M1 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Which one should you buy

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It’s been a couple of weeks since the newly-launched MacBook Air went on sale. The new MacBook Air comes powered by Apple’s latest generation of M-series processor — the M2. Apple says that the MacBook Air is the world’s most ‘popular’ laptop and with the new model there have been more than just cosmetic changes. It is one of the biggest redesign the MacBook Air has seen in years. Apple surprisingly hasn’t discontinued the M1 MacBook Air, which was launched in November 2020. So how much better is the M2 MacBook Air than the previous generation model? We compare the two Apple laptops and tell you which one could be the right choice for you.


The M2 MacBook Air is faster among the two

Being powered by the latest processor, certainly gives the M2 MacBook Air the edge. We have been using the M2 MacBook Air for a few days now and it certainly is quite fast. But how much faster is it than the M1 Air? Well, the difference is there but not too significant. The M1 remains an absolutely solid processor but it’s just that the M2 is better. For most tasks — switching between browser tabs or FaceTime calls — we saw that the M2 was a bit faster than M1 MacBook Air we were used to. Having said that, if you are moving from an Intel-powered Mac or a Windows PC, the M1 will certainly feel faster. The M1 Air comes in two RAM variants — 8GB and 16GB — whereas the M2 Air brings another 24GB variant as well. So if more RAM and better processor is on your list, the M2 MacBook Air is the one to go for. This is not to say that the M1 Air is a slouch —as it still remains one of the fastest laptops you can get but the M2 Air has an edge.

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Both models look good but the M2 MacBook Air looks better

The MacBook Air has always been designed really well by Apple. The M2 MacBook Air, however, gets an all-new design, which makes it look seeker. It’s not as slim as the M1 MacBook Air (1.29 kgs) but the M2 Air (1.24 kgs) weighs slightly less. M1 Air also has a taller display than the M2 Air.
Apple has changed the colours with the M2 Air as well and it comes in starlight, midnight (the two new variants), silver and space grey. The M1 Air is offered in silver, gold and space grey colour variants. The midnight and starlight colour variants look strikingly good and ‘different’. The keyboard on M2 Air also feels much better than the M1 Air.

M2 MacBook Air M1 MacBook Air
Display 13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina display
Processor M2 M1
Storage 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD
RAM 8GB / 16GB / 24GB 8GB / 16GB /
Ports Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
Weight 1.24 kg 1.29 kg
Camera 1080p FaceTime HD 720p FaceTime HD
Colour options Silver, Space Gray, Midnight, Starlight Silver, Space Gray, Gold
Battery Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours
Price Starts at Rs 1,19,900 Starts at Rs 99,900

M2 MacBook Air for those who want better video calls

Video calls have become a part of most people’s lives and for years Apple offered rather average front camera. With the M2 Air, you get 1080p webcam which is an upgrade from the 720p camera found on the M1 Air. There is quite a big difference as we did test both the cameras side by side and the M2 Air brings more clarity to video calls. Even with the speakers, the M1 Air has stereo speaker setup whereas the M2 gets a four-speaker sound system. Somehow we found that the M1 Air sounded better than the M2 in certain genres of music.


Battery, ports and more: Return of the MagSafe

The MagSafe port makes a comeback on the Air with the latest model and it’s a big plus for us. The quick magnetic connection for charging is a welcome change from the usual type-C port, which is found in the M1 Air. You get the same number of ports otherwise in both the MacBook Air models.
The M1 Air had the best battery life we have seen in laptops in the last two years. But the M2 Air does it slightly better. You can easily get 18 hours on a single charge — for many that’s two full days of work. Apple with M1 Air changed the game for batteries and M2 has further built on it. Both laptops offer excellent battery life.
Which one should you buy?
The MacBook Air has always been popular laptop among buyers. With the M-series of processors, Apple removed the fan, improved the battery life and enhanced the performance. There’s little to choose in terms of overall performance and longevity in both laptops. Both M1 Air and M2 Air are solid buys and you can’t go wrong with either of them. Having said that, the M1 Air does cost about Rs 20,000 less than the M2 Air but has a ‘dated’ design. The M2 Air brings back the MagSafe — might be a deciding factor for many — charging back. The M2 processor is certainly faster than the M1 and brings aboard more RAM as well. As the latest and fastest MacBook Air, the M2 is the one you should buy as that extra Rs 20,000 might just end up being worth it.

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