With the launch of their own processors, Apple made a strong statement in terms of efficiency for portable devices. With the second generation, they entered the market with an even stronger commitment to their ecosystem. Today, we review the refurbished Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) and show you a very simple way to save a considerable amount of money when purchasing one of the brand’s devices. As we’ll see throughout this review, Apple is selling refurbished devices that are actually new, but at a much more competitive price.
Technical Specifications of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2)
Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2)
100% recycled aluminum alloy chassis
Colors: Silver, Star White, Space Grey, Midnight
8-core CPU: 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
16-core Neural Engine
100 GB/s memory bandwidth
8 GB unified memory
Configurable with 16/24 GB
256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB SSD
13.6-inch Liquid Retina IPS
Resolution: 2,560 x 1,664 (224 PPI)
macOS Ventura (upgradeable to Sonoma)
2 Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 ports up to 40 Gb/s (DP, Charging)
Expanded stereo four-speaker system
3.5mm TRS jack for headphones
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
1080p FaceTime HD camera
Backlit Magic Keyboard (79 keys)
Force Touch trackpad
Ambient light sensor
Up to 18 hours of Apple TV video playback
Up to 16 hours of wireless web browsing
52.6 Whr lithium polymer battery
35W dual USB-C power adapter
USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable
304.1 x 215 x 21.5 mm
Sealed packaging and plastic-wrapped accessories
We begin the review of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) with a neutral cardboard box, which we open to find a big surprise. Inside, we find the original product box completely wrapped in plastic, the first indication that the product is actually new.
There is no indication anywhere that it is refurbished, which further supports this claim.
Inside the box, we find the laptop protected by a sheet of paper on the first level to avoid any damage.
Meanwhile, on the second level, we find the accessories neatly organized and sealed with plastic and cardboard.
It is worth noting that this model includes a 35W dual USB-C transformer, which highlights the efficiency of its processor. Additionally, it includes a USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable, Apple’s proprietary connector for charging their devices that attaches magnetically to the laptop.
Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2), refurbished or new?
We continue the review of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) by focusing on its design, after first checking that it is in impeccable condition. It shows no signs of wear and has no marks, proving that it is indeed a completely new unit and not refurbished as it is being sold.
In front of us, we have a 13.6-inch laptop built on a 100% recycled aluminum alloy chassis, which is theoretically available in Silver, Star White, Space Gray, and Midnight colors, although there is less variety in “refurbished” models.
21.5 mm in thickness and weighing only 1.24 kg
With a thickness of just 21.5 mm and surface dimensions of 304.1 x 215 mm, the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) is an ultra-portable laptop that is easy to carry everywhere, especially considering it weighs just 1.24 kg.
A unique feature of this model is its passive cooling system, meaning the chassis itself must act as a heat sink to expel heat generated by its components, without any fans inside.
Connectivity and peripherals
Focusing the review of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) on its connectivity, we must take a look at both sides of the device to find it.
On the left side, we find the MagSafe 3 power connector, which, as we mentioned before, is magnetic and does not require inserting the plug. Next to it are two Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 ports up to 40 Gb/s, which also allow charging and DisplayPort video output.
On the right side, there is only a 3.5mm jack for connecting headphones. The chassis also features an expanded stereo four-speaker system compatible with Dolby Atmos, as well as Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity.
Switching to a different area entirely, this laptop has a backlit Magic Keyboard with 79 keys, without a numeric keypad. It does feature a Force Touch trackpad and Touch ID, which is a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button.
At the top of the screen, in a slightly unattractive notch inherited from the iPhone, is a 1080p FaceTime HD camera for video conferencing.
Liquid Retina IPS Display of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2)
We now focus the review on the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2)’s 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display. Specifically, we find an IPS panel with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,664 pixels and a refresh rate of 60 Hz, offering a maximum brightness of 500 nits. With a 224 PPI ratio, it provides excellent definition, vivid colors, and good contrast.
