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Apple’s M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: A Detailed Comparison

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Are you trying to decide between Apple’s latest MacBook Air models, the M2 and the M3? This guide will break down the key differences to help you choose the perfect laptop.

Let us get into the detailed comparison between Apple’s M2 MacBook Air vs M3 MacBook Air:

Apple's M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: A Detailed Comparison

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Performance

M3 Chip:

The M3 chip is the main upgrade offered by the 2024 MacBook Air models.

As seen in benchmark tests:

  • The M3 outperforms the M2 by about 17% in single-core tasks.
  • In multi-core tasks, the M3 exhibits an improvement of approximately 21%.
  • In GPU performance (measured by Metal benchmarks), the M3 shows a notable boost of around 15% over the M2.

Key differences between the M2 and M3 chips:

M2 Chip:

  • Based on the A15 Bionic chip from the iPhone 13 (2021).
  • Enhanced 5nm node (N5P).
  • 20 billion transistors.
  • 3.49 GHz CPU clock speed.
  • Features include Neural Engine, AV1 decode support, and a new GPU architecture.

M3 Chip:

  • Based on the A17 Pro chip from the iPhone 15 Pro (2023).
  • Utilizes a more advanced 3nm node (N3B).
  • Boasts 25 billion transistors.
  • Runs at a faster 4.05 GHz CPU clock speed.
  • Introduces an all-new GPU architecture with features like Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and mesh shading.
  • Supports AV1 video decode for efficient streaming.
  • Maintains up to 24GB of unified memory with improved bandwidth utilization.

Energy Efficiency:

  • Despite similarities in the 16-core Neural Engine, the M3 benefits from adopting a 3nm fabrication process, leading to more efficient execution of machine learning and AI tasks.
  • The M3 also leverages the new process for more efficient memory bandwidth utilization.
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Performance

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Display and Design

Display Size:

  • Like their predecessors, the  M2 MacBook Air vs M3 MackBook models have displays of 13.6 inches and 15.3 inches, respectively.
  • The smaller model starts at $1,099, while the larger model begins at $1,299.
  • The 13.6-inch M2 MacBook Air from 2022 remains in the lineup, now priced at $999.

Buyers can choose between the 2022 M2 MacBook Air, its 2024 successor, and a big-screen variant of the 2024 model.

Design and Dimensions:

  • There are no design or display changes on the 2024 M3 MacBook Air models compared to the 2023 M2 models.
  • Both 13-inch and 15-inch variants measure the same as their predecessors:
  • 0.44 inches by 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches.
  • Their weight remains unchanged at 2.7 pounds (approximately 1.24 kilograms).
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Display and Design

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Ports and Features

Ports and Connectivity: M3 MacBook Air:

  • Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports: These versatile ports allow high-speed data transfer and connect to external displays, storage devices, and more.
  • Headphone jack: For connecting wired headphones or speakers.
  • MagSafe 3 port: The MagSafe connector ensures secure charging and easy detachment.
  • Wi-Fi 6E: Provides faster wireless connectivity.
  • Bluetooth 5.3: For connecting to other devices wirelessly.

Ports and Connectivity: M2 MacBook Air:

  • Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports: Similar to the M3 model.
  • Headphone jack: Also present for audio connections.
  • MagSafe 3 port: Like the M3 version.
  • Wi-Fi 6: Slightly older Wi-Fi standard.
  • Bluetooth 5.3: Same as the M3.

Additional Considerations:

  • The M3 MacBook Air adds support for a second external display, which can help you multitask or extend your workspace.
  • If you prefer not to carry additional dongles, the M3 MacBook Air might be appealing due to its HDMI port and SDXC card slot (not available on the M2 model).
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Ports and Features

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Battery Life

M3 MacBook Air:

  • In our battery test, the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air lasted an impressive 15 hours and 13 minutes.
  • This is 40 minutes longer than the M2 MacBook Air, which lasted 14 hours and 33 minutes.
  • The M3 model offers excellent endurance for productivity tasks, making it ideal for entertainment or work on the go.

M2 MacBook Air:

  • The M2 version also provides a commendable battery life, up to 18 hours in normal use.
  • The M2 and M3 models are designed to last a full day of work or entertainment without frequent charging.
  • Remember that battery life can vary based on usage patterns, screen brightness, and other factors.
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Battery Life

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Camera 

M3 MacBook Air:

  • The 13-inch M3 MacBook Air features Apple’s 1080p FaceTime HD camera.
  • This camera offers improved image quality and clarity for video calls, conferences, and capturing photos.
  • The advanced image signal processor ensures better color accuracy and low-light performance.
  • Whether you’re on a Zoom call or recording a video, the M3’s camera delivers a solid experience.

