Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: the best MacBook just got better

Apple’s best laptop gets an upgrade

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) offers improved performance, a slightly tweaked design to prevent fingerprints spoiling the look, and lower price of entry compared to the previous model. This is easily the best MacBook money can buy for most people, though we recommend boosting the memory and storage space when ordering. That makes it more expensive, but far more future-proof.


  • +

    Excellent performance

  • +

    Fan-less design

  • +

    Very good battery life

  • +

    Lower price


  • -

    Base specs are a bit weak

  • -

    External monitor support feels compromised

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Editor's Note

• Original review date: March, 2024
• macOS Sequoia due late 2024
• M4 MacBook Air likely in near future

Update: July 2024

Apple surprised us when it launched the M3 chip towards the end of 2023 without the MacBook Air. Since the launch of the M1 chip in 2020, Apple has always launched a MacBook Air alongside its new chips as an affordable showcase for the hardware. Instead, we had to wait until March 2024 to get M3 chips in the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks Airs - and as you can see from this review, the wait was certainly worth it, with the new 2024 model of the MacBook Air getting a rare five star review from myself - and it also shot to the top of our best laptops guide. However, since the launch of the M3 MacBook Air, we've seen a range of new ARM-based Windows 11 laptops emerge - devices referred to by Microsoft as 'Copilot+ PCs'. The MacBook Air's M3 chip is based on ARM hardware as well, which means these new Windows laptops boast a range of features, such as quick boot times and long battery lives, that the MacBook Air excelled at. While this doesn't mean that the M3 MacBook Air has suddenly got worse, it does mean the competition is a lot more fierce. If you'd rather use macOS over Windows 11, however, then there's still only one choice: the MacBook Air.

Matt Hanson
Matt Hanson

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3): Two-minute review

Apple has officially launched the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3), alongside a 15-inch version – while you're here you'll also want to check out our in-depth Apple MacBook Air 15-inch (M3) review. So has it been worth the wait?

While Apple’s announcement came out of the blue – there was no event to announce the launch, just a press release emailed to media outlets – it wasn’t entirely surprising.

As well as all those aforementioned rumors about new MacBook Airs, when Apple launched its M3 chip last year it also launched new M3-powered MacBook Pros and a new iMac. The fact that this was the first M-series launch to not feature a MacBook Air didn’t go unnoticed – and many of us assumed (or hoped) that an M3-powered Air would appear at some point. Thankfully, we’ve not had long to wait.

Starting at $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,799, the latest MacBook Air model straight away addresses one of my main complaints about the previous M2 version: the high starting price. The M2 MacBook Air launched in 2022 with a new, noticeably higher, price for its base model ($1,199 / £1,249 / AU$1,899), and while it remained the best laptop you could buy due to design and performance, it wasn’t as good value as the earlier M1 MacBook Air model, which launched at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599.

So, the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is a much better-value proposition, and in a world where the price of everything seems to be climbing it’s great to see Apple buck that trend and release a laptop that’s cheaper than its predecessor. With the launch of the M3 version, Apple has officially dropped the price of the M2 model to $999 / £999 / AU$1,599, and has stopped selling the M1 version altogether (it’s still available for the moment from third-party retailers, and will likely drop further in price).

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

While the base M3 model’s price is a nice surprise, what’s less surprising – and less nice – is the fact that this model has the same 8GB of unified memory and just 256GB of SSD storage space as its predecessor. In 2024, those specifications don’t really cut it – especially for a laptop that starts at just over $1,000.

The configuration I was sent from Apple comes with double the memory and storage and 16GB and 512GB, along with a slight bump to GPU cores in the M3 chip over the base model, and it’s a much more well-rounded offering that won’t feel outdated after a year or so. This model is significantly pricier, though, at $1,499 / £1,499 / AU$2,399.Other than the switch to the M3 chip, the new MacBook Air 13-inch keeps essentially the same design as the M2 version, which is no bad thing, as that model remains one of the nicest-looking thin and light laptops out there. I much prefer the 13-inch MacBook Air to the 15-inch model, as the smaller device is much more easy to carry about. The fact that the battery lasted over 14 hours on a single charge in our battery life tests again shows just how good the 13-inch MacBook Air is for people who want a compact laptop they can use almost anywhere.

