Sunday, July 21, 2024

The MacBook Air just got a huge price cut

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The gold MacBook Air M1's logo and keyboard.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple doesn’t currently sell the M1 MacBook Air, meaning its price at third-party retailers is constantly in flux. But in time for back-to-school season, (and ahead of Prime Day next week), Apple and Walmart have announced that it’s being sold at a surprising new starting price of $649. These aren’t refurbished or preowned laptops, either — at least, not according to the listing.

Of course, this is the M1 model, the first Apple Silicon MacBook — which means it uses an older chassis than the newer M2 or M3 models. This is also the base configuration, meaning it only comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Walmart has all three colors on offer at this price too — Space Gray, Silver, and Gold.

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But should you really buy this older model? After all, it’s from 2020 and nearly four years old.

The M1 MacBook Air was officially removed from the Apple Store earlier this year when the M3 MacBook Air entered the lineup. The M2 MacBook Air took the place of the M1 as the $999 entry-level option, meaning I finally felt good about no longer recommending the older model. Despite the great performance and battery life of the M1, even by today’s standards, the new price of the M2 MacBook Air made it a better overall value.

But then, Apple announced that its new software AI features, Apple Intelligence through macOS Sequoia, are backward compatible with the M1. All of a sudden, that affordable laptop became a lot more attractive — especially if you could find it for a good price. And $649 does the trick.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Premium laptops at $649 are fairly uncommon, even on the Windows side of the aisle. One of our favorite budget laptops to recommend, the Asus Zenbook 14, comes in at a solid $800 price, but it has 512GB of storage.

Unfortunately, Walmart doesn’t offer larger storage or memory options under this deal. But as a starter laptop for a student or someone that doesn’t need their computer for much, this is about as good as it gets.

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