M2 MacBook Air:

  • The M2 MacBook Air also comes with the same 1080p FaceTime HD camera.
  • Both models share the same imaging sensor and capabilities.
  • Whether you choose the M2 or M3, you’ll enjoy clear, detailed video calls.
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Camera 

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Storage, Memory, and Price

Storage and Memory: M3 MacBook Air

  • The base model starts with 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage.
  • You can opt for the 512GB version, priced at $1,499.
  • The 15-inch M3 MacBook Air offers 16GB of unified memory and 512GB of storage for $1,699.

Storage and Memory: M2 MacBook Air

  • The 13-inch M2 MacBook Air (256GB, 8GB RAM) costs $999.
  • The 15-inch M2 MacBook Air with 16GB of unified memory and 256GB storage starts at $1,299.
  • A fully maxed-out M2 MacBook Air with 24GB of memory, 2TB of storage, and a slightly upgraded M2 chip costs $2,199.

Price Comparison:

  • The M3 MacBook Air inherits the M2 version’s $1,099 starting price.
  • The 13-inch M2 MacBook Air remains available at a reduced price of $999.
  • Education pricing from Apple can shave at least $100 off the standard price.
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Storage, Memory, and Price

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Specifications

SpecificationsM3 MacBook Air (13-inch and 15-inch)M2 MacBook Air  (13-inch 2022, 15-inch 2023)
Display13.6-inch Liquid Retina,
15.3-inch Liqud Retina
Wide Color (P3),
True Tone
13.6-inch Liquid Retina,
15.3-inch Liqud Retina
Wide Color (P3),
True Tone
Resolution2,560 x 1,664 (13-inch),
2,880 x 1,864 (15-inch)
2,560 x 1,664 (13-inch),
2,880 x 1,864 (15-inch)
ProcessorApple M3 8-coreApple M2 8-core
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB,2TB
Memory8GB,16GB, 24GB8GB, 16GB,24GB
Battery52.6Wh lithium-polymer, (13-inch),
66.5Wh lithium-polymer (15-inch)
52.6Wh lithium-polymer, (13-inch),
66.5Wh lithium-polymer (15-inch)
Camera1080p FaceTime HD1080p FaceTime HD
Price$1,099 (13-inch),
$1,299 (15-inch)
$1,199 (13-inch),
$1,299 (15-inch)
M3 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Air: Specifications

Who Should Upgrade?

If you’re a power user who demands the latest performance and features, the M3 MacBook Air is a compelling upgrade. The dual-monitor support and Wi-Fi 6E are valuable additions for professionals. However, if you’re on a tight budget or primarily use your MacBook Air for basic tasks like browsing and email, the M2 Air might still be a great option, especially if you can find a good deal.

The Final Word

The choice between these two laptops depends on your individual needs and budget. Consider your typical tasks, workflow, and how important the latest features are to you. The M3 MacBook Air is the way to go if you prioritize raw power and cutting-edge features. However, if you value affordability and the M2’s performance suits your needs, it remains a solid choice.

Remember, you can always wait for reviews and benchmarks before deciding. This will give you a clearer picture of the real-world performance differences between the two models.


Q. What are the key differences between the M3 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Air?

A. The main differences between the m3 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Air lie in their respective chips. The M3 chip offers improved performance compared to the M2 chip, providing faster processing speeds and enhanced overall efficiency.

Q. Which MacBook model is more suitable for professional use, the M3 or M2?

A. the M3 MacBook Air would be a better choice for professional users seeking higher performance capabilities due to its advanced chip and enhanced features. However, the M2 MacBook Air could also suffice for standard professional tasks.

Q. How do the GPU capabilities differ between the M3 and M2 MacBook Air models?

A. The M3 MacBook Air offers superior GPU performance to the M2 model, resulting in smoother graphics rendering and enhanced user visual experiences.

Q. Are there any noticeable improvements in the CPU of the M3 MacBook Air over the M2 version?

A. Yes, the M3 MacBook Air CPU demonstrates enhanced processing power and efficiency compared to the M2 model, leading to faster overall performance and improved multitasking abilities.

Q. Which storage options are available for the M3 MacBook Air, and how do they compare to the M2 variant?

A. The M3 MacBook Air has various storage capacities, including 256GB and 512GB. These options provide users with ample space for storing files and applications, surpassing the storage offerings of the M2 MacBook Air.

Q. Can the M3 MacBook Air support multiple external displays?

A. Yes, the M3 MacBook Air supports two external displays simultaneously, enabling users to expand their workspace and enhance productivity through dual-monitor setups.

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