Why the M1 Macbook Air Might Still Be Better than the New M3 for Some People

by Oscar
Apple Macbook Air M1 Screen Keyboard Pink Gold

In the ever-evolving world of Apple’s MacBook Air, the introduction of the M3 chip has sparked a wave of excitement—and, surprisingly, a bit of skepticism. The recent update to the MacBook Air lineup is simple, perhaps even underwhelming at first glance, but it’s the subtleties that make this discussion worth having. For some people, the older M1 might actually still be a better choice.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these affiliate links. This helps support the free content for the community on this website. Please read our Affiliate Link Policy for more information.

The M3 MacBook Air: What’s New?

Apple’s MacBook Air has received a refresh that, on the surface, seems straightforward: a new anodization process for a slightly more fingerprint-resistant exterior and the introduction of the M3 chip. However, the difference is negligible. Regular handling still leaves visible fingerprints.

The real star of the show is the M3 chip. This isn’t our first encounter with Apple’s M3 silicon; it’s been previously featured in the iMac and MacBook Pro models. The M3 promises a performance boost of 10 to 20% over the M2, with notable improvements in graphics capabilities. Additionally, the MacBook Air now supports dual external displays (with the lid closed) and has seen significant improvements in base storage performance—a welcome upgrade from the slower base storage of the M2 models.

Check prices of the MacBook Air M3 on Amazon (affiliate links): https://amzn.to/4akIRbS

The Pricing Conundrum

Despite these advancements, the introduction of the M3 MacBook Air brings a pricing strategy that complicates the buying decision. Apple has reduced the price of the M2 model by $100 and discontinued the M1, adjusting the starting price of the M3 MacBook Air to $1099.

However, this price is just for the base model with the minimum specs (8GB RAM + 256GB Storage), which for many people, simply isn’t enough, your smartphone probably has more than that! Sure, it can handle everyday tasks like web browsing and working on spreadsheets just fine. But once you start doing more resource-intensive tasks such as photo/video editing or keeping a lot of browser tabs open, you’ll likely want more RAM and storage. In my opinion, upgrading RAM and storage is significantly overpriced. For every additional 8GB of RAM, you have to pay $200 extra, and doubling the storage also costs another $200. The costs add up very quickly.

This leads me to believe that the older but cheaper MacBook Air models, like the M2 or even the M1, might still be a very good option for many people out there as they offer much better value for the money. You can get the M1 for just $649.99 in some major retailers.

Check prices of the MacBook Air on Amazon (affiliate links):

Who Really Benefits from the M3?

The Casual User

For the casual user, whose computer usage doesn’t extend far beyond web browsing, video streaming, and light photo editing, the performance benefits of the M3 chip might not justify its higher cost. These users could find better value in the now cheaper M2 model, or even in the discounted M1 stocks still available at major retailers.

The Power User

On the other hand, for power users who demand more from their laptops—be it for video editing, gaming, or intensive coding—the M3 MacBook Air presents a compelling option. Its improved performance and storage capabilities make it a potent tool for more demanding tasks. However, prepared to pay extra for the top specs model.

Final Thoughts

The decision between the M1, M2, and M3 MacBook Air models boils down to individual needs and priorities. The M3 MacBook Air is undoubtedly a more capable machine, suited for those who need its enhanced performance. However, for many, the improvements may not justify the added expense, especially when the M1 and M2 models continue to offer exceptional value for a wide range of computing tasks.

In the grand scheme of things, Apple’s strategy of incremental updates ensures that there’s something in their lineup for everyone. Whether you’re a casual user or a demanding professional, the key is to assess your specific needs against what each model offers. And in some cases, you might find that the older, less expensive models are more than sufficient for your computing needs.

Get your MacBook Air on Amazon (affiliate links):

Leave a Comment

By using this form, you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. Note that all comments are held for moderation before appearing.