Performance-wise, the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) does an excellent job with day-to-day tasks such as web browsing and watching TV shows, while also putting in an impressive showing when used for content creation. I used applications including Adobe Photoshop and Ableton Live 11, and even played a few games, and the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) proved fast and dependable at all times. Even when putting this laptop through its paces by trying out a range of apps (often at the same time), the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) didn’t once freeze or crash. The M3 model retains its predecessors' fan-less design, so it’s essentially silent when in use.

While the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) isn’t a radical reimagining in the way the M2 model was, it doesn’t need to be. This is an assured release from a company at the top of its game, offering improved performance for a lower price, which means I have no trouble recommending the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) as the best laptop you can buy right now.

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Price and availability

  • Starts at $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,799
  • Lower launch price than M2 model
  • M2 model is now the cheapest MacBook sold by Apple

The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) was announced on March 4, 2024, with pre-orders from Apple’s online store going live on the same day and the new MacBook hitting physical stores from March 8. Our guide on where to buy the MacBook Air M3 features all the latest offers and availability.

The base model costs $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,799, and comes with an M3 chip with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 8GB of unified memory, and 256GB SSD storage. This is the same M3 chip as found in the base iMac 24-inch (M3), which starts at $1,399 / £1,399 / AU$2,199. That’s quite a leap in price for the all-in-one PC.

You can also get the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) with an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB unified memory, and 512GB SSD storage. This model also comes with a more powerful 35W dual USB-C power adapter (the base model’s adapter tops out at 30W), and costs $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$2,099.

Finally, you can get a pre-configured MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) with the same M3 chip and other specs, but with 16GB of unified memory and 512GB SSD storage for $1,499 / £1,499 / AU$2,399. This is the model I’m reviewing here.

As with previous models, you can further configure the new MacBook Air with up to 24GB of unified memory, 2TB SSD storage, and a 70W USB-C power adapter. This fully maxed-out model costs $2,299 / £2,299 / AU$3,599.

In a rather rare bit of welcome news, the M3 MacBook Air has launched at a lower price for the base model than the M2 MacBook Air. When that MacBook Air debuted back in 2022 the base model was priced at $1,199 / £1,249 / AU$1,899. Since then, it’s had an official $100 price cut, but one of the few complaints I had about the M2 MacBook Air (which went straight to the top of our best laptops list) was that high price. It’s great to see Apple somewhat rectify that with the M3 model, and while it’s still an expensive laptop, it’s now better value for money – which is an important consideration these days.

Apple will also continue to sell the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2, dropping the price to a very appealing $999 / £999 / AU$1,599. This is a repeat of the move it made when it launched the M2 MacBook Air, as it continued to sell the M1 model at the lower $999 price point.

It’s good to see Apple doing this again, as the M2 model remains an excellent laptop, especially at this new lower price. Unfortunately, it means that the M1 model is no longer sold by Apple. However, we’re already seeing that model on offer for an even lower price at other retailers looking to clear their stock ahead of the new MacBook Airs arriving.

So, if you’re looking for the cheapest sold-by-Apple MacBook to get into Apple’s ecosystem, the M2 MacBook Air is the one to go for, but the M3 model represents very good value for money – and it’s now the cheapest M3-powered Mac on the market (until an M3-powered Mac mini arrives at some point, which is likely).

  • Price score: 4.5/5

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Specs

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) comes in three pre-configured options, and you can further configure the amount of memory and storage space before you buy. You’ll need to do that to match the review and max configurations below. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) Base configuration:MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) Review configuration:MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) Max configuration:
Price:$1,399 / £1,399 / AU$2,199$1,499 / £1,499 / AU$2,399$2,299 / £2,299 / AU$3,599
CPU:Apple M3 (8-core)Apple M3 (8-core)Apple M3 (8-core)
Graphics:Integrated 8-core GPUIntegrated 10-core GPUIntegrated 10-core GPU
RAM:8GB unified memory16GB unified memory24GB unified memory
Screen:13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display (500 nits sustained brightness, wide color P3 gamut, True Tone technology)13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display (500 nits sustained brightness, wide color P3 gamut, True Tone technology)13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display (500 nits sustained brightness, wide color P3 gamut, True Tone technology)
Storage:256GB SSD512GB SDD2TB SDD
Ports:2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 32x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 32x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3
Wireless:Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
Camera:1080p FaceTime HD webcam1080p FaceTime HD webcam1080p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight:2.7 lbs (1.24kg)2.7 lbs (1.24kg)2.7 lbs (1.24kg)
Dimensions:11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (304 x 215 x 11.3mm)11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (304 x 215 x 11.3mm)11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (304 x 215 x 11.3mm)

The specs of the new MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) are broadly in line with what we were expecting. However, and as mentioned above, in 2024 the base configuration with just 8GB of memory and only 256GB SSD storage is looking increasingly outdated, especially for the price. With the 8GB of memory being shared between compute tasks (regular day-to-day jobs, essentially) and graphics, it could start to struggle if you’re running multiple apps at once.

