The 3 Best MacBooks of 2024


The best Mac laptop for most people is the 13-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s M2 processor.

The 13-inch Air is fantastic for browsing the web, working on documents, coding, and light photo and video editing. If you’re seeking a large screen, better speakers, and slightly improved thermal performance, we recommend the 15-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s latest processor, the M3, as our upgrade pick.

We still recommend the M1 MacBook Air as a budget MacBook pick. This fast, reliable laptop now has a reduced price of $700, which makes it the most affordable MacBook.

Our pick

The M2 MacBook Air has a bright screen, a good webcam, and a MagSafe port.

Recommended configuration

Processor: eight-core Apple M2 CPU Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: eight-core Apple M2 GPU Screen: 2560×1664 IPS
Memory: 8 GB Tested battery life: 15.5 hours

The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022, 13-inch) offers a few meaningful updates over the older M1 model that make the computer more pleasant to use. The M2 MacBook Air has a brighter display that lets you see the screen more clearly outside on a sunny day, and it has a higher-resolution webcam that makes you look a bit more clear on video calls. Apple also added a MagSafe port, which allows a magnetic charging cable to securely stick to the MacBook Air and harmlessly detach if, say, a passerby’s foot catches it in a coffee shop.

Apple has a newer 13-inch MacBook Air as well, with the updated M3 processor, but we think the less expensive M2-based version is the better buy. Unless you want to use two monitors with your MacBook, one of the standout new features of the latest-generation model, you have little reason to upgrade.

Budget pick

The M1 MacBook Air has a comfortable keyboard, good performance, and a reasonable amount of storage—things that haven’t always been true of previous MacBook Air models.

Recommended configuration

Processor: eight-core Apple M1 CPU Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: seven-core Apple M1 GPU Screen: 2560×1600 IPS
Memory: 8 GB Tested battery life: 14.4 hours

If you’re on a tighter budget, we recommend the basic version of the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020), which has enough speed, memory, and storage for most day-to-day computer tasks. And unlike previous MacBook Air models, the M1 version doesn’t require a cooling fan, which keeps it dead silent even when you’re maxing out the processor by exporting a video or playing a game.

This version of the Air includes only two USB-C ports (which support Thunderbolt 3) plus a headphone jack, but Thunderbolt docks and USB-C hubs and adapters are common enough and inexpensive enough that this limitation isn’t as big of a problem as it used to be.

Upgrade pick

The 15-inch M3 MacBook Air has a larger screen and better speakers, and it can power two external displays with the lid closed.

Recommended configuration

Processor: eight-core Apple M3 CPU Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: 10-core Apple M3 GPU Screen: 2880×1864 IPS
Memory: 8 GB

The Apple MacBook Air (M3, 2024, 15-inch) adds a significantly larger screen and better speakers to the already-great MacBook Air lineup. The bigger display allows for larger windows and less clutter on the screen, especially when you’re multitasking. Thanks to the M3 chip, the laptop can now connect to two external displays, though only with the lid closed. The 15-inch MacBook Air’s speakers get louder than those on its 13-inch counterpart, and the audio sounds richer and more full due to the upgraded speaker system.

This laptop is better for editing audio or video than the 13-inch version: In addition to its upgraded screen, its larger size helps the system run slightly cooler during processor-intensive tasks such as exporting large files.


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