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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Ultrabooks vs MacBook Air 2016 comparison: features, battery and more

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on February 11, 2017

A while ago Intel decided to revolutionize the market and set some high standards for a new breed of laptops: ultrabooks. Only a few years later, we now have plenty of such ultrabooks on the market, some better than others (my favorite options are detailed in this post), but all of them built around pretty much the same ideas: stylish and sleek looking, portable, fast and long-lasting computers.

However, before these ultrabooks were even born, there were already several thin, light and fast computers in stores. Among them, there was Apple’s Macbook Air.

Preceding ultrabooks by a couple of years, the Macbook Airs are even today the most popular premium ultra-portables and in some countries (like the US for instance) account for more sales than all ultrabooks taken together. There are plenty of reasons why people like these Apple ultraportables, and we’ll talk about them in this post.

This post compares the Macbook Air to the popular ultrabooks at the middle of 2015, so you’ll know exactly what to expect from each category and which will give you a better deal for the money. These posts where I’m comparing it to the Asus Zenbook family or Samsung ATIV Book 9 series might also come in handy.

Ultrabooks vs MacBook Air – design and build quality

The Macbook Air is a clamshell computer, or in other words a classicly styled laptop with two joined parts: one that includes the hardware, battery, keyboard, ports on the bottom, and another one with the screen on top. Ultrabooks on the other hand are available in a much wider range of form-factors, both clamshells and all sorts of 2-in-1s. In fact, more and more 2-in-1s are being launched each year, as Intel and the OEMs are pushing it strongly. This post lists the best 2-in-1 convertibles available in stores these days, so you might want to check it out.

Design wise, the MBA has remained pretty much unchanged since its launch, with its silver unibody aluminum case. It’s sturdy and looks good, but with ultrabooks you’ll get more approaches and aesthetic lines to choose from, more types of materials (carbon fiber, magnesium, shatterproof glass, plastic) and colors. That was expected, as manufacturers try to push their own products in front of the crowd and aesthetics do have a major impact in potential buyers.

That aside, you can choose between an 11 inch and a 13 inch version of the Macbook Air. The 13 inch model is about 0.7 inch thick and weighs close to 3 pounds, while the 11 inch MBA is slightly smaller and tips the scales at 2.4 pounds. These numbers were amazing a few yeas ago and they’re not that shabby today either, but there are plenty of more compact and lighter ultrabooks to choose from now. Apple have their own modern supermodel of course, the 12-inch Macbook, but that’s a low-power device meant for simple basic tasks, and not a powerful ultraportable like the Macbook Air.

Make sure you read reviews before settling on any specific model though, some of the lightest ultrabooks might not be strong enough to withstand the daily hassle. Older examples like the Sony Vaio Pro 13 or the Toshiba Portege Z930/Z935 come to mind here, but there are some newer units that are not as toughly built as the Macbooks.

Of course, there are some specifics that could be added here. For instance, the hinges on the MBA are smartly designed, strong and yet smooth enough to lift the screen with a single hand, while the lower-body remains bolted to the desk. On the other hand, the screen on the MBA only leans back to about 150 degrees, while with some ultrabooks you get screens that can go back perfectly flat, or more in case of some 2-in-1s. This is a one particular detail I find extremely useful when laying on the couch with the laptop on my knees.

Some ultrabooks look a lot like the Macbook Air

Some ultrabooks look a lot like the Macbook Air

And others are completely different

And others are completely different

Long story short, the MBA might not be as compact or as light as some of the ultrabooks out there, but is portable enough, and more importantly, is sturdy and solid built, which are traits you’d expect from a road-warrior, a computer you’re probably want to grab along to school, offices or wherever you might travel. Ultrabooks on the other hand are available in a much wider range of forms and sizes, and many can stand next to the MBA when it comes to looks and build quality.

So this chapter ends in a tie.

Keyboards and trackpads

I type for a living and a great keyboard is a must on my laptop.

The Macbook Airs feature a chiclet backlit keyboard with square, rubbery, black keys (they create a nice contrast with the silver body). They offer fairly good feedback for this class of computers (thin and light) and while their travel is somewhat shallow, you can definitely get used to the experience. Keep in mind that the layout is different than what you’re getting on Windows laptops, since Macs use a different set of functional keys.

The Macbook Airs also feature a large and accurate clickpad, one that smoothly reacts to swipes, taps and gestures. And truth is, while I’ve tested countless ultraportables in the last years, I’ve yet to find one that offers the same constant and consistent experience offered by these Apple clickpads. But we’ll talk about that in a bit.

Most ultrabooks feature chiclet keyboards as well, but with a multitude of layouts, colors and implementations. The typing experience has gotten better on the more recent launches and on some units it can rival with what the MBA offers. And some, especially the business ultrabooks, might even be superior, having taller keys with longer strokes.

It’s not fair to generalize and say certain manufactures offer better keyboards than others, but from my personal experience, I’d look at Lenovos, Dells and HPs if I’d need a Windows ultraportable for typing. There are of course exceptions.

With trackpads, things are a bit different. Most ultrabooks feature spacious clickpads these days, but very few manage to offer a smooth and complete experience. A mix of hardware (stiff surface, poor finishing) and especially software (jumpy, inaccurate) factors are to blame for that, but as a buyer, I don’t really care about what’s causing these issues, I just want them gone, I just want a smooth and reliable trackpad, which I’m not getting with the vast majority of ultrabooks.

Even so, there are certain features you’re only going to find on Windows ultraportables, like mechanical click buttons or TrackPoints, which might not sound like much, but just give them a try and you’ll see…

You'll hardly find a better keyboard than the one on the MBA on an ultraportable

You’ll hardly find a better keyboard and trackpad than the ones on the MBA

The screens – where the MBA suffers

The latest version of the 13-inch MBA sports a reduced-glare display with a 1440 x 900 px TN panel, while on the 11 incher there’s a 1366 x 768 px TN panel. And these are pretty crappy by today’s standards.

Most ultrabooks offer high-density displays, IPS panels and even touchscreens and we’re only finding similar screens to the ones on the MBAs on the most affordable Windows ultra-portables of the moment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Air’s screen isn’t atrocious, but when compared to the modern panels on pretty much all premium ultrabooks available right now, it can’t compete. The viewing angles, contrast, sharpness or color accuracy are lackluster. Which is a pity and is in fact the single major quirk of this otherwise great line.