The 256GB SSD will likely fill up fast as well, especially if you’re thinking about buying the new MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) for creative work, such as photo or video editing. In typical fashion, Apple has made the MacBook Air as difficult as possible to open up, so you won’t be able to upgrade the memory or storage later. Add in the fact that the base model comes with a weaker integrated GPU in its M3 chip (eight cores as opposed to the 10-core GPU included in the other models), and I’d recommend spending a bit more to get the review configuration that I tested, as the more powerful GPU, 16GB of memory and 512GB SSD makes it far more future-proof.

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Design

  • No major redesign
  • Midnight color has been improved to reduce fingerprints
  • More recycled materials than ever

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)’s design doesn’t break any new ground – but it didn’t really need to. While we loved the M1 MacBook Air, its design increasingly felt dated, and when the M2 MacBook hit the shelves in 2022 it came with a bold redesign that included a better and larger screen, thinner bezels around the display and a much more modern look. I personally loved the redesign, so the fact that the M3 MacBook Air looks pretty much identical doesn’t bother me.

This is still an impressively thin and light laptop. The 13.6-inch LED display looks bright and vibrant, and the native 2560 x 1664 resolution offers 224 pixels per inch, leading to a pleasingly sharp and detailed image. As with the previous generation of MacBook Airs, the 15-inch MacBook Air (M3), which launched alongside the 13-inch model, comes with a larger screen, but also a higher resolution, which means the pixels per inch number is very similar to the 13-inch model.

Basically, you won’t lose out on image quality no matter which MacBook Air model you go for. For many people, the 13-inch model will be much more convenient as it’s lighter and smaller, yet still very powerful. The keyboard once again feels comfortable to use, with a surprising amount of key travel for such a thin device. This means that typing away on the MacBook Air’s keyboard feels tactile and responsive. It comes with a Touch ID button that powers on the MacBook and can quickly log you in by just using your fingerprint. The touchpad below the keyboard is spacious and performs well - just as it did with the previous model.

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Port-wise the MacBook Air M3 keeps the same selection as the previous model, with two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports that offer up to 40Gb/s data transfers, a MagSafe 3 port for charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The MagSafe 3 and Thunderbolt ports are all on the same side (the left) which can be a bit fiddly if you’re using them all at once, and it also means you don’t get a choice of which side of the laptop to plug the charger into (you can also use USB-C chargers from other manufacturers to top up the battery if you find yourself without the MagSafe connector).

None of the new MacBook Air models support Thunderbolt 4, which remains exclusive (in the Mac space) to Macs running M3 Pro and M3 Max chips.

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

The bump to M3 also allows the new MacBook Air 13-inch to support two external monitors at once, one with up to 6K resolution and 60Hz, and the other with up to 5K resolution. The previous M2 model could only handle one 6K external monitor.

There is a rather large caveat to this, however: you can only run two external monitors with the MacBook Air’s screen closed. Opening the lid turns off one of the screens – so don’t go thinking this new feature will let you work on three screens simultaneously. For office workers who usually use their laptop in a dock with the lid closed this may not be an issue, but it’s a curiously inelegant implementation. Interestingly, the MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M3 chip launched without this feature, but Apple will be enabling it in a future software update.

Overall, the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is another fine-looking thin and light laptop from Apple, and while it looks almost identical to the previous model, it still feels like a stylish and modern device.

I say ‘almost identical’ as there is a tiny difference with the new MacBook Air. The model that comes in the Midnight color (essentially, a very dark blue) now benefits from a “breakthrough anodization seal to reduce fingerprints.” This seems to be a response to criticisms of the previous model in the same color due to how easily fingerprints, scratches and other marks showed up (and remained) on the body.

