Ryan Haines/Android Authority
It’s easy to get caught up in a mobile ecosystem without thinking about it. Samsung users are enjoying beautiful content with their expansive Galaxy, Pixel users are closer than ever to the full setup, and Apple users, well, we all know how Apple’s walled garden gives you encloses as much as it encloses others. What happens when you operate in different ecosystems to make the most of many worlds? What happens when you introduce the latest 15-inch MacBook Air powered by M2 into an Android user’s personal and professional life? I updated my laptop to find out.
Double? Or nothing?
Ryan Haines/Android Authority
I have configured enough Samsung Galaxy devices that they no longer duplicate apps for me. It only takes a few seconds to move my Samsung Messages app and internet browser to a folder I will never open again. However, I soon discovered that bridging the gap between an Android phone and a MacBook would be a bit more difficult. You’re now in Apple territory, and the Cupertino-based brand would certainly like to steer you towards its in-house options for email, cards, and more, just like setting up a new iPhone.
The biggest issue I ran into trying to fit my new Apple laptop into my Android-centric mobile setup is that you can’t download Google apps to the MacBook Launchpad. Where many other Android partners are happy to connect you to Gmail and Google Maps no matter what device you’re on, macOS treats Google like a dirty word. That means you have to access G Suite through your preferred browser, which can mean a mess of browsing through extra tabs instead of getting your latest emails from the taskbar. Sure, you can connect your Gmail account to the Apple Mail app, but that’s still not useful if you prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps and don’t want to create many bookmarks in the browser. At least Google Drive can be launched through Finder as a directory.
I like Apple’s Launchpad app drawer, but I’d rather use it with more Google apps!
To Apple’s credit, I also love the foundation of the Launchpad – it feels like the Android app drawers you’re used to. Of course, this option prioritizes Apple’s proprietary options over the programs you install, but it’s very easy to give Apple Maps, iMovie, and GarageBand the old folder to get rid of them.
Unfortunately, this separation of powers is more pronounced when it comes to features like iMessage and AirDrop. If you have an iPhone, it’s easy to connect your messages across the two screens (and an iPad too, if you have one). However, as an Android user, it makes sense to me to avoid iMessage at all costs. So it was an added headache when my MacBook Air decided to reactivate my iMessage account, directing messages to my laptop instead of the phone I had in my pocket at all times. I’ve since repaired the ship, but my little problem caused my parents’ messages to go unanswered for a day or two.
Similarly, AirDrop is not available for Android users. I didn’t have access to AirDrop on my laptop — a Surface Laptop 3 is a given — but there are times when I can see instant photo sharing as a huge benefit. Every time I create a gallery to include in a review, I have to connect my phone to my MacBook Air and manually pull photos, while an iPhone user can easily use AirDrop and save time. Again, Drive support in Finder is helpful here, but it’s not as seamless as clicking on another device and the magic happens right away.
power is power
Ryan Haines/Android Authority
So if I know I won’t be able to easily share notifications and files from my Android phone to my MacBook Air M2, why should I walk down the aisle? The answer is simple – Apple’s improvement shines on its current line of laptops. The previous Surface Laptop 3 was sleek and sleek in its own right, but it also had fans that went from zero to jet engine when I had too many tabs open in Microsoft Edge. I was also running a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM – not exactly a budget setup. Even still, the M2-powered MacBook Air is on another level.
Apple’s performance charts aren’t gospel, but efficiency is hard to argue with.
I’ve heard a lot from other tech writers that Apple’s M2 silicon is a game-changer, but I’ve always taken it with a grain of salt. Sure, it may be powerful and effective, but it may not be as good as advertised. After all, we all have a good laugh at Apple’s mysterious infographic claiming its latest chipset is the best thing since sliced bread, right? Well, the graphics might still be worth a pinch of salt, but Apple’s M2 power is no joke.
I can perform day-to-day tasks including working in WordPress, editing in Lightroom, and responding to emails without any issues. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but opening Lightroom became a slow issue on my Surface laptop and ruined my battery, but I can do it on my MacBook Air without hesitation. Oh, and you don’t realize how loud your laptop fans can be until you upgrade to a fanless design. The MacBook Air M2 is perfectly quiet, and I always run into a situation where it slows down to protect its heat and battery performance (although I have a high-end storage model that doesn’t support the 256GB SSD probably slower).
When it comes to battery life, this is perhaps the best feature of the entire 15-inch MacBook Air – it lasts forever. This is easily the best battery life I’ve tested on a laptop. I can get through a full day of work without needing a charger, even with Spotify running in the background. I never dreamed of leaving a remote workday without a fast charger for my Surface Laptop, but I sit comfortably knowing that Apple’s claims of all-day battery life aren’t true. only smoke. The MacBook Air’s screen ratings aren’t exact — it’s more like a simple bar graph — but I get six hours of active use per day and several days between full charges.
Why haven’t I been on Windows?
Ryan Haines/Android Authority
In many ways, the relationship between iPhones and Android devices is a lot like the relationship between MacBooks and Windows laptops. You have the locked down, efficient setup that Apple is known for against Microsoft’s highly customizable team efforts with partners like Dell, Lenovo, Razer, and more. One is easier to jump in, like the shallow end of a pool, while the other takes more time and effort to customize exactly to your liking. Oddly enough, I love the power and simplicity of macOS in exactly the same way that I love the customization of Android, but I’m instantly bored with iOS and annoyed with the heavy quirks of Windows.
Once you relearn all the keyboard shortcuts, switching to the MacBook Air is seamless.
Honestly, I don’t think I’d have any real problems bridging the gap between my unwavering commitment to Android phones and the MacBook Air. I could live without seamless notifications because I didn’t really have them on my Windows laptop. I’m here primarily to enjoy the efficiency and power I’ve never had before. However, the move from Windows to macOS came with a major hurdle: learning new keyboard shortcuts. When you rely on keyboard shortcuts most of the day, it can really slow you down when you constantly hit the wrong combinations. I’ve slowly learned about the new commands in the two weeks since I received my MacBook Air, but the first few days were tough, to say the least.
Fortunately, the MacBook Air M2 works well with my existing Surface USB hub, which means I can take my old laptop and put the new one down without rearranging my desk. Yes, I had to switch to Apple’s MagSafe charging connector, but you can still use USB-C as a backup. The current USB hub also handles the MacBook’s minimum selection of two USB-C ports, though I have to swap it out for my SD card dongle when I need to upload photos – you win some and lose some.
Are you bypassing ecosystems? (Android, macOS, iOS, Windows)
Ultimately, getting both Android and the MacBook Air to work is no more difficult than integrating any other exotic platform into a pre-existing ecosystem. You’ll have to give up some of the conveniences you’d get from Apple entirely, but until Google introduces a Pixel laptop, I’m okay with some incompatibility issues, especially when the MacBook is so welcoming to people. Android users. Any Apple product… that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Sure, I could have grabbed a nice Samsung Galaxy laptop and enjoyed all the One UI cross-platform interoperability from phone to laptop, but as someone who has to frequently switch from Android phone to other from different brands (see: image) Motorola Razr Plus I just completed the review), the benefits are somewhat questionable.
I’m so glad I left this particular device from Apple in my mobile ecosystem, and I’m not missing a jet-powered laptop fan at all.
AppleMacBook Air (2023)
Slim design • Long battery life
High resolution and powerful MacBook
The 2023 version of the Apple MacBook Air offers an HD display, an M2 power supply, up to 24 GB of RAM and 2 TB of storage. The slim design and light weight make it a compelling laptop.