great machines, and the improvements were so significant that the M2 and M3 models are only incrementally better. If you opt for the M1, consider looking for used deals. Personally, I acquired a used M1 Air for $600, equipped with 16GB of memory and 95% battery capacity. I’m very pleased with the purchase, especially after experiencing the unfortunate loss of my previous device due to theft.

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