Video Comparison: M1 MacBook Air vs. M2 MacBook Air

Apple last week launched a redesigned version of the MacBook Air that's equipped with a next-generation M2 chip. If you own the original M1 ‌MacBook Air‌ and have been thinking about upgrading, or if you're simply new to the ‌MacBook Air‌ and are trying to choose between the two machines, we've done a hands-on comparison video pitting the ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ against the prior-generation ‌M1‌ ‌MacBook Air‌.


Most Mac updates are iterative and focus on the internals of the machine, but that's not the case with the ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌. Apple overhauled the entire design, getting rid of the tapered look in favor of a flat-edged shape that's much more similar to the MacBook Pro.

The new ‌MacBook Air‌ is thinner and lighter than the prior-generation version, and it's available in new colors that include Midnight and Starlight. The design is a notable update that's fresher and more modern, plus the display is 100 nits brighter.

The ‌M2‌ chip has the same 8-core CPU as the ‌M1‌ chip, but it's just a bit faster and more efficient, plus the base machine has an extra GPU core so GPU performance has been boosted. Both entry-level ‌M1‌ and ‌M2‌ machines feature 8GB unified memory and a 256GB SSD, but it's worth noting that the ‌M1‌ has two 128GB NAND flash chips, while the ‌M2‌ has just one, which has resulted in slower performance on benchmarks.

While the ‌M1‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ was limited to two USB-C ports, the ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ adds a MagSafe port to allow for extra port access and a better charging experience. The keyboard and trackpad are largely the same, but Apple did introduce some major changes that make the speakers sound better.

Apple is selling the base ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ for $1,199 and the base ‌M1‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ for $999, so is the ‌M2‌ worth the extra money? For most people, yes. The ‌M2‌ offers faster performance, a larger display, ‌MagSafe‌, and Apple's latest design, which is worth the $200 premium if you can swing it. If you already have an ‌M1‌, you should probably wait to upgrade because the ‌M1‌ still offers stellar performance. Make sure to watch our full video up above to see these two machines side by side, and see our M1 MacBook Air vs. M2 MacBook Air guide for a more in-depth comparison.

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Top Rated Comments

mabaker Avatar
26 months ago
Cannot believe Apple is charging an arm and leg for the new mba yet they skimped on installing a proper heat sink. unacceptable.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rory76 Avatar
26 months ago
So glad I have and kept my silver 512/16GB M1 and didn’t sell it for the M2. The M1 design might be outdated, and the M2 might “actually” be thinner on paper. But, purely from a visual standpoint, I think the M1 looks 100x better than the M2. The M2 just appears as a boring slab. Like any other laptop. And even though it’s thin, it gives the illusion of being a chunky money next to the wedge shaped M1. Just my two cents which would only buy .000000000017 gallons of gas.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Karma*Police Avatar
26 months ago
Another bogus review. No review should be recommending the M2 over the M1 Air outside of very few use cases.

Especially when you factor in the big price difference, minimal performance gains, massive drop in performance for some basic real world tasks, M2 throttling issues, and most importantly, the audience they are targeting and the basic computing tasks they are likely to perform.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
!!! Avatar
26 months ago
I bought the M1 Air after they released the M2 Air. $100 cheaper plus I don't have to deal with a notch. At least with the iPhone the notch takes up the majority of the space, but with the Mac notch and phone hole-punches, they just look so out of place on an otherwise clean design.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
26 months ago
I honestly miss the old tapered edge MacBook Air design. The new M2 MacBook Air is not just that appealing to me. Heck, it doesn’t even come with a 15” size.

The only thing I do like is the Mid-Night color.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a.phoenicis Avatar
26 months ago

Its perfect for students and most home users.
And professionals ("pros" ?) whose profession involves immense amounts of writing, research, light stats, and other things which involve zero seconds of 4K video editing ?

Sorry if I seem snippy, but people on MR are seriously messed up if they think the world consists of only programmers, You-tubers, students, and grandmas who only email and surf the web ?

(and sorry, @steve09090 I'm not picking on you in particular—I know you didn't mean to propagate this trope, I'm just exhausted by it)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)