The Apple MacBook Air 15 inch convinces by way of battery life, portability and value

Apple announced a 15-inch MacBook Air last week. It hits stores Tuesday and costs $1,299 for the base model, or up to $2,499 with upgraded RAM and storage.

The MacBook Air has historically come in 11-inch and 13-inch versions, but now for the first time it features a 15-inch screen, the most popular laptop size. This could significantly boost Mac sales, which have been in decline for the past two quarters.

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If you’ve upgraded your laptop or PC in the last two years – as hundreds of millions of people have done during the pandemic – this new model isn’t worth upgrading. However, if you’ve persevered and need a new laptop, the 15-inch MacBook Air will suit most people in terms of price, performance, and portability.

For most people, it’s probably the best laptop if you like the MacOS operating system and plan to use it for everyday tasks like writing documents and spreadsheets, going to school, or using the internet.

My quick insights:


  • Battery life is great.
  • The large screen is better for working on the go.
  • It’s thin and light enough to be barely noticeable in a backpack despite its larger size.

I do not like it:

  • The midnight finish is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges.
  • The speakers are mounted in the computer’s hinge near the screen and are just fine.
  • Many people don’t mind Apple’s notch. I always notice it on a laptop.

It’s worth upgrading to a 512GB hard drive

The 15-inch MacBook Air is a very powerful and powerful computer with a battery life that’s so long you don’t have to think about it: it lasts all day and only needs to be charged overnight.

It’s fast, can handle seemingly endless windows and apps at once, and has almost all the software I need to use. Some apps, like the FactSet financial database I use at work, don’t have Mac versions. However, the Mac supports native Microsoft Office and Google Chrome, as well as Apple’s built-in alternatives iWork and Safari, which cover many people’s main needs.

The extra screen size makes a difference compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air. It’s easier to place two documents side by side at the same time. As well as being larger, the physical screen has a resolution of 2880 x 1864, higher than the 13-inch model, meaning more can fit on the screen.

The 13-inch M2 MacBook Air (Silver) versus the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air (Navy Blue).

As Leswing/CNBC

In my experience, there isn’t much of a sacrifice in portability with the extra screen size either, especially since it’s so thin. The 15-inch MacBook Air fits easily in a backpack or briefcase, and I didn’t really notice the extra 3.3 pounds when commuting on public transport.

While $1,299 is quite expensive for a laptop, it does represent value in Apple’s lineup, especially for people who want a larger screen. The 15-inch screen is now the second largest display Apple offers in a laptop, behind the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which retails at $2,499 and has many features that most people don’t need, like a more powerful processor, fan, and connectors for external camera cards.

However, I believe most people want more storage and should upgrade to 512GB of hard drive space, bringing the price up to $1,499.

Even gaming, which Apple doesn’t focus on, runs quite well on the Mac. While new titles like Diablo 4 aren’t available yet, a large part of my Steam library runs on the computer, including titles like Civilization 6 and Stardew Valley.

The 15-inch MacBook Air only has two USB-C ports, but I don’t mind – I’ve been using a lot less USB-A accessories lately. The more expensive MacBook Pro models have HDMI ports for direct connection to TVs and monitors.

Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air has been priced down to $1,099, making it a good deal for people who don’t care about the larger screen or who want to use it mainly while attached to a monitor connected. However, I don’t think the smaller laptop is significantly more portable – both are light enough to slip in your pocket and forget about.

The two MacBook Air sizes share mostly the same components, including similar M2 processors, which currently represents Apple’s cutting-edge offering in low-power laptops and tablets. Apple has now completely switched from Intel processors.

Apple also fixed the keyboards and now have deep, clicky keys that are fun to type on. There is no more “Touch Bar” replaced by convenient physical function buttons that provide one-button access to brightness, volume and play/pause. Apple’s screens and webcams look great and are usable even in broad daylight – although many models, including the 15-inch MacBook Air, have a top notch like the iPhone that you may find annoying.

All in all, the 15-inch MacBook Air is one of Apple’s first aggressively priced laptops since the move to the M-series, and represents a great option for people looking for a laptop for everyday use. It should be particularly attractive to people who haven’t upgraded yet.

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