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Apple M3 MacBook Air Review (13-inch): Is it Worth the Upgrade?

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The annual tech whirlwind has swept through again, and Apple’s latest offering, the MacBook Air M3, is here. But with the M2 MacBook just a year old, is this new model a must-have upgrade or a minor revision? Let’s dive into our in-depth review and find out.

Apple M3 MacBook Air Review (13-inch): Is it Worth the Upgrade?

MacBook Air M3: Performance Powerhouse

Performance Boost:

The M3 version promises up to 60% faster performance than its M1 predecessor and a whopping 13 times the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air1 speed. This performance boost is attributed to the M3 chip, which delivers impressive power without compromising efficiency. 

Design and Fingerprint Resistance:

Apple has slightly tweaked the design to prevent fingerprints from spoiling the laptop’s sleek appearance. The fan-less design ensures quiet operation while maintaining optimal performance. 

MacBook Air M3: Battery Life Breakthrough

MacBook Air M3: Battery Life Breakthrough

The battery life of the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is exceptional, providing users with extended usage times for various activities:

Video Playback:

The Apple TV app allows Users to enjoy up to 18 hours of video playback. This extended battery life is advantageous for binge-watching favorite shows or watching movies during long flights or work sessions.

Wireless Web Browsing:

The M3 MacBook Air offers up to 15 hours of battery life for wireless web usage. Whether browsing the internet, working on documents, or attending virtual meetings, users can stay connected throughout the day without frequent recharging.

Battery Capacity:

The 13-inch model houses a 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, while the 15-inch model features a larger 66.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery. These battery capacities contribute to the laptop’s impressive endurance, ensuring prolonged usage on a single charge.

Comparison to M2 Models:

Remarkably, the M3 MacBook Air matches the battery life of its M2 predecessor, providing the same 18 hours of video playback and even three additional hours for wireless web usage compared to the M2 models. This consistent performance is commendable, especially considering the laptop’s minimalist design.

Charging Options:

The base 13-inch M3 MacBook Air comes with a 30W power adapter. Users of the mid and high-tier 13-inch models and all 15-inch models can choose between a dual 35W power adapter or a 70W brick for fast charging, providing flexibility according to their needs.

MacBook Air M3:  Design and Display

MacBook Air M3Design and Display

Slim and Lightweight:

The M3 MacBook Air retains the iconic slim profile, measuring only 11.5 mm thin. It’s incredibly lightweight, weighing just 1.24 kilograms for the 13-inch variant. Holding it feels like cradling a feather. 

Rounded Edges and Rubber Feet: 

The laptop features the same rounded edges as its predecessor, ensuring a comfortable grip. The large rubber feet provide stability and prevent slipping on surfaces.

Notch on the Screen: 

Like the previous models, the M3 MacBook Air has a notch at the top of the screen. While some debate its necessity, it doesn’t compromise the overall aesthetics.

Color Options: 

You’ll find familiar color choices similar to the M2 Air. Whether you prefer classic silver, sleek space gray, or vibrant gold, there’s an option to suit your style.

Screen Size and Resolution:

The M3 MacBook Air features a 13.6-inch display with rounded corners at the top. The screen is 34.46 cm diagonally. Due to the rounded corners, the actual viewable area may be slightly less. 

MacBook Air M3: Ports and Features

MacBook Air M3: Ports and Features

MagSafe 3 Charging Port:

The M3 MacBook Air features the MagSafe 3 charging port, ensuring secure and efficient charging. The magnetic connection prevents accidental tugs and enhances overall usability.

3.5mm Headphone Jack:

You’ll find the familiar 3.5mm headphone jack, allowing you to connect your favorite wired headphones or external speakers.

Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 Ports:

These versatile ports serve multiple purposes:

  • Charging: Use them to charge your laptop.
  • DisplayPort: Connect external displays for extended workspace.
  • Thunderbolt 3: Enjoy high-speed data transfer (up to 40 Gbps).
  • USB 4: Compatible with USB-C devices and peripherals.

Display Support:

  • The M3 MacBook Air simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at 1 billion colors.
  • When Connecting external displays: With the laptop lid open, it supports one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.
  • In clamshell mode (lid closed), it can handle two external displays with up to 5K resolution at 60Hz.
MacBook Air M3: Storage and Memory

MacBook Air M3: Storage and Memory

Storage Options:

  • The base model comes with 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage.
  • Depending on your needs, you can configure it to have 512GB, 1TB, or even 2TB storage space.

