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Apple MacBook Air M2 review - The faster 10-core GPU isn't worth it

The expensive Air has to throttle earlier. After we tested the basic model, we now also got our hands on the faster version of the new MacBook Air with 16 GB of RAM, a large 1-TB SSD, and the faster 10-core GPU version of the M2 and ran it through our tests. However, the graphics update is particularly disappointing, since the passively cooled MacBook Air M2 needs to throttle its performance quickly.

We were already able to extensively test the new MacBook Air M2, and now we have a model with the faster 10-core GPU and more storage in our test. This is the configuration in the Starlight color with the faster M2 chip, 16 GB of shared working memory, and a large, 1-TB SSD. In this review, we mainly want to concentrate on the differences to the basic model. For other segments such as the case, equipment, input devices, display, and speakers, we refer you to our review of the basic version, since there are no differences in those regards:

We already knew that the new MacBook Air M2 has become significantly more expensive. With a well-equipped model as we have here (MSRP 2,309 Euros, ~$2,380), you already get into the range of a MacBook Pro 14, which is clearly superior in many areas (performance, Mini-LED display, connections, speakers). The basic model of the MBP 14 with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD is currently available on the market for around 1,950 to 2,000 Euros (~$2,010-$2,061), and the model with a 1-TB SSD is available for about 2,300 Euros (~$2,371), which is the same price as our test unit of the Air M2. Of course, the Air targets a different audience with the better mobility, but we also include the Pro in our comparison charts.

Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Processor
Apple M2 8 x 2.4 - 3.5 GHz, 20 W PL2 / Short Burst, 9 W PL1 / Sustained
Graphics adapter
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, 13.5 W TDP
Memory
16 GB 
, LPDDR5-6400, onboard
Display
13.60 inch 16:10, 2560 x 1664 pixel 225 PPI, IPS, glossy: yes, 60 Hz
Storage
Apple SSD AP1024Z, 1024 GB 
, 965 GB free
Connections
2 USB 4.0 40 Gbps, 2 Thunderbolt, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio port, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 11.3 x 304.1 x 215 ( = 0.44 x 11.97 x 8.46 in)
Battery
52.6 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Apple macOS 12 Monterey
Camera
Webcam: 1080p
Primary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: quad speakers, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 35W dual USB-C PSU, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.23 kg ( = 43.39 oz / 2.71 pounds), Power Supply: 189 g ( = 6.67 oz / 0.42 pounds)
Price
2309 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Possible Competitors in Comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
92 %
08/2022
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2, M2 10-Core GPU
1.2 kg11.3 mm13.60"2560x1664
92.3 %
07/2022
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2, M2 8-Core GPU
1.2 kg11.3 mm13.60"2560x1664
91.9 %
06/2022
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2, M2 10-Core GPU
1.4 kg15.6 mm13.30"2560x1600
92.7 %
11/2021
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 8-Core, M1 Pro 14-Core GPU
1.6 kg15.5 mm14.20"3024x1964
90.1 %
07/2022
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
R7 6800U, Radeon 680M
1.1 kg14.9 mm13.30"2880x1800
86.9 %
07/2022
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
i7-1260P, Iris Xe G7 96EUs
1.2 kg15.3 mm13.40"3840x2400

Case - Starlight color is significantly less susceptible

With the new MacBook Air M2 in the Midnight color, we determined that while the dark blue color looks very good, it is also very susceptible to dirt and fingerprints. The current test unit in the also new Starlight color version (silver with a slight golden hue) is significantly less susceptible in these regards and corresponds more to the known versions in Silver and Space Gray.

In our review of the basic version, we already mentioned that although the new MacBook Air M2 is very slim, it still has a larger footprint than the direct competitors such as the Dell XPS 13 Plus or the Asus ZenBook S 13. If we also compare it to the MacBook Pro 14, the Pro subjectively appears significantly bulkier and is, of course, also thicker and about 400 grams (~0.9 lb.) heavier. However, in terms of pure footprint, the difference isn't that large. 

Size Comparison

312.6 mm / 12.3 inch 221.2 mm / 8.71 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 1.6 kg3.53 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 15.6 mm / 0.614 inch 1.4 kg3.02 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 215 mm / 8.46 inch 11.3 mm / 0.4449 inch 1.2 kg2.71 lbs296.7 mm / 11.7 inch 210.5 mm / 8.29 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.1 kg2.41 lbs295.3 mm / 11.6 inch 199 mm / 7.83 inch 15.3 mm / 0.602 inch 1.2 kg2.74 lbs

Display - An IPS panel without temporal dithering

We refer you to our review of the basic version for information on the display. In the comments section, we were asked about temporal dithering (it is used to create the illusion of more color depth). So, we examined the IPS panel of the Air M2 with a microscope and created a slow-motion recording with 240 images per second. While we were able to detect temporal dithering, for example, in the current MacBook Pro 16 with the Mini-LED panel in some particular gray color tones, this was neither the case in the old MacBook Air M1 nor in the new MacBook Air M2.