I was expecting Retina displays on this year’s MacBook Air, but Apple decided otherwise. You do get much better displays on the new Macbook and the Macbook Pros though.

While ultrabooks offer high-density IPS panels and touchscreens, the Air relies on the same non-glare LCD panel

While ultrabooks offer high-density IPS panels and touchscreens, the Air relies on a dated TN panel

Hardware, software and performances

The latest Macbook Air and ultrabook generations are motorized by fairly similar Intel Broadwell hardware platforms, with options for Intel Core i5 and i7 processors for the MBA, and also some entry-level Core i3s on ultrabooks. The platforms can take up to 8-12 GB of RAM and various forms of storage, but SSDs are a given on both the Air and the premium ultrabooks.

It’s worth adding that the 2014 MacBook Airs do offer some higher frequency processors than most other ultrabooks (28W Broadwell U lines, as opposed to the 15W Broadwell U series on ultrabooks), bundled with Intel HD 6000 graphics, which are somewhat more capable than the Intel HD 5500 chip bundled with most Broadwell ULV lines.

The MBAs also step in front of the crowd with fast PCIe SSDs, but you’ll find snappy storage options on ultrabooks as well, including RAID solutions. What you’re not getting on the MacBook Air, but can be found on some ultrabooks is discrete graphics, that’s going to come in handy for video editing or gaming. Also, RAM is limited to only 8 GB on the Macbooks, while some similar sized ultrabooks can get 12 GB or even 16.

The Macbook Air is quite difficult to upgrade yourself, if that’s something you might want to do. Forst of all, the RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded in any way, but the SSDs can. However, Apple do not use the standard M.2 PCIe slots on their units, but a proprietary form-factor, which makes compatible SSDs extremely expensive and quite difficult to find. You’ll still end up cheaper buying them yourselves than from Apple.

Now, to be fair, most of the premium ultrabooks aren’t prone to upgrades either, as they come with soldered RAM and onyl the SSDs acan be swapped, but at least the WIndows OEMs use standardized M.2 or mSATA slots in their machines. Some of the mid-range options allow to upgrade the RAM as well, while some of the business models leave room for other tweaks as well.

Of course, ultrabooks run Windows, while on the AIR you’re getting Mac OS. Each comes with its own ecosystem of apps and software, but at the end of the day, you should be fine with either of them, as long as you’re not planning on running specialized software (games for instance work better on Windows, while some apps work only on Mac OS X or only on Windows). So it’s wise to choose the right OS for you based on the programs you’re going to use.

The battery life

Here’s where the MBA outmatches most of the available ultrabooks, and there are two main reasons for that: a bigger battery and better software/hardware optimization than on the alternatives.

The 2015 MacBook Air 13 offers up to 13 hours of everyday real-life use, while the 11 inch model can go for about 9. Those aren’t just numbers taken from a book, not, that’s how long the laptops will last with daily activities (light browsing, 1080p looping, text editing, etc). If you’re going to multitask between many programs at once, those numbers will drop, but even so, the Macbook Airs will have little trouble in outmatching most ultrabooks.

With Broadwell ultrabooks you’re getting anywhere between 6 to 9 hours on a charge, which is not bad at all, but not quite up there next to the Airs. Yes, there are some models that announce 15+ hours of use on a charge, like the Dell XPS 13 2015, but in practice they can’t deliver more than 10.

There are some exceptions, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X250 for instance, but those Windows laptops that actually can outlast the Macbook Airs relly on very big batteries, which add up to the device’s weight and even protrude on their backs in some cases. On top of that, some 13 inch ultrabooks support extended slice batteries.

The other tiny details

There are some other aspects worth mentioning. Connectivity options, for instance. The latest Macbook Air supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11ac wireless, offers USB 3.0 ports, a card-reader and ThunderBolt connectors and while these might require adapters, are enough for everything you might want to connect.

With ultrabooks, you could get a larger set of connectivity options and ports, but features tend to vary from model to model. Most of them offer Wireless and Bluetooth, but some bundle NFC and cellular modems as well. Besides that, on some ultrabooks you can get full-size VGA and HDMI video outputs and even an Ethernet port, which aren’t available on the Airs. the HDMI ports is nice to have, since most of us already have an HDMI cable connected to out TV or monitor anyway, but the ThunderBolt port is actually more capable. As for VGA and LAN, unless you’re in a tight business environment, I doubt you’ll ever use them much.

So overall the MacBook Air offers a good array of ports and connectivity options, but you can get more choices on some of the available ultrabooks, which the average user might not need though.

When it comes to speakers, the MBA isn’t spectacular, but it’s fairly loud and the sound coming out of it good enough for some movies and Youtube clips. The HD Facetime Webcam and the dual microphones however do a good job in video calls and occasional Hangouts. With ultrabooks, there’s variety once more. Some offer great speakers (like the Zenbooks or the XPSes), some not that much, and at the same time, some pack some mediocre cameras, while some of the hybrids pack even rear-facing main shooters.

The prices

All these lead to a very important aspect: how much do these laptops cost?

The latest 13.3 inch Macbook Air starts at $999, for a Broadwell Core i5 processor with Intel HD 6000 graphics, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB PCIe SSD. And you can actually find it discounted online. The 11 inch MacBook Air starts at $899 for a similar configuration, and once again some webstores actually list it cheaper.

Premium Haswell ultrabooks on the other hand start anywhere between  $800 to $1400 these days, for similar configuration to the ones mentioned above (somewhat slower CPUs and graphics though are bundled on most base ultrabooks). In most cases they include a better display or even a touchscreen. Some of the best such machines are detailed in this other post. As for the 11.6 inch ultrabooks, well, you can read all about them in this post.

Of course, you ca find ultrabooks that sell for between $500 and $1000 in stores as well, but those are not exactly direct competitors for the MBA, or they are older generation versions, with Intel Ivy Bridge or Haswell hardware.

Bottom point, the Macbook Airs are price wise pretty much on pair with their rival high-end ultrabooks these days. Upgrades are expensive on the Airs though, so if you want a high-tier configuration you’ll probabvly find it cheaper on a Windows ultraportable, but the base model is definitely aggressive priced.

Still, I personally wouldn’t buy the base Macbook Air. Go for at least a RAM upgrade, as the amount of memory cannot be latter improved and if you buy a model with only 4 GB of RAM you’ll probably end up regretting it further down the road.

