I headed to Brussels recently to conduct an experiment with the iPad mini.

Could Apple’s tiniest tablet serve me well as my only computing device?

Spoiler: it performed brilliantly. So brilliantly, in fact, that I’m tempted to take it with me as my only device for future trips where I don’t need to edit video or record audio (check out the video to find out why).

However, despite the iPad mini’s admirable performance in the Belgian capital, I did occasionally miss my Mac. This was inevitable for someone who has never left the country without a MacBook residing in his carry-on luggage – it is not a slight on the iPad mini at all.

But it’s the version of the Mac I missed which I think tells the biggest story.

It wasn’t my 16-inch MacBook Pro (I value my back) and it wasn’t even the 14-inch MacBook Pro which I’ve fallen in love with recently.

Nope, it was the M2 MacBook Air which, in my humble opinion, remains the laptop king.

Confession time

I’ve noted in the past that I’m very careful with my tech during the first few months of ownership – even if these devices are ostensibly tools for my business.

The M2 MacBook Air felt like something I really needed to be careful with when it first arrived. As I noted at the time, it felt thin enough to be bendable, and the Midnight finish looked like it would pick up just as many dings and scratches as it would smudges.

So began my usual routine with a new MacBook. I bought a case, immediately (I still highly recommend the Inateck Hard Shell). Every time I placed the MacBook Air on any surface, I did so as gently as possible. I only ever left it naked and unattended if I knew, categorically, that I could spot anyone attempting to place something on its lid (and eject them immediately from the room and my life thereafter).

However, things change – they always do with me and tech. After a while, I stop caring quite so much. Stuff gets chucked around a bit more, I occasionally ‘forget’ to place devices in their protective cases, and I even leave them completely unattended in the most precarious of positions.

After less than a year of ownership, I’ve reached that stage with the M2 MacBook Air, and you know what? It’s as good as the day I bought it (even that clicking sound instigated by my son attempting to eat it has disappeared).

The M2 MacBook Air continues the trend of being a tough little beast, which is confirmed by the sheer number of old versions you still see knocking around in coffee shops.

The least cumbersome laptop ever

I gushed recently about the ‘sling-ability’ of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. For the uninitiated, this refers to the joy of slapping the MacBook Pro lid shut, wedging the laptop safely between your inner arm and body, and wandering around like you own the place. Which you probably do.

However, one thing you can’t do particularly comfortably with the 14-inch MacBook Pro is holding it with just your forefinger and thumb. You can do this with the M2 MacBook Air. It’s a feature passed down through generations of MacBook Airs and it’s never not ultimately satisfying.

If you’ve got one of these laptops, try it.

No matter how daft this might sound, it does highlight how joyous the MacBook Air is when it comes to portability. The M2 version has somehow stepped this up another gear; you barely know it’s there.

Buy the right spec and it flies

Last year, I took the M2 MacBook Air with me to London. During that trip, I had to undertake some last-minute video editing on that computer.

It failed, miserably.

In fact, it was such a poor effort on the M2 MacBook Air’s behalf that I had to give up. It just couldn’t handle the 10-bit 4K footage I was attempting to edit in Final Cut Pro.

I’m still disappointed by this, given that the same-specced M1 version has no such trouble with the same footage. But it’s common knowledge that there are some inherent issues with the M2 chip; it was clearly a stop-gap for Apple while they figured out the 3-nanometer process required for its next generation of silicon.

This isn’t good enough, and I’m not in any way apologising for it on Apple’s behalf, but we are where we are. This means that, unlike the M1, the M2 chip needs thorough consideration when speccing up your machine.

However, if you buy the right spec, it will absolutely fly; Apple silicon is still wonderfully performant and power efficient.

The good news is that choosing the right spec for your M2 MacBook Air is super simple. If you’re only going to use it for admin, email, and ‘normal’ computer duties, the base spec is still a great purchase. If you need it for anything more than that, get the 16GB version and at least 512GB of storage.


Wait for the M3 MacBook Air or buy now?

Beyond the iGoggles Pro Max Ultra Etc, the most consistent Apple rumour we’ve been treated to in 2023 is the anticipated launch of an updated MacBook Air.

This, we’re told, will come in two forms. The first will be an identical-looking version with an M3 chip, and the second a brand-new 15-inch variant.

Suggestions that the latter might ever see the light of day could be utter tosh (the announcement of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the iPad and the complete lack of any rumours leading up to it reveals just how wary we should be of the Gurmanator’s ramblings) but it’s only a matter of time before the M3 chip makes its way into the current form factor.

But that’s the point; no one knows how long that timeframe is and, even if it arrives next week, most people aren’t going to spot the difference when it comes to performance.

This is particularly the case for the MacBook Air crowd. Most people buy this laptop for its portability and do-it-all capabilities. As noted above, if you buy the right spec, it’ll do you proud.

As I always say, if you need one of these laptops now – just buy it. Waiting on Apple to do something is a fool’s game.

Wrap up

I hereby confirm that I believe the M2 MacBook Air to be the king of Laptop Land.

If you disagree, fight me in the comments.

The only remaining – and, arguably, most important – question is: when will I start adding stickers to mine?

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