Apple MacBook Air 13 (Ivy Bridge) vs Ultrabooks - HotHardware

Apple MacBook Air 13 (Ivy Bridge) vs Ultrabooks

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The refreshed MacBook Air's dimensions are virtually unchanged from the previous generation, measuring 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest, 12.8 inches wide, and 8.94 inches deep, and weighing 2.96 pounds. It's only slightly bigger and heavier than the 11.6-inch model, which sports the same height dimensions but measures 11.8 inches wide by 7.56 inches deep and weighs 2.38 pounds. For the sake of comparison, the Zenbook UX21E-DH71 from Asus that we reviewed a year ago is just a hair thinner overall and slightly lighter at 2.43 pounds. And versus the recently launched Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the MacBook Air is even lighter and thinner still.

From a construction standpoint, Apple has pretty much perfected the thin and light form factor on the MacBook Air, which is also sturdy and stylish. There's nothing overtly unique about the MacBook Air's styling compared to the dozens of Ultrabooks that have tried to emulate a similar look and feel while injecting their creators' own design cues; instead, the MacBook Air's aesthetics rely on subtleties, like rounded corners, an all-aluminum unibody frame, and Apple's simply stated logo that's featured so prominently on countless movies and TV shows these days.

At less than three pounds, the MacBook Air is plenty light enough to wield with one hand as you toss it in your book bag or carry under your arm.

Staying true to past iterations of the MacBook Air, the latest models retain the tapered shape that's slightly thicker in the rear and increasingly thin in the front. There's a 0.56-inch difference in thickness between the opposite ends. Ever protective of its designs, Apple actually owns a patent -- D661,296 -- that, in part, covers the wedge-shaped profile of the MacBook Air. So far that hasn't prevented Ultrabook makers from implementing similar designs.


As we pointed out earlier, the MacBook Air doesn't offer a smorgasbord of ports to play with. On the left side is a nifty MagSafe 2 connector, which is magnetic and allows the power cord to pop right off if you accidentally trip over the cord; a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port; a headphone jack; and a tiny microphone. Over on the right side is the second of two USB 3.0 ports; an SD card slot, and a Thunderbolt connector.

Apple shunned outfitting the MacBook Air with a Retina Display, but to the company's credit, the Air's panel is one of the best we've seen in a non-IPS screen. Off angle viewing shows very little deterioration, including at extreme angles, and the LED-backlit display is both bright and vibrant. Colors pop and text appears crisp on what's a rather remarkable TN panel. In fact it looks so good, we had to double check the specifications to make sure Apple didn't quietly slip an IPS panel into the refreshed models.

The generously sized Multi-Touch trackpad takes up about a third of the width of the MacBook Air and sits dead center beneath the keyboard. With support for gestures, it's the next best thing to a full-fledged touchscreen. Tap to zoom, two-finger scrolling, multi-fingered swipes, and a whole lot more are supported on the responsive touchpad,

Apple retained the same keyboard as found on the previous generation MacBook Air, complete with a backlight, which is a bit of a rarity in the Ultraportable space. The chiclet style keys offer just the right amount of tactile feedback with sufficient spacing in between each key. About the only negative we came up with is the lack of a dedicated numpad, a tall order for a notebook this size and not in existence from any manufacturer currently that we're aware of.

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If you want a windows machine, I can't see how this will be of comparable value to an ASUS Zenbook UX32VD-DB71. Granted the Zenbook costs $100 more, but you get a lot for that money over the Air: IPS @ 1920x1080, i7 processor at 1.9GHz, nearly identical dimensions, and a dedicated NVDIA 620M graphics card. You sacrifice a bit of speed on the hard drive 500gb + 24GB caching SSD and it weighs a little less than 4oz. more than the Air.

If you are invested in iOS, of course you would opt for the Air. But if I'm a windows user, how can I justify not spending the extra $100 to eliminate Boot Camp and/or virtualization? If you don't have a spare one, you'll have to purchase a copy of windows for installation with Boot Camp bringing the price points to about even.

Since ASUS is relatively new to the Ultrabook game I guess my only area of concern is how the system holds up to the portable lifestyle and durability, something the Air gets high marks for. Based on the ASUS transformer infinity tablet I own, I think ASUS will be up to snuff.

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thebitdnd, if you want a Windows machine, there is no reason to look at the MacBook Air at all. However, if you want the benefits of OS X and the build quality of this notebook, with the flexibility to boot both, then this is an obviously better option.

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Thank you so much for this informative and reliable information.i sure have learned many things.

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I have this macbook air, obviously I am writing down this comment with my macbook air.

I am a value-minded person, but this macbook air is such a machine. First stop, Ultrafast! This machine handles all my applications at the same time well without getting hot (Browsing Safari, Video-chatting on Skype, Editing iPhoto, Sending e-mails with attachments via mail). This is a great performer. Battery life, when I do a lot of stuffs, it's not n the level of 5 hours 4 hours and 30 minutes to be exact. When I do just simple things, typing, and browsing, battery life is astonishing. I've got 7 hours and 20 minutes. I think the design is rather..beautiful. This is thin yet really feels nice in our hand and solid. It becomes one of the part of the design in my house. I bought the 256 gb, because 128 gb is rather too small.

Things I don't like:

1.There is no cd drive, yes I have to admit that is rarely found on ultra books

2.Thunderbolt peripherals are ...shall we say next to none, because If I can find it,the price will not be justifiable

3.Still searching

Conclusion:Great, not perfect. This notebook may not have the bargain of the century, you can have a super desktop, or a superb standard notebook for 1500 bucks. I have no regret spending my 1500 on this apple machine

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Eclass, good to hear. I think we agree. You get what you pay for with respect to quality and performance when it comes to this machine.

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