The Airs are actually cheaper than most premium ultrabooks these days - pic via DetroitBorg

The Airs are actually cheaper than manypremium ultrabooks these days – pic via DetroitBorg

Wrap-up

OK, let’s draw the line. The Macbook Airs are still great buys in 2015.

If you’re after an 11-incher, you’ll hardly find anything similar, since most Windows OEMs are ignoring this segment. You’ll still struggle with the screen though, so if the budget allows, the 12-inch Macbook could be a good alternative. In fact, unless you aim for the base MBA 11, it’s only $100 more expensive.

The 13-inch MBA has plenty of competitors though. Many of them are smaller and lighter, many offer touchscreens and convertible form-factors or better IO. The Macbook Air has two Aces down its sleeve though: the powerful hardware and the long battery life. Both can be matched by a small number of ultrabooks, but those are either very expensive, or not as sleek and beautiful as the MBA. In other words, those might not be the right choices for you.

The screen though, the screen kills the MBA 13 and leaves a wide gap for Windows devices like the Dell XPS 13, the Asus Zenbook UX303LA/LN, the HP Spectre x360 or the Acer Aspire S7-393, to name just a few of the premium 13-inchers.

So at the end of the day, the latest MacBook Air is still an excellent device and for many, it might be the perfect ultra-portable, unless a good display, a touchscreen, dedicated graphics or Windows are a must in your book. If that’s the case, my list of the best ultrabooks of the moment is the place for your to start your search. Or some of the reviews and comparisons here on the site.

Either way, there’s no clear winner in this Apple Macbook Air vs Ultrabooks fight, it’s up to you to pick the device that fits best within your requirements, budget and taste. Find the balance between these aspects and you’ll end up satisfied with your choice.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

97 Comments

  1. John Eckman

    January 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I have very much appreciated your reviews and am wondering whether I would like to replace my HP Pavilion (17 in.) with an ultrabook, more specifically the MacBook Air. Would this machine suffice as my sole computer as my HP currently does? Would the switch from Microsoft to Apple be too daunting? Thank your for any advice you may give.

    • Val Huber

      February 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

      I use the MBA 13″ for development, and as my only machine. It is fantastic. I went with the i7, 256G. It is fast, quiet and cool.

      • Haydn R.

        December 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm

        Same configuration! I love it as well but the main part is the temperature
        you just can’t make it hot and of course the i7 core means plenty of power
        combined with 8GB of ram. 5 of 5 stars! By the way Macs (except for the MacBook) are not overpriced whatsoever.

    • Abi

      June 3, 2012 at 2:59 am

      I have them both, Ultrabook is superior and was easier to use, maybe it was the o.s. so i made the BA dual boot

    • AITB

      June 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Buy a MacBook Air and dual-boot Windows and OS X on it.

  2. nesha

    February 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    is macbook and macbook air the same thing i need this in 10 minutes

    • Bill

      April 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      yes

      • John Manuel

        May 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm

        I have a MacBook and it has a DVD/RW. As far as I understand it, the MBA doesn’t have this drive.

  3. David J

    February 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

    The switch from Windows to Apple was amazing easy. I’ve been Windows bigot for a long time, am an IT professional, and just switched to a MacBook Air last November. It was rediculous how things just work on the Apple. If I had known it was this easy I would have switched a long time ago.

    No MacBook and MacBook Air are not the same thing. The “Air” is much thinner and you can get more horse power in the MacBook.

    • Ludovic Urbain

      December 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      That’s only true when you use 1% of your computer. For that 1%, Apple >>> anything else. But once you step over that 1% mark, the whole illusion falls apart and you discover that Windows is in fact much better than OSX.

      • Godwin

        May 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        Am an IT practitioner and moved to MAC about two years ago
        before that move i was scared of the move
        But wooooo i should have done it earlier
        They are work horses
        last longer more reliable OS updates are cheaper
        Things dont break after every Tuesday updates my wifes macbook pro is even child prof (having survived uncountable falls liquid spills)last longer than the average life expectancy of the pc
        And recently found its even cheaper compared to PC
        I buy PCs for my firm and they are cheaper than comparable pcs in term of specs sentiments aside i make a leaving supporting windows based pcs but Macs, they are better any day.

        • sla

          May 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          >>updates are cheaper

          Whut?

    • ABAN

      June 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I am an engineering student studying computer science.i wanted to know if i would face any problem in running softwares like AUTOCAD,JAVA,C,C++ ,ETC on the macbook air

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        I’m sorry, I haven’t tried those on the MBA. Maybe some of the other readers can shed more light on this manner.

      • Deruit Max

        August 26, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        Ofc not.. And if you prefer windows for programming (and i don’t) you can dualboot

      • Tom

        February 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

        Noo problem. I am an engineer and I use autocad matlab in a daily basis, and some times to code in c++.
        To code I use Xcode as an IDE -yeah I know its not the bets but I got used to it-.
        Also de specs on mine are the basic one i5 and 4RAM.
        So yeah, a MBA is a great choise for an engineering student.

  4. gail mccartney

    March 21, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Thinking longterm, 1.8ghz i7 is a smarter buy than 1.7ghz i5. Given the rather steep price, would like to know realistically what the lifespan of this beauty will be. Any estimates?

    • Mike

      March 21, 2012 at 7:27 am

      Gail, theoretically you can have a laptop for about 3 years. However, they are designed to “break” just after you’re out of warranty. So, if you plan to keep it for longer, go ahead and buy extended warranty, it’s the safer way, just in case

      Also, don’t forget that a new generation of such means pops out each year, so in 3 years, you’ll have quite an outdated machine

      • Daniel Burke

        March 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

        Wow, Mike…I’d say your comment on these laptops being “designed to ‘break'” might seem like a fair assessment of manufacturing and marketing in general…but you just can’t apply that logic to an Apple computer…especially true for the latest generations with the unibody case.

        these are some of the best made products in ANY category. I’ve had mine for about two years now and have DROPPED it several times (silly, i know, i never used to) and it still powers my business without a hitch and the denting is barely noticeable.

        Did you know that the gyroscope built into the MBPs is there to protect the hard drive in case it’s dropped? They built in tech to KNOW when it’s falling to sure up the HD to keep it from being damaged! This is a company that builds products that last.

        Gail, (and Mike), I’m sold on Apple laptops (and other devices). They fill my home and their ages range from 5 years to 6 months.

