I moved from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook Air - and I should've done it sooner

The 2024 MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table in front of a bookshelf.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

I’ve written in the past about how I’ve always felt a little like a “fake Pro” having a MacBook Pro. Not only does Apple’s “top of the line” laptop cost a fortune, but there’s always been a sort of status that comes with it.

Growing up, everyone I knew wanted a MacBook Pro, and after spending time with outdated MacBook Airs provided by employers, I’d grown to feel like Apple’s slimline machines were somehow “lesser”.

If you’d felt a tad snobbish about the gap between the two product lines, though, I’m pleased to tell you that you can drop that misconception - I swapped my MacBook Pro for a MacBook Air, and I may never go back. 

 Light as Air

The 2024 MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table in front of a bookshelf.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

My main reason for the change was simple - I travel fairly regularly for work, and lugging a 16-inch MacBook Pro in a backpack was starting to become a drag. It’s not that it’s all that heavy, and the MacBook Pro is an unbelievably impressive machine, but it began to get harder to find backpacks and bags that fit its chunkier chassis without too much of a squeeze.

I considered the MacBook Air as a replacement and thought better of it. After all, could I really give up the speakers, ports, ProMotion refresh rate, and the extra inch of screen real estate just for a slimmer laptop?

As it turns out, each of those was easier to reckon with than anticipated. I don’t game on my Mac (I have a Windows machine and consoles), and I can’t say ProMotion has ever stood out to me in day-to-day usage anyway.

My laptop is also usually docked and connected to a monitor and speakers which means the built-in speakers only really need to be impressive on the rare occasions it’s not, and I connect everything via a single USB-C port. As for the extra portion of screen size, it’s pretty negligible for the most part.

There was just one issue - the M2 chip couldn’t handle two external displays at once.

Make room for M3

The 2024 MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table in front of a bookshelf.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Thankfully, the M3 chip fixed that issue, albeit by requiring the laptop to be in clamshell mode. This means I could hook the MacBook Air up to my dual-monitor setup, with a single cable, but also know I could remove it and throw it in a bag if I wanted to work elsewhere.

After ticking off everything on my list, it all comes down to performance. Could I really do what I need to do on a laptop with an M3, rather than the M1 Pro? Surely it couldn’t be that simple?

As it happens, yes, it is. Since I’ve not done big tasks like editing audio in years, the bump in single-core performance from the M1 Pro to the M3 was more than enough, but the M3 Air also performs at a similar level to the MacBook Pro M1 Pro when it comes to multi-core tasks.

While the lack of a fan may change things under sustained load, I’ve been really impressed so far - and I’m only just scratching the surface.

It’s all about intelligence

Apple Intelligence

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple made a big deal in its M3 MacBook Air press release about the potential of the device for AI tasks, packing additional neural cores into its third-generation chip.

With Apple Intelligence on the way, that could be a great way to future-proof, but it’s also likely to come in handy for me, a tech freelancer who regularly contributes content to iMore and its sister sites about AI developments.

So, if you're concerned about moving from a Pro to an Air, rest assured - it's a much easier transition than you may think.

MacBook Air M3 | $1099 at Apple

MacBook Air M3 | $1099 at Apple

The MacBook Air M3 steered me away from the MacBook Pro lineup, and I've not missed it one bit.

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Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom. Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more. He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.

  • erikbock
    I did the same thing from the last 13" Intel MBP to the 13.6" M2 Air. I love the Air but I am probably going to go to the 14" M4 Pro MBP, just because I need some more processor and Ram for a couple things I do.
  • aiwama
    iMore.com said:
    Considering a move from M1 Pro to M3 Air? I made the jump, and I haven't looked back.

    I moved from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook Air - and I should've done it sooner : Read more
    Two years ago, I went from the 13" Intel MBP to the 13.6" M2 MBA. Best move ever. I love the weight and don't miss the extra ports. As for the speakers' sound, I've been using the Boom app for many years now both on my Mac and on my iPhone.