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15-inch MacBook Air M2 (2023) review: The best gets bigger

Now you don't need to spend $4,000 to get a large-screen Apple laptop. 

15-inch MacBook Air
15-inch Apple MacBook Air with M2
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Size
15-inch
Processor
M2
Storage
At least 256GB
RAM
At least 8GB
Alex Choros
Jul 10, 2023
Icon Time To Read3 min read

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Quick verdict: 15-inch MacBook Air (2023)

The 15-inch MacBook Air takes last year's MacBook Air refresh and makes it bigger. It's a simple yet excellent laptop that finally gives Apple a somewhat affordable large-screen MacBook. 

pro
Pros
pro Excellent battery life
pro Still very light
pro Surprisingly great speakers
con
Cons
con Not upgradeable
con No full-size USB port

The 15-inch MacBook Air is a very simple product. It takes the best MacBook for most, and makes it bigger. It’s a surefire recipe for success. You get the benefit of a larger screen with everything else that was great about Apple’s M2 MacBook Air refresh.

Of course, this means you also get the same trade-offs, but fortunately, those are largely quite minor.

15-inch MacBook Air

How much does the 15-inch MacBook Air cost?

The 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $2,199 for a configuration with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. If you want to upgrade to 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage, you’re looking at $2,799. A maxed-out configuration with 24GB of memory and 2TB of storage will set you back $3,999.

15-inch MacBook Air

What I like about the 15-inch MacBook Air

The 15-inch screen genuinely makes a difference. It’s much more comfortable running two apps side-by-side on the new MacBook Air. I used to think 13-inch was my ideal laptop size, but as laptops have gotten lighter and bezels smaller, I’ve found myself drawn to the versatility of a larger display. And yes, while the 15-inch MacBook Air still has a notch, it’s one of those things you don’t really notice when you’re actually working on the machine.

It's still light. The 15-inch MacBook Air weighs in at 1.5kg, making it only 250g heavier than the 13-inch model. This also makes it far more pleasant to lug around in a bag pack than the 2.1kg 16-inch MacBook Pro - Apple’s only other large-screen laptop. And despite the larger size, the 15-inch MacBook Air is comfortable enough to use in-flight on an economy tray table.

The battery is amazing. Apple is kidding about being able to get up to 18 hours per charge. The 15-inch MacBook Air lasts forever; you shouldn’t ever need to charge it during a single workday. If you opt for the 70W charger when ordering the computer, you can take the 15-inch MacBook Air from flat to 50% in around 35 minutes. The 70W fast charger doesn’t cost extra compared to the default in-the-box charger, you just lose the second USB-C port on it.

Very snappy performance. Even a year after the chip was first launched, the M2 processor powering the 15-inch MacBook Air feels as zippy as ever. The laptop just flies when it comes to day-to-day tasks, and it still more than holds its own when it comes to activities like video editing - even if it’s not Apple’s workhorse.

Great speakers. On top of a larger screen, Apple also improved the speakers in the 15-inch MacBook Air. There are get six, compared to the four in the 13-inch model, and they genuinely sound great. You get a fuller sound than you’d expect for a laptop this thin, with the one shortcoming being recessed sub-bass.

15-inch MacBook Air

What I dislike about the 15-inch MacBook Air

Not user upgradeable. As is the case with every recent Mac, you can’t upgrade the 15-inch MacBook Air down the line - you’re stuck with the configuration you get when you buy it. While the 15-inch MacBook Air is available with 8GB of memory, I’d definitely opt for 16GB at a minimum.

When I tested last year’s 13-inch model with 8GB of memory, I experienced a bit of slowdown if I kept demanding apps open for too long. I haven’t had this experience with my 16GB 15-inch MacBook Air. I’d probably also opt for 512GB of storage for the sake of future-proofing.

Limited ports. While the MacBook Pro and Mac Studio have got a few extra ports these days, you’re still limited to just two USB-C ports and a MagSafe connector on the MacBook Air. That’s probably enough for most, but a single full-size USB-C port and an SD card reader would be appreciated.

It can only output to a single external display. While only being able to use a single external display with the 15-inch MacBook Air is fine for most, it’s a limitation worth being aware of.

Is the 15-inch MacBook Air worth it?

15-inch MacBook Air

The 15-inch MacBook Air is a very happy middle ground that will suit a lot of people. It’s a light, powerful machine with a generous screen that’s a lot more affordable than opting for a $3,999 16-inch MacBook Pro. Even if you upgrade the memory and storage, you’re still saving a considerable amount compared to Apple’s other large-screen laptop.

While I’d struggle to pick between the 15-inch MacBook Air and the 16-inch Pro, it’s great that there’s now a large MacBook in Apple’s line-up that caters to those who just want a larger screen without the added performance or features the 16-inch MacBook Pro offers.

Alex Choros
Written by
Alex Choros
Alex Choros is the Group Reviews Editor for Clearlink Australia's local websites - Reviews.org, Safewise, and WhistleOut - and the Managing Editor for WhistleOut Australia. He's been writing about consumer technology for over eight years and is an expert on the Australian telco sector, to the point where he knows far too many phone and internet plans by heart. He also contributes to Gizmodo and Lifehacker, and makes regular appearances on 2GB. Outside of tech, Alex loves long hikes, red wine, and death metal.

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