Apple MacBook Air 13’s M2 Processor
The Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) features the Apple M2 processor, which is evident from the model name. We’re looking at the second iteration of the company’s proprietary processor, consisting of an 8-core CPU divided into 4 performance cores (3.48 GHz) and 4 efficiency cores (2.4 GHz). These are accompanied by an 8/10-core GPU (1,398 MHz) and a 16-core Neural Engine, along with 8/16/24 GB of unified LPDDR5X RAM, reaching a bandwidth of 100 GB/s. This combination would place it in the mid-range in the Intel or AMD processor market based on these specifications alone. However, it doesn’t offer the same performance as high-end PCs but focuses more on maintaining high efficiency for extending battery life in laptops. Additionally, it comes with a 256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB SSD as the storage unit, which can only be expanded externally.
Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) Performance Tests
For the performance tests in the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) review, we first updated the operating system to macOS Sonoma since it comes with the Ventura version out of the box.
We conducted a performance test on the processor with Cinebench 2024, an application that allows us to evaluate its rendering power. As we can see in the graph above, the Apple M2 chip delivers similar performance to Intel’s low-power processors, ranking just below the entry-level Core i5 processors.
Similarly, with Geekbench, we analyze the processor’s computing power and find that it performs similarly to the previous test.
A detail to consider is that while the 512 GB SSD and the 1/2 TB models offer good performance, comparable to PCIe 3.0 x4 units, the 256 GB models reduce their performance by approximately half. This is due to having only a single memory chip, which significantly hampers working with large data sets.
The gaming focus of the M2 processor is quite limited, as evidenced by the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme benchmark score of 6,739 points and 40.4 FPS. Considering an RTX 4060 scores around 20,000 points, there is a significant performance gap.
However, the selection of available games is quite limited, as we noticed when accessing the Steam or Epic Games library. Among the current compatible titles, Baldur’s Gate 3 stands out, which could run at a default resolution of 1,470 x 918 pixels with minimum graphics settings and FSR assistance but would not provide an enjoyable gaming experience at that level.
We can also play titles like Shadow of Tomb Raider at around 30 FPS in 1080p and around 60 FPS in 720p resolution. Given the game’s age, it’s evident that the performance is not outstanding for these purposes either.
Temperatures, Noise, and Battery Life
The Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) features a passive cooling system, meaning no fan is installed to help dissipate the heat generated by its components, particularly the Apple M2 processor. As a result, it’s completely silent, but temperatures can be problematic if the device is pushed too hard.
In practice, we noticed the central area of the keyboard heating up during stress tests or gaming, but the base gets even hotter. However, during everyday tasks or multimedia playback, the laptop hardly warms up and isn’t uncomfortable in this regard.
The Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) offers exceptional battery life, exceeding 10 hours of use in regular tasks. It’s true that battery life decreases more rapidly during intensive tasks such as stress tests. However, that’s not the typical use case for this type of laptop. It takes approximately two and a half hours to recharge the battery using the included 30W charger, although there is an official 67W model that significantly reduces charging time.
We conclude the review of the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) noting that it is an ultra-compact laptop, highly portable and practical for everyday use. The power of its Apple M2 processor is more than sufficient for conventional tasks and for editing and non-demanding work, but it’s not enough for rendering or playing modern games. This processor focuses more on efficiency, allowing the MacBook Air 13 (M2) to easily achieve over 10 hours of battery life.
The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display is noteworthy, providing excellent image definition and vibrant colors. The sound system and storage options, including up to 2 TB of SSD, are also impressive. However, connectivity is limited, with only two USB4 ports and Wi-Fi 6, missing a traditional USB port or a more modern wireless connection.
The best part about this laptop is that it can be purchased at a more appealing price than the official one (starting from €1,300) if bought refurbished, at around €1,100. In reality, the only significant difference between the refurbished and new models is the refurbished one’s one-year warranty. Despite this, it’s not a budget-friendly option for a laptop that isn’t known for its power but rather for its excellent portability and nearly flawless design, except for the notch on its screen.
Excellent design and finish
Potential savings by purchasing it “refurbished”
Ultra-portable device weighing only 1.24 kg
Great efficiency, battery life over 10 hours
Two USB4 / TB3 ports
Great efficiency, battery life over 10 hours
Passive cooling, no noise
High price for its performance
Limited connectivity, no USB-A or HDMI
Perfect for design, multimedia, and office tasks
Backlit Magic Board keyboard
1080p FaceTime HD camera
We award the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2) laptop with a Gold Medal from El Chapuzas Informático.