Apple MacBook Air 15-inch M3 (2024) review

Is the big-screen MacBook Air 15-inch M3 the best MacBook Air yet, or is it just overkill?

Apple MacBook Air 15-inch M3 (2024)
(Image: © Rod Lawton)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The MacBook Air 15-inch M3 sounds wonderful, with its ultra-slim lightweight design, latest-generation M3 processor, long battery life and beautiful screen… so why would you even consider a MacBook Pro when the Air 15-inch gives you a bigger screen for less money? It’s not that simple, of course. The Air is designed for portability, the Pro is designed for power. But this is where the MacBook Air 15-inch becomes confusing. It’s beautiful, fast and a delight to use, but is that screen just too big for genuine portability, and would the cheaper 13-inch model be the best ‘lite’ MacBook to get instead?


  • +

    Gorgeous Liquid Retina display

  • +

    18-hour battery life

  • +

    Superb finish, keyboard and trackpad

  • +

    Power and speed


  • -

    Irritating ‘notch’ at the top of the screen

  • -

    Extra RAM and storage is expensive

  • -

    Awkward positioning in the range

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Apple makes MacBooks in two sub-ranges. Apple would probably prefer to put it differently, but you could say the MacBook Air range is designed for portability ahead of performance, while the MacBook Pro is all about performance, even if it means a slightly bigger machine. What confuses things is that the latest MacBook Airs are very fast, and the latest MacBook Pros are very light.

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ProcessorApple M3 chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
Display15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, 2880x1864 pixels, 500 nit
Memory8GB, 16GB or 24GB unified memory
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD
Battery62.5WH (approx 15hrs browsing)
PortsTwo Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, headphone jack, MagSafe port
WirelessWi‑Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
Camera1080p FaceTime HD camera
Power35W MagSafe charger. 70W compatible
Size (HWD)1.15 x 34.04 x 23.76 cm (0.45 x 13.40 x 9.35 in)
Weight1.51kg (3.3 lbs)
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Header Cell - Column 0 MacBook Air M2MacBook Pro 14 (M2 Pro)MacBook Air 15-inch M3
GeekBench 5 Single-core CPU score1,9361,9743,117
GeekBench 5 Multi-core CPU score8,91714,83111,884
GeekBench 5 OpenCL score27,55845,92230,433
Cinebench R23 Single-core CPU score1,5971,6461,895
Cinebench R23 Multi-core CPU score8,09814,7689.375
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FeaturesGreat screen, audio and battery life but you get just two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports and no card reader, plus weak base RAM and storage specs★★★★
DesignThe MacBook Air 15-inch M3 is beautifully made, with a minimalist design and superb finish. Even the power cable★★★★★
PerformanceOn paper you can see the performance gains from a MacBook Pro, but in real world use the MacBook Air 15-inch M3 feels plenty fast enough★★★★★
ValueThe MacBook Air 15-inch M3 offers terrific performance, build and design. That’s what you’re paying for, and it does deliver★★★★
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch M3

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch M3
The MacBook Air 13-inch M3 is smaller, lighter, and more practical in confined spaces (and smaller bags) than the 15-inch model. It's also $200 / £200 cheaper, though that's not all down to the screen – the 15-inch model has better speakers and a 10-core GPU as standard. 

MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023)

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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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at