Need advice on buying a new laptop

Thank you. It’s my opinion, of course, but the notch seems really dumb. Probably I don’t know enough.

The video gave me the impression that it is always there, but sometimes it is not visible. Is that what you meant, or do some programs manage to dismiss the notch?

I don’t mean to sidetrack the thread, but what useful purpose would the notch serve?

I have another concern, I have a 15” MacBook Pro and Iike the screen size. I see that the Macbook Airs have 13” screens. Will the 2” decrease in screen size be really noticeable — I mean I will notice it, but would it be a big deal to work on?

The FaceTime camera is where the notch sits which is why it’s necessary where previously it was in the bezel. It is always there physically but “disappears” in some cases like when watching a full screen video. That is my understanding. Since I’m looking for a possible laptop purchase, that’s why I mentioned the issue. Google around and there are plenty of comments about it. It doesn’t matter if you hook up your own monitor.

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The only way to know is to go to a store that has those models and see how it looks to you. I still have an old 15 inch PowerBook G4 that I use for some things and the 13.3 inch size is smaller but the Retina screen is much better than older models so there are tradeoffs. I mostly use my Mac Mini but am looking for a portable unit like the Air.


If you look at the tech specs, the M2 and M3 with the notch have an extra 64 pixels of vertical display, which IIRC exactly corresponds with the notch. So the M2 and M3 will be able to show a full 1600 pixels of display with the menu bar on either side of the notch above - on the M1 the menu bar has to be at the top of the 1600 pixels of vertical display, so will show roughly 64 pixels fewer content vertically.

The only annoyance is that menu bar icons to the right of the menu bar can be cut off by the notch, but there are inexpensive apps like Bartender that can tame that for you.


That’s hard to say for sure, but there is a 15-inch model of the MacBook Air. If you stick with 8 GB of memory and 512 GB of storage, you can still hit the $1499 price point.

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Agree. M1 Macbook Air you will love it. Storage is key. I would max it out. Do not skimp on storage! Buy an Anker dongle (which I use) to give you hdmi, sdcard, usbc, earphone, and usb a/b x 2.

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Dep Ds on what you’re doing…Lightroom or large spreadsheets you will notice the difference… ut email, web, and word processing not so much. Amd the bezels are smaller so the 13 really has more of the screen resolution of a 14 amd the 14MBP has about the same resolution as the old Intel 15s did. My wife has the original 13 M1 Air and for email or web it’s fine…but I would struggle to use Lightroom on it for anything more than importing on travel…editing photos it’s really too small for much of that, but a little would probably be fine.


The “integrated” memory means that the Apple Silicon (M series) machines use memory much more efficiently than the earlier Intel or PowerPC CPUs. 8 GByte may well be enough for anything you plan to do, as in Greg’s example above; if you can afford it, it never hurts to have a bit more memory — especially as you are one tough wahini (as a memorable political billboard in Hawai’i once touted a candidate for Sheriff) and use laptops for 15 years! The apps will keep growing and using more memory, that’s apparently as certain as death and taxes.


As most have said, your best bet would be an M-chip MBAir. The M1 and 8GB RAM is good enough now, but you want to keep it for a long time, so future-proofing is important (OS and app updates). For me, that’d mean at least an M2, 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. A dongle will enable you to connect any size external drive(s) for extra storage, TimeMachine and clones (if, like me, you want bootable clones, you need a fast SSD, like OWC’s Aura). So it comes down to your budget. You’re not a power user, so you don’t need overkill, but don’t nickel-and-dime yourself now for future disappointment, either.

Another thought: you might even want to wait until the M4 chips come out (late ’24 through ’25), at which point the M2 and M3 machines’ prices will drop (I’d be too impatient).

Finally: (1) the notch is no problem for me since I got Bartender (and there are other similar apps); (2) MagSafe (M2 and up) is very convenient.


Jane, I bought a 16GB/512GB M3 MB Air a week after they were released, wanting to give my 8GB/512GB M1 MB Air to a friend.

I know the benchmarks on the M3 show it to be in the order of 30% faster, but honestly, I don’t notice any difference. I’m a heavier user than you sound to be, using Affinity software to do weekly desk top publishing & design. The M1 was fine for this work, and I don’t notice any difference with the M3.

So if the less expensive M1 is tempting, I’d say go for it. It’s a beautiful little computer, perhaps my favourite Mac ever! and I’ve had nearly ten… :slight_smile:


I would highly recommend the Air with M1. I have the Macbook Pro with M1 and it is very capable. At the time I got this the Air with M1 and 1 TB was not available. If it had been I most likely would have gotten it. And yes, the recommendation for more storage is very good. Photos can eat a lot of space and, while you can store them externally, it is not as convenient. It takes a bit more organization


Jane, the one thing I haven’t seen anybody speak to is your screen size needs/preferences. You say you have a MacBook Pro, but don’t say what size. Back in 2009, MacBook Pros came in 13", 15", and 17" sizes.

Currently, you can get Macbook Airs in 13", and 15" sizes. I have 2 general classifications of users at work, business-type, and designer/developer-type. Our standard for business-type users is the Macbook Air 13". But we have some business-type users who want larger screens. I used to buy them low-end 16" Macbook Pros, but now I can buy them 15" Macbook Airs, and save higher-powered Macbook Pros for our designers and developers.

So, screen size should enter into your Macbook Air considerations.


I mentioned several times that I have a 15” MacBook Pro, 2009. I will look at the 15” MacBook Air. Thanks.

You can buy the 15" MBA with an M2, 8GB RAM (tight, but should do for your use) and 512GB SSD for $1199 from the refurb store (they actually have 4 colors on sale right now). That’s a 14% discount compared to a brand new M3 model.

My personal experience with refurbs has been excellent. Apart from the brown vs. white box I would never have noticed a difference. And best part, if you’re not happy with anything at all, you can return with no questions asked for a full refund within 14 days just as if this were a brand new Mac purchase.


Not only that, but they come with the full 12-month warranty that brand new Macs have.

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And, in a sign of Apple’s confidence in its refurb process, AppleCare is available on Apple-sold refurbs.

(I’ve bought many Apple products–Macs and beyond–from Apple’s refurb store and haven’t ever felt disappointed or regretful).


+1 from me on refurbs. The family have purchased several over the years.

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There are also still new M2 MacBook Air’s available, and with more memory/disk. B&H has some, and they are discounted. Would move you back into the middle of the budget range, and still be an excellent machine. The gains from the M2 to the M3 were modest, it’s what I would buy right now in the MBAir line.

There are also 15" M2 MacBooks Air at the same retailer.

Link to a listing:


13" 16/512GB for $1249 (midnight color)
15" 16/512 for $1499 (space grey)
15" 16GB/1TB for $1599

And like others have said, from your usage description 8GB ram would probably be sufficient, but 16GB won’t hurt the longevity of the machine, so the above have that benefit as well.

Edit: Just noticed that link is specifically for 16GB machines, so might be some even cheaper 8GB options still in stock.

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Not knowing how long you are anticipating keeping the new computer, also factor in Apple’s hardware lifecycle. Apple declares hardware as “vintage” 5-7 years after being discontinued or “obsolete” 7+ years after being discontinued. That could influence how long macOS releases will be supported on your hardware - yes, even on Apple Silicon.

For the longest runway on macOS support, I’d strongly consider the purchase of more recent hardware.