        Buy at the beginning of a new product cycle to be sure you have the latest tech when you buy, and keep it for as long as the speed and technology serve you, but NEVER doubt the sturdiness of the hardware :) In cases of lemons, I’ve found the Apple stores (though super busy) and their employees to be the most helpful of any company I’ve ever worked with.

        I know, I sound like an employee, but I’m not. I’m a developer for a University, in case you were wondering :)

        Edited by Mike: Can’t see the purpose of that link here…

        • Mike

          March 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

          Daniel, I assure you, Macbooks break just like all the other computers. Sooner or later, they all do :) And yes, you seem a bit too biased towards them Macs :P

          • Daniel Burke

            April 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

            haha…ok :) Well, thank you for your “Assurance” Mike. I’ll be sure to use that to trump my personal experience, since that doesn’t seem to count because I’m “biased.”

            You know, Apple fanboys can be overbearing with their cult-isms, but the opposition can be just as negative.

            There’s a difference between “this will probably break eventually” and “this product is designed to break,” or at least I’d like to think so. Apple products are designed (with many available examples, including magnetic power cords) NOT to break. The exact opposite of what you described. That was the point I was drawing out.

            The point of the link was obvious, it was a page from a website that details when Apple product cycles are so you can “buy at the beginning of a new product cycle to be sure you have the latest tech when you buy.”

            At this point, i’m convinced you didn’t even really read my comment, but instead assumed it was worthless since I didn’t agree with yours. I’m sorry to have bothered you, and I’ll keep my biased comments to myself from here on out.

          • Mike

            April 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

            Daniel, I truly am sry if I offended you by removing that link, that was for sure not my intention. I did read your comments and the link posted but I still do not consider that I was wrong. And I most certainly value reasoned different opinions like yours, even though I disagree.

            I’m not going to debate whether Macs are more reliable than other laptops, I’m in no position to do so. There are studies for that.

            I did not say Apple products are designed to “break”. I said that all computers will eventually break and I’ve seen a lot of them in these last years. That means that it’s a bit unreasonable to buy a computer hoping to last you for more than 3 years, as long as you’ll use it everyday. You might get lucky and indeed get one that will last you for 5, but you can also get one that will break after just one. It happened to me, it happened to people I know, I’m sure it happened to people you know as well. Machines will break, sooner or later, whether we like them or not.

          • Jacob

            April 16, 2012 at 2:06 am

            I agree with Daniel.

            You never address his point and you seem more childish removing his link than he does questioning your assertion. (You’re obviously quite knowledgeable about computers but be careful, you’ll turn in to one of those annoying tech geeks who everyone laughs at.)

            Apple could be changing soon but they really do seem to try harder to give the customer a product that works (rather than using MBAs to determine the lousiest possible product to sell so people won’t notice and buy it even though it breaks and causes them heartache).

          • Mike

            April 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

            Yes, I admitted my mistake and I’ll try my best not to repeat it.

            I’m not going to comment on Apple laptops vs others. I do agree Macs are very beautiful and solid built, but that doesn’t mean they are indestructible or meant to last forever. While laptops have gotten more reliable today than they were before, they’re still going to break sooner or later…

          • Sid

            October 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            I too favour Daniel here, I have my Air for 4 years now it is still great, I had a problem with back lighting of keyboard but guys at store fixed it in 2 hours. I cannot count how many times I have dropped it but still works great. Other laptops lack in sturdiness, the unibody thing works in Macs. In ultrabooks most of them are very weak, you drop them and the keyboard looses up. I am nor saying that Macs are unbreakable just that they last much longer than others.

        • Brad

          October 28, 2013 at 1:02 am

          I don’t think Mike was wrong to delete the link. Who wants to direct people away from their own website? Secondly, the cult-like fans of Apple are coming out. This kind of behavior is what is stopping many from trying apple products.

          • Jim

            February 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

            @Brad: I agree with you. If used properly most laptops last many years. Macs look superior because they are not as widespread as Windows laptops and secondly, not all Windows laptops are as pricey as Mac.

      • Jonathan Hudgins

        October 27, 2013 at 6:05 am

        The only laptop I have ever seen that has not broken at all for six years is my Dell Studio 1535. Runs like a champ today. Love this thing. Only thing I did was buy a new battery because the other one went out finally. Everything in/ on the thing is factory, and nothing replaced besides the battery. And it has been dropped a lot of time from shoulder height from being in a backpack. And it has had water spilled on it three times. LOVE DELL!

        • Kristen

          February 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

          My work laptop is a Macbook that has been running since 2007. No problems except the battery needed to be replaced. It’s the most reliable computer I’ve ever owned. I just bought the MBA for grad school for this exact reason. Reliability in laptops is rare, but Mac hasn’t failed me yet. I’ve had the same iPhone for going on three years without an issue either. They have a cult following because they deserve the recognition for quality.

          • erica c.

            April 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

            Well, I have to agree on the durability pt: I have a friend who practically crashes every windows comp/laptop she touches and so far her Macbook pro is the only thing resistant to her…

            This perplexing anomaly aside, I do notice a better hardware (Keyboard n touchpad esp.) for macbooks and the fact that it is less prone to viruses and crashes over the run for like 4-5yrs.

            While I’m still using Windows, I have to admit that iOS for macbook are certainly more attractive than what is offered by windows. (I don’t like windows 8 that much on a non-touchscreen: windows 8 are meant to be on tablets. period.) While they are limited by the sofwares compatibility (Maplestory on windows only etc is one reason for windows to survive XD), This limitation is getting more non-existent with time, not to mention the use of softwares like Parallels to run Windows on Mac.

            I’m seriously thinking of getting a MBA as my only machine and from what I’ve seen from reviews and some first-hand in-store tests, I’m not seeing anything better than MBA yet

  5. Matej K.

    April 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve spent lot of time trying to find ultrabook that matches Macbook Air and the sad truth is it simply doesn’t exist. All of them (apart form UX31) has vertical resolution of 768 pixels which is ridiculous in 2012. Zenbook keyboard is atrocious and it misses keypresses. That’s just inexcusable. Also speaking of Zenbook, while it has better resolution than MBA, the viewing angles and colors are much worse, combined with bright Windows 7 style gradients that it is a recipe for headache.

    Lot of them have HDMI instead of display port, which makes connecting display with 2560×1440 resolution impossible (might not be a rule but it is definitely so with zenbook). It should be possible in theory (as HDMI specs permits the resolution), in practice it just doesn’t work.