Performance - Apple M2 with 10 GPU cores

Processor

Since the processor module of the new MacBook Air always remains the same regardless of the configuration (with a total of 8 cores consisting of 4 Performance and 4 Efficiency cores), we can be brief here: The performance is basically identical. In the Cinebench loop, we see a slight advantage to the basic model after several runs, and in the final runs, the high-end Air is also minimally faster. However, this could also be explained with normal differences between the chips themselves. In practice, the difference is not noticeable.

Cinebench R15 Multi Constant Load Test

09018027036045054063072081090099010801170126013501440153016201710Tooltip
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU Apple M2: Ø994 (917.47-1212.01)
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry Apple M2: Ø955 (863.48-1215.33)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2 Apple M2: Ø1229 (1226.62-1232.55)
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry Apple M1 Pro 8-Core; Rosetta 2: Ø1311 (1303.74-1319.74)
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED AMD Ryzen 7 6800U: Ø1607 (1576.98-1742.1)
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K Intel Core i7-1260P; Ultra-Performance: Ø1512 (1481.98-1677.36)
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K Intel Core i7-1260P; Optimized: Ø1066 (983.94-1625.95)

Apple was able to increase both the single and multi-core performance due to the higher clock speed compared to the M1 processor, but you also pay for it with a higher power consumption. We have already shown in a separate article that the M2 therefore also doesn't run as efficiently as its predecessor in terms of the processor performance. 

However, the new M2 chip produces more than sufficient performance for everyday work overall, even in combination with the passive cooling of the MacBook Air. In fact, the new Air M2 is almost able to compete with the 8-core M1 Pro of the MacBook Pro 14, at least in the short multi-core benchmarks, although the performance of the Pro 14 remains completely stable without dropping. 

CPU Performance Rating: Percent
Cinebench R23: Multi Core | Single Core
Cinebench R20: CPU (Multi Core) | CPU (Single Core)
Cinebench R15: CPU Multi 64Bit | CPU Single 64Bit
Blender: v2.79 BMW27 CPU
Geekbench 5.4: Multi-Core | Single-Core
CPU Performance Rating
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
91.9 pt ∼92%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry -3!
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
89.6 pt ∼90%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
87.3 pt ∼87%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
73.8 pt ∼74%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
73 pt ∼73%
Average Apple M2
 
71.8 pt ∼72%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
68.5 pt ∼69%
Average of class Subnotebook
 
63.6 pt ∼64%
Cinebench R23 / Multi Core
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
10468 Points ∼100% +23%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
9743 Points ∼93% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
9581 Points ∼92% +12%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
8745 Points ∼84% +3%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
8667 Points ∼83% +2%
Average Apple M2
  (8517 - 8745, n=3)
8643 Points ∼83% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
8517 Points ∼81%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (965 - 13504, n=97, last 2 years)
6474 Points ∼62% -24%
Cinebench R23 / Single Core
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
1678 Points ∼100% +6%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
1585 Points ∼94% 0%
Average Apple M2
  (1580 - 1585, n=3)
1582 Points ∼94% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
1581 Points ∼94% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
1580 Points ∼94%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
1531 Points ∼91% -3%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
1488 Points ∼89% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (409 - 1796, n=95, last 2 years)
1367 Points ∼81% -13%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Multi Core)
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
4060 Points ∼100% +76%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
3909 Points ∼96% +70%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (376 - 5281, n=108, last 2 years)
2410 Points ∼59% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
2349 Points ∼58% +2%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
2306 Points ∼57%
Average Apple M2
  (2231 - 2349, n=3)
2295 Points ∼57% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
2231 Points ∼55% -3%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Single Core)
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
648 Points ∼100% +71%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
564 Points ∼87% +48%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (159 - 701, n=109, last 2 years)
508 Points ∼78% +34%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
381 Points ∼59% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
380 Points ∼59%
Average Apple M2
  (216 - 381, n=3)
326 Points ∼50% -14%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
216 Points ∼33% -43%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
1742 Points ∼100% +44%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
1677 (1481.98min - 1677.36max) Points ∼96% +38%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
1626 (983.94min - 1625.95max) Points ∼93% +34%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
1320 (1307min - 1320max) Points ∼76% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
1229 (1226.62min, 1226.74P1 - 1232.55max) Points ∼71% +1%
Average Apple M2
  (1212 - 1229, n=3)
1219 Points ∼70% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
1215 (863min - 1215max) Points ∼70% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
1212 (917min - 1212max) Points ∼70%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (223 - 2119, n=115, last 2 years)
1089 Points ∼63% -10%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Single 64Bit
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
240 Points ∼100% +8%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
237 Points ∼99% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
223 Points ∼93% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
223 Points ∼93%
Average Apple M2
  (222 - 223, n=3)
223 Points ∼93% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
222 Points ∼93% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
210 Points ∼88% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (73 - 258, n=105, last 2 years)
199.2 Points ∼83% -11%
Blender / v2.79 BMW27 CPU
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
713 Seconds * ∼100% -16%
Average Apple M2
  (595 - 713, n=3)
642 Seconds * ∼90% -4%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
616.7 Seconds * ∼86%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (253 - 2583, n=105, last 2 years)
603 Seconds * ∼85% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
595 Seconds * ∼83% +4%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
319 Seconds * ∼45% +48%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
310 Seconds * ∼43% +50%
Geekbench 5.4 / Multi-Core
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
9942 Points ∼100% +11%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
9817 Points ∼99% +9%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
8991 Points ∼90%
Average Apple M2
  (8951 - 8991, n=3)
8968 Points ∼90% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
8962 Points ∼90% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
8951 Points ∼90% 0%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
7613 Points ∼77% -15%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1024 - 11434, n=103, last 2 years)
5812 Points ∼58% -35%
Geekbench 5.4 / Single-Core
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2
1937 Points ∼100% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2
1925 Points ∼99%
Average Apple M2
  (1914 - 1937, n=3)
1925 Points ∼99% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2
1914 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
1769 Points ∼91% -8%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P
1723 Points ∼89% -10%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
1514 Points ∼78% -21%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (293 - 1937, n=103, last 2 years)
1394 Points ∼72% -28%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1212 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
223 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
128.65 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.5 %
Help

