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The MacBook Air is more petite and less powerful than its bigger sibling, the MacBook Pro. But just because the MacBook Air is small doesn't mean it's not mighty. And this year's MacBook Air is larger and beefed up when compared to its 2022 predecessor -- which ended up taking the top spot for ZDNET's Product of the Year.
There are a few significant differences between last year's Air and this year's, so let's break them down.
The base model of the 13-inch MacBook Air is now $200 cheaper than the 15-inch MacBook Air, while still offering most of the same functions and capabilities. Both laptops run on Apple's M2 chip and have almost identical specs. If you've been eyeing the 13-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip, and don't mind the smaller size, now may be the best time to pull the trigger.
The 13-inch Air offers just as desirable specs, such as MagSafe charging, seamless connectivity to other Apple devices, and Spatial Audio support. Just stay away from purchasing this laptop in the color Midnight. You'll never rid it of fingerprint residue, trust me.
2. You want the most portable MacBook
The MacBook Air is a great option for students and users who are always on the go. The 13-inch Air, at 2.7 pounds, is thinner, lighter, and smaller than the 15-inch Air (3.3 lbs), making it perfectly sized to fit in a backpack that's crammed with textbooks and binders.
3. Don't require as much computing power
The 15-inch MacBook Air, on paper, offers greater GPU performance than the 13-inch Air, but if you don't heavily game or run video-editing software, we've found the latter to be more than competent. For streaming YouTube, casually surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and answering emails, the 13-inch Air is more than enough.
1. Need a major (and larger) upgrade to your laptop
If you currently own a Macbook Air (or Pro) that's several years old, then the 15-inch Air may be worth the leap. That's especially true if you're willing to spend an extra $200 for a larger screen and better speakers.
With enhanced graphics and better interoperability with your other Apple devices, a MacBook Air that runs Apple's M2 chip offers a streamlined and highly integrated experience within your personal Apple ecosystem.
2. Value a large screen that's surprisingly portable
If the 13-inch Air is a tad too small, the extra two inches on the 2023 MacBook should make a difference for you. The 15-inch MacBook Air offers a larger display but stays true to the Air's sleek and lightweight design, giving a surprisingly lightweight impression for the size.
And if you frequently find yourself needing more space for browsing, tab management, or consuming content, then the 15-inch display offers a greater viewing experience and listening experience (thanks to the six speakers instead of four).
It's also important to note that while this year's MacBook Air has a larger display, increased pixel resolution, and a little more computing power, Apple has still omitted an internal fan in order to keep the form factor thin and lightweight. We'll have to see how it fares with controlling its temperature in the full review.