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MacBook Air M3 2024 review: Is it worth the upgrade or just another Apple hype?

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The release of a new MacBook Air model is always met with anticipation, speculation, and, inevitably, hype. Apple’s latest iteration, the MacBook Air M3 2024, is no exception. But is it worth the upgrade and living up to the buzz, or is it just another overhyped product from Cupertino?

We’ll examine every aspect of the MacBook Air M3 2024 in this review, from performance to design, to see if it genuinely stands out in a saturated market.

Design and Build Quality

The first thing you will notice with the MacBook Air M3 2024 is its sleek, modern look. Apple has accomplished a remarkable achievement by making the new model even thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which is a considerable accomplishment considering the improvements in performance. As the Air continues to be the ultraportable laptop of choice, the M3 model, which weighs only 2.7 pounds and measures 0.58 inches at its thickest point, maintains the heritage of the Air.

The chassis is crafted from recycled aluminum, reflecting Apple’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. The edges are subtly rounded, giving it a more contemporary look while maintaining the signature MacBook elegance. The M3 model is available in a range of colors, including the classic Silver, Space Gray, and a new Midnight Blue, catering to both traditional and adventurous users.

Display

Like previous models, the MacBook Air M3 2024 continues Apple’s tradition of pushing the frontiers of display technology. With a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, the 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display offers dazzling colors, deep blacks, and amazing brightness levels. Whether working in natural daylight or under fluorescent lights, the True Tone technology keeps your eyes comfortable by adjusting the display’s color temperature according to the surrounding lighting.

The addition of ProMotion technology, which was previously exclusive to the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro lines, is one of the biggest improvements. Scrolling around papers and internet pages seems quite fluid with the 120Hz refresh rate this device offers. Content creators and video editors especially will value the upgraded display’s support of HDR content and extensive color gamut.

Performance

The star of the show is undoubtedly the new M3 chip. Built on a 3nm process, the M3 chip promises a substantial leap in performance and efficiency over its M2 predecessor. It features an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU, with significant improvements in machine learning and AI tasks thanks to the upgraded 16-core Neural Engine.

In everyday use, the MacBook Air M3 is highly speedy. Apps launch almost instantly, multitasking is simple, and even the most demanding software performs seamlessly. The M3 chip handles everything with ease, including editing 4K films, working with big datasets, and executing sophisticated simulations.

Battery Life

One of the hallmarks of the MacBook Air line has always been its impressive battery life, and the M3 model is no different. Apple claims up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge, which is a modest improvement over the M2 model.

In real-world usage, which includes a mix of browsing, streaming, document editing, and video calls, the laptop comfortably lasts a full day and then some. This makes it an ideal companion for professionals on the go, students, and anyone who values mobility.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Apple has stuck with the Magic Keyboard for the MacBook Air M3 2024, a decision that will undoubtedly please users who have grown accustomed to its tactile feedback and reliability. The scissor mechanism provides a comfortable typing experience, with sufficient travel and a quiet operation. The inclusion of a Touch ID sensor on the power button adds an extra layer of security and convenience, allowing for quick logins and secure online payments.

The Force Touch trackpad remains one of the best in the industry. It’s large, precise, and supports a wide range of gestures, making navigation and multitasking feel natural and intuitive.  The trackpad provides a smooth experience whether you’re pinch-to-zoom in on a picture or swiping between full-screen programs.

Ports and Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the MacBook Air M3 2024 includes two Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports, a MagSafe 3 charging port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. While some users might lament the lack of more diverse port options, the Thunderbolt 4 ports offer incredible versatility, supporting everything from high-speed data transfer to external displays and eGPUs.

Wireless connectivity is top-notch, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 ensuring fast and stable connections. No matter what you’re doing, the MacBook Air M3 keeps up its impressive speed, either you’re streaming HD content, transferring files, or engaging in video conferences.

Software

The MacBook Air M3 2024 ships with macOS Ventura, Apple’s latest operating system. Ventura introduces several new features and improvements, including Stage Manager for better window management, enhancements to Safari, and new tools for collaboration and productivity.

Where Apple really excels is in the way that hardware and software are integrated. The flawless integration of the M3 chip with macOS Ventura produces a snappy and responsive user experience. The advantages of sticking with the Apple ecosystem are highlighted by features like Universal Control, which lets you use a single mouse and keyboard across various Apple devices, and AirDrop, which simplifies file sharing.

