MacBook Air 2022 vs. MacBook Air 2020: Is the switch worth it?

MacBook Air 2022 vs. MacBook Air 2020: Is the switch worth it?

Apple presented the new MacBook Air 2022 with M2 chipset at WWDC 2022. In addition to the stronger chipset, the new model scores with a refreshed design and the return of the MagSafe charging port, among other things. But is it worth switching from the MacBook Air 2020 to the MacBook Air 2022?

Design: More compact, lighter, thinner

The characteristic aluminum unibody case is also included in the new one MacBook Air 2022 to use. However, Apple has completely redeveloped the design with a view to the new M2 chipset: the new model is only 11.3 millimeters thin and weighs just 1.2 kilograms – around 500 grams lighter than its predecessor.


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Apple has reduced the volume by around 20 percent overall, making the new MacBook Air with M2 even more compact. However, unlike the MacBook Pro, Apple has retained the quiet, fanless design. In addition to silver and space gray, the MacBook Air 2022 is also available in the colors midnight and polar star.

Other features include the Magic Keyboard with function keys and Touch ID fingerprint recognition, as well as the large trackpad for operation.

Conclusion: The MacBook Air has always stood for an equally thin and light notebook – with the MacBook Air 2022, Apple has managed to make the design even more compact.

Macbook Air M1 2020 MacBook Air M2 2022
13.3″ retina display 13.6″ Liquid Retina display
Apple M1 chip Apple M2 chip
8 core CPU 8 core CPU
7-core GPU Up to 10‑core GPU
Up to 16GB of shared memory Up to 24GB of shared memory
2 TB Maximum storage configuration 2 TB Maximum storage configuration
Up to 18 hours of battery life Up to 18 hours of battery life
720p FaceTime HD camera 1080p FaceTime HD camera
Ring of three microphones, stereo speakers Ring of three microphones, 4‑speaker system with 3D audio

Display: More diagonal, more brightness

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The Liquid Retina display achieves 25 percent higher brightness than its predecessor – and is also 0.3 inches larger.

Image: © Apple 2022

While the MacBook Air 2020 has a retina display, Apple relies on a liquid retina display for the new model. This is 25 percent brighter than its predecessor, with a maximum brightness of 500 nits. In addition, the screen diagonal increases slightly from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches, which is achieved, among other things, by Apple reducing the screen edges. The menu bar moves around the top of the camera and the previous display frame is eliminated. The result: more space for your content.

Conclusion: A higher brightness and a slightly larger display diagonal are welcome, otherwise the innovations in the display are not groundbreaking.

Performance: More power for your tasks

m2
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The M2 promises an 18 percent faster CPU and a 35 percent stronger GPU compared to the M1.

Image: © Apple 2022

Performance is arguably what sets both generations apart the most – the move from the M1 to the all-new M2. The heart of the new M2 chipset is its 8-core CPU with advances in both the performance and efficiency cores. Apple has also improved the integrated graphics unit, the GPU. Up to ten cores are now possible, two more than with the M1. Games in particular benefit from this, but so do demanding applications such as video editing.

m1 vs m2
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Apple has manufactured the M2 in the improved 5-nanometer process – with 25 percent more transistors, which, among other things, provide more memory bandwidth.

Image: © Apple 2022

There are also improvements in the memory bandwidth, which is up to 100 GB/s on the M2 and allows a maximum of 24 GB of shared RAM. For comparison: The MacBook Air M1 ended with 16 GB of RAM. With the new MacBook Air 2022 you can process even more demanding workloads.

You can edit complex video tracks in Final Cut Pro much faster thanks to the almost 40 percent higher performance. If you are still using a MacBook without an Apple silicon chip, the performance is around 15 times higher, according to Apple.

Conclusion: The higher performance is probably the most important reason for switching to the new model. The M1 is still easily sufficient for everyday office tasks. However, anyone who regularly performs demanding tasks such as video editing will appreciate the performance of the M2. However, the first independent benchmark results are still pending.

Camera: Video calls finally in Full HD

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The camera in the new MacBook Air has better video quality thanks to 1080p resolution.

Image: © Apple 2022

Apple has significantly improved the resolution of the camera: Instead of 720p, it now has a resolution of 1,080p – which produces a much sharper picture for video calls. A larger sensor and more efficient pixels ensure good quality even in low light conditions, which is further optimized in conjunction with the better image signal processor in the M2.

And with the macOS Ventura update this fall, you’ll even be able to use your iPhone as a webcam to take advantage of more features like follow mode, which keeps your face in focus.

Conclusion: If you make a lot of video calls, you will be grateful for the better quality of the integrated camera. The upgrade to Full HD was, however, and that much is true, years overdue.

Ports and battery life: The comeback of MagSafe

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MagSafe ensures safe charging.

Image: © Apple 2022

Here’s an old acquaintance returning – the MagSafe charging port. While the predecessor was powered by Thunderbolt, the new model uses the magnetic charging connector that was installed in MacBooks many years ago. This provides additional protection: once the cable is plugged in, it will come loose immediately if it is accidentally pulled. This radically minimizes the risk of falls and thus serious damage.

The battery life is a maximum of 18 hours – no improvement compared to the predecessor. Two Thunderbolt ports and a 3.5 mm jack for headphones complete the equipment.

Conclusion: The MagSafe connector makes charging safer. Unfortunately, the battery life of the new model cannot quite keep up with the previous version.

Conclusion: Is it worth switching from the MacBook Air 2020 to the MacBook Air 2022?

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Compared to the M1, the M2 scores above all with significantly higher graphics power.

Image: © Apple 2022

Apple has given the new MacBook Air a more compact design, slightly increased the screen diagonal, integrated a better camera, reintroduced MagSafe and – above all – significantly improved the performance. The new M2 chipset has an 18 percent faster CPU, but above all a 35 percent stronger GPU – which is particularly beneficial for graphics-intensive tasks.

Games benefit from this, as does complex video editing with many different tracks. Anyone who uses the MacBook Air for such activities should consider switching – even if the first benchmarks are still pending. Even those who frequently make video calls and don’t want to use an external webcam will appreciate the new Full HD camera.

The MacBook Air with the M1 chip is definitely sufficient for activities such as office tasks, surfing the net or for entertainment purposes. Image editing and simple video editing is still effortlessly possible. If you are still using a MacBook with an Intel processor, you can switch to the new model without hesitation. You will immediately notice the better and, above all, more energy-efficient performance in everyday life.


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