Apple has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge modern technology and the latest to enter the tech arena is the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch. Many (including us) were hoping to get a larger screen on a portable MacBook Air and Apple heard us by bringing out the 15-inch version of the notebook in 2023. We spent over two weeks with the laptop to know its ins and outs and this is our Apple MacBook Air 15-inch review you should not miss.
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Apple MacBook Air 15-inch Review: Design and Display
Right out of the box, the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch screams for attention. It comes in eco-friendly packaging and the notebook is made up of 100 per cent recycled aluminium and other elements inside. Available in multiple colours, we got our hands on the golden Starlight version, which is stunning to look at.
Engineers at Apple have kept the design uncluttered and the fanless structure looks superb. In fact, the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch has six speakers, hidden behind the solid aluminium frame (yes, there are no speaker meshes) and yet the audio is very loud and audible. But more on that later.
Talking a little bit more about the design, you get to see a shining Apple logo on the top lid, which can be opened with just one hand. Inside you get the 15-inch Liquid Retina (LCD) display (with 2,880×1,864 pixels resolution), which has a peak brightness of 500 nits. This might seem low on paper but when working it does not seem low. Truthfully, we worked on the machine while commuting and not once did we feel that the colours on the screen were washed out. The webcam is placed above the screen in a cut-out, which supports 1080p FHD resolution.
The bottom part of the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch has a large backlit keyboard, similar in size to that of the 13-inch version but with a larger trackpad. This is great for professionals on the go who do a lot of mouse/trackpad editing and less typing. This notebook is just 1.15 cm thick, which makes it one of the slimmest in the world. This means you cannot have the larger ports such as HDMI, but you do get a 3.5mm audio port on one side and the other side has two Thunderbolt/USB Type-C as well as the MagSafe 3 charging ports.
The display experience of the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch was out of this world. We played a lot of things in the new notebook. These included hours of Apple TV+, Netflix, YouTube videos and even video games. Not once did this machine flinch, hour on hour it delivered, and we loved it. The hues of the screen, thanks to the P3 wide colour gamut that supports 1 billion colours, are vivid and lively. The blacks are super deep, and you get pure joy when watching fast-paced action movies and even sports. The text displayed is crisp and the smooth scrolling of social feeds and websites is a delight.
Sound played an equally important role with the display and the six-speaker hidden setup, which consists of two tweeters and two sets of force-cancelling woofers, were a treat to the ears. Simply put the sound is out of this world and astonishes you at every step. No matter what you are doing on the new Apple MacBook Air 15-inch, the sound will never disappoint. It is great for movies, sports, video/audio editing and even games, so much so that you do not need to put the headphones on while eliminating the enemy in your favourite game. The Dolby Atmos-supported six-speaker setup is good enough.
Apple MacBook Air 15-inch Review: Performance
So, let’s quickly get the tech specs out of the way before we deep-dive into the performance of the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch. The light yet powerful machine packs in the Apple M2 chipset, which has an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. The one we were testing has 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage, but higher configurations with up to 1TB storage and 24 gigs of RAM are also available. WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 are also part of the package.
The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is a beast when it comes to everyday use. No matter what we threw at it (including the bathroom tub), the notebook kept taking and performing without breaking a sweat. It is built for people who want top-notch performance in a portable form factor. You can easily edit videos in 4K in FCP and edit extra-large images in Photoshop. Rendering is also up to 2.5x faster when compared to any Intel-based Core i7 13th gen processor, which we loved.
The best part, the device does not heat up; though Apple is tight-lipped on how they manage to keep the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch cool. They must be using a good amount of cooling components inside, yet the laptop is not heavy. At 1.5kg the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is very portable. It easily got into our laptop bag and was less of a burden on our shoulders as compared to the 2.4kg Windows beast we carry every day.
The typing and everyday working experience of the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is also great. We typed a lot of documents on this notebook and made a few Excel sheets and we were quite happy with the experience. Yes, you do need to get used to the MacOS experience when coming from a Windows laptop, but in a day or two, everything feels like home.
Talking about which, this laptop comes with MacOS Ventura out of the box and all the next OS upgrades will not cost you a penny. There are a lot of good things happening in the operating system as well. For example, with Universal Control you can control the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch and an iPad with a single keyboard and mouse.
You can even use the iPad as a second screen using the sidecar feature. Over that, you can airdrop files, images or documents from the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch to any other Mac, iPad and even the iPhone that is in close proximity. And yes, iCloud works seamlessly here too, and you can store images and contacts or access them with ease.
For ease of use a fingerprint sensor is also provided in the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch on the power button, so that you do not have to type the password every time to open it. To test the machine further we ran CineBench on it and it scored 7,449 points on the multi-core benchmark. This is much better than the latest AMDs or Intel CPUs.
Now coming to another important factor, its battery life. The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch sports a 66.5watt-hour lithium polymer battery which can be charged with the supplied 35w charger. Apple claims that it can last up to 18 hours (movie playback). The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch on our tests, which included watching movies, playing games, and working from morning till evening, the battery lasted for 14 hours.
So yes, we did a mix of things, and the WiFi was on at all times, which makes the 14 hours incredible. Even if the battery had lasted for 10 hours, we would have been happy as there are very few competing machines that can give this much of battery life. Apple does know how to finetune the battery life of its laptops, and the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is no exception.
We were hoping with the larger form factor the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch will fetch another Thunderbolt or at least 1 USB port, which is missing. But apart from that, this notebook kept amazing us at every step. At a starting price of Rs 1,34,900, Apple has priced it fairly. Students can get additional discount on it, too. All in all, the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is a great portable laptop for any type of use.
Apple MacBook Air 15-inch Pros
Apple MacBook Air 15-inch Cons
Few more USB ports would have been a boon
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