    So while you might find certain attributes of certain ultrabooks better than MBA, as a whole they just fail.

    • Chris

      April 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Sony vaio Z with 1600×900 and before people go complaining about the price, you can spec it however you like

      • Mike

        April 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Chris, the Vaio Z is an alternative, but it’s way more expensive than these (not complaining, just saying) while also more powerful. I’m not a big fan of the shallow keyboard, but besides that, the Z is top notch. If you’re willing to pay 1500-2000 bucks for one…

        • Bobby

          July 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

          Would you say that the Zenbook UX32LN or the UX302LA/LG are comparable to the MBA with a better screen and a similar price? From all the ultrabooks I’ve been looking at, they are the only ones I’ve seen that can match, if not exceed the MBA in everything (except maybe the touchpad). Sadly, the UX32LN is not easily found in the US.

          • Andrei Girbea

            July 19, 2014 at 7:19 am

            Yes. Also, the MBA has a superior keyboard/touchpad and longer battery life, but the ones on the Zenbooks aren’t bad either. Compared to the UX303LA, the 13 inc MBA is also faster (packs a marginally more powerful Intel processor with improved graphics, and this one is not available in the Asus laptops). Another thing to keep in mind is customer support and after-sale services, where Asus can’t stand next to Apple in the US. But these will only matter in case something goes wrong with your product.

  6. Adil

    April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Yep, my Macbook Pro’s hard drive crashed even with that tech. I’d still wait for the later ultra books with Nvidia kepler GPU

    • Skylar

      January 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Just curious, did you have a solid state drive or a hard disk drive?

  7. mike j

    April 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I’m going “out on my own” in business and will no longer have a company-furnished computer. Choices! Wow, too many. I’ve heard that if you want to run Windows Project and Visio, which Mac doesn’t make, you have to run a virtual machine on MAC, which means you better have at least an i7 and 8Gb of memory, leaving out the Mac Air as a choice. Mac Pro? Does anyone do this or should I give up on Mac and go buy an Ultrabook?

    • Daniel Burke

      April 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      mike J,

      Another option is running Windows 7 on Boot Camp, which is an application that allows you to create a partition (like a separate hard drive, please forgive me if you already knew that) for Windows 7 to run natively. It will run at normal speed and capability, rather than sucking up valued resources for virtualization.

      The drawback is that you won’t be able to be in both operating systems at once. At start up, you’ll hold down ‘Option’ and choose whether to boot up in Windows or OSX. I ran my 15″ MBP like this from the moment I received it until about a year later when I decided to go back to OSX. It ran Windows 7 better than my desktop did.

      This has long been one of the greatest selling points for Mac, as far as I’m concerned. You can legally and officially run both operating systems on exceptional hardware.

      • Mike

        April 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        Daniel, if I am allowed to interfere, from what I’ve read, I’ve lived under the impression that there are various drivers issues with MBs running Windows 7. Did you encounter any? I for one haven’t tried BootCamp myself yet

        • Daniel Burke

          April 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

          Mike, The only driver issues I’ve ever encountered came when trying to install Beta version of Windows, and those were overcome by allowing the OS to find the right drivers based on Windows Vista.

          Now, with full Win 7 support, Boot Camp will create the drivers disk for you (you have to burn it, of course) and then roll you right into the process. You have to have your own Win 7 disk though, no ISOs anymore.

          So, if the consumer is buying a new Macbook, there should be no issues (discounting the unknown of course)

          • Daniel Burke

            April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

            Windows 8, on the other hand (being in Beta) is another story :)

            I have it running on my late 2010 MBP and since much of the OS is gesture-based and I haven’t found a Win8 driver for the Touchpad, it’s unusable.

            To be fair, in all of this…I personally prefer Windows 7 as the best OS on the market…right now. I just feel like Apple makes the most exceptional hardware in the business.

          • Mike

            April 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

            thanks. Windows 7 on a Macbook does sound great if it works properly like you’re saying. I’ll look into it myself when I’ll get the chance

          • Sid

            October 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

            Yeah you get some driver issues initially but I took it to Apple store the guys fixed it too, it is a one time thing free of cost. But the issues aren’t that bad, I had problem with wireless printing, wirelesses speakers and Ethernet.

        • Bruce Bathols

          May 29, 2013 at 9:55 am

          I have been running Parallels on my 15″, 750 Gbyte HDD MBPro for 2 years. I can run both os’s together, and even swap word and other files between the 2 systems. The only limitation is the size of the virtual drive is only 64Gbytes, but that is more than sufficient for the Windows (7) programs that I use….viz MYOB, Page Maker, Word and a few games. I also bought Word for Mac, so I have the best of both systems.
          I have been a computer consultant and ran my own PC business for 20 years, until I “retired” 2 years ago.
          The learning curve from Windows to Apple OSX was a little harder than I anticipated, but after a few months i
          would not look back.

    • Bruce Bathols

      October 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Greetings Mike
      Having been an IT professional for 20 years, now retired, I bought my first Mac 12 months ago, the MacBook Pro, 750 GB HDD, 8 Gb RAM. The learning curve was not too bad, in fact I was up with the technology after 3 days of “playing around”, and without having to resort to go to the Apple shop for assistance.
      Having been a Microsoft user and technician for all those years, I have software that runs on the PC, so I bought a copy of Parallels for the Mac, and Windows 7. That was the cheaper option instead of buying Mac dedicated Accounting software etc. So I have the best of both worlds, the Mac is incredible technology, and the support second to none.
      One of my daughters has bought a MacAir for studies at University, it is light, fast, and rugged and does all she needs in a PC.

    • Matthew Smith

      May 18, 2014 at 4:31 am

      Oracle VirtualBox (free, open-source) runs any OS as a virtual machine on any host platform. You can run Windows and Windows apps (or linux . . .) on your Mac just fine. The MBA can be ordered with an i7, but it isn’t necessary. You do need the 8 GB of DRAM.

  8. Jereb

    April 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Will any Apple computer run AutoCad 2001 designed for XP?

    • Sid

      October 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Yep it can definitely, provided you use authentic windows copy, install it correctly using BC.

  9. Jack

    May 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    So much bias towards Apple in this article.

    “The MacBook Air runs the terrific MacOS 10.7 Lion, while all the other ultrabooks are Windows-based.”

    why not write:

    “The MacBook Air is MacOS-based, while all the other ultrabooks run the terrific Windows 7”

    see what I did there? There are many other cases in the article.