System Performance

In terms of the subjective performance, we initially don't notice any difference to the basic model of the MacBook Air M2, especially in everyday tasks such as writing mails, playing videos, or surfing the Internet. However, in some benchmarks, the larger storage and also the faster SSD become noticeable. Basically, emulated programs also run without any problems via Rosetta 2, but the native apps for Apple chips are generally faster and more efficient on resources. A good example are the Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro apps that all run acceptably as Intel versions but are significantly slower than the native apps. The PugetBench results are therefore also only of limited use, but they still show the advantage of the increased working memory and faster SSD compared to the basic model of the MacBook Air M2.

CrossMark: Overall | Productivity | Creativity | Responsiveness
Blackmagic RAW Speed Test: 12:1 8K Metal | 12:1 8K CPU
Photoshop PugetBench: Overall Score | GPU Score | General Score | Filter Score
Premiere Pro PugetBench: Overall Score | Export | Live Playback | GPU
Jetstream 2: Total Score
WebXPRT 3: ---
WebXPRT 4: Overall Score
Speedometer 2.0: Result
CrossMark / Overall
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1667 Points ∼100% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1507 Points ∼90% +1%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (1496 - 1507, n=2)
1502 Points ∼90% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
1501 Points ∼90% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1496 Points ∼90%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
1490 Points ∼89% 0%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1481 Points ∼89% -1%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (926 - 1811, n=35, last 2 years)
1389 Points ∼83% -7%
CrossMark / Productivity
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1575 Points ∼100% +14%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1476 Points ∼94% +7%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1382 Points ∼88% 0%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (1377 - 1382, n=2)
1380 Points ∼88% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (962 - 1755, n=35, last 2 years)
1379 Points ∼88% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1377 Points ∼87%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
1371 Points ∼87% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
1305 Points ∼83% -5%
CrossMark / Creativity
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
1915 Points ∼100% +5%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1861 Points ∼97% +2%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
1848 Points ∼97% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1841 Points ∼96% +1%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (1819 - 1841, n=2)
1830 Points ∼96% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1819 Points ∼95%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1554 Points ∼81% -15%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (957 - 1928, n=35, last 2 years)
1473 Points ∼77% -19%
CrossMark / Responsiveness
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1418 Points ∼100% +33%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
1293 Points ∼91% +21%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (746 - 1807, n=35, last 2 years)
1206 Points ∼85% +13%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1069 Points ∼75% 0%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (1065 - 1069, n=2)
1067 Points ∼75% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
1065 Points ∼75%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
1055 Points ∼74% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
1044 Points ∼74% -2%
Blackmagic RAW Speed Test / 12:1 8K Metal
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
133 fps ∼100% +66%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
85 fps ∼64% +6%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (80 - 85, n=2)
82.5 fps ∼62% +3%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
80 fps ∼60%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
75 fps ∼56% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (55 - 85, n=4, last 2 years)
73.8 fps ∼55% -8%
Blackmagic RAW Speed Test / 12:1 8K CPU
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
24 fps ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
24 fps ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
24 fps ∼100%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (24 - 24, n=2)
24 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (17 - 24, n=4, last 2 years)
22.3 fps ∼93% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
21 fps ∼88% -12%
Photoshop PugetBench / Overall Score
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
828 Points ∼100%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (806 - 828, n=2)
817 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
806 Points ∼97% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
667 Points ∼81% -19%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
648 Points ∼78% -22%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (374 - 828, n=5, last 2 years)
643 Points ∼78% -22%
Photoshop PugetBench / GPU Score
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
83.8 Points ∼100% +2%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (81.9 - 83.8, n=2)
82.9 Points ∼99% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
81.9 Points ∼98%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
75.9 Points ∼91% -7%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
70.2 Points ∼84% -14%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (34.2 - 83.8, n=5, last 2 years)
66.1 Points ∼79% -19%
Photoshop PugetBench / General Score
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
79.3 Points ∼100% +1%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (78.7 - 79.3, n=2)
