Review: Two Weeks With the M3 MacBook Air

The latest 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models have been available for two weeks now, and MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera has been using the 15-inch version since it launched. Over on our YouTube channel, Dan shared a review now that he's been able to spend some quality time with the machine.

The M3 ‌MacBook Air‌ is a perfect all-around laptop, and the Air models are what we recommend for most people. In fact, the M3 ‌MacBook Air‌ is more machine than the average consumer likely even needs. For web browsing, sending emails, and other simple tasks, a more affordable M1 ‌MacBook Air‌ or M2 ‌MacBook Air‌ is more than enough, and the M1 MacBook Air is even available at a super low $650 price right now.

For photo editing, video editing, and tasks that require a little more power, even the base model M3 ‌MacBook Air‌ with 8GB Unified Memory is more than enough for many people. Upgrading the memory will give you a bit more leeway in terms of future proofing, and adding more storage is a good idea if you need space for file storage, games, and apps.

Compared to the ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌, the M3 has faster CPU and GPU speeds, hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading for 3D rendering and games, Wi-Fi 6E support, and support for two displays in clamshell mode. If you need these options, or don't mind shelling out a bit more money for a machine that will last longer, it's worth getting the M3, but we also think the more affordable ‌M1‌ and ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌ models are perfectly great for many people.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
5 weeks ago
As MKBHD said..

Most everyone who would buy an Air is better off buying an M2 or M1 at a discount

The gouging and incrementalism has reached the point that a mainstream Youtuber is flat out saying ..."just buy the previous one.."

Nice work Tim
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macshroomer Avatar
5 weeks ago

Jeebus ... just about ANYTHING is an upgrade from a 2016 Air! ?
My wife was using a 2013 MBP with a dying battery and exfoliated screen coating. I brought her home a Starlight M3 16/512 for her birthday....;-)
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
5 weeks ago

Then why "downvote" my post mentioning that MKBHD (who DOES have experience with all the M Air models) said most Air buyers should really just buy the older ones and save money?
Because of all the obligatory TiM cOoK rUiNed apPle rhetoric. Frankly it gets tiresome.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Fly (film) Avatar
5 weeks ago
Needs SD Card slot like MBA used have (''). Death to Dongletown. MBP is overkill for most people and non-Pro-chip M3 MBP should not exist, to further power-differentiate both lines. Every MBP should have four Thunderbolt 4 ports (currently some had two and some have three). MBP should be sold in two sizes: 14.4" and 16.2".

MBA is the best form factor for most in terms of thickness and heft, has better battery life, and should be sold in small and medium sizes: 13" and 14.4". SD Card is a handy port to have for many users. And I believe they should do what it takes design wise to include HDMI, to make MBA a more real-world-practical machine for everyone—the office worker; the teacher; the amateur photographer; the event coordinator; the conference attendee; the student, and so on. The weight, chonk, power, fans, upgradability, and professional display of MBP most people do not need. A basic useable compliment of ports in 2024 all Macs need, to make all Macs fully interoperable in the real world.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
krspkbl Avatar
5 weeks ago
I have the 15" M3 with 16/512GB. Very happy with it. The last Mac I used was a ~2012 Air just after my Late '08 MacBook died on me after 4 years.

Can't think of any negatives of using the new Air. I love it.

I can't talk about how the M3 compares to an M1/M2 or the last Intel models and I don't use it for anything heavy but it's handled everything I've asked of it.

If you can afford an M3 with 16GB then go for it but I suppose there is no shame in grabbing an M2 or M1. I am not sure I would recommend getting a 24GB Air. The RAM itself isn't the problem but I think if you need 24GB then you're probably better off with an MBP.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
5 weeks ago

I can't talk about how the M3 compares to an M1/M2
Then why "downvote" my post mentioning that MKBHD (who DOES have experience with all the M Air models) said most Air buyers should really just buy the older ones and save money?

What do you find so funny?

(God I hate the "laugh emoji" -- so consistently misused)

Attachment Image
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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