While the 13-inch MacBook Air that Apple sent me to review was in the Starlight color (four colors are available – Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray and Silver), I was also able to get my hands on a Midnight 13-inch MacBook Air for a few minutes at Apple’s headquarters in London, and from what I could see the new Midnight finish does indeed seem more resistant to fingerprints.

Apple is also keen to highlight the fact that the new MacBook Air is its first product to be made with 50% recycled materials. The body uses 100% recycled aluminum, and the main logic board uses 100% recycled copper. While I would like to see Apple be more flexible when it comes to allowing its customers to repair or upgrade its products, having any company use more recycled materials is always welcome.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Performance

  • M3 chip brings decent gains
  • You can actually game on this MacBook
  • New focus on AI

Here’s how the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Geekbench 6.2.2 Single-Core: 3,148; Multi-Core: 11,893
Cinebench 2024 Single-core: 141 ; Multi-core: 615
Battery life (TechRadar movie test): 14 hours and 19 minutes

The major change for the new MacBook Air 13-inch is the inclusion of the M3 chip, Apple’s most recent piece of silicon, which debuted at the end of last year alongside new MacBook Pros. Unlike last year’s MacBook Pros, the MacBook Air 13-inch only comes with the M3 chip, not the more powerful M3 Pro or M3 Max versions. However, the MacBook Air is a much more mainstream device, so it’s unlikely that  people will be using it for heavy-duty creative tasks.

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch comes with two versions of the M3 chip: a base model with an 8-core GPU, and a slightly more powerful chip with a 10-core GPU. Both versions feature an 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores and four efficiency cores, which the MacBook Air switches between depending on what kind of tasks you’re performing. This allows it to achieve a good balance between performance and battery life.

The Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) can be configured with up to 24GB of unified memory and 2TB SSD storage, and the review sample the company sent for me to test comes with the 10-core M3 chip, 16GB of memory and 512GB storage. So, if you go for the cheaper base model of the MacBook Air 13-inch, the performance might not quite match what I’ve experienced, though I’d be surprised if there was a huge difference.

However, I would recommend going for a MacBook Air with more memory and storage if possible. In 2024, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD feels a bit mean for a laptop, with the SSD especially likely to fill up quickly if you install lots of apps and store a lot of photos and video. Out of the box, the MacBook Air I tested had 30GB of space already used by macOS and pre-installed apps, and while this isn’t an issue with the 512GB model, it may be more of a concern with the 256GB model.

In day-to-day use, the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) performs brilliantly. macOS Sonoma feels fast and responsive, and there’s now a large library of apps that have been built natively for Apple’s M series of chips, which means they can take full advantage of Apple’s latest hardware.

I used a variety of apps, including Safari, Garage Band, and Apple TV, and the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) kept pace with ease. Even when I was using more demanding applications such as Adobe Photoshop, the MacBook Air performed really well. For the vast majority of users, the MacBook Air 13-inch with the M3 chip will be plenty powerful enough.

One of the best things about the efficiency of Apple’s M-series chips is that they produce less heat, and thanks to Apple’s thermal design of the modern MacBook Airs, it means the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is completely fanless. So, even when it’s working hard, you’re not getting annoying fan noise in the background.

This is impressive, and a very pleasant change from many Windows laptops, which often fire up their fans at the drop of a hat. It’s also incredibly useful if you’re using the MacBook Air to record audio, as it means the built-in microphones (or any external ones you plug in) won’t pick up any background noise from the laptop.

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the built-in microphones, the new 13-inch MacBook Air comes with a three-mic array to help with clarity and minimize pick-up of ambient noise, and the FaceTime HD camera is again 1080p. In a world where many laptops at this price point still come with 720p webcams built in, it’s good to see Apple include a high-quality camera for the video calls and meetings that have become a regular feature of both work and social interactions since the pandemic.

According to Apple, the M3 chip also pitches in to improve video and audio quality, and while I couldn’t see any difference in quality compared to the M2 MacBook Air, which has the same webcam and mic array, the results are nevertheless crisp and clear.

The M3 MacBook Air also gets an upgrade to its Wi-Fi, as it supports Wi-Fi 6E (the previous model has Wi-Fi 6). This offers faster speeds and more reliable connections over larger distances, and during my time with the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3), I found its wireless connection to be excellent.