79 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
78.7 Points ∼99%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
68.5 Points ∼86% -13%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
61.6 Points ∼78% -22%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (32.1 - 79.3, n=5, last 2 years)
60.5 Points ∼76% -23%
Photoshop PugetBench / Filter Score
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
86.9 Points ∼100%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (81.9 - 86.9, n=2)
84.4 Points ∼97% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
81.9 Points ∼94% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (42.7 - 86.9, n=5, last 2 years)
68.1 Points ∼78% -22%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
68 Points ∼78% -22%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
64.8 Points ∼75% -25%
Premiere Pro PugetBench / Overall Score
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
837 Points ∼100% +67%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
537 Points ∼64% +7%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (500 - 537, n=2)
519 Points ∼62% +4%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
500 Points ∼60%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (156 - 537, n=5, last 2 years)
370 Points ∼44% -26%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
335 Points ∼40% -33%
Premiere Pro PugetBench / Export
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
48 Points ∼100% +6%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (45.4 - 48, n=2)
46.7 Points ∼97% +3%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
45.4 Points ∼95%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
41.5 Points ∼86% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
38.9 Points ∼81% -14%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (16.4 - 48, n=5, last 2 years)
35.4 Points ∼74% -22%
Premiere Pro PugetBench / Live Playback
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
177.7 Points ∼100% +124%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
81.8 Points ∼46% +3%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (79.5 - 81.8, n=2)
80.7 Points ∼45% +2%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
79.5 Points ∼45%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (14.7 - 81.8, n=5, last 2 years)
50.8 Points ∼29% -36%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
39 Points ∼22% -51%
Premiere Pro PugetBench / GPU
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
31.6 Points ∼100% +31%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
26.2 Points ∼83% +8%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (24.2 - 26.2, n=2)
25.2 Points ∼80% +4%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
24.2 Points ∼77%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
22.2 Points ∼70% -8%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (4.2 - 26.2, n=5, last 2 years)
18.2 Points ∼58% -25%
Jetstream 2 / Total Score
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
239.8 Points ∼100% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
227.4 Points ∼95% 0%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (227 - 227, n=2)
227 Points ∼95% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
226.8 Points ∼95%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
225.9 Points ∼94% 0%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
211 Points ∼88% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
207.9 Points ∼87% -8%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (50 - 255, n=49, last 2 years)
180.3 Points ∼75% -21%
WebXPRT 3 /
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
379 Points ∼100% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
377 Points ∼99% +1%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (375 - 379, n=2)
377 Points ∼99% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
375 Points ∼99%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
343 Points ∼91% -9%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
288 Points ∼76% -23%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
270 Points ∼71% -28%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (85 - 379, n=101, last 2 years)
239 Points ∼63% -36%
WebXPRT 4 / Overall Score
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
248 Points ∼100% +10%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
226 Points ∼91% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
225 Points ∼91%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
 
225 Points ∼91% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (67.2 - 257, n=14, last 2 years)
217 Points ∼88% -4%
Speedometer 2.0 / Result
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
406.6 runs/min ∼100% +4%
Average Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (392 - 407, n=2)
399 runs/min ∼98% +2%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
392 runs/min ∼96%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
386 runs/min ∼95% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
262 runs/min ∼64% -33%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (42.9 - 407, n=31, last 2 years)
209 runs/min ∼51% -47%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
204 runs/min ∼50% -48%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
176 runs/min ∼43% -55%

Storage Solution

AmorphousDiskMark
AmorphousDiskMark

After all the discussion about the new 256-GB SSDs of the new MacBook models that only use a single storage chip and are therefore significantly slower, the 1-TB SD in the MacBook Air M2 again reaches the usual transfer rates of more than 3 GB/s. However, even that isn't current state of the art, since despite the heavy premium of 460 Euros (~$474) for the 1-TB SSD, it continues to use a dated PCIe 3.0 connection. The larger MacBook Pro 14 has a clear advantage here, since it already uses the faster PCIe 4.0 models.

