The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between MacBook Air M3, M2, and M1 in 2024

As Apple unveils the MacBook Air M3, consumers find themselves at a crossroads with three distinct options to consider. With prices exceeding 1,000 euros, selecting the right MacBook Air demands a strategic approach to avoid financial pitfalls. Here’s a detailed analysis to guide you through this decision.

Firstly, for those wielding the M1 or M2 models, the La Manzana Mordida editorial team advises against the M3 upgrade. The performance boost, albeit present, doesn’t justify the expense due to its marginal nature.

Does Size Really Matter When Power Is Comparable?

The hidden problem of the MacBook Air

Although the M3 boasts a 1.6x speed increase over the M1, its real-world implications, especially for typical Air users, are negligible. This is particularly true as none of these models feature active cooling systems. Thus, for heavy-duty tasks like 3D animations or extensive architectural projects, the Air range might not be the best fit.

For users prioritizing performance, the M3 Pro emerges as the logical choice. However, if performance ranks lower on your list, the M1 is a compelling alternative. Many users transitioning from M1 to M3 have reported a disconnect between the processor’s capabilities and their actual workflow demands, indicating the M1’s sufficiency for most tasks.

The Panel and Configuration Debate

When it comes to screen size, the 13 and 15-inch models present a significant choice. The 15-inch offers ample screen real estate, often negating the need for an external monitor. Conversely, the 13-inch model might struggle with multitasking, as working with multiple windows could be cramped.

Base Model Limitations: A Critical Look

MacBook Air M3

The base M3 mirrors the M2’s specs, leading to questions about value for money. If you believe the basic setup suffices (which is generally not advised), the 15-inch M3 might be an option to avoid outdated tech. However, if upgrades like enhanced processor, RAM, or SSD are in your plan, the M2 model becomes more attractive. Investing in these upgrades can transform an “older” model into a high-performing machine. It’s perplexing that Apple’s pricing strategy in mid-2024 involves selling devices with 256 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM at such a steep price.

The 15-inch M2 model, while not available on the Apple App Store, can often be found at third-party retailers like PC Componentes, MediaMarkt, or Amazon, possibly at a more favorable price.

Conclusion: Making the Smart Choice

Considering performance, screen size, and features, the 15-inch M2 model stands out as the top choice for 2024. The M1, on the other hand, remains a viable option for those specifically seeking the 15-inch variant. Remember, even “older” models like the M1 can be more than adequate for everyday use — as evidenced by the enduring performance of the Mac mini M1, even three years on.