The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) also makes a decent fist of playing modern games, even some rather graphically-intensive ones. I played a few titles, including a fast-paced racing simulation game, and while it’s never going to challenge the best gaming laptops out there, gaming on a thin and light MacBook Air is possible – something that until recently didn’t seem like a realistic prospect. And, while you won’t be able to crank up visual settings to the max, the games I tried looked very nice on the vibrant 13.6-inch screen. As a PC gamer, it’s also a real novelty to play games on a fan-less laptop – usually, gaming laptops are big and bulky beasts, with noisy fans that keep the powerful components cool, but which can also be distracting. Not so with the MacBook Air.

When Apple announced the new MacBook Air 13-inch (M3), a lot of people noted that the company made a big deal about its AI capabilities. Artificial intelligence, especially when it comes to generating content, is a hot topic at the moment, with many of Apple’s competitors, most noticeably Microsoft and Google, going in hard on the technology. You’ll certainly be hearing a lot about AI laptops this year – and it almost felt like Apple was being left behind.

So, Apple’s focus on the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)’s AI performance was a pleasant surprise – especially as the M-series chips have actually been ahead of the game for quite a while for AI thanks to the Apple Neural Engine, which has been included since the original M1 chip, and which even back then was pitched as being able to help with machine learning tasks. While Apple’s chip-making rival Intel has only just put out new processors with NPUs (Neural Processing Units) dedicated to AI tasks, we’ve now had three generations of Apple silicon that have this capability – and Apple is now, understandably, making a big deal about it.

The M3 comes with an upgraded 16-core Neural Engine, which Apple claims is “faster and more efficient” than previous versions, making this MacBook Air, in Apple’s words, “the world’s best consumer laptop for AI.” While it’s difficult to confirm this, especially until other laptops with AI-focused chips come out, I saw how the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) coped with cloud-based AI in the form of Microsoft Copilot – which is included in the Mac version of Microsoft Office and is dependent on an internet connection – as well as on-device AI in apps such as Pixelmator Pro and Photoshop. The on-device performance was especially impressive, as everything is handled by the M3 chip – so you can be offline and still make use of AI tools to automate repetitive tasks such as sharpening photos, or generating content like text based on a simple prompt.

The screen and speakers aren’t the best you’re going to get in a MacBook – the far more expensive MacBook Pros offer mini LED technology for stunning contrast and vibrancy, along with ProMotion features that offer faster refresh rates for smooth and snappy scrolling.

The new 15-inch MacBook Air also comes with better speakers – you get six speakers with force-cancelling woofers in the larger model, which offers richer and deeper sounds.

The 13-inch MacBook Air (M3) makes do with four speakers, which to be honest is still a lot for a thin and light laptop, and while this model doesn’t feature Apple’s highest-end tech, it still does a very good job when you’re watching or listening to media, or working on projects. The sound is loud and clear – certainly a far cry from the often tinny speakers in most laptops. The screen is also bright and crisp, and as usual comes with support for the P3 color gamut to help ensure colors are accurate. This means the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) remains a compelling and affordable alternative to the MacBook Pro for content creators.

  • Performance score: 4.5/5

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Battery life

  • Lasts over 14 hours
  • Charges quickly

The battery life of Apple silicon-powered MacBooks has always impressed, and is one of the reasons why I recommend them so enthusiastically. The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) continues this – while the M3 chip brings performance increases, it remains impressively efficient, so the battery doesn’t appear to drain significantly faster.

Apple claims the 13-inch MacBook Air (M3) is good for up to 18 hours of Apple TV and up to 15 hours of wireless internet browsing – this is the same theoretical battery lifespan that Apple quotes for the 15-inch MacBook Air (M3). While the 15-inch model comes with a larger 66.5 watt-hour battery, compared to the 13-inch’s 52.6 watt-hour battery, the reason for the parity is most likely due to the larger 15.6-inch screen being more power-hungry.

In our battery life test, where we play a looped 1080p video until the battery dies, the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) managed 14 hours and 19 minutes. That’s a drop from the 16 hours and 6 minutes the M2 version managed in the same test, and may be evidence that the performance gains of the M3 chip have come at a cost to efficiency. Still, the drop isn’t huge, and over 14 hours is still very impressive – you should get through a full work or school day on a single charge, although the more intensive the tasks you perform, the quicker the battery will drain. Impressively, even when gaming, the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) lasted for hours, when usually gaming drains battery extremely quickly.

