2024 MacBook Air review roundup: Serious performance boost


2024 MacBook Air M3 in use
One reviewer says the 2024 MacBook Air offers, "excellent performance, gorgeous screens and incredible battery life."
Photo: Apple

The highlight of the 2024 MacBook Air is the Apple M3 processor, and the first round of reviews show a 25% increase over the earlier M2-based models.

Otherwise, Apple didn’t tinker with the design of previous versions of its 13- and 15-inch consumer-oriented notebook.

Design: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Apple took the wraps off the latest iteration of its popular MacBook Air on March 4. It quickly became obvious that all the important changes are internal.

As The Verge review of the new model put it, “The chassis of the 13-inch and 15-inch Air M3s are the same as their M2 predecessors: same wedgeless design, same dimensions and weight, same colorway options — same everything.”

That’s not a bad thing, as reviewers poured praise on the earlier models, whether it’s the 13-inch version from 2022 or the 15-inch iteration from mid-2023.

The new computers are very slim — just over 0.4 inches — and lightweight. But there’s still room for a 13.6-inch screen or a 15.3-inch one, depending on the model.

No matter the size, the 2024 MacBook Air last up to 18 hours on a single charge, according to Apple. And both sizes offer two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt. Getting more ports requires a hub or upgrading to a MacBook Pro.

2024 MacBook Air is all about the M3 processor

Not surprisingly, the first round of reviews of the latest macOS notebook for consumers focus on the one really significant change: the Apple M3 processor.

Engadget answered the query still on everyone’s mind by running Geekbench 6 benchmarking tests. The 13-inch version of the 2024 MacBook Air scored an 12,102 on the multi-core test, making it 25% faster than the M2 version. And the computer came in at 23% faster on Cinebench.

Cnet did its own benchmark tests and came up with a 12063 on the Geekbench 6 multi-core score. That makes the M3 version is 38% faster than the M1 model from 2020.

That said, those already using a recent MacBook Air shouldn’t expect a noticeable increase in speed. The M2 processor was already quite capable of easily handling most of the software consumers need.

“When it comes to real-world performance, I didn’t notice a huge difference between either M3-equipped MacBook Air, compared to the M2 model I’ve been using for the past few years,” noted the Engadget reviewer.

Bonus features

2024 MacBook Air M3 with dual-monitor support
2024 MacBook Air can connect to a pair of external displays.
Photo: Apple

Several of the reviewers confirmed the M3-based model’s support for two external displays, noting that it requires closing the notebook’s clamshell because Apple’s chip can only handle two screens at a time.

They also noted the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6E, which can significantly increase wireless networking speeds but requires a router that supports the new standard.

Is the 2024 MacBook Air for you?

TechCrunch says of the MacBook Air models: “I don’t hesitate to call them the best consumer laptop Apple has ever made. Depending on where your operating system allegiances lie, it’s not a stretch to call them the best laptops for most people, full stop.”

Cnet said, “The M3 MacBook Air, either size, is an easy recommendation.”

Engadget says, “They’re great computers with excellent performance, gorgeous screens and incredible battery life.”

Video reviews

Cnet did a video review of the 2024 MacBook Air, and summed up the results saying, “If you’re on an older MacBook Air or even a MacBook Pro, the M3 MacBook Air continues Apple’s impressive performance streak, especially if you’re in need of a graphics boost.”

And iJustine gave her own video take:



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