MacBook Air with M3 chip: reviews and unboxing videos

Joe Rossignol

The new 13-inch and 15-inch M3-powered MacBook Air models will be unveiled this Friday. Some media outlets and YouTube channels published the first reviews and unboxing videos of laptops in advance.

Key new features added to both MacBook Air models include the Apple M3 chip for faster performance, Wi-Fi 6E support, expanded external display support, an anodized seal that reduces fingerprints on the Midnight trim, and an improved microphone.


M3 chip

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air are now available with the M3 chip, delivering faster performance and improved power efficiency.

As expected, early benchmark results show the M3 chip to be 20% faster than the M2 chip in previous MacBook Air models in terms of processor performance. These results correspond to the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 chip.

Jason Snell shared the test results in his Six Colors review:

With the M3 chip, the MacBook Air also received hardware accelerated ray tracing for improved graphics rendering in games, as well as AV1 video decoding.

Dual external displays

Whereas the previous MacBook Air, Apple-powered models officially support only one external display, new models support two external displays. However, the second display can only be used when the MacBook Air lid is closed.

When the lid is open, the new models support a single external display with up to 6K resolution and 60Hz. According to Apple's technical specifications, when the lid is closed, you can connect a second display with up to 5K resolution and 60 Hz.

Image credit: CNETCNET's Joshua Goldman:

With the MacBook Air M3, you can connect two external displays directly to the Thunderbolt USB-C ports, which will also power the MacBook.

This comes at a cost for the MacBook Air's display, however; The cover must be closed to control both external monitors. At first glance, this doesn't seem like a big deal, unless you typically use your laptop's keyboard and trackpad while working on an external display. The big issue for me is the loss of Touch ID on the Air keyboard. You can simply open and close the lid to use Touch ID, but I use mine so much throughout the day that it gets old very quickly. The best option is to purchase the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, and while you're at it, grab a Magic Trackpad or mouse to complete the package.

MacBook Air can connect to even more displays using adapters DisplayLink.

Fingerprint printing for midnight color

Just like the Space Black MacBook Pro, Apple says, the Midnight MacBook Air now features an “anodized seal to reduce fingerprints.”

TheStreet's Jacob Krol:

So far it's clear that anodizing blocks most fingerprint smudges and the M3 looks better than the M2 in Midnight. However, the Midnight color is harder to block all of them out as I still see some of them, especially on the top and bottom bodies of the 15-inch models. It does a really good job of stopping them inside the keyboard, as well as on or off the trackpad.

Wi-Fi 6E

According to Apple, the new MacBook Airs support Wi-Fi -Fi 6E, which delivers twice the wireless download speeds of previous Wi-Fi 6 models.

Wi-Fi 6E extends Wi-Fi 6 to the 6 GHz band, delivering faster wireless speeds and reducing signal interference from your compatible device and router. The entire current-generation Mac lineup now supports Wi-Fi 6E.

Microphone update

Apple says the microphones in the new MacBook Air models provide “increased voice clarity for audio and video calls” compared to previous models. The microphones also received support for Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum modes.


Roundup of news on the topic: MacBook Air Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air 13-inch (Buy Now), MacBook Air 15-inch (Buy Now) Related Forum: MacBook Air 130 comments

Leave a Reply