    • julien

      October 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I could not find the sentence you’re talking about. Maybe the article has been edited since. Anyway I dont find this article biased. I’m not a mac user and I don’t own one but I had the occasion to try my father’s mb air and it’s simply true that it has the best ergonomy when it comes to the trackpad. I have a hard time finding anything not top notch in that device contrary to windows based ultrabooks that always seem to have at least one element that doesn’t fit well in a price above 1000 euros. More that price I expect the machine to be flawless.

      That being said, personnaly, I’m looking for a cheaper alternative so I’ll probaly go for the asus ax32a as computing power is not my priority.

      I wish apple would make cheaper declinaison of the mac book air for 700-800 euros. I would not mind a less powerfull cpu for instance, as it will probably still be more powerfull that the one present in older mb air and nobody seemed to complain at that time. But I guess it would go against apple policy to always be in the top row of the panel.

      That’s too bad because I find that the typical computer user that wants to renew his laptop for a more powerfull one ends up doing pretty much the exact same things on it. That sound more like a luxury to me that a real need.

      • Mike

        October 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

        theoretically, older computers can be revived with a fresh OS install and maybe some small upgrades, like adding more ram or a newer SSD. However, that’s a bit techie and perhaps mot users just prefer to buy a new one.

        Even though this article is old, I fele like things haven’t changed. Ergonomically, the MBA is still the best ultraportable out there. Yes, ultrabooks have gotten better and outmatch the MBA on some aspects, like the Zenbook UX31A or the Lenovo X1 Carbon, but they still fail here and there, and that’s kind of unacceptable for a $1000+ computer (close to 1500 in some cases), like you said.

        I do expect future generation ultrabooks to get better and better, so things should change in time. For now though, the article and the conclusion stands…

        • Ludovic Urbain

          December 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

          The build quality on the Apple computers is really good, but some of their design choices are retarded, such as glossy screens on cheaper units, or their clickpad which is so much worse and slower than the old touchpad.

          Also, I think you forget to count OSX as an argument against the Apple computers.

          Let’s be honest, an OS in which you can’t simply maximize a window is bullshit.

          That, and so many other things make OSX a bad imitation of Windows 7, and while it is indeed easier for non-tech people to use, for 1% of what you can use a computer for, that’s about it.

          So yes, if you feel like a windows computer is too complicated for you, then OSX is a great fit for you.

          If however, you use a lot of software, want to play games, or work in technology, OSX is much worse than Windows.

        • Ludovic Urbain

          December 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

          Imo UX31A is much better than MBA, simply for having a high quality full-HD screen, plus it was much cheaper (1100 at release).

          It may be me, but imho, low res screens as the MBA had at the time were not an option for work.

    • Sid

      October 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Windows is very common and technologically OSX is advanced compared to windows, better battery management etc.
      Also you can easily install Windows on any Mac, but you cannot install OSX on any other ultrabook.

  10. Firdaus

    August 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Mike, thanks for your reviews.. I’ve heard that the macbook air screen is ext fragile-breaks easily, sometimes mysteriously… I want to go in for it but am sacred to invest 1.2K and get a broken screen as i travel alot… would appreciate your advice on this one… thanks!

    • Mike

      August 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Well, I can’t say for sure but I know a lot of people who travel tens of thousands of miles every year and own MBAs. haven’t heard any of them complaining….

  11. Freefrag

    October 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I find it a bit staggering, a site called ultrabookreview which tries to sell the MBA as the best ‘ultrabook’. That’s quite cynical if you ask me (I was expecting some Intel/Ultrabook biased stuff), and also a bit too easily concluded, as there are enough downsides to the MBA and its OS, just as most other laptops have downsides.
    I would be interested in seeing a non-biased comparison between the UX31A and MBA, as the UX31A has one of the best screens on the market as I’ve seen in other reviews (notebookcheck), great performance, keyboard, etc, notebookcheck actually lists it as the best subnotebook.

    • m@xym

      October 4, 2013 at 7:13 am

      I wouldn’t say ultrabookreview is trying to sell MBA, they are just pointing out the fact that MacBook Air is the most balanced ‘ultrabook’ in a sense that it gives most bang for a buck, and that all ultrabook related aspects (battery life, weight, size, ergonomics, speed of OS,…) are so good (although some of them are not as good as the competition, e.g. screen resolution) that no other ultrabook gives so much for this price, and without any major drawbacks.

      Sure there are better speced ultrabooks than MBA (or MBP 13) but they cost considerably more, and almost always some of the important ultrabook aspects is sacrificed (often it’w weight, construction hardness or battery life) in a way that they couldn’t be considered as ideal ultrabook (which MBA was for a long time, an still is, but eventually some PC ultrabook will take the lead position).

    • Philico

      January 31, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Freefrag, you are right! People here are fanatic about their MACs often beyond comprehension. I find it amusing because it reminds me exactly those Nikon camera die-hards that treat CANON cameras as if they are worthless, whereas in fact they are the same. In the end, it’s not the gadget that matters but what you do with it.

  12. Min

    October 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I need to use MS-Office products (MS-Word, Excel, Powerpoint) for 100% of my work. In this case how do you compare MBA loaded with Word/Excel etc. with any of the ultrabooks? Thanks in advance.

    • Mike

      October 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      The Office suite works on Macs so should be the same as on Windows based laptops

  13. Bruce Bathols

    May 29, 2013 at 10:11 am

    My student daughter has a MBA and is very pleased with its portability and ease of use.
    I have run my own PC business for 20 years, but 2 years ago went to the so called “dark side” and bought a MB Pro when my trusty HP laptop died after 2 years.
    The transition was quite steep, but I learned it all by myself and did not need assistance from the Apple gurus, even though it was available. I also run “Parallels” on the MBPro using Windows 7.
    I must admit that am now an Apple convert, and have got the iPhone and ipad 2, and use iCloud a lot. I am now about to buy the latest MBA as a backup to the MB Pro, and have found the comments in forum excellent…..thanks.

  14. Lyle Mariam

    September 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Color me crazy but I have both a Asus Acer S7-391 Ultrabook and a MacBook Air. While a dyed in the wool PC person, I love the MacBook Air, I never get double key strikes and the track pad works perfectly. My i7 Ultrabook has certain letters that consistently give me two keys for one hit. And the scrolling on the touchpad is abysmal. I finally turned off all of the side touches as I would somehow touch them and end up in another program or what’s worse in the paragraph before.

