Macbook Air M3 13 inch vs Windows Laptop: Mac vs PC Showdown

By ANAS KHAN 16 Min Read

Explore the comparison between the Macbook Air M3 13-inch and its Windows equivalent on a tech enthusiast’s trip. This comparison delves into design, performance, and user experience to determine the superior platform: Mac vs. PC.

Join us as we analyze the legendary Macbook Air M3, known for its simple beauty and perfect connection with the Apple ecosystem. Explore the Mac’s M3 CPU and Retina display, which Mac enthusiasts laud for their exceptional quality and user-friendly macOS interface.

Build quality vs variety,

Macbook Air M3 13 inch vs Windows laptop

Apple undeniably excels in producing high-quality physical hardware. MacBooks are aesthetically pleasing from a subjective perspective. They seem fantastic. They feel fantastic. The boxy industrial-minimalist style gives the impression of being valued at $2,000 or above. Since the introduction of the M2 MacBook Air in June 2022, all MacBooks, excluding the entry-level MacBook Air M1, have adhered to the same meticulous design.

Remember the genuine quality you will get with a Mac? Consider the hinges as an example. You can easily open any Mac with only one hand. The screen unfolds while the foundation remains stationary. The screen remains securely fixed in whichever place you set it. There is no instability. No dropping is occurring. Apple has perfected the hinges, surpassing the efforts of most Windows OEMs. Dell’s XPS range has exceptional dual-clutch hinges.

Apple now offers an excellent keyboard after discontinuing the problematic butterfly keys. The newest Magic Keyboard will be valued by both coders and writers. No other laptop has a similar feature. The Force Touch trackpad is undoubtedly the finest haptic touchpad on any laptop. Windows laptops seldom match the quality of a MacBook’s touchpad, which excels in haptic feedback, swiping movements, and the Force Click function. The HP Spectre x360 14 is a Windows laptop that almost matches the criteria.

Windows laptops excel in build quality due to their diverse range of options. The leading Windows laptops have a similar industrial design style to MacBooks, such as the Asus ZenBook, Dell XPS series, and Microsoft’s Surface Laptops. Collectively, you have a greater variety of design and color options compared to MacBooks. Windows laptops are available in several form factors, including tablets, convertible 2-in-1s, dual-screen laptops, and more. MacBooks exclusively have clamshell designs, whereas touch- and pen-enabled screens are exclusive to Windows laptops.

Display Tests

Display Tests

Initially, let me inform you about the discoveries we made by using our Klein K10-A colorimeters on the new Airs. Feel free to jump to the speed and battery life findings below, but the displays are worth examining.

We assess luminosity, evaluate color reproduction, and analyze color accuracy on the screen. The graphic below provides a clear breakdown that is easily understandable for those familiar with the numerical values, which I am willing to clarify.

LaptopAverage brightness (nits)sRGB color gamut (%)Delta-E color accuracy (smaller number is better)
M3 MacBook Air 13-inch476.4109.8%0.21
M3 MacBook Air 15-inch482.4109.4%0.3
Acer Swift Go 14 (2023)373.6111.7%0.16
Dell XPS 14 OLED (2024)380113.2%0.3
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3)555.8114.50%0.11
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Pro)559.8111.60%0.29
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)563.4116.70%0.11

The Delta-E score indicates color accuracy (closer to 0 is better), while the sRGB color gamut percentage shows the portion of the standard sRGB color spectrum that the displays can display. The new M3 Airs fully cover the sRGB color gamut, ensuring vibrant and accurate displays. The Delta-E ratings indicate high accuracy, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 and the Acer Swift Go 14 doing better than the M3 Airs.

Those statistics are not a concern until you engage in tasks that need precise color representation. The average brightness of a laptop display is more important to most people since it indicates how useful the screen is in bright environments such as near windows or in direct sunlight. We assess the brightness of the screen in five distinct zones and calculate the average brightness in nits.

The new M3 Airs reach 500 nits of brightness, as stated by Apple, but they are not as bright as the newest MacBook Pros, which can achieve up to 600 nits of brightness or more while watching HDR material.

The new Airs are brighter compared to older Windows 11 laptops like the Acer Swift Go 14 and the Dell XPS 14.


MacBook Air M3MacBook Air M2

Display size13-inch and 15-inch13-inch and 15-inch
CPU and GPU8-core CPU and 10-core GPU8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
Unified memoryUp to 24GB Up to 24GB   
Storage256GB SSD configurable to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB  256GB SSD configurable to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB
PortsTwo Thunderbolt / USB 4  Two Thunderbolt / USB 4
BatteryUp to 18 hours  Up to 18 hours   
Camera1080p FaceTime HD camera  1080p FaceTime HD camera  
PriceStarting at $1,099 Starting at $999

Performance Tests

Let’s discuss performance testing to determine the speed of this system. We are now doing performance testing on both the 13-inch and 15-inch M3 Airs. Most of our work is done, but we are still waiting to finish a few final tests. 

Although data collection is not yet complete, I can already provide significant test findings that demonstrate the increased speed of the new M3 Airs compared to their previous models. 

We do the first significant assessment using Geekbench 6, a cross-platform benchmark that evaluates CPU speed by subjecting it to single-core and multi-core tests, resulting in scores for comparison with other computers.

LaptopGeekbench 6 single-coreGeekbench 6 multicore
M3 MacBook Air 13-inch308212087
M3 MacBook Air 15-inch310212052
M2 MacBook Air 13-inch19328919
M2 MacBook Air 15-inch26139993
Acer Swift Go 14 (2023)235812434
Dell XPS 14 OLED (2024)239812939
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3)313812018
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Pro)315414357
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro)267312253
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)320021711

The 13-inch M3 Air and 15-inch M3 Air outperformed prior versions and achieved similar scores in all tests, with a difference of about a hundred points between them in each test. Don’t worry about a considerable power differential between sizes of M3 Air, since each of the new Airs outperforms its predecessors. Early reports reveal that M3 MacBook Air benchmarks demonstrate substantial improvements over M2. 

