If you’re hunting for Prime Day MacBook deals this year, you’ll no be tempted by the onslaught of ultra-cheap options in your feed.
But tread lightly. There are some MacBooks you just shouldn’t buy — no matter the price. I don’t care if it’s $700. Or $500. Nobody should buy it.
Which MacBook am I talking about? Well, it’s really an entire subset of MacBooks, and they’re the only ones that tend to dip into the “too good to be true” level of pricing on big shopping holidays like Prime Day.
I’m talking about any MacBook Air that came out before the transition to the M1. Apple’s switch to the M1 has been one of the most talked about computing events in the past couple of years — and for good reason. The M1 chip was a revolution — and its effects were most heavily felt on the cheapest laptop in Apple’s lineup, the MacBook Air.
Before the transition to the M1, the MacBook Air was an underpowered, overpriced laptop for what it could do. As a basic laptop for simple tasks, it was too expensive. For everyone else, it was painfully slow. But now, the MacBook Air M1 is the go-to laptop for most people, offering excellent performance and battery life, especially for the price. If you can find the M1 MacBook Air for even $100 or $200 off, it’s absolutely worth the purchase.
There’s a case to be made for discounted Windows laptops that are a few years old, since gen-over-gen performance increases are fairly modest. But because of how drastic the transition for MacBooks was in 2020, going backward just isn’t worth the cost in performance and battery life.
On the surface, a $500 MacBook might sound so cheap that it’s worth the sacrifice. If all you care about is owning a laptop with an Apple logo on it — sure, this will do. Apple products are expensive, and Macs in particular rarely see deep discounts. That makes these cheap, old MacBooks a temptation.
But if you actually want to enjoy the laptop you’re buying, avoid it at all costs.
It’s tricky, however, because on the outside, these two laptops look nearly identical. There are no physical changes to these two products, despite there being a world of difference internally.
So as you’re scrolling through the best Prime Day deals, pay attention to the year the laptop came out. If it came out before 2020, it’s pre-M1. And obviously, if you spot that it runs on an Intel processor, that’s a signal to steer clear.
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