In 2012, I Went into an Apple store and bought a MacBook for college with all the money I made from my summer job. With my budget under $1,000, I was tasked with finding the perfect laptop for a soon-to-be journalism student. A clerk pointed me at the 11-inch MacBook Air and said, “It’s light! It’s portable! It’s perfect for writing stories on the go!” He was right. It took me through four years of coursework, internships and a college dissertation.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious every time I saw another student carrying a MacBook with me ProI’ve always felt like I’ve gotten used to the Air — sacrificing some features I think I need for portability. But ten years later, I feel completely different.The new 2022 MacBook Air actually offers more Than the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, including a sleek new design, a bigger and brighter display, MagSafe support (yes, it’s back!) and a 1080p webcam.
With these upgrades, prices inevitably go up. The base MacBook Air now starts at $1,199 (you can still get the 2020 M1 MacBook Air for $999). It’s still not a MacBook Pro with better port selection and more raw power, but after all these years, the Air is still light and portable, perfect for writing stories on the go.
A breath of fresh air
Gone are the days of the iconic wedge-shaped design on the MacBook Air. The new model now has the same boxy chassis as the latest high-end MacBook Pro models, which in my opinion makes it look more refined.but it is a lot of lighter. At only 2.7 pounds, I tend to lift it with too much force, as I’m not used to carrying such a light machine around. (It’s also thinner and lighter than the 2020 MacBook Air!)
It might have a similar look, but sadly you won’t get the same connectivity upgrades. The new MacBook Air only has two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a MagSafe port for charging. (No HDMI or SD card slot.) As someone who primarily uses the MacBook for writing, email, video calls, and Netflix, the lack of ports didn’t bother me, but it would have been nice.
If you’re using an older Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll probably like the new monitor best. kinda. It’s still an LCD panel stuck at 60 Hz, but Apple bumped up the brightness a bit, and I had zero problems reading the screen when I was working outside in the backyard. The screen size has also changed from 13.3 inches to 13.6 inches, thanks to narrower bezels around the display. It sounds like a small improvement, but I noticed (and appreciated) the larger real estate. Annoyingly, this MacBook still only connects to one external monitor (the same goes for the M1 MacBook Air). Not good if you want the benefits of a multi-screen setup.
Like on the 14-inch MacBook Pro, there’s a notch at the top center of the screen that houses the 1080p webcam, but it didn’t bother me. You can hide it with a dark background and it will also disappear when your app is in fullscreen mode. If the notch is the reason Apple finally upgrades the webcam, I’m all for it. It ended up being 1080p, so I looked sharper on video calls, although I noticed Apple added a skin smoothing effect.