Pc/Laptop Reviews

MacBook Air M3 Review: The Reasons Not to Buy It

MacBook Air M3 Review The Reasons Not to Buy It


Apple’s new MacBook Air with the M3 chip has launched, sparking interest and excitement among consumers. Despite its new technology and performance improvements, there are some significant reasons not to buy this laptop. This review outlines why the MacBook Air M3 might not be the best choice for some users. We’ll delve into several key areas, highlighting where it falls short and suggesting alternatives for those seeking value and performance.


What's New

Apple’s new MacBook Air M3 brings only a couple of noticeable updates. The first is a slight change in the anodization on the laptop’s exterior, aimed at reducing fingerprints. Although this sounds promising, in practice, the difference is hardly noticeable. Fingerprints still appear if the laptop is handled regularly without protection, so don’t expect a smudge-free device.

The second change is the inclusion of the new M3 chip. Apple tends to roll out its latest chip across multiple product lines, as seen with the iMac and MacBook Pro. The M3 chip is the base model of Apple’s third-generation silicon, offering an approximate 10-20% improvement in performance over the M2, with an emphasis on graphics. Despite these enhancements, the update feels underwhelming, raising the question of whether it warrants an upgrade from previous models.

With minimal changes to the design and significant hardware updates, it’s clear that Apple has played it safe with the MacBook Air M3. Given these modest advancements, it’s hard to justify the hype surrounding this release.
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The MacBook Air M3 ‘s performance doesn’t deviate much from what you’d expect. Benchmarks suggest a moderate boost in speed compared to the M2, primarily in graphics processing. Features like ray tracing are now supported, which can improve rendering for certain applications. Additionally, the dual external display support with the lid closed is a welcomed upgrade for multitasking.

Despite these enhancements, there’s nothing revolutionary about the M3 ‘s performance. It’s good, but not groundbreaking. Battery life remains impressive, consistent with the 15-inch MacBook Air’s reputation for longevity. Yet, this doesn’t offer a compelling reason to upgrade from an M2 or even an M1, especially for light users.

The biggest performance improvement is in the storage. Unlike the M2’s base model, which used a single, slower SSD, the M3 ‘s base storage performs significantly better. This is a positive development, but is it enough to recommend the new model over the previous versions? Probably not, especially given that many users might not notice the difference in everyday tasks.


Apple’s pricing strategy is another major reason to reconsider buying the MacBook Air M3. With the M3 starting at $1,099, it sits in a competitive range. Yet, Apple’s pricing for storage and memory upgrades is steep. To upgrade to 16 GB of memory, you’ll need to pay an extra $200, and another $200 for 512 GB of storage. This can quickly inflate the total cost to $1,500 or more, creating a significant gap between the base price and a more practical configuration.

The price discrepancy becomes more glaring when you consider the M2 MacBook Air, now discounted to $999. With a $100 difference, you get a laptop that is nearly identical in performance and design. If you’re looking to save money without sacrificing usability, the M2 becomes an attractive alternative. The value proposition diminishes even further when you factor in that you can find the discontinued M1 MacBook Air for as low as $649 at retailers like Best Buy or Walmart.

The high cost of upgrading makes it difficult to justify the purchase of the MacBook Air M3. Given that it’s not user-upgradable, you’re stuck with your initial configuration, reinforcing the need to choose wisely at purchase.

Base Spec Limitations

One of the more frustrating aspects of the MacBook Air M3 is its base specifications. Despite being a 2024 model, it comes with only 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. While these specs might suffice for light users, they fall short for those with more demanding tasks. The pricing for upgrades further complicates the situation, making it cost-prohibitive to reach a configuration that meets more extensive needs.

Considering that many smartphones now come with more than 8 GB of RAM and comparable storage, the base specs on the MacBook Air M3 feel outdated. This limitation raises the question of whether Apple is intentionally pushing users towards higher-priced models. It’s an old strategy in the tech industry, but it feels particularly stark with Apple’s high markup prices for upgrades.

The base spec limitations and high upgrade costs make the MacBook Air M3 less attractive for those seeking flexibility and future-proofing. It’s a significant reason to consider the M2 or even the M1, which offer similar performance without the financial burden of extensive upgrades.

Who Should Buy the MacBook Air M3

Given the above considerations, it’s important to identify who would benefit from the MacBook Air M3 and who should look elsewhere. If you require a laptop for light tasks like web browsing, word processing, and multimedia consumption, the MacBook Air M3’s base specs might be sufficient. However, if you engage in more intensive activities like video editing, software development, or gaming, you might find the base specs lacking, requiring costly upgrades.

For users who don’t need the latest technology or additional performance, the M2 MacBook Air at a lower price point offers nearly the same capabilities. It’s suitable for general use and casual computing, providing excellent value without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for an even more affordable option, the M1 MacBook Air, despite being discontinued, is still available at major retailers at a steep discount.

Ultimately, the MacBook Air M3 is best suited for those who need modest computing power with a focus on portability. If your needs are simple and you prefer Apple’s ecosystem, it might be the right choice. However, for most users, other models offer better value and sufficient performance.


In summary, while the MacBook Air M3 is an intriguing release with some notable improvements, there are compelling reasons not to buy it. Its minor design updates and incremental performance gains might not justify the premium price, especially with lower-cost alternatives like the M2 and M1 still available. The high cost of upgrades and the base spec limitations further diminish its appeal, making it less practical for users with broader computing needs. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your specific requirements and budget. For most people, the M2 or M1 MacBook Airs offer better value and performance without the need for costly upgrades. If you’re looking to buy a new MacBook Air, consider these factors carefully before making your purchase.

MacBook Air M3 Review: Frequently Asked Questions

What differentiates the MacBook Air M3 from the M2?

The MacBook Air M3 includes two notable changes. Firstly, there’s a new anodization to reduce fingerprint marks. Secondly, it features the latest M3 chip, which offers a 10-20% performance boost. However, the overall design remains similar to the M2.

It depends on what you’re seeking. The M3 chip provides a modest performance increase, especially in graphics. Yet, the M2 MacBook Air offers similar capabilities at a lower price point. Given Apple’s high upgrade costs, the M2 might be the better value for many users.

No, you can’t upgrade it after purchase. Apple’s silicon-based laptops are non-upgradable, making initial configuration crucial. Thus, it’s important to choose a model with enough memory and storage to meet your long-term needs.

Yes, it supports dual external displays

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