The MacBook Air now comes in a bigger model. Apple introduced the 15-inch MacBook Air or the MacBook Air 15-inch during its Worldwide Developers Conference held on 5 June 2023 alongside the Apple M2 Ultra, Apple Vision Pro, the macOS 14 Sonoma, and the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. This new device has the same hardware specifications as the 13-inch MacBook Air M2 that was released in 2022 but it now features a bigger form factor because of its 15.3-inch LED-backlit display.
Pros of MacBook Air 15-Inch: Reasons Why You Should Buy
The Apple M2 system-on-a-chip remains one of the main selling points of this device. It is faster and better than the previous generation of MacBook Air running on the Apple M1 chip. The performance is still similar to the smaller 13-inch MacBook Air M2. However, aside from this central hardware component, another one of its biggest selling points is its bigger screen. The MacBook Air 15-inch features a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display based on the in-plane switching LCD technology.
Below are the advantages, selling points, and reasons why you should buy this device:
• Processing Capabilities: The Apple M2 chip used in this device has the same 8-core CPU and 16-core Neural Engine as the previous Apple M1 chip but it now has a 10-core GPU. General processing is about 18 percent faster while graphics processing is more than 35 percent faster than the M1. The Neural Engine is based on a second-generation process node. This makes it about 40 percent faster in accelerating artificial intelligence or machine learning tasks than the Apple M1.
• Bigger and Bright Display: Another advantage of the MacBook Air 15-inch is its bigger Liquid Retina Display that measures 15.3 inches diagonally. It has a native resolution of 2880×1864 at 224 pixels per inch with support for 1 billion colors and P3 Wide Color. Brightness peaks at 500 nits. The display also supports True Tone technology which uses advanced multichannel sensors to adjust the color and intensity of the display to match the ambient light so that images appear more natural.
• Improved Overall Audio: The smaller MacBook Air M2 has a three-microphone array with directional beamforming and a four-speaker sound system. This bigger device has the same microphone array but now has a six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers that produce louder and rounder sound. The sound system supports Spatial Audio when playing music or video with Dolby Atmos on built-in speakers and Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking when using AirPods.
• Longer Battery Performance: Another reason to buy the MacBook Air 15-inch is its battery performance. It can last on a single full charge for around 15 hours to 18 hours of average use based on test results. Heavier workloads like prolonged photo editing and video editing would make the battery last around 10 hours to 12 hours. Take note that its battery performance is the same as the smaller MacBook Air M2 and it has been considered decent enough for on-the-go and mobile users.
• Other Notable Features: The 1080p camera is similar to the camera modules used in smaller M2-powered MacBook Air, the 14-inch MacBook Pro, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It is sharper and produres better color and contrast. This device is also equipped with a Touch ID for biometrics security, a larger Force Touch trackpad, and a keyboard similar to the 14-inch Pro. The form factor also dropped the tapered shape design of the previous MacBook Air models for a flatter and edgier design.
Cons of MacBook Air 15-Inch: Reasons Why You Should Not Buy
The MacBook Air remains one of the best-selling products of Apple because it is an entry-level device to the specific ecosystem of Mac computers and the overall Apple product ecosystem. It is the most affordable MacBook in the entire Mac portfolio. However, because of this designation, and true to the product strategy of Apple, the entire line and the specific MacBook Air 15-inch M2 has notable limitations. Some of these drawbacks become obvious when compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Below are the disadvantages or issues and limitations, and reasons why you should not buy this device:
• Bigger and Heavier: This device maintains the appeal of the smaller MacBook Air. It is one of the thinnest laptops on the market. However, considering that it is a 15-inch device, it is bigger. This defeats the portability of the MacBook Air sub-brand. It might not be suitable for people who travel a lot or moves around. The extra inch might not fit certain laptop bags and backpacks. It can also be straining to carry it around because it is bigger and a bit heavier than its smaller sibling.
• Possible Heating Issues: Another main disadvantage of the MacBook Air 15-inch is the absence of cooling fans or other active cooling management solutions. It uses thermal pads to dissipate heat but it lacks vents or exhaust. The Apple M2 chip can generate too much heat and the entire system can throttle under intense workloads, prolonged periods of above-average usage, or when used in a hot and humid environment. This can be a deal breaker for power uses and in certain use cases.
• Limited Connectivity: This device comes with a MagSafe port for safer and faster charging. This power input also frees up the USB C port. The connectivity ports are limited to 2 Thunderbolt USB-C 4 ports and a 3mm audio jack. There is no dedicated HDMI port. It also only supports a single external monitor. Take note that its smaller sibling has the same number of ports. Some would say that this device should feature more connectivity ports because it is bigger and more expensive.
• Expensive Pricing: Premium pricing is another drawback. The base model with 256GB of storage retails for USD 1299.00 while the 512GB model retails for USD 1499.00. These price tags are similar to the 256GB model and 512GB models of the M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro. The smaller MacBook Air M2 has a price tag of USD 1099.00 for the base 256GB model and USD 1399.00 for the 512GB model. Certain users might be better off purchasing the smaller Air or the Pro.
Summary and Takeaway: Pros and Cons of the MacBook Air 15-Inch
The Apple M2 chip remains the best selling point of the MacBook Air 15-inch. However, because of the absence of an active heat management system, the capabilities of this device cannot be maximized to the fullest extent.
It is also arguably expensive for a device that is meant to be used for day-to-day computing. Remember that the lack of fans or other cooling solutions means that it cannot be used for high-performance gaming or extensive graphics design and video editing.
Some might find the large Super Retina Display appealing. The large screen means that there is more area to work on. This is ideal for multitaskers or those who want to use their laptops for entertainment like casual gaming or video streaming.