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Legendary M1 MacBook Air vs. Snapdragon X Elite: Comparison

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The M1 MacBook Air revolutionized the laptop industry when it launched four years ago. This device pushed Snapdragon and Microsoft to take ARM devices seriously, leading to the development of the Snapdragon X Elite, a direct competitor to Apple’s innovation. In this detailed comparison, we evaluate whether the Snapdragon X Elite can surpass the beloved M1 MacBook Air, still used by many today. We delve into design, screens, webcams, benchmarks, real-world performance, and battery life.

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Design and Build

Both the M1 MacBook Air and the Surface Laptop 7 (housing the Snapdragon X Elite) exhibit strikingly similar designs. The MacBook Air weighs 2.8 lbs, slightly lighter than the 3 lb Surface Laptop. The Surface is a tad thicker despite both featuring a wedge design. The Surface laptop wins in the port department with one USB Type-A port, two USB 4 ports, and a Surface Connect port for charging, whereas the M1 MacBook Air offers just two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Audio and Display

The M1 MacBook Air, despite its age, still impresses with its speakers. The Surface Laptop 7 has improved, yet the MacBook Air’s sound quality remains slightly superior, especially in bass performance.

The Surface Laptop 7 boasts thinner bezels, Windows Hello, a brighter 600-nit screen, and a touchscreen with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. In contrast, the MacBook Air’s display offers better contrast and anti-reflectivity. Though smaller, the MacBook Air’s display has a higher resolution than the Surface.

The Surface Laptop 7’s 1080p webcam outshines the MacBook Air’s 720p camera, providing a wider, clearer image with better noise reduction. Regarding SSD performance, the Surface Laptop’s 512GB SSD is slightly faster in read speed, but the MacBook Air’s 256GB SSD has a surprising edge in write speed and other tests.

CPU and GPU Performance

Webcam and SSD Performance

The Snapdragon X Elite excels in CPU performance, with a 15% faster single-core and 71% faster multi-core score than the M1. However, for web applications, the M1 MacBook Air slightly outperforms the X Elite. In real-world tasks, like Figma design and Adobe Lightroom Classic, the M1 MacBook Air shows competitive performance despite its age.

When it comes to graphics, the X Elite beats the M1 by a narrow margin in benchmarks. However, the M1 MacBook Air still holds its ground in rendering and stabilization tests, thanks to its efficient use of the metal graphics API.

Battery Life and Efficiency

Despite having a smaller battery, the M1 MacBook Air outlasts the Surface Laptop 7 in extensive testing. The MacBook retains 37% battery life compared to the Surface’s 12% after hours of rigorous tasks. The M1 chip’s efficiency and fanless design contribute to its superior battery performance.

Conclusion

The Snapdragon X Elite showcases impressive CPU capabilities, particularly in tasks requiring high performance. However, the M1 MacBook Air remains a formidable competitor in graphics and media tasks, demonstrating the enduring strength of Apple’s M1 chip. For users needing a versatile laptop with excellent battery life and efficient performance, the M1 MacBook Air is still a viable option, especially given its current price point of $699. Conversely, the Surface Laptop 7 with the X Elite is a strong contender for Windows users, offering a well-rounded experience with a few caveats in graphics performance.

Overall, while the Snapdragon X Elite brings robust performance improvements, the M1 MacBook Air continues to be a worthy rival, showcasing Apple’s innovation and efficiency in the ARM-based laptop market.

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