Back to the lap - the 2022 Macbook air

August 16, 2022

2022 Macbook air, midnight colour 2022 Macbook air, midnight colour

It is Monday evening. The battery is down to 29%.

I think I last charged it on Thursday.

Come to think of it, it may have been Wednesday.

It is nice to have a modern laptop with a fresh battery.

In many ways, this is my least exciting Mac purchase ever.

It is neither the smallest and ligthest laptop, nor the most powerful machine. It does not give me any truly exciting new abilities.

But it is, in every single way, incredibly nice. And it restores the laptop abilities I lost as the battery of the 12-inch Macbook began its final nose-dive. I spent more than a year, perhaps even approaching two, without a non-work laptop and overall got by quite well. But I did realize that there were quite a few times in the average day when I could and wanted to do computer-type tasks but did not want to or was not able to retreat to the computing cave of my office. Again, unexciting. So unexciting that I almost felt bad spending the money. My Mac mini can do all this and more, and with more screen real estate to boot.

Looks and feels

No fingerprints on the Macbook air … yet No fingerprints on the Macbook air … yet

This was the last time I saw this machine without fingerprints.

I got the midnight colour option knowing full well what an incredible fingerprint magnet it is. But there was no other option, the other colours were just too … familiar. I was one of those people who had been hoping for and dreaming about Imac-like popping colours, but all I got to pick was what at least stood out from the rest a little bit. The shift in colour depending on light people talk about is completely true. Right now it looks space gray, sometimes it really looks deep blue, other times it makes me think it is black.

The physical dimensions are unimpressive for someone used to the old 11-inch Air and then the 12-inch Macbook.

2022 Macbook air on top of 2021 Macbook pro 14-inch 2022 Macbook air on top of 2021 Macbook pro 14-inch

It is smaller in width and depth than my 14-inch work Macbook pro, but only slightly, and the look is just as solid. The weight and thickness are fortunately a different story, the Air is significantly easier to lift and carry around than the Macbook pro. It will not make an airplane tray table feel almost adequate the way the 11-inch did, but I guess the extra screen and battery space is worth something too.

The screen is large enough to not immediately feel cramped, but one does run out of space quickly. I find myself switching between the scaling modes regularly. The "true 2x" scaling mode, one step down from the default setting, is wonderful for reading or writing when I do not need to keep more things close at hand. And the "More space" mode, one step above the default, is nice for podcast editing and other multi-window activities.

I of course had to try the 1x mode. 2560x1664 is … pretty darn small. But yeah, I could see myself doing some podcast editing this way too. I did on the Macbook once in a while. Horizontal space is nice for long waveforms.

Keyboard: great. The layout is still embedded in my fingers despite years now working on my personal layouts and small, clicky, split keyboards.

No fan: big fan. Had there been one, I might actually have held off my purchase until a fanless machine was released.

Space in the menu bar does run out at lower resolutions. Not a serious problems, but I have had menu bar items disappear under application menu options more than once.

Oh, and all the hype about 256 GB of storage being slower did stress me into getting 512 GB instead. I was a bit annoyed about this, until I realized my Mini also has 512 GB and was using up right around half of it. Meaning migrating from one machine to the other would have been a tight fit at best had I gone 256. I forgave my own annoyance and went on with my life, but I also think I will do some cleaning out of stuff.

Modern migration

The experience of copying my setup from the Mac mini to the new Air was perhaps the most surprising pleasure so far. I ran Migration assistant, as usual, but this was the first time I had the opportunity of running it over Thunderbolt. I do not know how long the transfer took, because it was finished by the time I had finished dinner and came back down to check the progress. Nothing beats a speedy wired connection.

Other observations

The new two-port power adapter is a definite sparker of joy.

The power plug with two USB-C ports The power plug with two USB-C ports

I have not even named the machine yet. Shame on me.