Drive Performance Rating - Percent
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple SSD AP0512
100 pt ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple SSD AP1024Z
59.9 pt ∼60%
Average Apple SSD AP1024Z
 
59.7 pt ∼60%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple SSD AP1024Z
59.5 pt ∼60%
Average of class Subnotebook
 
51.9 pt ∼52%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple SSD AP0256Z
32.1 pt ∼32%
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
5GB Read
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple SSD AP0512
5448 MB/s ∼100% +95%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple SSD AP1024Z
2819.3 MB/s ∼52% +1%
Average Apple SSD AP1024Z
  (2797 - 2819, n=2)
2808 MB/s ∼52% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple SSD AP1024Z
2796.5 MB/s ∼51%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1476 - 2819, n=6, last 2 years)
2562 MB/s ∼47% -8%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple SSD AP0256Z
1475.8 MB/s ∼27% -47%
5GB Write
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple SSD AP0512
4463 MB/s ∼100% +48%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple SSD AP1024Z
3036.1 MB/s ∼68% +1%
Average Apple SSD AP1024Z
  (3017 - 3036, n=2)
3027 MB/s ∼68% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple SSD AP1024Z
3017.3 MB/s ∼68%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1653 - 3036, n=6, last 2 years)
2538 MB/s ∼57% -16%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple SSD AP0256Z
1652.8 MB/s ∼37% -45%

Graphics Card

Except for the amount of cores, there are no differences in the GPUs of the new Apple M2, since the cores reach a maximum clock speed of 1,398 MHz in both the basic model with 8 cores and the faster 10-core version. Apple was able to improve the graphics performance with the M2 compared to the old M1 overall, and in contrast to the CPU cores, Apple succeeded in slightly increasing the efficiency here.

However, at around 13.5 watts, the power consumption has still slightly increased overall. This leads to the necessity for a quicker and stronger reduction of the graphics performance under constant load, for example during gaming, than was the case in the basic model. The result is a shrinking advantage from 19% to only about 9% compared to the 8-core GPU of the M2 after a few minutes. 

Wild Life Extreme Stress Test (MBA M2 10C GPU)
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test (MBA M2 10C GPU)
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test (MBA M2 8C GPU)
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test (MBA M2 8C GPU)

Therefore, there is only a real advantage during short benchmarks. In everyday operation, the 8-core GPU is already more than sufficient. So there is no real reason to pay up the additional premium for the 10-core GPU in the new MacBook Air M2. However, we also want to make a brief comparison with the larger MacBook Pro 14 here, with even the 14-core GPU of the basic model being at least 30-40% faster and also remaining constant at this performance level.

3DMark
Wild Life Extreme Unlimited
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
9267 Points ∼100% +36%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
6824 Points ∼74%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (6823 - 6824, n=2)
6824 Points ∼74% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
6823 Points ∼74% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
5689 Points ∼61% -17%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1260P
4081 Points ∼44% -40%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1726 - 6824, n=16, last 2 years)
3826 Points ∼41% -44%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
3793 Points ∼41% -44%
Wild Life Extreme
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
9089 Points ∼100% +34%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
6772 Points ∼75%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (6728 - 6772, n=2)
6750 Points ∼74% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
6728 Points ∼74% -1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
5673 Points ∼62% -16%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1816 - 9727, n=16, last 2 years)
4226 Points ∼46% -38%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1260P
4057 Points ∼45% -40%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
3827 Points ∼42% -43%
Wild Life Unlimited Score
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
24885 Points ∼100%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (24875 - 24885, n=2)
24880 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
24875 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
21009 Points ∼84% -16%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (5964 - 24885, n=10, last 2 years)
15831 Points ∼64% -36%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
14403 Points ∼58% -42%
GFXBench
3840x2160 4K Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
48.6 fps ∼100%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
 
