I had a chance to try out the new MacBook Air at WWDC 2023, and physically this is a considerably larger device than the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022). That said, the unmistakable Air design language is present, and Apple touts this as the world's thinnest 15-inch laptop. It's meant for users who want the portability and ease of handling that comes with the form factor, but with a slightly larger screen.

MacBook Air 15-inch first impressions: big in size, despite the light weight

The 11.5mm thickness of the laptop does ensure that the MacBook Air 15-inch is not very heavy, but the actual size of the screen and the device itself makes it somewhat unwieldy to hold with one hand - something I can do quite easily with my much older 13-inch MacBook Air (2017). Where the laptop's form factor truly comes in handy is when it's shut; it's easy to slip this into a backpack or handbag, as long as you can handle the larger footprint.

In other ways, the MacBook Air 15-inch is the same as the 13-inch M2-powered version that was launched in 2022, and the choice between the two is primarily centred around your needs with regard to size and portability.

This naturally depends on the kind of work you expect to do with your laptop, and in most cases you might find the 13-inch version much more suitable to every-day use cases, and sufficiently powerful for the purpose. The 15-inch version might come in handy if you do a bit of photo or graphic-based work, since you'll have more room to work or multi-task with.

I've been using an older MacBook Air for a while now, and while I'm firm on sticking to this lineup when I decide to upgrade, I'm a bit more inclined towards the smaller 13.6-inch screen. The 13-inch version is now available at a price of Rs. 1,14,900 in India - slightly lower than its price at launch - so you might want to consider it for the lower price as well.

MacBook Air 15-inch first impressions: final thoughts

The 15.3-inch screen size on the new MacBook Air is good for one big reason - you no longer have to consider the much more expensive and powerful MacBook Pro 16-inch if all you want is a larger screen. The new MacBook Air is reasonably well equipped for the daily computing needs of most users, and you'll probably find the 256GB of storage more than enough as well.

All of that said, the MacBook Air 13-inch with the M2 chip remains my choice for the ideal entry point into the Mac laptop family, and the ideal upgrade for old-school MacBook Air users like myself. Apart from the screen size, there's not much else that the new model offers in addition to the one launched last year. Apple also announced new Mac Studio and Mac Pro variants at WWDC 2023, apart from the iOS 17, iPadOS 17, MacOS Sonoma, and the almost unbelievable Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.