Audio

The MacBook Air M3 2024 boasts an outstanding six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers for a high-fidelity music experience. The sound is deep and immersive whether you’re viewing movies, enjoying music, or having video calls.

The speakers have surprisingly deep bass, well-balanced mids, and sharp highs. Additionally, good sound in calls and recordings is made possible by the studio-quality three-mic array and directional beamforming.

Environmental Impact

Apple’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint is evident in the MacBook Air M3 2024. The device is made from 100% recycled aluminum and uses recycled rare earth elements in all magnets. The packaging is also made from responsibly sourced wood fiber. These efforts, combined with the energy-efficient M3 chip, contribute to a reduced carbon footprint, making the MacBook Air M3 an environmentally friendly choice.

Comparison with Previous Models

Performance Improvements

Comparing the MacBook Air M3 with its predecessors, the most significant upgrade is undoubtedly the M3 chip. This new processor offers a substantial boost in performance, making it faster and more efficient than the M1 and M2 models. Users will notice quicker load times, smoother multitasking, and overall enhanced performance.

Battery Life Enhancements

Battery life is another area where the M3 outshines previous models. The M1 MacBook Air offers impressive battery life, but the M3 takes it a step further with up to 20 hours on a single charge. This makes it one of the best options for users who need a reliable laptop for all-day use.

Display and Design Differences

Regarding the display quality, the Liquid Retina XDR of the M3 is far better than those of previous generations. For people who give visual quality a priority, the improved brightness, contrast, and color accuracy make this a better option. The design is still elegant and lightweight, but the inclusion of fresh color choices gives it a little personalization lacking in earlier generations.

Is It Worth the Upgrade?

Upgrading to the MacBook Air M3 is a decision that hinges on several factors, primarily revolving around your current device and specific requirements. If you are transitioning from an older Intel-based MacBook Air or an early M1 model, you’ll notice significant differences in performance, efficiency, and display quality, making the upgrade highly beneficial. The M3 chip provides a substantial boost in speed and power management, leading to longer battery life and smoother multitasking.

For users who already own an M2 MacBook Air, the advantages may be less noticeable but still significant. Enhanced graphics capabilities, improved heat management, and improved display brightness are some of the benefits that may justify the upgrade, particularly for people who require enhanced performance for creative applications or want to keep up with the newest technological advancements.

The decision to upgrade should ultimately be made depending on how much these developments would benefit you. It might be practical to wait for future iterations if your existing laptop still serves your needs well. However, updating can be a wise purchase if you have a strong desire for the newest features and can fully benefit from the M3’s advancements.

MacBook Air M3 2024: 15-Inch vs. 13-Inch – What’s the Difference?

When choosing between the 15-inch and 13-inch versions of the MacBook Air M3 2024, it’s essential to consider several factors, including screen size, portability, performance, battery life, and price. If you’re having trouble deciding which model is right for you, we will help you to figure out and you should find this comparison to be quite useful.

1. Screen Size and Display

13-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Display Size: 13.6 inches
    • Resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels
    • Technology: Liquid Retina with ProMotion technology (120Hz refresh rate)
    • PPI (Pixels Per Inch): 227
15-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Display Size: 15.2 inches
    • Resolution: 2880 x 1800 pixels
    • Technology:Liquid Retina with ProMotion technology (120Hz refresh rate)
    • PPI (Pixels Per Inch): 224
Key Differences
    • The 15-inch model offers a larger screen, which can enhance productivity by providing more screen real estate for multitasking and a better viewing experience for media consumption.
    • Both models have similar display technologies, ensuring vibrant colors and smooth animations, but the larger model has a slightly lower PPI due to its increased size.

2. Portability and Design

13-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Weight: 2.7 pounds
    • Thickness: 0.58 inches
15-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Weight: 3.5 pounds
    • Thickness: 0.65 inches
Key Differences
    • The 13-inch model is lighter and more portable, making it ideal for users who travel frequently or need a laptop that’s easy to carry around.
    • The 15-inch model, while still relatively portable, is slightly heavier and thicker, which might be a consideration for those prioritizing mobility.

