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Apple Macbook Air 15 M2 2023

Apple MacBook Air 15″ (M2, 2023)

We put the Apple MacBook Air 15″ (M2, 2023) through our rigorous DXOMARK Laptop test suite to measure its camera, display, and audio performance. In this review, we will break down how it fared in a variety of tests and several common use cases.

Overview


Key specifications include (as given by the manufacturer):

  • Physical specs: 1.15 mm x 23.76 mm x 34.04mm; 1.5 kg
  • Display: 15.3-inch,  2880 x 1864, IPS Glossy
  • Audio: six speakers, three microphones
  • Webcam: 1080p, Facetime HD

Scoring

Use-case and feature subscores included in the calculations of the global score

Apple Macbook Air 15 M2 2023
Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)
135
camera
91

93

48

50

66

76

83

Best

140
display
81

84

71

156

70

156

141
audio
145

149

119

133

106

153

Pros

  • In Video Call, the camera provides a great level of detail in most conditions and a very good control of visual noise in well-exposed scenes
  • Audio capture features good tonal balance and audio playback provides warm, realistic and intelligible voices
  • In Music & Video, the display has great HDR video rendering with wide gamut, accurate EOTF and appropriate brightness
  • New six-speaker system features excellent dynamics with sharp attack, precise impacts and strong punch, as well as faithful and pleasant tonal balance

Cons

  • In Video Call, mono-only audio capture impairs intelligibility in stereo-capable situations
  • Duplex handling issues; voices impaired by gating
  • Webcam’s color and skin-tone rendering occasionally can slightly lack saturation and appear a bit dull
  • SDR video playback lacks some color saturation and contrast

The Apple MacBook Air 15” (M2, 2023) reaches second place overall in our Laptop ranking thus far and consolidates Apple’s position at  the top of our ranking with an excellent overall performance that highlights the brand’s particular focus on experience and quality. Apple has a streamlined MacBook product line so the models that are released benefit from gradual overall improvements.

In terms of the Camera, the MacBook Air’s performance matched the level of the MacBook Pro, with both devices holding the current top score in camera. The camera provides great levels of detail during video calls in most conditions and a very good control of visual noise in well-exposed scenes. That said, the webcam’s rendering of color and skin tones could sometimes lack saturation and appear a bit dull.

The performance of the bigger display was very close to that of the MacBook Air 13”. Where we saw an improved performance was in Audio, particularly in the the Music & Video results, thanks to its six speakers, an addition of two speakers over its predecessor.

Test summary

About DXOMARK Laptop tests: For scoring and analysis in our laptop reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluations under controlled lab conditions and real-life scenarios.
(For more details about the Laptop protocol, click here.)
The following section gathers key elements of our exhaustive tests and analyses performed in DXOMARK laboratories. Detailed performance evaluations under the form of reports are available upon request. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023) overall & use-cases scores

Video Call

140

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

144

Apple MacBook Pro 14" (M2 Pro, 2023)
About DXOMARK Laptop tests

DXOMARK's Video call use case is a score that evaluates how a device handles video calls and videoconferencing in multiple conditions. This score focuses on the camera performance and the capture and playback rendering of voices.

The camera on the Apple MacBook Air 15″ (M2, 2023) put in a class-leading performance in our Video Call use case, with extended dynamic range, well-preserved details in most tested conditions, and low noise in well-exposed scenes. Its color rendering, particularly its rendering of skin tones, could be improved, however, and such artifacts as ringing and color quantization were visible in most conditions.

Tonal balance during voice calls was good on the Apple device, but because of its mono recordings, intelligibility could be impaired when multiple people were placed around the computer. However, it handled diffused sounds well and put in a satisfying overall capture performance.  Where the Apple device really shined was in playback, thanks to natural-sounding vocal timbres, very good dynamics, and realistic spatial rendering. Despite some gating, it handled duplex situations quite well.

Camera

135

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

Best

The following chart presents the camera subscores for the video call use case:
Camera scores comparison
Camera texture acutance on Deadleaves with illuminance levels
This graph shows the evolution of texture acutance with the level of lux measured on a Deadleaves chart.
The following graphs show the objective measurements performed in our camera labs:
Camera visual noise evolution with illuminance levels
This graph shows the evolution of spatial visual noise with the level of lux. Spatial visual noise is measured on the visual noise chart in the video noise setup. DXOMARK visual noise measurement is derived from ISO15739 standard.
Target exposure on face with illuminance levels
These measurements take place on a setup combining realistic mannequins and a backlit panel simulating high dynamic range conditions. This graph shows the evolution of lightness measured on the forehead of the realistic mannequin with the level of lux, for multiple lighting conditions. The lightness is measured in L*. Delta EV specifies the difference of luminance in stops between the face and the light panel simulating HDR conditions.
Target exposure on face with illuminance levels in HDR conditions
These measurements take place on a setup combining realistic mannequins and a backlit panel simulating high dynamic range conditions. This graph shows the evolution of lightness measured on the forehead of the realistic mannequin with the level of lux, for multiple lighting conditions. The lightness is measured in L*. Delta EV specifies the difference of luminance in stops between the face and the light panel simulating HDR conditions.
Target exposure on face with illuminance levels in HDR conditions
These measurements take place on a setup combining realistic mannequins and a backlit panel simulating high dynamic range conditions. This graph shows the evolution of lightness measured on the forehead of the realistic mannequin with the level of lux, for multiple lighting conditions. The lightness is measured in L*. Delta EV specifies the difference of luminance in stops between the face and the light panel simulating HDR conditions.

