Should you buy a MacBook Air in this year's Black Friday deals?

The MacBook Air has just gone through a big change, so what's a good price for the Intel version? Here's what we think

MacBook Air M1
(Image credit: Apple)

Just last week, a new MacBook Air with Apple's M1 processor went on sale, completely replacing the previous version, which used an Intel processor, for the same price at £999/$999 The timing looked like it could be pretty juicy for bargain-hunters, with the advent of Black Friday deals meaning it's a perfect time for retailers to drop the price of the old version and clear their warehouses.

However, while scouring for the best Apple Black Friday deals, the offers we're seeing on the new M1 MacBook Air aren't that huge just yet, which raises a bit of a problem for buyers.

If you've been following the news about the M1 MacBook Air, you'll know that it's massively more powerful than the Intel MacBook Air. Two or three times faster, in fact, and with much longer battery life at the same time, and also an improved screen. 

This means that in cases where the Intel MacBook Air has only been discounted by 10% or less, we'd actually suggest that people should consider just paying full price, if they can. You'd get more value in terms of speed and future-proofing by paying the little extra for the newer machine – a small discount may be a false economy for a lot of people. Especially when there's actually a great discount on the M1 MacBook Air in the UK right now!

Apple MacBook Air M1, 256GB | Was £999 | Now £949 | Save £50 at Amazon UK
It's only been out a week, but you can already save £50 on the brand-new MacBook Air! This machine is incredible, offering similar performance to high-end pro machines, but in a silent, fanless design. It has 8GB of RAM, powerful 7-core Apple graphics, and a sharp 2560x1600 screen with a wide P3 colour gamut.View Deal

That said, there are some good reasons to get the Intel MacBook Air even at a small discount: 1) If you use some very out-of-the-ordinary software and need to be sure it will still run on a new machine, then the Intel is a wise choice – obscure software can hit unexpected bugs on the new machine; 2) if you simply need to spend as little on your MacBook as possible and only use it for very light tasks. In that case, the Intel MacBook Air will still be more than good enough, and you'll save something.

So what do we mean by small or large discounts? Here's a discount on the Intel MacBook Air that we'd say is big enough for everyone to consider it:

Apple MacBook Air Intel dual-core 256GB | Was £999 | Now £849 | Save £150 at Costco UK
Released earlier in 2020, this uses latest-gen low-power Intel processors, and has 8GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage. There's a high-res 2560x1600 display, and Touch ID for easy and secure logging in. Buying from Costco requires a £12.50 paid membership, but use the code DEALS10 at checkout for another £10 off to offset that!View Deal

We'd say that £850/$850 is the most you should pay for the old version, really. That's enough of a saving to buy yourself a monitor or something to pair with it, when compared to the full price M1 MacBook Air, so makes for a solid and meaningful saving overall. We think that ideally you'd pay around £800/$800 – nowhere has actually offered it that cheap yet, but it feels like a fair price reduction when compared to the what the newer model offers.

Here are some of the other UK and US deals we've seen on the Intel MacBook Air – as we mentioned, it makes sense to buy these if you have specific needs that they fit, but we think they're not great value for money compared to paying even full price for the M1 MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Air Intel dual-core 256GB | Was $999 | Now $899 | Save $100 at B&H Photo Video
Released earlier in 2020, this uses latest-gen low-power Intel processors, and has 8GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage. There's a high-res 2560x1600 display, and Touch ID for easy and secure logging in.View Deal

Apple MacBook Air Intel dual-core 256GB | Was £999 | Now £919 | Save £80 a  Currys
Released earlier in 2020, this uses latest-gen low-power Intel processors, and has 8GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage. There's a high-res 2560x1600 display, and Touch ID for easy and secure logging in.View Deal

However, we hope to see the prices come down further over Black Friday, so keep an eye on our auto-price finder below, which brings you the best prices from around the web live.

Matthew Bolton
Matthew Bolton

Matthew runs T3's magazine side putting the best gadgets in ink every month, having worked across on many tech mags over the last decade. He's also our resident Apple expert, and you absolutely should not get him started about Lego or board games unless you have a free afternoon and endless patience.