Apple MacBook Air 13in (M3, 2024) review: still flying high but the airs not so fresh

The MacBook Air continues to be the best MacBook for most people, but iterative changes make this the most underwhelming update yet

Apple MacBook Air sitting on a wooden desk
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The MacBook Air ticks all the right boxes to remain my top recommendation for the widest amount of users, with enough power to get through photo and video editing tasks that aren’t a professional level of intensive, all in a slim and light form factor, with a battery that just keeps going. While a huge boost for anyone using an Intel Mac, there is really nothing to separate this from the M2-powered Air, or really even the M1 for a lot of people, after the big jump of in-house silicon from Intel, Apple’s annual chip updates have become less necessary with each generation.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent all-day battery life

  • +

    M3 provides good editing performance

  • +

    Slim, lightweight, fanless design

  • +

    Lovely screen

Cons

  • -

    Not a big jump from the M2 Air

  • -

    Lack of ports and SD card slot for creatives

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Another spring, another MacBook Air. Apple’s new laptops are now coming like clockwork to align with the Cupertino giant's development and rollout of its latest processors. Do we need a new MacBook Air every single year? I am not sure, but clearly enough people’s wallets are opening to make Apple say yes for now.

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ProcessorApple M3 chip with 8-core CPU, 8 or 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
Display13.6-inch LED-backlit display, 2560x1664, 224 ppi, 500 nit
Memory8GB, 16GB or 24GB unified memory
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD
Battery52.6W (approx 15hrs browsing)
PortsTwo Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, headphone jack, MagSafe port
Wireless Wi‑Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
Camera1080p FaceTime HD camera
Power30W (8-core), 35W (10-core) MagSafe charger. 70W compatible
Size (HWD)1.13 x 30.41 x 21.5 cm (0.44 x 11.97 x 8.46 in)
Weight1.24 kg (2.7 lbs)
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Header Cell - Column 0 MacBook Air (M3)MacBook Air (M2)MacBook Pro 13 (Intel i7, Iris Plus)
GeekBench Single-core CPU score3,0262,5931,261
GeekBench Multi-core CPU score11,2859,6524,908
GeekBench OpenCL score30,46125,3069,190
Cinebench R23 Single-core CPU score1,8981,5971,130
Cinebench R23 Multi-core CPU score8,3178,0985,031
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FeaturesPowerful fanless design that is lightweight and has a battery that just keeps going.★★★★★
DesignNothing new from the prior model but the screen and keyboard are still incredible, although a lack of ports lets the Air down.★★★★
PerformanceThe M3 chip is speeds through day-to-day processing, and is powerful enough for most editing tasks.★★★★★
ValueApple’s best value laptop is still a a good deal, but expensive spec upgrades quickly make the price less affordable.★★★★
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<a href="https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/reviews/apple-macbook-air-m2-2022-review" data-link-merchant="digitalcameraworld.com"">Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the best alternative to the M3 version. There is not a significant leap forward in processing power from M2 to M3, with the M2 still a great option for day-to-day computing and light photo and video editing. You can also find more regular deals on the older model as stores look to shift stock.

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<a href="https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/reviews/apple-macbook-pro-14-m3-2023-review" data-link-merchant="digitalcameraworld.com"">MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023)

If you are looking to do a lot of intensive photo and video editing then the MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro or M3 Max chip will provide a much more powerful experience for churning through hundreds of photos or big 4K video files with much more ease. The chassis also has a built-in SD Card reader and more ports, which for most creatives will be a huge time-saver.

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.