48.6 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (39.8 - 48.6, n=2, last 2 years)
44.2 fps ∼91% -9%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
39.8 fps ∼82% -18%
2560x1440 Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
147 fps ∼100% +34%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
110 fps ∼75%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (109.8 - 110, n=2)
109.9 fps ∼75% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
109.8 fps ∼75% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
91 fps ∼62% -17%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (10 - 110, n=13, last 2 years)
61.4 fps ∼42% -44%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
47.8 fps ∼33% -57%
1920x1080 Car Chase Offscreen
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
316 fps ∼100% +40%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
229.9 fps ∼73% +2%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (226 - 230, n=2)
228 fps ∼72% +1%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
226 fps ∼72%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
199.9 fps ∼63% -12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (24 - 230, n=9, last 2 years)
157.6 fps ∼50% -30%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
109.3 fps ∼35% -52%
1920x1080 Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Offscreen
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
394 fps ∼100% +33%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
296 fps ∼75%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (295 - 296, n=2)
296 fps ∼75% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
295 fps ∼75% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
247 fps ∼63% -17%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (27 - 296, n=13, last 2 years)
162.9 fps ∼41% -45%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
120 fps ∼30% -59%
Geekbench 5.4
Metal Score
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
37319 Points ∼100% +23%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
30269 Points ∼81%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (30166 - 30269, n=2)
30218 Points ∼81% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
30166 Points ∼81% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
26079 Points ∼70% -14%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (19064 - 30269, n=6, last 2 years)
24657 Points ∼66% -19%
OpenCL Score
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, Apple M1 Pro 8-Core
35173 Points ∼100% +28%
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Radeon 680M, AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
31996 Points ∼91% +16%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
27602 Points ∼78% 0%
Average Apple M2 10-Core GPU
  (27489 - 27602, n=2)
27546 Points ∼78% 0%
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2 10-Core GPU, Apple M2
27489 Points ∼78%
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2 8-Core GPU, Apple M2
23633 Points ∼67% -14%
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1260P
20364 Points ∼58% -26%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1594 - 64697, n=105, last 2 years)
17694 Points ∼50% -36%
low med. high ultra
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 60 28 25 21
Total War: Three Kingdoms (2019) 88.6 46.3 26.3 15.9
Borderlands 3 (2019) 53.1 34.2 23.8 16.4

Emissions and Power Management

Noise Emissions

The more expensive MacBook Air M2 is, of course, also passively cooled, so it remains completely silent during operation. We were also unable to detect any other electronic noises.

Temperatures

Since the passive cooling is identical in both models, there are also no real differences in the surface temperatures. There are no problems during everyday operation anyway, and even under high loads, Apple has a good handle on the case temperatures, so you can still run the MacBook Air M2 on top of your lap without any concerns.

Max. Load
 43.5 °C
110 F
44.7 °C
112 F
39.5 °C
103 F
 
 40.4 °C
105 F
40.7 °C
105 F
36.2 °C
97 F
 
 34.9 °C
95 F
31.3 °C
88 F
33.3 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 44.7 °C = 112 F
Average: 38.3 °C = 101 F
41.5 °C
107 F
44.6 °C
112 F
42.8 °C
109 F
38.7 °C
102 F
41.7 °C
107 F
40.2 °C
104 F
33.6 °C
92 F
35.1 °C
95 F
34.6 °C
94 F
Maximum: 44.6 °C = 112 F
Average: 39.2 °C = 103 F
Power Supply (max.)  44.1 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 20.4 °C = 69 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.3 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 30.7 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Subnotebook.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44.7 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.4 to 59 °C for the class Subnotebook.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44.6 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 39.5 °C / 103 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.9 °C / 77 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 37.9 °C / 100 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.1 °C / 95.2 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.3 °C / 82.9 F (-6.8 °C / -12.3 F).
Surface temperatures - top (stress test)
Surface temperatures - top (stress test)
Surface temperatures - bottom (stress test)
Surface temperatures - bottom (stress test)
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
Apple M2, Apple M2 8-Core GPU
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
Apple M2, Apple M2 10-Core GPU
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Apple M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple M1 Pro 14-Core GPU
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, AMD Radeon 680M
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Intel Core i7-1260P, Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
Heat
3%
1%
3%
-12%
-7%
Maximum Upper Side *
44.7
44.5
-0%
45.1
-1%
46.8
-5%
47.9
-7%
41.1
8%
Maximum Bottom *
44.6
44.4
-0%
43
4%
40.9
8%
56.1
-26%
48.8
-9%
Idle Upper Side *
25.1
23.9
5%
25.2
-0%
24.2
4%
26.8
-7%
28
-12%
Idle Bottom *
25.3
23.6
7%
25.4
-0%
24.2
4%
27.3
-8%
29.3
-16%

* ... smaller is better

Stress Test

During our stress test, we see basically the same behavior as in the basic model. In the beginning, the M2 is allowed to briefly consume about 33 watts, before the consumption drops rapidly to finally also level out more quickly at a slightly lower package power of less than 9 watts. This is also easy to see in the chart below, which compares the package power, CPU power, and GPU power of the two MacBook Air M2 models in our stress test with each other.

051015202530Tooltip
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test Package Power: Ø10.4 (8.57-33.115)
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test Package Power: Ø11.7 (8.755-31.792)
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test CPU Power: Ø4.04 (3.269-17.596)
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test CPU Power: Ø4.94 (3.508-18.952)
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test GPU Power: Ø4.28 (3.27-13.289)
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z; Cinebench R23 Multi + 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test GPU Power: Ø4.93 (3.505-11.119)

However, it is also the case here that the performance is completely sufficient for everyday tasks, and that the MacBook Air M2 was simply not designed for constant load. Those who want to access the full performance of the M2 constantly will not be able to avoid the actively cooled MacBook Pro 13 M2.

