Is MacBook Air Good for Engineering Students Who Run The Heavy CAD Programs? Final Reviews In 2023

Engineering students tend to use resource-intensive software like AutoCAD, MATLAB, Visual Studio, Anaconda, and more like these. Therefore especially Mechanical engineering students require a laptop with decent specifications.

That is where MacBook Air comes in. It is portable (only 1.24 kg and 14mm thickness), performs outstandingly with its powerful CPU, offers 14 hours of impressive battery backup, and is budget-friendly.

Yes, the engineering tasks are very heavy so it will need a powerful laptop which will be very expensive like gaming laptops.

✔ Research:

When we here about MacBooks, then the first thing comes to our mind is their agressive high prices. But do you know, Why Are The MacBooks So Expensive? Check out over latest research on this topic.

And yes, if you are an engineering student then you would might need a powerful laptop like Gaming Laptop. So also check out that why are gaming laptops so expensive or the other popular brand among engineers known as Razer

It’s true that students in every field require a laptop. The requirements of the system will be different, though. In this scenario, I will talk about the system requirements of engineering and non-engineering students.

But first, here are the reasons why you should consider buying a MacBook. 

5 Reasons MacBook Air is Good for Engineering Students

MacBook Air favors students in several ways. I have listed the most common reasons I have experienced and concluded why Air is suitable for engineering students. Before that, check out the important notes below:

📝 Note:

Here are few things that you should know before buying a new laptop:
1. Essential features and aspects that you should be aware of.
2. How often should you buy a new laptop?
3. When should you upgrade your laptop?

Now, let start reasons that MacBook Air is good for engineering students:

1. Powerful CPU.

Powered by Apple’s silicon M1 chip with 8 cores CPU (4 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores) and 7-core GPU, it can perform resource-exhaustive tasks seamlessly. I am an engineering student (computer engineering) and have used the software mentioned above on this machine. The performance was top-notch. When I compared it with my friend’s PCs and Windows laptops, they faced inevitable glitches while writing heavy code. 

2. Highly Portable.

MacBook Air is a lightweight machine weighing only 1.29 kg and with a thickness of 14mm, making it one of the sleekest and most highly portable laptops. For students, portability is a vital element when choosing a laptop. I had an excellent experience because it is so slim that some of my books were bulky compared to Air. Carrying this laptop without a bag is so comfortable as well. Compared to Dell XPS 13, both have almost the exact dimensions, but Apple’s build quality is superior to Dell’s. 

3. Enhanced Battery Backup.

A decent battery backup is a blessing, and M1-powered Air provides an excellent battery backup. It has a 49.9W Lithium-Polymer battery that gives you a backup of 15 hours of web browsing and up to 18 hours of movie playback. As an engineering student and Air user, I would only charge it once in 24 hours with around 40% battery still to be used. 

The battery is an attractive feature for engineering students because while running MATLAB for 3 hours continuously, it would still last 7-8 hours. In our battery test, the MacBook Air’s battery lasted 14 hours on regular use, while the Dell XPS 13 lasted only 5-6 hours on everyday use. 

4. Affordable Price.

Compared with its competitors, which offer such powerful CPU, battery, GPU, and portability, the MacBook Air is still affordable. The price for the base variant is $999, and in the base variant, you will have 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and 8 core CPUs with 7 with integrated core GPU. This specification makes Air M1 a beast in terms of performance at an affordable price in contrast to its rivals like Dell XPS 13, priced at $1649. 

5. Better Screen.

The 13.3-inch LED-Backlit Retina display powered by IPS technology with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels is one of the best displays you can find on a laptop. It features True Tone technology for better and more natural images in various lighting conditions by adjusting the temperature and brightness of colors on the screen. Its competing laptops, like Dell XPS 13, have a resolution of 1920 x 1080p with the same screen size, way less than the MacBook Air. 

Moreover, a better display is essential for two reasons: first, you should select a screen that doesn’t strain your eyes, which is possible with the high-resolution screen found in Air. Secondly, for engineering students who design, the display should be vivid enough to differentiate well between layers and colors. 

This video review will clear your doubts about the MacBook Air M1, and whether it could be used for engineering tasks or not. Thanks to ProgramHub for this clear and detailed review.

Laptop Requirements for Engineering Students vs. Non-Engineering Students

Laptop requirements differ with the student’s discipline. Non-engineering students in any field will need a laptop for assignment writing, preparing presentations, web surfing, or casual gaming. It means that the requirements for a non-engineering student will be low. A 4GB RAM, with a 2.8 GHz multi-core processor (not dependent on generation), 512GB of storage, and optional GPU, will work more than satisfactory.

In contrast, engineering students tend to run heavy applications for designing, developing, or research purposes. Softwares like MATLAB and Visual Studio, AutoCAD, Eclipse, and Android Studio require a laptop with high-end specs. For an engineering student, at least 8GB of RAM, 3.5 – 4 GHz clock speed of multi-core CPU, a discrete GPU, and 1TB of SSD storage are preferable.

Considering the specifications mentioned earlier, we have chosen MacBook Air as the best laptop for engineering students. Below are 5 reasons supporting our claim that Air best suits engineering students. Let us dive deep into the discussion. 

Some Best Laptops For Engineering And Designing:

Pros and Cons of MacBook Air for Engineering Students

Air M1 is the number one choice of engineering students because of its powerful performance and affordable price. While everything comes at a cost, the laptop does have not only pros but also cons. Let us look at the pros and cons of this machine for engineering students.


1. Compatibility with iPhone.

Apple’s laptops become very handy if you are an iPhone user. You can work on either device if connected to the same Wi-Fi network. You can test your newly created application on your iPhone rather than on a simulator. You can also Airdrop large files between two devices if you don’t have a flash drive. 

2. Enhanced OS.

Fusion 360 on MacBook

macOS is a better choice than Windows for engineering students because of user-friendliness and approachability. It supports all the necessary software like AutoCAD, MATLAB, Revit, COMSOL, and MechDesigner. Installing software on macOS is very easy and doesn’t require any pre-configuration like installing, updating, or configuring drivers on Windows. Its compatibility with different software makes macOS a better choice. 

3. No Noise – Fanless Design.

Apple uses an innovative technology for cooling the MacBook Air called Passive Heat Spreader. It cools down the machine without any fan. With no fan, there is no noise, and students can better focus on their studies or projects while working on M1-powered Air. This fanless design makes this system super compact and sleek.


There are a few drawbacks to using Apple devices but the most common ones that everyone faces are mentioned below. 

1. Limited Hardware Upgrade.

One reason to refrain from Air 2020 is the limited hardware upgrade. Simply put, you can’t upgrade your machine once you buy it. The main reason is the unified memory architecture, where the circuit board has integrated memory and processor. There is no option to upgrade post-purchase; you have only one option: to buy another variant. When you buy Apple products, plan for the longer term rather than the short term.

Some Other MacBook Reviews And Analysis:

Below are some reviews about MacBooks. Explaining, where they are good and where they fail:

Conclusion: Is MacBook Air Good for Engineering Students?

MacBook Air has become the number one choice for engineering students, with notable features and affordable prices. Impressive battery backup and sleek design make the portability to the next level. It also provides a soothing experience, thanks to its fanless design that produces no noise.

Moreover, macOS is more favorable to engineering students as compared to Windows. I recommend buying this PC if you are an engineering student and use design software.