Getting started with the Macbook Air M3: Apple's star in the making

Apple recently released the new generation of Macbook Air computers powered by the M3 chip.

Getting started with the Macbook Air M3: Apple's star in the making

Apple recently released the new generation of Macbook Air computers powered by the M3 chip. We were able to try a model for several weeks to give you our verdict.

The Macbook Air M2 only better. This is how we could already summarize our test of the latest generation of Apple laptops aimed at students and young professionals. The Macbook Air range has never really been a major innovation for the firm and is, in general, content to repeat the improvements initiated by the Macbook Pro in order to offer light, thin and high-performance computers for the general public.

This is why, instead of a major test, we will mainly discuss the new features present within the Macbook Air M3 rather than covering the entire product whose characteristics you can find within the released Macbook Air M2 in 2022. Apple's new laptop notably uses the same design with two screen sizes available (13 and 15 inches), a 30x21cm chassis, two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports, a Magsafe charging port and a Jack port.

The new Macbook Air is therefore equipped with the latest chip from Apple: the M3. Already present in the latest Macbook Pros, this homemade chip guarantees performance up to 60% faster compared to the M1 processor released in 2020. The Macbook Air M3 would also have better writing speed on its disk compared to its predecessor.

We subjected our Macbook Air M2 as well as the new Macbook Air M3 to the same writing and reading tests. Our results are as follows:

The results vary greatly but remain much better on the new Macbook Air M3. As announced, Apple's latest computer shows very good performance results. We were also able to launch several very resource-intensive games like Baldur's Gate 3 at maximum quality, without experiencing any slowdowns or pronounced heating of the device. An excellent result but which was already possible on the Macbook Air M2 when it was released. You will therefore benefit more from reduced loading times than from better graphics.

The results of our processor analyzes also show better performance on the M3 side. On average and across all our comparisons (writing speed, chip performance, display of average FPS on a game, etc.), the Macbook Air M3 displays approximately 20 to 30% more performance compared to the Macbook Air M2.

In terms of autonomy, Apple does not indicate any change regarding the battery of the Macbook Air M3 compared to its predecessor. By carrying out exactly the same operations on the two computers, we were however able to observe that the battery of the Macbook Air M3 drained a little slower than that of our M2. This may, however, be due to the fact that our Macbook Air M2 is not brand new, but these readings have also been observed by other editorial staff and experts and that is why we prefer to take them.

The other big novelty of the Macbook Air M3 communicated by Apple lies in the coating of the chassis. The firm has applied a new material that was already found in the latest Macbook Pro M3, and which guarantees the “Midnight” color better protection against fingerprints.

Although we were unfortunately unable to test its effectiveness, several external trials and tests have demonstrated that the Macbook Air M3 "Midnight" actually retains less finger movement. The latter, however, are not completely invisible and some traces always remain during daily use. The other available colors (“Starlight”, “Space Grey” and “Silver”) remain unchanged.

Among the improvements of the Macbook Air M3 which have not been highlighted much by Apple, we find a new microphone with improved isolation. On its official website, the firm indicates new voice isolation modes and improved voice clarity during audio and video calls.

Tested during several meetings and audio and video calls, the MacBook Air M3's microphone seems much muffled than that of the M2. Ambient sounds are thus much less perceptible and this will appeal to students and workers forced to work in a somewhat noisy environment.

It's difficult to be choosy about the arguments of the Macbook Air M3. The latest laptop from Apple benefits from excellent performance, high-end finishes, but also very good battery life. Of course, at a starting price of 1299 euros, you will be able to find a Windows PC capable of almost similar capabilities, but we know how well Mac computers last for many years.

The only real competitor to the Macbook Air M3 would rather be its predecessor. Apple continues to offer the Macbook Air M2 on its online store and it is still as efficient today. Potential buyers could therefore turn more towards M2 in order to make some savings. However, this is a remark that we already observed when the latter was released when the Macbook Air M1 was also very interesting and less expensive.

There is therefore no doubt that the future of the Macbook Air M3 will be bright and that it will establish itself as one of the best laptops on the market given its excellent quality/price ratio. However, we will always regret the absence of many video games on the MacOS platform as well as the lack of connections (notably USB and HDMI).