Audio

134

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

144

Apple MacBook Pro 14" (M2 Pro, 2023)
The following chart presents the capture subscores for the video call use case:
Audio capture scores comparison
The following graphs show the frequency response, distortion and directivity in capture, recorded in our semi-anechoic room:
Audio capture frequency response
A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency captured by the laptop when recording an objective test signal at 1 meter in an anechoic environment.
Audio capture directivity
Directivity graph of the laptop microphone(s) when capturing test signals using the camera app. It represents the acoustic energy (in dB) over the angle of incidence of the sound source (normalized to the angle 0°, in front of the device).

Music & Video

143

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

154

Apple MacBook Pro 14" (M3 Pro, 2023)
About DXOMARK Laptop tests

DXOMARK's Video and Music use case score evaluates the capability of a device to reproduce multimedia usages such as videos, movies and music playback in indoor conditions. This score focuses on the display performance and audio-playback rendering.

The display of the  Apple MacBook Air 15” (M2, 2023) featured very good and wide gamut, accurate EOTF, and appropriate brightness, with  gamma and color fidelity during HDR10 playback. Its maximum brightness of 500 nits was sufficient in all circumstances, and its minimum brightness at 2 nits was comfortable at night. SDR colors were a bit desaturated and
SDR gamma showed a slight lack of contrast when playing videos. Multimedia enthusiasts will appreciate this laptop’s
excellent control of reflections.

Its audio performance was superlative, with excellent timbre rendition, faithful and very pleasant tonal balance and excellent dynamics for music & video. Its bass rendition was deep for a laptop, and its dynamics were very good, with impressive bass precision, sharp attacks, and strong punch at both nominal and loud volumes. Its six-speaker system produced wide and realistic stereo rendition, with distinct sources easily localizable in the sound scene. Laptop sound was clean, with no significant audio artifacts.

Display

140

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

156

Apple MacBook Pro 14" (M3 Pro, 2023)
The following chart presents the display subscores for the multimedia use case:
Display scores comparison
The following graphs show the objective measurements performed in our display lab:
Display gamut coverage for video contents
Laptop
Video gamut SDR
Laptop
Video gamut HDR
The primary colors are measured both in HDR10 and SDR. The extracted color gamut shows the extent of the color area that the device can render. To respect the artistic intent, the measured gamut should match the master color space of each video.
Display reflectance measurement (SCI)
Measurements above show the reflection of the device within the visible spectrum range (400 nm to 700 nm). It includes both diffuse and specular reflection.
Display reflectance profile
Display brightness uniformity
0.058
cd/m²
0.055
cd/m²
0.056
cd/m²
0.057
cd/m²
0.054
cd/m²
0.058
cd/m²
0.059
cd/m²
0.061
cd/m²
0.061
cd/m²
Laptop Distribution of brightness (min)
519.9
cd/m²
508.7
cd/m²
506.6
cd/m²
500.3
cd/m²
510.9
cd/m²
515.9
cd/m²
514.1
cd/m²
535.4
cd/m²
529.1
cd/m²
Laptop Distribution of brightness (max)
This illustration shows the brightness measured on nine zones of the display for minimum brightness (left) and maximum brightness (right) for SDR content.
Display SDR EOTF measurement
This graph represents the rendering of contrast (gray levels) for SDR video content, measured in the dark. We expect to be close to the 2.2 or 2.4 gamma references.
Display peak brightness for video contents

Display white point
Laptop
This graph represents the color temperature of white content, compared with the reference (Daylight illuminant D65) measured in the dark on video at minimum and maximum brightness.

Audio

148

Apple MacBook Air 15" (M2, 2023)

152

Apple MacBook Pro 14" (M2 Pro, 2023)
The following chart presents the playback for the multimedia use case:
Audio playback scores comparison
The following graphs show the frequency response, distortion and directivity in multimedia playback, recorded in our semi-anechoic room:
Audio playback frequency response
A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency emitted by the laptop when playing a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.
Audio playback Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise

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