How the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Air M1 Compare

Questions ArchiveCategory: QuestionsHow the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Air M1 Compare
Phil Rocher asked 2 months ago

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Apple’s MacBook Air is the company’s lightest, thinnest and most affordable laptop. The Air is regularly for anyone in need of a solid, reliable everyday laptop. And when Apple released the system-on-chip, the performance was as impressive as its design for the $999 price.Now, the new with Apple’s new M2 SoC chip. The M2-based Air looks better in every way, but you’re going to pay more, too, with a starting price of $1,199. 

MacBook Air (13-inch, M2) vs. MacBook Air (13-inch, M1)

MacBook Air (13-inch, M2)

MacBook Air (13-inch, M1)

Starting price

$1,199, £1,249, AU$1,899

$999, £999, AU$1,499


13.6-inch 2,560×1,664-pixel Liquid Retina (500 nits brightness)

13.3-inch 2,560×1,600-pixel Retina (400 nits brightness)

No. of CPU cores



No. of GPU cores

Up to 10


Starting / max RAM

8GB / 24GB

8GB / 16GB

Starting / max storage

256GB / 2TB

256GB / 2TB


802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0


Thunderbolt/USB 4 USB-C (x2)

Thunderbolt/USB 4 USB-C (x2)


1080p FaceTime HD camera

720p FaceTime HD camera

No. of speakers / mics

4 / 3

2 / 3

Battery life

Up to 18 hours

Up to 18 hours

Power adapter

30-watt USB-C (8-core GPU), 35-watt dual USB-C (10-core GPU)

30-watt USB-C


2.7 pounds (1.24 kg)

2.8 pounds (1.29 kg)

The MacBook Air M2’s design changes from the tapered wedge look of the 2020 and earlier models to more of a blocky slab, more like the  from late 2021. The 2022 Air didn’t receive all of the additional ports of the 2021 Pro models: There’s no SD card slot, it doesn’t get an HDMI output for an external dis, Final Cut Pro performance is nearly 40% faster than on the M1 Air and Photoshop is up to 20% faster. Battery life is up to 18 hours of video playback and with an optional 67-watt power adapter it can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes. With all of that said, though, many people don’t need all those extras, especially at a $200 premium. The good news is that Apple is keeping the M1-powered MacBook Air in the lineup at its $1,000 starting price. Though the new model is great, the Air M1 should still provide excellent performance for everyday use for years — particularly important if you’re looking for a lower-cost option to get through high school or college. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The updated Air not only has a new look but its performance is closer to that of a MacBook Pro than past Air models. Along with the upgraded processing power, you’ll find a larger, better display, a full-HD webcam, four-speaker audio and it’s even a touch lighter. You will pay a little more for it, however.



Dan Ackerman/CNET

The M1-powered MacBook Air from 2020 stays on as Apple’s entry-level laptop. The design hasn’t been updated since 2018 really but not exactly a knock against it — it’s still one of our all-time favorites. Performance and battery life remain excellent for anyone looking for a grab-and-go productivity machine. Plus, the starting price, especially with an educational discount, makes it a great pick to carry a student through high school or college. 



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