So, I’ve used the M2 Air as my primary laptop almost every day since its release, with the exception of a no-device retreat with my partner, where I was bored out of my mind.
Now that I’m back in the real world, and after a few months with the M2 Air, this laptop may be THE everyday laptop for the vast majority of people.
A few months after its release, the M2 Air is still in high demand, with some configurations commanding a few weeks’ wait.
So, whether you’re waiting for your new M2 Air or looking for a new laptop, here’s my long-term review that hopefully answers the question of whether or not this truly is THE everyday laptop.
USB-C Port Placement
If you’ve read (or watched!) my reviews, you’ll know that I like to start with the bad stuff, so let’s go over the flaws I’ve discovered over the months.
I’ve recently moved to a new dedicated office space, so I’ve spent a lot of time setting up my new desk setup, and this is where I discovered one of the M2 Air’s surprising flaws, which initially went over my head and I haven’t seen covered in most reviews.
The two USB-C ports are located on the same side and none on the other.
It seems insignificant, and for the most part, it is until the dock you use prioritizes the right-hand side or the accessory you plug in blocks the only other empty USB-C port.
From a design standpoint, evenly distributing the USB-C ports to both sides would be far more practical for almost everyone.
But, again, I haven’t seen this mentioned much, so perhaps it’s just me who sees this as a flaw. This, however, is not a deal breaker.
Midnight Color – Fingerprints & Smudges
Moving on to the more contentious potential “flaw,” the infamous Midnight color, which you either love or loathe.
To this day, I think it’s a stunning color, an ethereal refracting deep blue hue that changes depending on the time of day and lighting conditions.
However, it is still a massive fingerprint magnet. Nothing has changed in the last three months; in fact, things have gotten worse.
So, if I were to buy it again, I wouldn’t change the color because I still like it. All I’ve done is reduce the frequency with which I wipe it down and I now only do it once a week. I’ve just sort of accepted the smudges and, dare I say it, I think it adds character – like a good leather patina.
I feel like most of you will get over it in a couple of weeks and come to enjoy the Midnight color for what it is – sophisticated. Especially with this wallpaper, which brings together the Midnight color. It’s been awesome seeing you guys rock the wallpaper in your setup.
macOS Ventura Throttling & Heat Issues
In retrospect, the only thing I would change is to upgrade the SSD and memory.
As savvy subscribers pointed out in my previous review, the slower read/write SSD speeds are limited to the 256GB drive.
Even so, performance throttling occurs as a result of heat dissipation issues.
It became clear over the last few months: the laptop would stutter and become hot to the touch more frequently than ever, and for the few who intend to throw a heavy workload at the M2 Air, however unconventional, this is something to be wary of.
If you’re an everyday consumer who will use this laptop on a daily basis, you should take the throttling and heat issues with a grain of salt because they won’t be an issue for you in the first place – you won’t reach the throttling threshold, so you’re safe.
Breathe easy, and don’t believe the other negative reviews that claim the base M2 Air is the worst thing ever; it’s not, and I’ve been using it daily for months.
However, it’s worth noting that I updated the M2 Air to macOS Ventura Beta, which exacerbated the throttling issues.
To be fair, the initial Beta was quite unstable – the Notes app didn’t work, things would freeze, and Stage Manager still stinks, especially on a 13″ screen, and it seemed to exaggerate the M2 Air’s throttling and heat issues.
It’s an app I’ve been installing on all of my new Macs right away because it keeps my Mac clean and, more importantly, saves me time. Think of it as a personal cleaning butler for your Mac.
It automatically cleans unused system junk and app files on my system using its Smart Scan feature, which is very important because junk files, malware, and unused apps all add up over time and prevent your Mac from performing at its best.
The Large & Old Files feature is another feature I’ve been using a lot over the last few weeks. It automatically scouts out large files that may be taking up unnecessary hard drive space, allowing you to clean out your file graveyard.
I didn’t mention the M2 Air keyboard in my initial review, but the more I use it, the more I like it. It sounds great, feels great, and works great.
The magical keyboard is removed from the 14-inch MacBook Pro; on paper, it is identical to the traditional scissor-switch mechanism.
But there’s something more tactile and responsive about the typing experience on the MacBook Air M2. It could be the M2 processor or a placebo, I can’t put my finger on it, but if you have the M2 Air, let me know if you feel the same way.
This brings me to its portability, weight, and design, which has been a huge plus in recent months.
Others who have picked up this laptop have almost always said this is so much lighter than their existing previous laptops.
I’ve missed having an Air for this very reason; it’s so easy to move around with, travel with, and work remotely with.
If you’re a student, I’d go so far as to say you don’t need to look any further than this laptop. The portable power is all you need to excel in your studies.
It’s now difficult for me to pick up and carry the MacBook Pro around.
M2 Processor Power
As a result, the question becomes, how far can you really push your M2 Air? So here are a few real-world examples.
I was able to edit a couple of small video files, including 4K content, with ease, but when it came to large 10 Bit 4:2:2 4K video files and multiple hard drives, such as the Setup Makeover Series I’m working on, it simply couldn’t keep up with the rendering and file processing.
It only slows down when I actively use Figma, Spotify, Notion, Slack, and a number of PDFs and tabs open on Safari AND Chrome at the same time; this is when I start to see the M2 processor push and performance will throttle depending on how many tabs I continue to open.
However, I want to emphasize that this will not be an issue for the majority of people. Everything else works fine, especially if you’re editing documents in the cloud, as long as you have a reliable and fast internet connection.
Given the intended market segment, the laptop does not need to be any more powerful than it already is. It is appealing to the perfect everyday laptop for the everyday user.
Is the M2 Air still worth buying with the M2 Pro and M2 Max Chips potentially around the corner?
After months of use, I’ll make it simple: yes, it is.
If you’re not required to use intensive apps, the M2 MacBook Air is the way to go. This includes students, small business owners, and the everyday mum and dad, for example
If you’re on a tight budget, I believe the M1 Air is still the best value, but if you’re looking for a new daily laptop, I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the M2 Air.
Even if you’re a so-called “Pro user,” and yes, I realize “pro” is a very broad term, this could be an excellent purchase as a secondary laptop to supplement your main workhorse.
The M2 Air is one of the best Apple purchases I’ve made in quite some time. I’ve been using it more than my MacBook Pro, which is now only used for content creation work. I mean, I run my Shopify business and do ALL of my life admin work on this MacBook Air alone, and don’t forget, this is the base model M2 Air.