Review of the M3 MacBook Air: Redefining Portability Performance

Rinku Kumar
6 Min Read

Apple’s 2024 MacBook Air update gives you a clear performance bump to get you through the next work, school, and play schedule at home or on the go.

M3 MacBook Air
Image Credits:- Apple

At a point, using a computer ceases to be beneficial and starts to hinder your productivity. I use a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel processor for work, and here is where I am with it. The performance issues with the upgraded MacBook Airs with Apple’s M3 CPUs became much more noticeable during testing. For good reason, too—those who stand to gain the most from upgrading are the ones who Apple continues to pit the performance gains of the M3 against those of the older M1- and Intel-based MacBook Airs.

That’s not to argue that the M3 silicon isn’t better than the M2 because it is. Just as with the 14- and 16-inch M3 MacBook Pro models we examined last year, graphics performance does see a noticeable boost despite the overall minor performance improvements. The baseline M3 chip found in the new 15-inch MacBook Air and an upgrade in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also found in the base 14-inch MacBook Pro. Additionally, the standard M3 chip performs admirably on the Air due to its incredibly compact architecture and even outperformed my Intel MacBook Pro, even though producers seeking a significant power gain will probably prefer an M3 Pro or Max chip.

Another reason owners of M1 and older models might want to consider upgrading is the M3 MacBook Air’s overall excellent quality, which is much the same as the M2 versions.

The same, but improved

The 13-inch Air with 8GB of unified memory and a 256GB solid-state drive starts at $1,099 (£1,099, AU$1,799), which is the same starting price as the previous Air models in the US. The 15-inch Air costs $1,299 (£1,299, AU$2,199) and comes with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM as well. You may then expand storage to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB and memory to 16GB or 24GB. There are eight CPU and eight GPU cores in the 13-inch edition of the basic M3. For an additional $100, you may upgrade to an M3 with a 10-core GPU. Apple will also include the 10-core GPU M3 in the configuration if you add more memory or storage ($200 apiece). The 15-inch dimension also comes standard with this chip.

A 16-core Neural Engine powers both chip variants, speeding up AI and machine learning activities.

The 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage that come standard with the $1,099 starting price feel meager. Although 8GB of unified memory seems to work well for the MacBook Air, it will restrict your options and shorten the laptop’s overall performance life. External drives and cloud storage are great ways to increase storage capacity, but RAM cannot be increased in this way. Get 16GB of memory if you can afford to spend the additional $200.

The M3 MacBook Airs retain every major function and design element that was included in the M2 makeover. Therefore, the M3 Air bundle includes features like gorgeous Liquid Retina screens, a superior 1080p FaceTime camera, great-sounding speaker systems, the MagSafe 3 charging, dual Thunderbolt-USB 4 connections, and a fanless shell constructed of recycled aluminum. The colors—midnight, starlight, silver, and space gray—remain the same as they were previously, and the midnight finish features an anodization seal to minimize fingerprints.

But it also means that features like the camera notch at the top of the displays, Touch ID on the keyboard but no Face ID like on the iPhone and iPad, and the two USB-C ports and MagSafe connector being crammed onto the left side without allowing for right-side charging are still present. I didn’t anticipate these kinds of changes, which usually wouldn’t happen until after another significant redesign. However, that doesn’t make them any less annoying in my opinion.

Apple did update the M3 processor to include two new features. One is upgrading from Wi-Fi 6 to 6E, which, provided your router supports it, translates to higher wireless rates. The other modification is the support display. Only one external display could be extended to by earlier MacBook Air versions. The Thunderbolt USB-C ports on the M3 MacBook Airs allow you to attach two external monitors straight to them while simultaneously powering the MacBook.

The MacBook Air’s display will suffer as a result of this; the lid needs to be closed to power the two external displays. This might not seem like much of a problem at first unless you frequently use the trackpad and keyboard on your laptop when using an external display. The removal of Touch ID on the Air’s keyboard is, in my opinion, the biggest setback. To utilize Touch ID, simply open and close the lid, although I use mine so frequently during the day that I find that method to be rather tedious. Purchasing Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a better choice. To complete the set, pick up a Magic Trackpad or Mouse as well.

Share This Article
Leave a comment