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Why you should get Apple’s M2 MacBook Air instead of the new M3 model

Published Apr 10th, 2024 7:43AM EDT
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple released its new M3 MacBook Air laptop lineup last month after making the announcement quietly with nothing but a press release. Honestly, a big event would’ve been a mistake for sure, because the M3 model is not a big upgrade at all. Sure, it’s a little faster, but the M2 MacBook Air offers the same 18-hour battery life and almost the same performance. With that in mind, the M2 MacBook Air model is definitely the only Apple laptop I would personally buy right now, and that’s because it has huge discounts until it’s sold out.

Since Apple discontinued it when it announced the M3 version, the M2 MacBook Air with Apple’s powerful M2 chip is on sale right now at the best prices I’ve seen. You can get the M2 MacBook Air 13-inch for just $849 at Amazon, and the larger M2 MacBook Air 15-inch starts at $999 at Best Buy.

Amazon Logo Available on Amazon
Apple - MacBook Air 15-inch Laptop - M2 chip - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD Apple - MacBook Air 15-inch Laptop - M2 chip - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD $999 (reg. $1,299) $999 at Best Buy

Read our M2 MacBook Air review, and you’ll see how impressive Apple’s previous-generation laptops are. It’s not quite as powerful as Apple’s M3 MacBook Air models, but it’s closer than you think.

New generations of Apple laptops typically offer huge performance increases, but that’s not the case this time around. This is from Apple’s own press releases:

Last year, Apple noted that the M2 MacBook Air is “up to 12x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air.”

This week, Apple said in its announcement that the new M3 MacBook Air is “up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air.”

Really? A difference of 1%?! I’d rather save some money, thank you very much.

And what about the MacBook Pro, you ask? Personally, I’d skip it.

Unless you need to do some very heavy-duty work that requires tons of processing power, the M2 MacBook Air will definitely suit your needs. I’ve used several different MacBook Air models over the years myself, and I have never been disappointed. That’s especially true with the M2 MacBook Air, which might just be my favorite laptop that Apple has ever released.

I have an M2 MacBook Air 15-inch, and I love it. To be honest, however, sometimes I wish I had opted for the 13-inch version instead. It’s just as fast, but it’s more compact and even lighter. I think I would probably have appreciated the portability more than the extra screen real estate.

Apple’s M2 MacBook Air has a gorgeous 13.6-inch 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina Display. It also has Apple’s updated screen design with a notch at the top for the FaceTime HD camera. This is Apple’s new signature look, and I really like it. It’s unique, and it lets Apple keep the bezels very narrow around the rest of the screen.

The M2 chipset makes big strides in terms of both power and efficiency. You get all-day battery life, as well as an 8-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine.

Apple M2 MacBook Air 15-Inch
Apple’s M2 MacBook Air is sleek, thin, powerful, and nearly as powerful as the newer M3 model. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Apple discontinued the M2 MacBook Air when it announced the M3 upgrade. That makes sense, of course, since they’re basically the same laptop unless you’re 1% of users who REALLY care about ray tracing.

Since it’s been discontinued, Amazon is clearing out its remaining inventory, and you can get one for just $849.

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That’s the lowest price ever for this model, and it’s an incredible value. It’s not every day that you see a powerful Apple laptop on sale for less than $900.

Or, if you want the larger M2 MacBook Air with a 15-inch display, that version is down to $999 at Best Buy.

Apple - MacBook Air 15-inch Laptop - M2 chip - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD Apple - MacBook Air 15-inch Laptop - M2 chip - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD $999 (reg. $1,299) $999 at Best Buy

As I said earlier, that’s the only Apple laptop I would personally buy right now. Not everyone feels the same way, though.

If you want the latest and greatest MacBook Air models and don’t mind spending some extra cash, both versions of the M3 MacBook Air are also discounted right now. The M3 MacBook Air 13-inch starts at $1,024 instead of $1,099, and the M3 MacBook Air 15-inch model is on sale with prices from $1,149.99, which is a $149 discount.

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Maren Estrada Deals Editor

Maren Estrada has been the Editor of BGR Deals since it launched in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience testing more than 1,500 products, and reviewing a wide range of consumer electronics including mobile devices, smart home products, computers, and home appliances.

Previously, she was a leading consultant specializing in copywriting, product development, and new product launches.