    As an aspiring writer, I always grab the Air, I just wish I had waited for the Haswell to come out.

  15. Anuj Kumar

    November 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hey, I’m willing to buy an Ultrabook in the next 5 days. My budget is Rs. 75,000 (accounts to around 1200 USD). I’m going for MBA (Ci5-1.3GHz/4GB/128GB/13.3 inches/OS X Maverick) which is being sold here for 74,900 INR. Is there any better option available.?! Please reply soon.

    • Daniel Burke

      November 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      For that amount of money..that’s the best option on the market.

  16. Anuj Kumar

    November 9, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Thanks.! And for the same amount which is the best laptop (not an ultrabook) available in the market.?! The configuration I’m seeking is:
    -4th Gen i5/i7 (clock speed 1.7 GHz or better with 3MB Cache or better, also Ultra-Low Voltage is optional)
    -Nvidia Graphics (GeForce GTX 760 M/GeForce GT 750M or better, I don’t like AMD much)
    -6GB or more RAM (LPDDR3, 1600 MHz)
    -1TB HDD (additional 24/32 GB SSD would be optional)
    -15.6″ LED screen (1376×768 pixels resolution, or better, NO TOUCH)
    -Windows 8.1 64 bit (although I’m more comfortable with Windows 7)
    -Battery life >3Hrs
    -Backlit Keyboard
    -Weight =2 No.)
    -Bluetooth 4.0
    -Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (ac is optional)
    -Ethernet port, HDMI port, VGA port (optional)
    -Good build quality.

    The usage is Media Editing, gaming (Max Payne 3, COD Ghosts, FIFA).

    • KT

      November 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Hi Mike I thought your feedback was very helpful! In fact my daughter is on her 2nd MacBook in less than 2 years. They all fail and break. In fact, the apple experience for her was an eye opener BC she was very biased and believed they could do no harm. Unfortunately, her feelings are hurt and now as she attempts to finish her thesis while studying in china she is now humble and open to purchasing an ultra book. Wish us luck, BC almost $2k later is no fun for my pockets! Overall, as you previously shared they all break for whatever reason. So mature up folks and don’t be so rigid or arrogant in your thinking!!!! Apple is not the savior!

      • Johan Sterk

        December 3, 2013 at 1:25 am

        Isn’t she a bit wild?

    • Bobby

      July 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      If you’re going to use your ultrabook/mac for gaming, I would suggest not getting the MBA and it does not have dedicated graphics. In addition, finding an Nvidia GeForce 760 on even a premium ultrabook will be difficult (you could try an utraportable gaming laptop). In addition, I don’t think the MBA has a full size HDMI port. In my opinion the ideal ultrabook for you would be an Asus Zenbook UX32LN which looks similar to the MBA but has a better screen and an Nvidia 840M gpu which will perform much better than the MBA in intense games. The price should also be comparable.

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

        You’re right,if you’re into gaming, you should get a Mac in the first place, imh.

  17. Rebius

    December 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Mike and all others. I have a pavilion-dv6 and I use it for games as well for music SW. But doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t get the music SW working as I would like to (still has some hicks). I don’t want to buy a new HW if not necessary, but I also would like a HW, that works without many interactions and corrections. Although I’m a PC user I can’t say I like Windows (had my experiences :) ), but I’m not familiar with OSx. What would you recommend for overall performance but with focus on music SW? So for short pavilion dv6 or MAB? Or other Mac?
    Thanks

  18. emily

    December 26, 2013 at 3:06 am

    People are more and more expecting a laptop to have touch screen. While I really like the overall design of MBAs, lack of touch screen and low resolution will hurt it very badly.

  19. Aswin george

    June 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Is MBA suitable for an engineering student who needs Autocad to work and also can it be connected to a projector???

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Well, CAD works on Macs but whether or not an MBA is good enough for what you want to do in CAD is up two things: the configuration you’re going to get for the MBA and the complexity of the work. The better the config, the lower the complexity, the better it will work

  20. Alter Ego

    July 28, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Is all apple product made in US? Correct my if I am wrong, so far I know macbook is OEM by ASUS if i am not mistaken?

  21. KjokR

    September 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    It’s always strange, very strange to see laptops reviews where the basics of a computer are not understood. In particular, the relation between the resolution of the screen, ernergy consumption, battery-life and the price. There’s simply no miracle with MBA. The screen is outdated and of low-res, hence the consumption is much lower than with any other Ultrabook with a hi-res screen, hence the battery-life is much longer and the price is much lower. With Retina, the consumption would increase, the battery-life would decrease and the price would increase. Is it that difficult to understand ? There’s no doubt people would not even accept to buy a non-Apple Ultrabook with such a dull screen and reviewers would not event waste time to include then in their reviews. But what is not acceptable from other manufacturers is accepted from Apple…

    • Ash

      September 28, 2014 at 4:06 am

      Very well said….

    • GUnit

      October 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I mostly agree, however, there are significant performance benefits when the OS has been specifically written for a set of hardware. A lot of optimization can be made.

  22. asdasdaaaz

    September 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

    >The latest versions of the 13 inch MBA sports a non-glare display with a 1440 x 900 px LCD panel

    Apple has matte displays?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      No, I’ve addressed that. They have some sort of coating meant to reduce glare on the MBA’s screen, but it’s still far from a matte finishing

  23. James Long

    November 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Few typos bro. But very informed article regardless.

    #MBA

  24. Mohamed

    January 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Really great effort? Thank you for all of detailed reviews? Unfortunately, I can not find till now the best Windows Ultra book which has the following (15.6″ Screen, high performance for my programming work, about 1.5 KG, good keyboard (Really I like MBA typing) and separate Num Pad, good battery life about 4 hours) Do you have any recommendation for me?

    • Mohamed

      January 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      It was a typo for ? after, Really great effort?..

  25. Bellboy

    February 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Well, I like an ultrabook, but I also like MBAs. I have owned and used the better ends of both, but I still lean towards the MBA. Besides the things covered in this article, there one thing that was missed. Reliability. I have seen a few ultrabooks dies easily (can’t say all, but windows has some issues), but I own a 2011 MBA and it still matches up with many of the ultrabooks I’ve compared it to. They should push forward with the design on the MBA, but honestly, right now the MBA seems to be better to me at least.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      I own a 2011 ThinkPad that has seen some heavy use in its days and it’s perfectly fine today. That doesn’t prove Windows laptops are more reliable than a Mac, imo. If you compare similarly priced WIndows running laptops and Macs, I don’t think one can clearly state on side is more reliable than the other. What Apple seems to be doing better than anyone else in the Windows camps is client support though.

