Review: Apple’s efficient M3 MacBook Airs are just about as good as laptops get

Enlarge / Apple’s M3 MacBook Airs put a new chip in 2022’s design. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Right off the bat, the M3 MacBook Airs aren’t as interesting as the M2 models.

July 2022’s M2 MacBook Air updated the design of the 13-inch laptop for the Apple Silicon era after the M1 Air’s external design played it safe. And the first-ever 15-inch MacBook Air, released over a year later, was an appealing option for people who wanted a larger screen but didn’t need the extra power or cost of a MacBook Pro. Together, they were a comprehensive rethink of Apple’s approach to its mainstream laptops, modeled after the similarly dramatic Apple Silicon MacBook Pro redesigns.

The M3 Airs don’t do any of that. They are laptop designs we’ve already seen, wrapped around a processor we’ve already seen. But they may end up being more important than the M2 Airs because of when they’re being released—as the last of the Intel Macs slowly age and break and Apple winds down software support for them (if not in this year’s macOS release, then almost certainly next year’s). Between the faster chip and a couple of other feature updates, the new machines may also be the first ones that are truly worth a look for M1 Air early adopters who want an upgrade.

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