Introducing the MacBook Air 15 2023—a game-changer in the MacBook lineup. Apple has responded to the needs of power-hungry users who previously had to choose between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros by unveiling this all-new size option. With the introduction of the 15-inch MacBook Air, Apple has restored balance to the MacBook range, providing users with a powerful yet portable machine.
Building upon the success of the previous year’s 13-inch model, Apple has incorporated several standout features into the 15-inch MacBook Air. The redesigned chassis brings a sleek and modern aesthetic to the laptop, complemented by the beloved MagSafe charging port, which offers a secure and convenient way to power up your device. Additionally, the inclusion of a 1080p webcam ensures high-quality video calls and content creation.
One of the standout features of the 15-inch MacBook Air is its large 15.3-inch screen. This spacious display provides an immersive viewing experience, whether you’re working on graphic-intensive tasks, editing videos, or simply enjoying multimedia content. Despite the larger screen size, Apple has managed to maintain the MacBook Air’s signature thin and lightweight design, making it highly portable and easy to carry.
The base configuration of the 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299, offering a great value for those seeking a powerful and versatile laptop. However, for users with more demanding needs, there is an option to customize and upgrade the specifications. Maxing out the model with extra RAM and ample built-in storage can push the price up to $2,499. It’s worth noting that these higher-end configurations may not be necessary for the majority of users, as the base model provides ample performance for everyday tasks and even some demanding workloads.
|MacBook Air 15-inch (2023)
|340 x 212 x 15.6mm
|Midnight, Silver, Space Gray, Starlight
|up to hours 18
|Apple M2 (8-core)
|Integrated 10-core GPU
|8GB unified memory
|256GB and 512GB SDD
|15.3-inch, 2880 x 1864 Liquid Retina display,
|500 nits brightness, wide color P3 gamut
|2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3
|Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
|1080p FaceTime HD webcam
MacBook Air 1 2023: Design
The MacBook Air 15 2023 is essentially a larger version of its 13-inch sibling, and Apple has smartly retained the design language that fans have come to appreciate. The laptop features a flat, uniform chassis with flat edges, maintaining the sleek and minimalist look that has become synonymous with the MacBook Air lineup.
Despite its increased size, the MacBook Air 15 remains impressively thin and light, measuring 34 x 23.7 x 1.15 cm and weighing just 1.51 kg. This makes it one of the thinnest and lightest laptops in its category, ensuring easy portability without compromising on screen real estate.
The machined aluminum chassis not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also contributes to the laptop’s overall sturdiness and durability. The smooth finish enhances the tactile experience, making the MacBook Air 15 a pleasure to hold and use. The Midnight color option adds a touch of sophistication and adds a slightly aggressive tone to the laptop’s appearance.
The laptop’s hinge is robust and well-designed, allowing for easy one-handed opening and closing of the lid. The hinge glides smoothly, and you won’t experience any wobbling when moving the laptop. Additionally, the build quality is excellent, with no creaking sounds from the hinge, ensuring a premium user experience.
In terms of connectivity, the MacBook Air 15 offers a headphone jack and two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. These versatile ports support various functions, including charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, and USB 3.1 Gen 2. Notably, Apple has reintroduced the MagSafe charging port, which uses a magnetic connection to prevent accidental disconnections if the cable is pulled.
On the right side of the laptop, you’ll find a headphone jack, providing convenience for users who prefer wired headphones or need an alternative when their wireless headphones run out of battery.
An important feature worth mentioning is the MacBook Air 15’s passive cooling system, which means it operates without fans. This design choice eliminates fan noise and allows the laptop to be comfortably placed on your lap without concerns of overheating. The absence of fans contributes to a quieter and potentially more comfortable user experience, particularly during extended periods of use.
The MacBook Air 15 2023 stands out with its impressive 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display, which serves as its main selling point. This large screen offers a native resolution of 2,880 x 1,864, delivering sharp and vibrant visuals that enhance various activities such as video streaming, web browsing, and photo editing.
When tested with a colorimeter, the MacBook Air 15 produced excellent color reproduction. It covered 111.4% of the sRGB color spectrum, ensuring rich and accurate colors, and achieved 78.9% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color gamut. While 100% coverage is considered the most accurate, these results indicate that the laptop’s display is capable of rendering a wide range of colors with precision.
In terms of color accuracy, the MacBook Air 15 achieved an impressive Delta-E score of 0.17 (where 0 represents the best accuracy). Comparatively, its 13-inch counterpart scored slightly higher at 0.22. These scores indicate that the laptop’s display produces highly accurate and true-to-life colors, making it suitable for tasks that require color precision, such as photo editing or graphic design.
The MacBook Air’s display can reach fairly high brightness levels, particularly when viewing HDR content. It achieved up to 479 nits of brightness when displaying HDR content on 10% of the screen and 480 nits for the entire display. While these values are slightly lower than those of the 13-inch model, which came close to 500 nits of HDR brightness, they still ensure a bright and vivid viewing experience. For non-HDR content, the panel averaged a brightness of 473 nits, further enhancing visibility in various lighting conditions.
