The 15-inch MacBook Air M3 is now my default Mac recommendation.

I think most of us here have friends asking us which Mac they should buy, and for me it's the base model M3 The 15-inch MacBook Air has just become the new default recommendation—even for those with fairly high-end needs.

At $1,299, it really is an incredible amount of Mac for the money, although Apple is still a bit stingy. with memory and storage …

Evolving recommendation for Mac default

In the old days, life was simple. Two options for those on a budget or only basic computing needs were the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air. The 11″ screen has always felt a little cramped to me, so I would only recommend it to those who can't stretch to a 13″ screen, or to those for whom maximum portability is important.

Personally, I chose the 11-inch model because I had two Macs back then, the other being the 17-inch MacBook Pro. At the time, it made sense to have both ends of the portability scale: the 11-inch version accompanied me on bike rides where every inch of space was important. But for most, I'd recommend the 13-inch.

However, I have an alternative recommendation for those with the most basic needs and for whom battery life is critical: an iPad with an external keyboard. Instant on and instant off combined with a realistic 10-hour battery life made this an attractive option for some.

But Apple Silicon Macs changed the equation. While actual battery life wasn't the same as the iPad, it was close enough to provide what most people need for all-day use. Given the benefits in usability and performance, this has led me to recommend the MacBook Air over the iPad.

The 15-inch MacBook Air was a big deal

Last year's release of the MacBook Air M2 changed things again. For the first time, Apple didn't force people to upgrade to a MacBook Pro just to get bigger screen. Now they can have a bigger MacBook Air screen.

I encourage people to think about it. The difference in screen size may not seem like much on paper, but in real life it really helps.

Apple Silicon models also provide a lot of performance for the money. For those who want to do more than just professional photo editing and/or the occasional modest video editing, the Apple Silicon MacBook Air delivers impressive power.

15-inch MacBook Air M3 seals the deal

With a 15-inch MacBook Air M3 and support for two high-resolution external monitors, I'd say that you really need a very good reason to buy a MacBook Pro instead. See what you get for just $1,299:

  • 8-core CPU
  • 10-core GPU
  • Hardware-accelerated ray tracing
  • li>

  • 16-core neural processor
  • H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW with hardware acceleration.
  • Video decoding engine (including ProRes)
  • >

  • Video encoding engine (including ProRes)
  • P3 color space
  • Dual external display support (up to 5K + 6K) – new feature

Of course, for anyone who can afford the extra $200 for 16GB of storage, I definitely recommend it; Apple is being pretty mean with this 8GB starting point. Likewise, 256GB is the absolute minimum for storage, and anyone who wants to do a lot of work with photos or (especially) video will want to upgrade too.

But even then, the base spec will be enough for you ordinary consumer. use and you can turn it into a pretty decent machine for demanding work.

What will you recommend to your friends now? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: Apple

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