apple Last week it announced the 15-inch MacBook Air. It hits store shelves Tuesday and costs $1,299 for the base model or up to $2,499 with the upgraded RAM and storage.

The MacBook Air has come in 11-inch and 13-inch versions in the past, but this is the first time that it has a 15-inch screen, which is the most common size for a laptop. It could seriously boost Mac sales, which have been declining for the past two quarters.

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If you’ve upgraded your laptop or PC in the past two years — as hundreds of millions of people have done during the pandemic — that new model isn’t worth the upgrade. But if you hold up and need a new laptop, the 15-inch MacBook Air hits the sweet spot for most people in terms of price, capacity, and portability.

It’s probably the best laptop for most people if you love macOS and plan to use it for everyday tasks like writing documents and spreadsheets, going to school, or using the Internet.

Fast food:


  • Battery life is great.
  • The big screen is better for doing work on the road.
  • It’s thin and light enough that it’s barely noticeable in a backpack, despite the larger size.

You do not like:

  • The midnight finish is a fingerprint and smudge magnet.
  • The speakers are tucked into the computer hinge near the screen, and they’re only okay.
  • Many people don’t mind an Apple degree. I always notice this on a laptop.

Worth upgrading to a 512GB hard disk

The 15-inch MacBook Air is a solid-feeling, extremely capable computer with a battery that lasts so long you’ll never have to think about it: it lasts a full day and only needs an overnight charge.

It’s fast, it can handle what feels like infinite windows and applications at the same time, and it has almost all the software I need to use. Some applications, such as the FactSet financial database I use at work, do not have Mac versions. But the Mac supports the original Microsoft Office and Google Chrome, as well as Apple’s own built-in alternatives, iWork and Safari, which cover many people’s basic needs.

The extra screen size makes a difference compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air. It’s easier to put two documents side by side at the same time. Not only is the physical screen larger, but it has a resolution of 2880 x 1864, higher than the 13-inch model, which means you can fit more on the screen.

M2 MacBook Air 13-inch (Silver) vs. M2 MacBook Air 15-inch (Dark Blue).

Bassem Leswing/CNBC

There isn’t much of a portability trade-off from the extra screen size in my experience, mainly because it’s so thin. The 15-inch MacBook Air fits easily into a backpack or briefcase, and I didn’t really notice the extra 3.3 pounds of weight while commuting with it on public transit.

While $1,299 is somewhat expensive for a laptop, it’s a value in Apple’s lineup, especially for people who want a bigger screen. The 15-inch screen is now the second-largest display Apple offers in a laptop, behind the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $2,499 and has plenty of features most people don’t need, like a more powerful processor, fans, and slots for camera cards. external.

However, I think most people will want more storage and have to upgrade to 512GB of hard drive space, which brings the price to $1,499.

Even games, which aren’t a primary focus for Apple, are pretty good on the Mac. While there are no new titles like Diablo 4 available yet, a large portion of my Steam library is running on PC, including titles like Civilization 6 and Stardew Valley.

On the 15-inch MacBook Air, there are only two USB-C ports, but I don’t mind—lately, I’ve found myself using USB-A accessories a lot less. More expensive MacBook Pro models come with HDMI ports for connecting directly to TVs and monitors.

Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air has been slashed to $1,099, making it a good deal for people who aren’t interested in a larger screen, or people who plan to use it primarily while connected to a monitor. However, I don’t think a smaller laptop is more portable—both are light enough to stay in your bag and be forgotten about.

The two sizes of MacBook Air have most of the same components, including similar M2 processors, which are currently Apple’s latest offering for low-power laptops and tablets. Apple has now moved on from Intel processors completely.

Apple also overhauled keyboards, and they now come with deep, clicky keys that are a pleasure to type on. There’s no more “Touch Bar,” replaced by handy physical function keys that give one-button access to brightness, volume, and play/pause. Apple’s screens and webcams look great, and they’re usable even in broad daylight — though many models, including the 15-inch MacBook Air, come with a cutout at the top, like on the iPhone, which you might find distracting.

Overall, the 15-inch MacBook Air is one of Apple’s first laptops since the M-series transition to its higher price point, and it’s a great option for people who want an everyday laptop. It should be especially attractive to people who haven’t upgraded recently.


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