The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models with the M3 chip launch this Friday. Ahead of time, the first reviews and unboxing videos for the laptops have been shared by some media outlets and YouTube channels.

macbook air new blue
Key new features added to both MacBook Air models include Apple's M3 chip for faster performance, Wi-Fi 6E support, expanded external display support, an anodization seal that reduces fingerprints on the Midnight finish, and microphone improvements.

Reviews

M3 Chip

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air are now available with the M3 chip for faster performance and improved power efficiency.

As expected, an early benchmark result revealed that the M3 chip is up to 20% faster than the M2 chip in the previous MacBook Air models in terms of CPU performance. These results are consistent with the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 chip.

Jason Snell shared benchmark results in his review on Six Colors:

Six Colors M3 MacBook Air
With the M3 chip, the MacBook Air has also gained hardware-accelerated ray tracing for improved graphics rendering in games, along with AV1 video decoding.

Two External Displays

While previous MacBook Air models with Apple silicon officially support only one external display, the new models support two external displays. However, a second display can only be used when the MacBook Air's lid is closed.

When the lid is open, the new models support one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. When the lid is closed, a second display with up to 5K resolution at 60Hz can be connected, according to Apple's tech specs.

M3 MacBook Air Two External Displays

Image Credit: CNET
CNET's Joshua Goldman:

With the M3 MacBook Airs, you can connect two external displays directly to the Thunderbolt USB-C ports, which will also power the MacBook.

However, doing this comes at the cost of the MacBook Air's display; the lid must be closed in order to drive both external monitors. On the surface, this doesn't seem like much of an issue, unless you typically use your laptop's keyboard and trackpad while working on an external display. For me, the bigger hiccup is the loss of Touch ID on the Air's keyboard. You can just open and close the lid to use Touch ID, but I use mine so much during the day that that would get old really fast. The better option is to get Apple's Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, and while you're at it, pick up a Magic Trackpad or Mouse to complete the package.

Even more displays can be connected to the MacBook Air with the use of DisplayLink adapters.

Fingerprint Seal for Midnight Color

Just like the Space Black MacBook Pro, the Midnight MacBook Air now features an "anodization seal to reduce fingerprints," according to Apple.

TheStreet's Jacob Krol:

Thus far, it's clear that the anodization blocks most fingerprint smudges, and the M3 looks better than an M2 in the Midnight color. However, Midnight is a harder color to block all of them, as I am still seeing some, specifically on the top and bottom cases of the 15-inch. That being said, on the inside around the keyboard and on or off the trackpad, it does a really good job of stopping them.

Wi-Fi 6E

The new MacBook Airs support Wi-Fi 6E for "up to twice as fast" wireless download speeds compared to the previous models with Wi-Fi 6, according to Apple.

Wi-Fi 6E extends the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 to the 6 GHz band, enabling faster wireless speeds and reduced signal interference with a compatible device and router. The entire current-generation Mac lineup now supports Wi-Fi 6E.

Microphone Upgrades

Apple says the microphones in the new MacBook Air models offer "enhanced voice clarity in audio and video calls" compared to the previous models. The microphones also gained support for "Voice Isolation" and "Wide Spectrum" modes.

Videos





Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

apparatchik Avatar
19 weeks ago
I really miss actual reviews, like the ones Anandtech used to do, after using the device for more than 10 minutes, including deep down analysis of the silicon, etc.

These are not more than brief hands-on if not pure superficial bullet-list cheerleaders running against the embargo timer.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Orange Bat Avatar
19 weeks ago
Maybe it’s just me, but the era of “content creation” has just worn on me. These reviews are all stretching to find something positive to say about a simple spec bump that has already been discussed ad nauseam with the MacBook Pros.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DJ_Envo Avatar
19 weeks ago
It's just me or iJustine and the rest of the clown band are getting more and more irritating?
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blackstick Avatar
19 weeks ago
The M3 MacBook Air is everything to enterprise IT departments.

We have approximately 5000 Macs in our fleet. The fact that up to 70% of these Macs intended for non-developers and non-power users can now eventually be a $1200 M3 MacBook Air, instead of a $2000+ 14" MacBook Pro, is huge and keeps the Mac ecosystem more in line with our costs on our standard Dell Latitudes -- still more money upfront sure, but not "twice as much" money. And where the Dells last 3 years tops, we run the Macs for up to 5, lowering TCO below Windows.

Why did we go with Pros before? Dual displays is non-negotiable when there's 11,000 desks each with 2 displays to light up.

We ordered 400 of these already to refresh employees on rapidly aging Intel hardware.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eduardo1971 Avatar
19 weeks ago
I agree as well-these are not in-depth, unbiased ‘reviews’. These are influencers giddy for free merchandise.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WWPD Avatar
19 weeks ago

It's just me or iJustine and the rest of the clown band are getting more and more irritating?
Just the thumbnails alone do that.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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