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MacBook Air M3 vs MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 – Which is better?

New Apple products = new Apple comparisons - which will you choose?
Last Updated on March 11, 2024
Macbook Air M3 vs Macbook Pro 14-inch M3
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Building off their slogan “Lean. Mean. M3 machine”, Apple has released their much anticipated M3 chips, promising performance increase to their workable Air range. However, with new releases, comes new comparisons, and many have begun pitting the MacBook Air M3 vs MacBook Pro 14-inch M3. Although much of this comparison will depend on individual consumer choice, we will help bring light to the comparison and aim to highlight

Looking for more MacBook Air M3 content? We have a full review round-up and our breakdown on whether the MacBook Air M3 is worthwhile. Be sure to check them out. Anyway, where were we?

MacBook Air M3 vs MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 – Specs and Performance

So which of these Apple products will you choose? The main distinction in the comparison between the MacBook Air M3 and the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 hardware is their display capabilities. The MacBook Pro M3 14-inch boasts a mini-LED panel equipped with Apple’s XDR technology, capable of reaching a peak brightness of 1600 nits and supporting a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. In contrast, the new MacBook Air M3 models maintain a standard 60Hz refresh rate and lack the mini-LED technology, offering a maximum brightness of 500 nits.

SpecsMacBook Air M3 (13-inch)MacBook Air M3 (15-inch)MacBook Pro M3 (14-inch)
CPUApple M3 (8-core CPU, 16-core neural engine)Apple M3 (8-core CPU, 16-core neural engine)Apple M3 (8-core CPU, 16-core neural engine)
Max chipM3M3M3
GPU10-core GPU10-core GPU10-core
MemoryUp to 24GBUp to 24GBUp to 24GB
StorageUp to 2TBUp to 2TBUp to 2TB
Display 13.6-inch / Liquid Retina /     True Tone / 2560 by 1664 pixels15.3-inch / Liquid Retina / True Tone14.2-inch / Liquid Retina XDR display / True Tone
Brightness500 nits brightness500 nits brightness1000 nits, 1600 nits peak (HDR content only)
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 ports / MagSafe 3 / 3.5 mm headphone jack2x Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 ports / MagSafe 3 / 3.5 mm headphone jack2x Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 ports / MagSafe 3 / 3.5 mm headphone jack / HDMI port / SDXC card slot
Battery52.6 WHr66.5 WHr70 WHr
(GB and SSD Storage)
$1,299 (8GB-512GB)
$1,499 (16GB-512GB)
$1,499 (8GB-512GB)
$1,699 (16GB-512GB)
$1,599 (8GB-512GB)
$1,799 (8GB-1TB)
$1,999 (16GB-1TB)
Specs table for the MacBook Air M3 variations (including 13-inch and 15-inch) and MacBook Pro M3 (14-inch)


Diving deeper into the display differences, the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 showcases a mini-LED panel featuring Apple’s XDR technology, capable of a peak brightness of 1600 nits. This high-end display supports full HDR workflows and viewing of HDR content with exceptional clarity. Additionally, it delivers a 600-nit peak for SDR content and incorporates ProMotion technology, enabling the refresh rate to soar up to 120Hz for smoother visuals.

For users whose work or entertainment heavily relies on superior display quality, such as professional video editors, graphic designers, or photography enthusiasts, the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 stands out as the optimal choice. Its advanced display capabilities ensure vivid, accurate colors and dynamic range that can significantly enhance the visual experience, making it ideal for those who demand the best in screen performance.


The MacBook Air 13-inch leads the pack in portability. With its featherlight build and slim profile, weighing just 2.7 pounds, so is easy to carry around. Also measuring a mere 0.44 inches in height, this laptop is as unobtrusive as it gets.

In comparison, the MacBook Pro 14-inch is bulkier at 3.4 pounds and 0.61 inches thick it will require more effort. For those who dash from meeting to coffee shop, or students navigating the sprawl of campus life, the Air is the ultimate travel companion.


The MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 also comes victorious in this aspect. While all three models offer two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, the Pro model further includes an HDMI port and an SDXC card slot, expanding its utility for a wide range of peripherals and media access needs.

This additional connectivity is especially beneficial for users who rely on external displays and direct camera memory card access, highlighting the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 as the more versatile and user-friendly choice for those requiring extensive port options.

Sound and sound quality

When it comes to audio, there’s a clear winner. The MacBook Pro M3 outshines the MacBook Air M3 with its superior sound performance, boasting what could arguably be considered the best speaker setup available for an Apple MacBook. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro features a remarkable 6-speaker sound system, surpassing the 4-speaker setup found in both the 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Air models.

However, this isn’t to say that the audio on the M3 MacBook Air is lacking. Whether you opt for the 13-inch or 15-inch version, you’ll still experience impressive sound from its four-speaker system. But the MacBook Pro’s six-speaker arrangement, complete with force-cancelling woofers, takes the listening experience to another level.


The MacBook Air M3 comes in a range of colors; including starlight, space gray, silver, and midnight black. The MacBook Pro M3 colors are currently limited to space grey and silver only.

MacBook Air M3 vs MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 – Price

The MacBook Air model stands as the more wallet-friendly option, although not by a wide margin. For the 8GB-512GB configuration, there’s a $300 difference between the Air and the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3. However, the real gap emerges when considering the recommended 16GB RAM configuration for both models. Here, the price difference significantly widens, underscoring the Air’s advantage in offering a more cost-effective solution for those seeking enhanced performance without stretching their budget too far.

What MacBook Air M3 size is best?

While the standard 13-inch MacBook Air M3 boasts impressive performance at a more comfortable price point, the 14-inch version of the model features increases in certain specifications; such as display area and battery life. If these are some of the specifications that are important to you as a consumer, we recommend delving deeper into the 15-inch MacBook Air M3 variant to see if it is right for you. However, priced at $200 more than the 13-inch MacBook Air M3, these increases in specs are not hugely beneficial to a performance boost. In which case, the 13-inch M3 may suffice.

MacBook Air M3 vs MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 – Our final thoughts

In conclusion, the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3 emerges as the superior MacBook, thanks to its exceptional display and enhanced connectivity options. Its high-resolution mini-LED screen with 120Hz refresh rate and Apple’s XDR technology offers unparalleled visual quality, making it the ideal choice for professionals and creatives who demand the best in display performance.

However, for those whose work revolves around office tasks, or for whom a 120Hz screen isn’t a necessity, the 15-inch MacBook Air with 16GB RAM presents itself as the optimal choice. It combines ample performance with a more attractive price point, striking the perfect balance for everyday use and efficiency.

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