With its larger display, the MacBook Air 15 offers a significant advantage when it comes to multitasking. The extra screen real estate makes it more convenient to utilize Split View, allowing users to work with multiple applications simultaneously. This feature is particularly beneficial for professionals or individuals who require efficient multitasking capabilities.
One notable addition to the MacBook Air 15 is the controversial notch, borrowed from iPhones. However, due to its relatively small size in comparison to the entire screen, many users find it unobtrusive and not bothersome at all. The notch does not significantly impact the overall viewing experience and, in fact, allows for more efficient use of the available screen space.
Keyboard and touchpad
The MacBook Air 15 2023 features a spacious and highly responsive keyboard, which quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the laptop. The keys offer a satisfying tactile feedback with a snappy feel, striking a balance between key travel distance and responsiveness. I found myself typing at a near-speed comparable to that of top-tier mechanical keyboards, highlighting the efficiency and comfort of the MacBook Air’s keyboard.
Another notable aspect of the laptop is its generously sized trackpad, measuring approximately 15 by 9 centimeters. While some may find the size slightly exaggerated, I appreciate the additional space it provides. Having a larger trackpad makes executing gestures like swiping and pinch-to-zoom effortless and intuitive. The ample surface area allows for precise cursor control and smooth navigation throughout the operating system and applications.
Despite the increased size of the trackpad, I didn’t encounter any accidental touches or interference while typing. The MacBook Air’s palm rejection technology effectively distinguishes between intentional trackpad input and inadvertent contact during typing sessions. This feature ensures a seamless user experience, as it eliminates the need to constantly readjust hand positioning to avoid accidental cursor movements.
The entry-level configuration of the MacBook Air 15 2023 is equipped with the Apple M2 chip, which features an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, along with 8GB of Unified Memory (RAM) and 256GB of SSD storage. However, if you require more memory and storage space, there are upgrade options available. The maximum configuration allows for up to 24GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage. It’s worth noting that all configurations feature the same M2 chip with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, ensuring consistent performance across the lineup.
In terms of benchmark performance, the 15-inch MacBook Air achieves impressive results. In the Geekbench 5 test, which measures overall processor performance, the laptop scores 1908 in the single-core test and 8932 in the multi-core test. These scores are nearly identical to those achieved by the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, both equipped with the same M2 chip with 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores.
The MacBook Air 15 also performs well on the PugetBench Photoshop test, which evaluates a system’s efficiency in applying various adjustments and filters to high-resolution photographs using scripts. The laptop achieves a score of 866, showcasing its capabilities in image editing tasks.
Overall, the performance of the MacBook Air 15 is excellent. It offers a noticeable improvement in raw performance compared to the previous generation M1 MacBook Air, delivering enhanced performance for day-to-day tasks, gaming, and image editing. The fanless operation of the MacBook Air provides a peaceful and quiet user experience, although the fans in the latest MacBook Pro models rarely need to kick in.
Switching between apps and tasks on the MacBook Air 15 is smooth and fluid, and optimized apps for Apple Silicon further enhance the user experience. Applications like Adobe Photoshop run efficiently and seamlessly on this machine, utilizing its power while maintaining a good balance with battery life. For most everyday tasks, the MacBook Air 15 is more than capable, and unless you require intensive video editing, it can handle most workloads without breaking a sweat.
In summary, the MacBook Air 15 2023 with a configuration of 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage offers excellent performance for general day-to-day tasks, gaming, and image editing. It delivers impressive benchmark scores and showcases a seamless experience when running optimized applications.
Speakers and Battery
The MacBook Air 15 2023 also comes with an audio upgrade compared to its smaller counterpart. It features six speakers, two more than the smaller model, resulting in an enhanced audio experience. To test the difference, I compared the audio capabilities of the MacBook Air 15 with my own MacBook with the M1 chip by playing a few songs from Apple Music. Surprisingly, even at a distance of about two meters, both laptops produced a similar volume level of around 69-70 dB. However, the new MacBook Air 15 delivered noticeably better sound quality in every aspect. The highs, mids, and lows were all improved, resulting in a more immersive and enjoyable audio experience.
In terms of battery capacity, the MacBook Air 15 is equipped with a larger 66.5 Wh battery compared to the smaller model. Despite the increased battery capacity, the declared working time remains the same. This is likely due to the higher energy demand generated by the larger display of the 15-inch MacBook Air.
While the battery life may not be extended, users can still expect reliable performance from the MacBook Air 15 throughout their work or entertainment sessions, thanks to the larger battery capacity.
MacBook Air 15 2023: Conclusion
The MacBook Air 15 2023 is a welcome addition to Apple’s MacBook lineup, offering a larger display size without compromising on the thin and lightweight design that the MacBook Air is known for. With its 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display, the laptop provides a vibrant and immersive visual experience, making it well-suited for tasks such as watching videos, web browsing, and photo editing.
The MacBook Air 15 2023 is an excellent choice for those seeking a larger display without compromising portability. It combines powerful performance, a stunning display, impressive audio capabilities, and a premium design, making it a versatile and reliable companion for a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re a creative professional, a student, or an everyday user, the MacBook Air 15 offers a compelling package that balances power, convenience, and style.