Another thing I really appreciate about the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) is that even when it’s unplugged there’s no impact on performance. Other laptops usually throttle performance when on battery power to prolong battery life, but the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) doesn’t seem to do that – at least not in any noticeable way. That, combined with the long battery life, makes the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) a brilliant laptop for people who want a device to work on when out and about. Using the included charger, the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) charged to over 50% in under an hour. As with other MacBooks, the new 13-inch MacBook Air also does a great job of conserving battery life when not in use, so you can leave it for several days, open it up and you’ll still have battery. To prove this – and as a nice touch too – the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) comes fully charged out of the box, so you can set it up and start using it straight away.

  • Battery score: 4.5/5

Should you buy the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3)
PriceThe MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) offers very good value for money with a new, lower, starting price4.5/5
DesignNo new design, but if it's not broken, why fix it?4.5/5
PerformanceThe M3 chip proves to be an excellent, if not particularly revolutionary, upgrade over the M24.5/5
Battery lifeYou'll easily get through a whole work day on a single charge5/5

Buy it if...

You're after the best laptop in the world
Apple has done it again with an incredible laptop that isn't outrageously expensive and will cope with almost any task you throw at it.

You want a laptop to work on while travelling
The 13-inch formfactor is ideal for taking this laptop out and about with you, and the long battery life will also help.

You don't need extreme power
The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) offers brilliant performance, so if you don't need a MacBook Pro for heavy creative tasks, the Air is a great alternative.

Don't buy it if...

You want a big screen
The 13.6-inch screen makes the MacBook Air a great portable device, but some people may prefer the 15-inch model for working on.

You want the cheapest Mac
The M2 MacBook Air has a new price cut, and the Mac mini both offer lower costs of entry if you want a modern Mac.

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review: Also consider

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MacBook Air 15-inch M3 (2024)Dell XPS 13 Plus
Price:$1,299 / £1,399 / AU$2,199$1,299 / £1,399 / AU$2,339
CPU:Apple M3 (8-core)Intel Core i7-1280P (14-core)
Graphics:Integrated 10-core GPUIntel Iris Xe
RAM:8GB unified memory16GB LPDDR5
Screen:15.3-inch, 2880 x 1864 Liquid Retina display, 500 nits brightness, wide color P3 gamut13.4-inch, 3,456 x 2,160, 60Hz, OLED, Touch, Anti-Reflect, 400 nit
Storage:256GB SSD512GB
Ports:2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 32 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C)
Wireless:Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Camera:1080p FaceTime HD webcam720p, 30 FPS HD
Weight:3.3 pounds (1.51kg)2.77 pounds (1.26kg)
Dimensions:13.40 x 9.35 x 0.45 inches (340 x 212 x 15.6mm)11.63 x 7.84 x 0.60 inches (29.54 x 19.91 x 1.52 cm)

If our  Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) review has you considering other options, here are two laptops to consider...  


Apple MacBook Air 15-inch (M3)
Like the look of the 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 but want a bigger screen? Good news! The MacBook Air 15-inch launched alongside it with essentially the same specs and design, but with a 15.6-inch display instead.

Check out our MacBook Air 15-inch (M3) review 


Dell XPS 13 Plus
Its thin and light design, stunning OLED screen, great sound quality, and comfortable keyboard makes this a premium Windows 11 laptop that in some ways rivals the MacBook Air. However, it’s also prone to overheating, and the touch bar is divisive.

Read more: Dell XPS 13 Plus review

How I tested the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch (M3)

New MacBook Air 13-inch with M3 being used in a cafe

(Image credit: Future)
  • I used the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch (M3) for most of the week
  • I used it as my day-to-day work laptop
  • I ran several apps and games throughout my time using it

The MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) was announced on Monday, March 4, and by Tuesday I was at Apple's headquarters in London to test out the new laptop. I also received both the 13-inch and 15-inch models to fully review, and have been using the 13-inch model primarily throughout the rest of the week.

I used the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) for various work tasks, including writing some of this review, while also testing out various apps including Adobe Photoshop and Ableton Live 11. I also watched a few movies and TV shows, and played a couple of games as well.

I've reviewed almost all of Apple's MacBooks for TechRadar over the past 10 years, as well as hundreds of Windows laptops and Chromebooks, and used this experience, alongside my time with the MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) to draw my conclusions.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.