Three surprising problems with Apple’s new MacBook Air

Three surprising problems with Apple’s new MacBook Air

Apple’s new MacBook Air has garnered both critical and commercial acclaim. Early reviews highlighted the new design, long battery life, and welcoming software; Pre-order volume has seen the wait time increase to four weeks.

Look beneath the surface, and you’ll see that not everything is perfect on the MacBook Air, and it’s important to know how Apple’s decisions will affect your MacBook Air experience.

Let’s start with the good. Apple has essentially lifted the baseline performance of the M2 MacBook Air (and M2 MacBook Pro). For everyday use, web browsing, media playback, social media apps and office work, these laptops are going to be very smooth… although, to be fair, almost any laptop family with an entry-level price of $1199 will have a similar baseline for core consumer apps.

If you’re looking for a laptop that will keep you on top of life, you shouldn’t have any significant problems with any of Apple’s Macs in general, and this MacBook Air in particular.

You’re getting a laptop with a new design language that sits alongside the fashionable end of the Windows 11 laptop market… a thin angular case, a screen that dominates viewing as much as possible, long battery life, a large and expansive touchpad, physical function keys. … it’s all here.

And there’s also the problematic side to this because manufacturers want us to believe otherwise, no laptop is perfect.

Let’s talk about the new Apple Silicon chipset in the M2. This has contributed to increased baseline performance, but there are some issues when the M2 is put under load and asked to do some heavy tasks, such as video rendering. M2 MacBook Pro testing showed that even with the cooling fan running at full power, the MacBook had to throttle performance to stop the chip from overheating. The M2 MacBook Pro is taking longer than the M1 MacBook Pro to handle the same task.

Unfortunately, the M2 MacBook Air suffers from the same problem – perhaps not surprising given that it runs the same M2 chipset. The irony is that Apple has put itself in a situation where the new machine — a machine that may be consumer-focused but advertised as having the ability to do what you need it to do — is less likely to work hard. predecessor

The CPU isn’t the only area where Apple has clearly slipped in specifications. While the entry-level M1 with 256 GB of storage offers the same space as the 256 GB model of the MacBook Air, Apple has integrated storage into a single NAND chipset in the M2 Air, compared to the M1 Air’s twin 128 GB NAND chipsets.

With only a single chip, the M2’s SSD data throughput is half that of the M1 Air, compared to the previous model’s dual chips. While this doesn’t carry over to models with higher levels of storage, for regular consumers who are just ‘going to get a laptop, one of those Apples’, Tim Cook and his team are offering a slower macOS laptop.

Apple’s official comment is that this weakness in the Air SSD is compensated by the strength of other components around it:

“Thanks to M2’s performance boost, the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are incredibly fast, even compared to Mac laptops with the powerful M1 chip. These new systems use a new high-density NAND that provides 256GB of storage. single chip. Although the 256GB SSD benchmarks may show a difference compared to previous generations, with the performance of these M2-based systems being faster for real-world activities.”

Be that as it may, but Apple has made a deliberate choice – whatever it may be – to offer a slower 256GB to consumers. It’s worth noting that Apple’s decision didn’t slow down the more expensive 512GB model.

Finally, there are battery and charger issues. Thanks to the aforementioned ARM-based Apple silicon, the MacBook Air’s battery life is best in class; ARM offers lower power requirements than similar tasks on Intel-based machines that you might find when the OS has very few hardware configurations to work with (unlike Windows, which has to work with everything under the sun. ).

No, I’m talking about charging the battery. We’re not yet at the iPhone stage where Apple can get away with not shipping MacBooks with chargers, but it looks like we’re getting closer. Buy the entry-level MacBook Air, and you’ll get a basic 30W charger in the box. Go for a higher model and you get a slight space bump and a 35W charger It’s Apple’s new USB-C charger with two ports so you can charge both your Mac and your iPhone or iPad – with enough power to do so (slowly); It’s a nice thought for those traveling light.

If you want to use the MacBook Air to its full potential when it comes to charging, you’ll need to buy another charger — specifically Apple’s 67W charger. It’s usually $59, and while it’s not as painful as the $150 required for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro fast chargers, it’s still an additional cost imposed by Apple. You can upgrade the charger to 35W or 67W for $20, but that feels like a salami-slicing move from Apple to squeeze as much money as possible out of the headline price.

There is no doubt that Apple has tried to make this MacBook Air the best MacBook Air. And in normal use, trimming Apple’s specs and bill of materials won’t make a huge difference. MacBook Air is not sold as an average laptop. It’s sold as one of the best Apple laptops ever made, with a powerful blend of power, potential and ease of use

The showstopper? no Is there anything to be aware of? Most definitely. Apple’s choice to downplay the M2 chipset, offer lower read and write speeds on the entry-level MacBook Air, and nickel and dime those who want to make the most of the laptop’s feature set, makes Apple feel decidedly un-Apple.

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