Memory (RAM):

  • The M3 MacBook Air is equipped with 8GB of unified memory.
  • If you require more memory, you can configure it with 16GB or even 24GB of RAM.

Charging and Expansion:

  • The laptop features a MagSafe 3 charging port for secure and efficient charging.
  • It also includes a 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio connectivity.
  • Additionally, two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports serve multiple purposes: Charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40 Gbps), USB 4 (up to 40 Gbps).
MacBook Air M3: Keyboard and Touchpad

MacBook Air M3: Keyboard and Touchpad

Typing on the keyboard of the 13-inch MacBook Air M3 is a delightful experience, primarily attributed to its thick keycaps and ample travel distance. Despite the limited space on the keyboard deck for my sizable hands, I never experienced any discomfort or cramping in my fingers, even during prolonged typing sessions.

Moreover, I found the touchpad to be smooth and highly responsive, consistently registering my swipes and clicks without fail. Despite its generous size, I never inadvertently activated it, despite the compact keyboard deck. While I still prefer using one of the top wireless mice with this laptop (or any laptop, for that matter), the touchpad performs admirably for everyday tasks.     

MacBook Air M3: Gaming

MacBook Air M3: Gaming

The MacBook Air is primarily designed for productivity and portability but offers some gaming capabilities.

  1. Integrated Graphics: The M3 MacBook Air features an integrated 8-core GPU. While it won’t match the performance of dedicated gaming GPUs, it can handle casual gaming and older titles reasonably well.
  2. Game Selection: The Mac App Store offers a variety of games, including indie titles, puzzle games, and strategy games. However, resource-intensive AAA games may not run optimally.
  3. Optimized Games: Some game developers optimize their titles for Apple’s M-series chips. Look for games designed explicitly for M1 or M3 architecture. 

Apple MacBook Air M3 (13-inch): Pricing and Availability

The M3 comes at a starting price of $1,099 (or equivalent in other currencies), which addresses the high starting price of the previous M2 model. The M2 version launched in 2022 with a higher base price, but the M3 version offers better value for money. In a world where prices seem to climb relentlessly, it’s refreshing to see Apple release a cheaper laptop than last year’s MacBook.

The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) launch occurred on March 4, 2024, coinciding with the availability of pre-orders on Apple’s online platform. Subsequently, the new MacBook became accessible in physical retail outlets on March 8. 

The Upgrade Question: To M3 or Not to M3?

The Upgrade Question: To M3 or Not to M3?

So, should you upgrade? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Are you upgrading from an Intel Mac? Absolutely! The M3 Air delivers a night-and-day difference in performance, battery life, and overall user experience.
  • Are you coming from an M1 Air? The decision gets trickier. M1 users might not see a massive jump in everyday tasks. However, if you regularly push your machine to its limits, the M3’s extra power might be worth it.
  • M2 Owners Hold Tight: The performance gap between M2 and M3 is relatively tiny. Upgrading isn’t necessary unless you need the latest and most excellent tech.

The Final Verdict: Final Thoughts

The Apple MacBook Air M3 is a worthy successor to the M2 lineup. It offers exceptional performance, industry-leading battery life, and a beautiful display, all wrapped in a sleek and familiar design. While the upgrade might not be essential for everyone, the M3 Air is a compelling option for those seeking a powerful, portable machine.


1. Is the Apple MacBook Air M3 (13-inch) an upgrade over the previous models?

The Apple MacBook Air M3 (13-inch) brings significant improvements compared to its predecessors, such as enhanced performance with the M3 chip and a longer battery life.

2. How does the performance of MacBook Air M3 compare to the 13-inch MacBook Pro?

The MacBook Air M3 offers competitive performance close to the 13-inch MacBook Pro while maintaining a lighter, sleeker design.

3. What are the key features of the m3 chip in the MacBook Air M3?

The MacBook Air M3’s m3 chip delivers improved efficiency, faster processing speeds, and enhanced graphics performance for tasks like AI and gaming.

4. How is the keyboard on the MacBook Air M3?

The keyboard on the MacBook Air M3 features a comfortable typing experience and a port layout with USB-C support, providing versatility for different connectivity needs.

5. What improvements are seen in the battery life of the MacBook Air M3?

The battery life of the MacBook Air M3 has been extended, offering longer usage time on a single charge, making it more convenient for on-the-go users.

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