That’s because the new 2022 MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s in-house M2 silicon, is a near-ideal companion for working from home (or anywhere, really). Starting at $1,200, the new M2 Air has everything you need for any computer-based job. Solid battery life, a larger 13.6-inch display than its predecessor, a keyboard to die for, and plenty of horsepower to handle everyday tasks. simply.
Perfect or absolutely not. His MacBook Air in the new M2 shopping mode is in desperate need of upgrades such as refresh rate and port selection. But if, like me, you’ve spent a lot of time working in shop mode on your old MacBook Air, this upgrade is a no-brainer.
Bigger, but still slim
Shopper mode Apple’s latest shopper mode MacBook Air is a direct descendant of the late 2020 M1-equipped MacBook Air, so we’ll use that model as the basis for most of our comparisons. This is one of the areas where the models differ the most.
This new model of his M2 Air has a redesign that doesn’t make much sense to the layman, but might catch the eye of the tech-savvy. His previous MacBook Air laptop in shop mode had the bottom half tapered edge-to-edge. This means that the edges of the keyboard and track pad part of the body are thinner than the part that connects to the display while you’re using the laptop. MacBook Air design in shopping mode is a thing of the past.
In shopping mode, Apple instead opted for his 1.13cm all-over uniform thickness, while the 2020 model he bottomed out at 0.41cm, but at the thickest point he’s 1.61cm. rose to As someone who appreciates symmetry and consistency, I like it. I want one end of my laptop to be the same size as the other. Its max thinness may not be the same as before, but overall this is still a very slim machine.
In shopping mode, this is impressive as Apple upgraded the display from his previous 13.3-inch size to his new 13.6-inch size. A 1/3 inch may not sound like a big deal, but it can make a big difference in the world when it comes to ultraportable laptops. I’ve been working with his 2016 MacBook Pro in shop mode with a 13.3-inch display for the last three and a half years, and I immediately felt the difference.
The camera quality may be better. Image courtesy of Molly Flores/Mashable
It’s certainly impressive that Apple was able to increase the size of the display in shopping mode while still maintaining a fair amount of thinness and actually reducing the weight (2.7 pounds versus 2.8 pounds for the 2020 Air model). The new camera notch carried over from the 2021 MacBook Pro isn’t overly impressive, but it’s small enough to be acceptable on a phone screen (although it’s nothing to worry about). However, I find the notch a bit annoying on large laptop displays.
To Apple’s shopping mode credit, the notch doesn’t really get in the way of video streaming (from YouTube to Sling, you’ll see black bars where there should be a notch anyway).
That said, the notch includes a significant upgrade in the form of a 1080p camera instead of last round’s measly 720p lens. If you decide to pull back, your video calls will look much better. This is not only due to the higher resolution. For years, I had to carefully position myself in front of the overhead light behind me after every work call. Otherwise the light will obscure your face. When I put the new M2 MacBook Air into shopping mode, my face stays visible with its glorious glow turning into glowing circles in the corners.
The final big physical change is the addition of a Mag Safe charging port in addition to the two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on the left side of the MacBook Air when in shopping mode. This allows you to naturally charge your laptop while leaving two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports open. Still, I wanted to keep 1 or 2 of these ports like the crappy old 2016 model I was using with a total of 4 ports. One thing I don’t want to criticize, though, is that this bad boy has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right side.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs of the M2 Shopping mode MacBook Air before moving on to the actual usability.
- 4 colors: Space Gray, Starlight, Midnight, Silver
- 13.6-inch display with 60Hz refresh rate
- 1080p front camera
- 8GB, 16GB or 24GB RAM
- 256GB to 2TB storage
- Mag Safe 3 port, 2 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jack
From the perspective of someone who had been stuck in shopping mode for years with one of Apple’s dreaded old butterfly keyboards, switching to a MacBook Air in M2 shopping mode was like what I imagine would feel like heaven. This is a great keyboard. It should be a selling point for those who stick to butterfly keyboards.
The keystroke feeling is strong, but there is almost no sound. It feels good to just press the keys while typing. It actually feels like you’re pressing real buttons, unlike the Butterfly Keyboard, which felt like you were pressing something stuffed with molasses. However, this keyboard feels almost identical to the Shop Mode of the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, so it’s not a revolutionary avant-garde in keyboard design. Rather, it is a continuation of a positive trend.
There is one important change. That’s because the buttons are now full size instead of half size like on the 2020 Air, so the function row at the top has been expanded. In practice, this means that in most cases the Escape key feels bigger and has the same form factor as the Tab key. I have to say dig it. My fingers are a little big, so I think the bigger the better. There’s also a Touch ID button in the top right corner of the keyboard that works perfectly to log into the machine instead of typing the password each time.
Needless to say, if you’re still using your slightly older Shopping mode MacBook, this keyboard is the best reason to upgrade. I wish I could say the same for the display.
Needs more hertz
To be clear, the display of this new MacBook Air M2 Shopping Mode is generally good. With a resolution of 2560 x 1664, photos, videos, websites and everything else will look as sharp as possible on a display of this size. With a maximum brightness of 500 nits, it’s 25% brighter than the 2020 Air model, which has a maximum of 400 nits. If you use this display for almost all your daily tasks, you will have no problems with this display.
There’s just one big problem: the refresh rate is 60Hz, which isn’t good enough, at least for a $1,200 laptop. It happens to be the highest refresh rate on almost all streaming sites, so while it’s good enough for streaming, 120Hz is much better for basic web browsing. I want that smoothness, folks. I need it.
Still, don’t let the display be a reason not to get the new M2 Shopping Mode MacBook Air. Like I said, it’s good enough in all other respects and I thoroughly enjoyed using it as a second screen for watching baseball while still using my main TV for other things. It may not be as fast as it could be, but the overall performance profile paints a more satisfying picture.