3. Performance

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air M3 2024 models are powered by the same M3 chip, offering similar performance capabilities:

    • CPU: 8-core
    • GPU: 10-core
    • Neural Engine: 16-core
Key Differences

Performance is nearly identical between the two models, as they share the same internals. Your choice here would depend more on your preference for screen size and portability rather than performance differences.

4. Battery Life

13-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Battery Life: Up to 20 hours of video playback
15-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours of video playback
Key Differences

The 13-inch model offers slightly better battery life, which can be a crucial factor for users who need the longest possible usage between charges.

5. Price

13-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Starting Price: $1,548 (as of this post) [Midnight color; inclusive: 16GB RAM, 512 storage, with AppleCare+ 3 Years] .
15-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024 
    • Starting Price: $1,823  (as of this post) [Starlight color; inclusive: 16GB RAM, 512 storage, with AppleCare+ 3 Years] .
Key Differences

The 15-inch model is typically more expensive due to the larger display and slightly higher manufacturing costs. Budget-conscious buyers might prefer the 13-inch model for its lower starting price.

If you don’t want the AppleCare+ package of both product, you can pay for less.

6. Use Cases

13-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Ideal For: Students, frequent travelers, professionals who prioritize portability, and users needing long battery life.
    • Benefits: Lightweight, more affordable, slightly better battery life.
15-Inch MacBook Air M3 2024
    • Ideal For: Content creators, professionals requiring more screen space for multitasking, users who consume a lot of media, and those who don’t mind the extra size and weight.
    • Benefits: Larger screen, enhanced productivity for multitasking, better media viewing experience.

13-inch Midnight color

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15-inch Starlight color 

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The Bottom Line 

So, is the MacBook Air M3 2024 just another piece of hype from Apple?  No, that is not at all correct. The latest MacBook Air takes advantage of its forerunners’ qualities while introducing significant upgrades that elevate the overall user experience. With its elegant appearance, long battery life, and powerful M3 CPU, the MacBook Air M3 2024 is a versatile laptop that can meet the needs of many different types of customers.

The MacBook Air M3 is an attractive combination of portability, performance, and design for those who are creative, students, or professionals. It may not cause a major shift in the laptop market, but it does raise the bar for ultraportable computers. The MacBook Air M3 2024 is an excellent choice for individuals in search of a dependable and powerful laptop, thanks to Apple’s dedication to quality and careful attention to detail.

Ultimately, the MacBook Air M3 2024 distinguishes itself from the competition thanks to its outstanding performance, stunning display, and high-end design. That Apple can keep inventing and improving its products is remarkable. No matter if you’re an old hand at Macs or just thinking about making the jump, you should check out the MacBook Air M3 2024.


Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

1. How does the MacBook Air M3 2024 compare to the MacBook Pro?

The MacBook Air M3 2024 is designed for users who prioritize portability and battery life, while the MacBook Pro is geared towards professionals needing higher performance and more advanced features like the mini-LED display and additional ports. The MacBook Pro also offers higher-end configurations, including the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips, for even greater performance.

2. Is the MacBook Air M3 2024 good for gaming?

While the MacBook Air M3 2024 offers improved graphics performance with its 10-core GPU, it is not primarily designed for gaming. It can handle casual and less demanding games well, but for high-end gaming, a dedicated gaming laptop or desktop would be more suitable.

3. What is ProMotion technology, and how does it enhance the display?

ProMotion technology provides a 120Hz refresh rate, making scrolling, animations, and interactions on the screen smoother and more responsive. This is particularly beneficial for tasks like gaming, video editing, and any activity that involves a lot of on-screen movement.

4. Can I upgrade the RAM and storage on the MacBook Air M3 2024 after purchase?

No, the RAM and storage on the MacBook Air M3 2024 are soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded after purchase. It’s important to choose the configuration that best meets your needs at the time of purchase.

5. Does the MacBook Air M3 2024 support external monitors?

Yes, the MacBook Air M3 2024 supports external monitors through its Thunderbolt 4 ports. It can drive a single external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.

6. Does the MacBook Air M3 2024 come with a warranty?

Yes, the MacBook Air M3 2024 comes with a one-year limited warranty and 90 days of complimentary technical support. Users can also purchase AppleCare+ for extended coverage, which includes up to three years of technical support and additional hardware coverage.

About the author

Mike Viray

A writer with a fondness for consumer tech, Mike is also a music lover, and an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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