MacBook Air M3 may win over productivity pros with one key upgrade (it's not the CPU)

Apple MacBook Air M3
(Image credit: Apple)

Leave it to Apple to shadow-drop a whole new MacBook and send tech journalists into a frenzy on a Monday morning. My numerous complaints aside — the MacBook Air M3 gets a sweet new upgrade that goes beyond its CPU performance.

What could that be? Well, if you scroll down Apple's lengthy newsroom post, right to where the company boasts its "World's Most Popular Laptop," you'll see that the Apple MacBook Air M3 now supports up to two external displays.

That's right, the Air M3 finally fixes the issue that debuted on the Air M1. And let me tell you why this is so exciting.

Support for up to two external displays

So we're not just talking about hooking up two external displays — we're also keeping that laptop lid closed. This is perfect for the minimalist business or productivity user.

All that power pumping through two displays will let you take advantage of the new M3 performance, which Apple is boasting is up to 60% faster than the Air with M1 chip. That even goes for apps like Final Cut Pro — multitasking demanding apps like that and many others is the biggest advantage of a dual-monitor setup.

Now, you may be wondering about the ports. Yes, the MacBook Air M3 does have only two Thunderbolt 4 ports. So if you do connect two external displays, all of your ports will be consumed. Unfortunately, none of the Air M3 models support more than two ports.

Naturally, this is a great time for Apple to also promote its relatively affordable Studio display ($1,599), which offers three additional USB Type-C ports. With a two monitor setup, that expands your port selection to six Type-C ports. But again, not everything is Type-C compatible, so you'll end up with a dongle regardless.

Outlook

The MacBook Air 13 M3 starts at $1,099 and comes with an 8-Core CPU, 8-Core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Meanwhile, the Air 15 M3 starts at $1,299 and upgrades to a 10-Core GPU. I know, we've already talked about the Air M3's one glaring flaw in its specs.

We're excited to get the new MacBook Air M3 into our lab to get the benchmarks, and to see how it holds up when its natively running through two external displays. Ideally, we won't see a drastic drop in performance.

For news, rumors, and updates on everything MacBook Air M3 related, and all things tech, follow Laptop Mag on TwitterFacebook, and Flipboard for the latest word as it arrives.  

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Rami Tabari
Editor

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.