The discrepancy in Geekbench 6 scores between the M3 Airs and the newest Windows laptops with Intel Meteor Lake CPUs is particularly intriguing. Acer’s Swift Go 14 and Dell’s XPS 14 outperformed Apple’s M3 laptops in multi-core performance but lagged behind the M3 Airs in single-core performance.

It is important to note that the variations in test scores probably result in little differences in actual performance. Intel laptops may outperform Apple’s M3 Airs in some situations, particularly when running applications built for multi-core processing. However, the difference in performance is usually negligible.

We tested the performance of the M3 Airs’ SSDs using the Blackmagic disk speed testing tool to compare them with earlier Macs. Due to incompatibility with Intel chipsets, we can not use Blackmagic on the Windows laptops we examine. Therefore, I can only provide a comparison of the new M3 Airs with their predecessors.

LaptopBlackmagic Disk Speed write (MBps)Blackmagic Disk Speed read (MBps)Handbrake time
M3 MacBook Air 13-inch3058.83030.76:32
M3 MacBook Air 15-inch3167.12968.26:34
Acer Swift Go 14 (2023)N/AN/A5:41
Dell XPS 14 OLED (2024)N/AN/A6:20
M2 MacBook Air 13-inch3110.32782.57:52
M2 MacBook Air 15-inch3145.92793.97:46
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3)2769.12904.35:37
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Pro)4211.55069.64:34
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro)2932.13455.85:03
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)7594.25561.12:34

Apple’s M3 Airs seem to perform as well as or better than their previous models in the Blackmagic testing, which is typically positive news. Upon examining the chart of data, it is evident that the only anomaly is the speed of the 13-inch M3 Air’s drive, which seems to be a little slower than its previous version. There is a little change that is not easily noticeable in everyday usage, but it is important to be aware of.

Let’s also discuss the performance of these new M3 Airs in video encoding. We subject every laptop we evaluate to a proprietary test that measures the time it takes for the laptop to convert a 4K movie to 1080p resolution using Handbrake.

We compared the processing times of two Mac models, and our findings indicate that the M3 outperforms the M2. The latest Air models finish the work more than a minute quicker than the older versions. 

The Acer Swift Go 14 and Dell XPS 14 laptops were faster than the M3 Air computers. Neither of Apple’s new M3 Airs can edit video quicker than any previous MacBook Pro, including the M2 MacBook Pros introduced over a year ago. 

Let’s briefly discuss gaming. We lack sufficient testing data to evaluate the gaming performance of the 15-inch M3 MacBook Air. However, we have completed testing on the 13-inch version and found that both computers exhibit relatively similar performance based on our other tests.

If you are serious about gaming, it is advisable to choose a MacBook Pro or a Windows laptop over the new Airs, since they are not designed for gaming. The M3 MacBook Air 13-inch performs better for gaming compared to its M2-equipped predecessor but is surpassed by every other laptop on the list in terms of overall performance. 

Battery Life

We have tested both of the new M3 Air models using our internal battery assessment, and the results are quite satisfactory. Each MacBook lasted little more than 15 hours on a full charge, falling short of Apple’s claimed 18-hour battery life but still outperforming most computers.

LaptopBattery life (web surfing hh: mm)
M3 MacBook Air 13-inch15:13
M3 MacBook Air 15-inch15:03
M2 MacBook Air 13-inch14:06
M2 MacBook Air 15-inch14:48
M1 MacBook Air 13-inch14:41
Acer Swift Go 14 (2023)9:50
Dell XPS 14 OLED (2024)6:26
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3)17:25
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3 Pro)17:22
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro)16:38
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)17:11

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Airs have greater battery life than the M2 or M1 Airs, based on the statistics shown in the chart. In our tests, the new M3 Airs had a longer lifespan compared to previous Meteor Lake Windows 11 laptops, such as the Dell XPS 14 and the Acer Swift Go 14.

Although the new M3 Airs have good performance, they do not have as long of battery life as the previous versions of the MacBook Pro, which is still considered one of the top laptops for battery life. 


The Macbook Air M3 13-inch and its Windows counterpart are a fierce battle for supremacy in design, performance, and user experience. The Macbook Air M3 is known for its minimalist elegance and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem. Its M3 processor and stunning Retina display make it a favorite among Mac aficionados. While Apple’s physical hardware is impressive, Windows laptops offer more choice in design and color than MacBooks.

The M3 Airs cover 100% of the sRGB color gamut without going too far over, ensuring fairly colorful and color-accurate displays. However, they are not as bright as the latest MacBook Pros, which achieve up to 600 nits of brightness or higher when viewing HDR content. The new Airs are also notably brighter than some of the most recent Windows 11 laptops, like the Acer Swift Go 14 and the Dell XPS 14.


Which is better, a Windows laptop or a MacBook?

While Windows laptops typically offer better gaming performance, the most recent MacBook Pros can match or exceed the performance of the most powerful Windows machines in creative applications.

Is the MacBook Air M3 worth it?

You should buy the M3 MacBook Air if…
If you’re a gamer or someone who does a lot of downloading for work, the new MacBook Air with M3 has Wi-Fi 6e, which offers significantly lower latency and faster download speeds (assuming you’re connecting to a Wi-Fi 6e router, of course).

Share This Article
Leave a comment