Stress test initially
Stress test initially
Stress test at the end
Stress test at the end

Speakers

We already saw in the test of the basic model that the new speaker system of the MacBook Air M2 is again very good but doesn't represent a significant improvement compared to the previous MacBook Air M1. The MacBook Pro 14 with the additional modules is again better here and is only surpassed by the even larger MacBook Pro 16.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2027.828.52528.427.53122.324.34027.9315022.128.86321.524.78018.132.710016.950.712518.556.91601851.920016.456.925015.56031514.365.340012.968.650012.270.963011.969.280011.567.1100011.868.2125011.167.9160011.369.3200011.571250011.671.6315012.172.4400012.671.9500012.471.6630012.972.1800013.169.41000012.771.71250012.872.11600013.660.8SPL24.482.7N0.658.3median 12.7median 69.2Delta1.35.630.235.431.734.925.834.932.236.927.535.924.544.323.154.723.365.121.966.320.164.521.566.818.869.817.671.914.972.613.770.91473.611.273.711.171.610.772.312.272.411.273.511.674.511.775.7127312.273.812.469.712.568.212.667.112.563.911.968.524.884.90.668.3median 12.5median 71.62.33hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseApple MacBook Air M2 10C GPUApple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (1.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (8.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 5%, average was 18%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(+) | good bass - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | bass is linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (1.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (4.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 0% similar, 99% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 17%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 0% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 100% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Power Consumption

In our measurements during idle operation, the more expensive version of the MacBook Air M2 consumes slightly more power than the basic version. Here, the differences between the chips might play a role, but our test unit also has more storage/RAM modules that also require power. As soon as you put a heavier load on the MacBook, you will then again see clearly that the 35-Watt charger is the limiting factor. Using a 100-Watt charger, we were able to see a maximum power consumption of slightly higher than 55 watts and afterwards also of ~38 watts for some time. 

Maximum power consumption is higher than 55 watts
Maximum power consumption is higher than 55 watts
The new 35-Watt charger isn't any larger than the regular 30-Watt model
The new 35-Watt charger isn't any larger than the regular 30-Watt model

In the more-expensive models of the MacBook Air M2, the new dual USB-C charger is also included. This should be completely sufficient for most users, and the second USB-C connection can also be helpful in many situations. Optionally (and at no additional cost), you can also switch to the more powerful 67-Watt charger, which has a positive effect particularly on the recharging time, since the new MacBook Air M2 will then also support faster charging.

Charging time with the device on, idle, Wi-Fi on, brightness 150 cd/m²
30% 50% 80% 90% 100%
30-Watt charger 41 minutes 69 minutes 111 minutes 126 minutes 147 minutes
35-Watt charger 34 minutes 57 minutes 92 minutes 108 minutes 122 minutes
100-Watt charger 17 minutes 28 minutes 51 minutes 66 minutes 85 minutes
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.16 / 0.32 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.9 / 9.6 / 9.7 Watt
Load midlight 32.4 / 35.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2 10-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP1024Z
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, M1 Pro 8-Core, Apple SSD AP0512
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Radeon 680M, R7 6800U, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1260P, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
Power Consumption
8%
-2%
-55%
-44%
-87%
Idle Minimum *
1.9
1.87
2%
1.77
7%
2.9
-53%
4.8
-153%
7
-268%
Idle Average *
9.6
9.2
4%
6.7
30%
11.6
-21%
8.7
9%
11
-15%
Idle Maximum *
9.7
9.3
4%
6.9
29%
11.9
-23%
10.1
-4%
11.4
-18%
Load Average *
32.4
28.5
12%
30.9
5%
49.5
-53%
45.6
-41%
59.7
-84%
Witcher 3 ultra *
30.8
27.4
11%
38.9
-26%
58.2
-89%
42.4
-38%
49.4
-60%
Load Maximum *
35.7
31
13%
56
-57%
68.5
-92%
49.5
-39%
63
-76%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption The Witcher 3 / Stress Test

05101520253035Tooltip
; Witcher 3 ultra: Ø30.8 (23.2-35.2)
; 1280x720 Prime95 28.10 and Furmark 1.25: Ø30.5 (23.7-35.8)

Power Consumption With External Monitor

051015202530Tooltip
; Cinebench R23 Single (external Monitor): Ø9.13 (8.7-10.1)
; Cinebench R23 Multi (external Monitor): Ø24.9 (22.3-29.1)
; 1920x1080 The Witcher 3 ultra (external Monitor): Ø22.8 (17-32.9)
; Idle 1min (external Monitor): Ø2.13 (2.1-2.28)

Battery Life

Due to the slightly higher power consumption, the measured battery life also turns out slightly worse than was the case with the basic model. However, the runtimes in the WLAN test and when playing videos are still very good if the display brightness is adjusted to 150 cd/m². At full brightness, the battery life is significantly shorter. 

