Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) Review: Light Delight

2012 I have went to an Apple Store to buy a MacBook for college with all the money I was making from my summer job. I set a budget of less than $1,000 and was on a mission to find the perfect laptop for an aspiring journalism student. A salesperson pointed me to the 11-inch MacBook Air and said, “It’s light! It’s wearable! It’s perfect for writing stories on the go!” He was right. It propelled me through four years of classes, internships, and a stint on my college newspaper.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous when I saw another student carrying around a MacBook professional. I always felt like I was settling for the Air and sacrificing some features I thought I needed for portability. But a decade later, I couldn’t feel more different. The new 2022 MacBook Air actually offers more than the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, including a sleek new design, a larger and brighter display, MagSafe support (yes, it’s back!), and a 1080p webcam.

With these upgrades comes the inevitable price increase. The base MacBook Air now starts at $1,199 (you can still pick up the 2020 M1 MacBook Air for $999). It’s still not a MacBook Pro that has a nicer array of ports and more power, but after all these years the Air is still light, portable and perfect for making stories on the go.

A breath of fresh air

Photo: apple

Gone are the days of the distinctive wedge design on the MacBook Air. The new model now has the same boxy body as the latest high-end MacBook Pro models, which I think gives it a more sophisticated look. But it is a lot of lighter. At only 2.7 pounds, I tend to lift it with too much force because I’m not used to carrying around such a light machine. (It’s also thinner and lighter than the 2020 MacBook Air!)

It might have a similar look, but unfortunately you don’t get the same connectivity upgrade. The new MacBook Air has just two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack and — thankfully — a MagSafe connector for charging. (No HDMI or SD card slot.) As someone who primarily uses a MacBook for writing, email, video calls, and Netflix, the lack of ports didn’t bother me, but it would have been nice.

If you’re coming from an older Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll probably appreciate the new display the most. Type of. It’s still an LCD panel that’s stuck at 60Hz, but Apple upped the brightness a bit and I had no trouble reading the screen when I was working outside in my garden. The screen size also ranges from 13.3 to 13.6 inches thanks to slimmer bezels around the display. It sounds like a small boost, but I’ve noticed (and appreciated) the larger properties. Annoyingly, this MacBook can still only connect to one external monitor (a limitation of the M1 MacBook Air too). Not great if you want to take advantage of a multiscreen setup.

Photo: apple

Just like the 14-inch MacBook Pro, there’s an etched notch in the top center of the screen where the 1080p webcam is located, but that doesn’t bother me. You can use a dark background to hide it and it also disappears when you have an app in full screen. If the notch allowed Apple to finally upgrade the webcam, I’m all for it. It’s finally 1080p, so I look sharper in my video calls, although I’ve noticed Apple adding a skin-smoothing effect. Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) Review: Light Delight

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