  26. Rob

    February 27, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I really don’t understand all the negative critics about MBA screen. I’m not a top-end-superstar of on-screen-fine arts nore a gamer but I work a lot on my MBA and can do everything, from writing long texts to image and video managing. Also, if one wants a top screen, he should consider something else than a 13, 14 or 15′ inch screens : they are far too small for true graphic editing. Regards

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 27, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Well, I’ve used an IPS screen for the last 4 or so years on my ultraportables and I couldn’t go back to a TN panel. Especially to a glossy TN panel that’s not even a touchscreen.

      Of course, the MBA’s display is not THAT bad, but it definitely trails the competition. A premium 13 inch laptop should imo have a 13 inch 1920 x 1080 px display (matte for non-touch options) with solid contrast, good colors and max-brightness of at least 300 nits, for outdoor use. Other will definitely feels otherwise, but that’s what I’d want. The IPS panel offers better viewing angles and the higher res translates in sharper texts. Going over 1080p trades means lower battery life and scaling problems with 3rd party apps under Windows, that’s why 1080p is the sweetspot for me.

      Anyway, I’d suggest using something like a Retina MBP for a month and then try to go back to the MBA. That should prove that the latter’s display is lacking. And I hope Apple will address this with the upcoming models, cause screen aside, the MBA is nearly unbeatable.

  27. HQ

    March 18, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Umm, what’s a high-density screen? I’ve only heard of high-Definition ones :s

    Either way, Windows-based ultrabooks offer a lot more that Mac Airs. Touchscreens, ultra HD displays and better software choices are all part of the Windows ecosystem.

    When people complain about Windows being buggy, they are often wrong. The average Mac user could shift to any Windows-based PC and not find any bug at all. The only reason Macs are considered bug-free is that users aren’t allowed to tweak their systems (unlike in Windows).

  28. Bruce Bathols

    March 22, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I just bought a MacBook Air, 11″ screen, why you might ask? Well I already have an iMac 21″, iPad2 and iPad Mini. My Ipad2 is one of the early models (Telco and WiFi, 64Gb), a great performer, but unfortunately I had a slight mishap with it, and it now has a damaged corner on the front of the screen. Luckily the screen is still intact, but to get it repaired costs almost the same as buying a new one. So I made a decision. I didnt want a big lumpy iPad and after checking out the MBA discovered the 11″ model was a fantastic compromise, slightly bigger than a new iPad, but more power with the i5 CPU. I had the memory upgraded to 8 Gb (from 4Gb), and my MBA only weighs about 1.3 Kg, about the same as the iPad2 it is replacing. It has a 250Gb SSD, which is far more than I will ever need, and paired with my iPhone 5, I have the best of both worlds when I am away from WiFi, by using the “hotspot” on the iPhone. So full marks to Apple for introducing a base model MBA.

  29. Ryan

    July 14, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Could I update the battery and possibly hardware in a Macbook that is from 2007?
    Or would it be cheaper to just buy a new laptop?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 14, 2015 at 7:22 am

      You might be able to replace the battery, although I don’t know if you can find one for such an old model. There’s no way to update the hardware.

  30. MAB Fangirl

    August 11, 2015 at 4:15 am

    From a 3rd-world country PoV, this is what I’d call nitpicking, haha sorry. :)
    I went on this site hoping to help me find a reason From buying the MAB (cos too expensive) – 3rd world, right? ^_^
    After 5 years — yes, 5! I’ve just graduated from a Toshiba netbook (with lots of frustration in between cos of poor performance).
    And Thank You for helping me make the decision. You’re right, the best ultrabooks we currently have are even much more expensive than the MAB 13.3″ — and nearly not as gorgeous. Everytime I go into that store, I can’t help but fall in love all over again with the elegant simplicity of MAB. This machine is powerful enough to meet my computing needs (with no or little frustration). And that’s what counts.

  31. David Sharpstone

    December 15, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Thank you for your reviews, I’ve found them an excellent resource to help me chose my last two Ultrabooks

    Can you help me select my next Ultrabook. I need lightweight, 512gb ssd, powerful processor but quiet. I have had the dell XPS 15 9350 and 9550 and sent them both back to Dell because of noisy fans.

    Is there a Laptop that is fanless and uses a powerful processor good enough to run Football Manager. I’m also looking for a windows machine.

    Thanks for your help

    David

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 17, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Not really. i’d aim for at least a core i5 skylake cpu with 8 GB of ram for the latest FM iterations.

      You could try something with a Core m7 CPU, but The options are limited and really expensive. We reviewed the HP Spectre X2 12 and it proved to be fairly fast, but I don’t think it can handle that game smoothly. Could give it a try though

  32. Hassan Jalil

    March 31, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I was thinking of moving to a macbook air after using windows based computer for the past 15 years and windows based laptops for the past 5. What made me decide to change was basically my field, being a computer science student in High performance Computing, I need a bash shell for my assignment/projects and work. Lack of that in Windows has always been a problem. Hence i dual boot with Linux.
    So linux serves perfectly well for my educational and professional needs, but for personal use i always found it not powerful enough to be used as my daily driver
    Hence the plan to shift to Macbook AIR as OSX is unix based.
    But yesterday Windows Announced that they are bringing Ubuntu and Bash Shell to Windows. So that solves my problem of dual booting, So I decided to check out Dell XPS 13 which has been hailed as the best Ultrabook out there,
    I was surprised to see it being more expensive than Macbook Air (at least here in Netherlands)
    The Final Price (Taxes and Shipment included) for Dell XPS 13 (i5 6th gen, 8gb Ram , 128 gb SSD) is 1462.89 euro
    While Final Price for Macbook Air (i5, 8gb Ram , 128gb SSD) is 1145.87.
    Thats 300 Euro cheaper, Yess Dell XPS 13 has a far better screen , but 300 Euro, thats a huge difference

  33. Laukik Kharche

    August 6, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I m thinking to buy a MBA / laptop …….my budget is upto 55-65 k rupees …..what would anyone suggest for that …..i need some softwares running dor mechanical engineering…..would MBA be cool for that …..replies !?

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