The comparison with the MacBook Pro 14 is interesting again here, since although the runtime is about one hour shorter at 150 cd/m², the MacBook Pro 14 lasts even slightly longer when adjusted to the full SDR brightness (which is comparable to that of the new MacBook Air M2). While the new Air M2 doesn't quite last for a full 6 hours in the WLAN test, the MacBook Pro 14 is able to last for 6.5 hours. 

Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing (Safari 15.6)
14h 44min
WiFi Websurfing max. Brightness (Safari 15.6)
5h 58min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
15h 46min
Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU
M2, M2 10-Core GPU, 52.6 Wh
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2, M2 8-Core GPU, 52.6 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 M2
M2, M2 10-Core GPU, 58.2 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 14 2021 M1 Pro Entry
M1 Pro 8-Core, M1 Pro 14-Core GPU, 69.9 Wh
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
R7 6800U, Radeon 680M, 67 Wh
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 4K
i7-1260P, Iris Xe G7 96EUs, 55 Wh
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Battery Runtime
4%
26%
-7%
-21%
-42%
-30%
H.264
946
989
5%
1153
22%
900
-5%
912
-4%
657
-31%
713 ?(263 - 1153, n=46, last 2 years)
-25%
WiFi v1.3
884
910
3%
1144
29%
816
-8%
550
-38%
414
-53%
581 ?(258 - 1223, n=109, last 2 years)
-34%

Pros

+ slim, high-quality case
+ good input devices
+ silent operation
+ brighter display with P3 and no PWM
+ very good speakers
+ long battery life at 150 Nits
+ good system performance
+ MagSafe

Cons

- neither Thunderbolt 4, nor Wi-Fi 6 at 160 MHz, only single external display supported
- less efficient than the M1 SoC
- only PCIe 3.0 SSD
- charger is too weak
- significant performance reduction under high load
- high entry-level price and expensive upgrades

Verdict - The upgrades make the MacBook Air M2 too expensive

Apple MacBook Air M2 in review. Test unit provided by Apple Germany.
Apple MacBook Air M2 in review. Test unit provided by Apple Germany.

After we already tested the basic version of the new MacBook Air M2 extensively, now the upgrades are only able to impress us to a limited extent. Because of the speed problems with the new 256-GB drives, particularly the larger and faster SSD will probably make most sense for consumers. However, we still have to hold it against Apple that this is a PCIe 3.0 connection instead of a faster PCIe 4.0 drive, despite the hefty additional cost. In addition, we think that the basic version for 1,499 Euros (~$1,545) should already be equipped with a 512 GB SSD. The upgrade to more working memory might also make sense, particularly if you often use third-party software (such as Google Chrome with a bunch of open tabs) or emulated software.

On the other hand, the faster GPU is completely pointless in our opinion. Functionally, there is no difference to the basic model, and the performance advantage already shrinks considerably after a few minutes, so that while gaming, for example, there is no significant advantage compared to the 8-core GPU anymore. Although there is an advantage of about 20% in short benchmarks, this doesn't make much of a difference in practice, since the faster GPU also has to throttle faster due to the higher power consumption. Those who want to take advantage of the full graphics performance of the M2 on a constant basis are forced to choose the MacBook Pro 13 M2 with the active cooling. 

The additional premium for the faster 10-core GPU in the new MacBook Air M2 isn't worth it. Even though the upgrades for the RAM and SSD are very expensive as is typical for Apple, particularly the SSD upgrade to at least 512 GB is definitely worth a recommendation. If you then also upgrade the working memory, you end up in the price range of the significantly more powerful and better-equipped MacBook Pro 14.

However, the largest problem of the new MacBook Air M2 with the upgrades is the price, since the MacBook Air M2 is currently slightly more expensive than a comparably-equipped MacBook Pro 14 (starting from ~1,950 Euros (~$2,010) with 16 GB RAM and 512-GB SSD), although that offers many advantages (more connections, significantly higher performance, Mini-LED panel with high HDR brightness, better speakers). The footprint of the new Air M2 is not that much smaller (the new Air is also bested by the Asus ZenBook S 13 and Dell XPS 13 Plus competitors here). The only two real advantages are the significantly slimmer case and the weight being around 400 grams (~0.9 lb.) lighter. So those who don't necessarily need the lightest MacBook and are willing to pay around 2,000 Euros (~$2,061) are perhaps better served with the MacBook Pro 14.

But all that doesn't change the fact that the more-expensive version of the MacBook Air M2 also works extremely well in everyday operation and is also simply a very good subnotebook. While you can definitely debate the price-performance ratio, this doesn't play any role in the evaluation of the device qualities.

Price and Availability

The MacBook Air M2 can be configured in the Apple Store and has a price starting from $1,199. Our test configuration is available for $1,899. Amazon also lists a version for $1,499.

Apple MacBook Air M2 10C GPU - 08/11/2022 v7
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
89 / 98 → 90%
Keyboard
91%
Pointing Device
100%