I’d buy this M1 MacBook Air deal over a new M2 model – and you should too

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) Rear Lid
(Image credit: Future)

Oh MacBooks. Love them or hate them, they’re arguably the most recognizable laptops on the market thanks to Apple’s incredible marketing power. But, they're more than just a pretty chassis, having developed a lot of respect alongside that recognition.

From the powerful MacBook Pro workstations to the cute and (relatively) affordable MacBook Air, MacBook devices have ranked on the list of best laptops across the world even before Apple rolled them out containing its own in-house silicon chip – but I'm seeing a familiar pattern emerging. 

Since the release of the M2, people have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of preordered M2 MacBook Pro and M2 MacBook Air laptops, and while this hype is pretty common across every next-gen tech launch, I feel I need to remind some of you that Macbooks have also gained another reputation: longevity.

If you purchased an M1 MacBook Air back in 2020 when it launched, chances are you’re still using that same laptop with no issues. I’m even willing to bet that most of them haven't even slowed down as you would expect for an ‘aging’ device. Even typing that phrase made me cringe a little because we’ve come to expect that the effective shelf life of a gadget is around two years – in other words, around the same length as a typical ‘buy now, pay later’ finance contract.

In reality, a great deal of work has been put into preventing brands from putting built-in obsolescence into their devices to force consumers to upgrade, which means today's tech should last a good deal longer than hardware from a few years ago – at least in theory. 

I can attest that I’ve had the same mobile phone (a trusty Huawei Mate 20 Pro) since I purchased it back in November 2018, and that still works almost like new.

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is still a fantastic product

I’m not trying to dissuade you from buying a new device. Rather, I hope I’m raising awareness that you shouldn’t try chasing for the ‘latest and greatest’ hardware on the market when slightly older but still capable devices are still available to buy. 

I’d argue that the performance boost from the M2 model of the MacBook Air doesn’t justify the increased price, with the M1 model having a base MSRP of $999 (£999), while the fresh-faced M2 sells for $1,199 (£1,249).

That becomes an even harder choice when you see some of the deals on older models that shave even more off that price, such as the Prime Day deal below which takes the M1-powered MacBook Air down to just $899 - and that's not even the lowest price we’ve seen. Back in November 2021 we even saw it drop to $799, so there’s so real opportunity to save money here.

MacBook Air M1 (2020): $999
The best Macbook P...

MacBook Air M1 (2020): $999 $899 at Best Buy
Save $100 -
Amazon's all sold out of MacBook Air M1's for Prime Day but you can still pick this great ultrabook up with a discount at Best Buy. Both retailers have been offering the same price over the past few days, which is $100 off off the record-low from Black Friday, although this week's price is still pretty good. Also consider this week's new MacBook Air M2 pre-orders.

In the time it's taken to write this up, in fact, the original Amazon deal I was referencing has expired, which only alludes to its popularity. Luckily (or perhaps frustratingly), Prime Day sales are also occurring outside of Amazon, so you can grab the same bargain at Best Buy.

This is going to be a capable laptop for a good few years, and by the time you start to feel it’s showing its age, a significant upgrade will be available – likely an M3 or even M4 chip model. And while buying a new laptop during a cost of living crisis might seem counterproductive, there are some situations where it’s absolutely necessary to buy a laptop, such as students starting college or if a sole-household system stops working.

But what about MacBook Pro deals?

If you’re not feeling the pinch then there’s additional good news for more premium products such as the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 and its larger 16-inch sibling. We’ve outlined a few savings before, but we have the same sentiments about the Pro range as we do the Air – unless the next-gen release is a significant upgrade and remains at a similar price, the older hardware will serve you just fine for years to come.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) (M1 Pro, 512GB): $1,999

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) (M1 Pro, 512GB): $1,999 $1,799 at Amazon
Save $200
– The latest 2021 MacBook Pro with a 14-inch display and 512GB SSD is now only $50 more than its cheapest ever price at Amazon. The top-end device is one of the best laptops you can buy today for creative professionals thanks to the power of the M1 Pro chip. It makes advanced tasks such as video and photo editing a breeze.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) (M1 Pro, 1TB): $2,499

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) (M1 Pro, 1TB): $2,499 $2,299 at Amazon
Save $200
– Think you need more storage? The latest MacBook Pro 14-inch with a larger 1TB SSD is reduced right now. It has been $70 cheaper in the past but this is a rare price cut on the new machine. You get the impressive performance of the M1 Pro chip (that creative professionals will truly appreciate) powering the device.

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro, 16GB, 1TB) - $2,699

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro, 16GB, 1TB) - $2,699 $2,449 at Amazon
Save $250 -
The 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro is one of the best mobile workstations around thanks to its powerful 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, making it capable of taking on some of the most heavy-duty creative workflows with ease.

If you have your heart set on buying an M2-powered Mac then that’s still completely valid, though it's going to be some time until we start to see cash drop from its asking price. The chip shortage makes Black Friday deals on a new model unlikely, but that may have improved by 2023 - just keep a look out for the M1 hardware in November as it may plummet to a new record low.

More MacBook deals across the world

No matter where you live, you'll find all the lowest prices for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops around the web right here, with offers available in your region. 

More Prime Day deals in the US

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.