Apple’s transition to using its own chips for laptops and desktops has paid off big time, with the company’s Mac lineup given new life.
The move has taken a couple of years to apply to all of the company’s computers (other than the Mac Pro), and while the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro recently saw the introduction of the M2 processor, its predecessor, the M1 is no slouch. In fact, it still blitzes benchmarks set by Intel-based Mac machines, while offering much better battery efficiency in laptops.
The arrival of the M2 also means that the M1 range has gone down in price, and Apple’s MacBook Air M1 is now just $849 at Best Buy (a saving of $150).
The MacBook Air M1 maintains the classic design that made the original so infamously thin, with the fan-less laptop packing everything into a chassis that measures 0.16-inches thick at its thinnest point.
That portability makes it an ideal laptop for students, but it's not just a lightweight laptop – it backs up its price tag with some impressive power and features. In fact, in our review we said “the MacBook Air is the perfect laptop for anyone that wants to fire off emails, scroll social media, and play Mac games.”
The M1 chip inside has 8 cores, and the 8GB memory is unified between the CPU and the GPU, which are all included in the system on a chip (SoC). Keeping everything on the same piece of silicon means that the MacBook Air spends less time ferrying data from multiple points – and reduces battery drain significantly, too.
It’s still plenty powerful, though, with impressive performance when editing photos, video, and audio, and while it doesn’t offer the same caliber of speakers that the MacBook Pro does, it does work effortlessly with AirPods and Beats headphones.
Speaking of compatibility, the M1 MacBook Air will run many iPhone and iPad apps, meaning things like shopping and banking apps can be at your fingertips without pulling out another device.
While there’s an argument for additional memory or a larger storage drive (this configuration comes with 256GB), there’s a lot to like here – particularly at this price.
Once this deal ends, students can still save on the MacBook Air by taking advantage of the Apple student discount - check out our guide to find out more.
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Lloyd Coombes freelance tech and fitness writer for Live Science. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as in computer and gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, Dexerto and TechRadar. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games as Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com. He also covers board games and virtual reality, just to round out the nerdy pursuits.