7 Ways Ultrabooks Beat The New MacBook Air

The MacBook Air might sit atop the heap of ultraportable laptops, but Laptop Magazine argues that the influx of ultrabooks are not just comparable but better in many ways. Here are seven reasons why.

In introducing the latest line of MacBook Airs, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a nasty shot at ultrabooks, the PC competitor to his company's lightweight laptops. "Everyone is trying to copy it," he said of the MacBook Air. "They find it's not so easy."

Up until recently, Cook was indisputably correct. None of the so-called first-generation ultrabooks we reviewed between the launch of the original ASUS Zenbook UX31 in October and the Samsung Series 9 we reviewed in March could defeat the MacBook Air. However, new Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks arriving in the next few months have advantages that could help them defeat even the refreshed MacBook Airs.

Here are seven ways new ultrabooks beat the 2012 MacBook Air.

Screen Quality

A few months ago, the MacBook Air would have won hands-down in a screen contest against any ultrabook, but today their displays seem sadly out of date. The 2012 MacBook Airs maintain their resolutions of 1366x768 for the 11-inch model and 1440x900 for the 13-incher while the best ultrabooks have leaped ahead to full HD. The just-launched ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A has a 1920x1080 screen, and so does its 11.6-inch brother, the Zenbook Prime UX21A. Do the maths and you'll see that's a pixel density of 189.91ppi and 165.63ppi on the Zenbooks versus 135.09ppi and 127.68ppi for the MacBook Airs.

Even better, the ZenBook UX31A has a super-bright IPS display that measured a whopping 423 lux on our light meter compared to 285 lux on the 2011 13-inch MacBook Air. To be fair, we haven't been able to measure the brightness yet on the 2012 MacBook Airs, but Apple announced no improvement in screen quality, so we expect similar results to last year's model.

ASUS isn't alone in offering more screen real estate than Apple. Acer just announced its Aspire 7 ultrabooks, which also come in 1920x1080 resolutions at 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch sizes when they launch later this year. The Aspire 7's screen also supports capacitive touch input, something you won't find on any Mac. ASUS and Samsung will also support touch on some of its upcoming Windows 8 notebooks, including the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A With Touch and the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch.

Weight and Thickness

At just 1.08kg for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air and 1.35kg for the 13-inch version, the MacBook Air is one of the lightest notebooks on the market. But guess what — it's not the lightest in either form factor. At just 0.97kg, the Gigabyte X11 holds the lightweight crown for 11-inch notebooks, thanks to its carbon fibre body. The 11.6-inch Aspire S7 weighs about 1kg itself.

In the 13-inch size, both the upcoming Toshiba Portege Z935 and its predecessor, the Z835, weigh just 1.09kg. According to Acer reps, the 13-inch Acer Aspire S7 should weigh around 1.12kg, 0.23kg less than the MacBook Air.

At just 0.68 inches (1.7cm) at its thickest point, the 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Airs are among the market's thinnest notebooks, but amazingly, they are not alone. The Portege Z935 is just 0.6 inches (1.5cm) thick at its thickest point while the ZenBook UX31A tops out at a nearly identical 0.66 inches (1.67cm).

Ports

With the new MacBook Air, Apple upgraded the notebook's two USB 2.0 ports to USB 3.0, a standard we began seeing on many PC notebooks over a year ago. In addition to its USB ports, the MacBook Air has a Thunderbolt port that doubles as DisplayPort out. On the 13-incher, it also serves as an SD card slot. Conspicuously absent is an ethernet port, along with the more common HDMI or VGA options.

Some ultrabooks have an equally thin selection of ports, and others, such as the Dell XPS 13, are even lamer than the 13-inch MacBook Air because they don't even have an SD card slot. However, choose your ultrabook wisely, and you'll get all the ports you need and then some.

The Toshiba Portege Z835 and Z935 have ethernet, HDMI and VGA ports, along with an SD card slot and three USB slots. The upcoming Acer Aspire S5 solves the port problem by having a fold-out back with HDMI, ethernet and two USB ports, while the HP Envy Spectre XT (pictured) uses a fold-down ethernet port.

You still need an ethernet port because wired internet is more faster and more reliable than wireless in some locations. You need VGA because a lot of external monitors and projectors, even brand new ones, don't support HDMI or DisplayPort. You need HDMI because most TVs and some projectors and monitors have this high-quality digital connection. Yes, you can get an adaptor to add ethernet or even HDMI to a Mac, but that's one more tiny object for you to carry and potentially lose.

Audio Quality

The music playback on the last MacBook Air we tested was surprisingly good, but Apple doesn't even market its audio quality as a major selling point. Meanwhile, HP bundles the new Envy Spectre XT with Beats Audio, Dell jazzes up the XPS 13 with Waves Maxx audio, and ASUS rocks high-fidelity Bang and Olufsen ICEPower speakers that sound fantastic.

Graphics Performance

Shall we play a game on the new MacBook Air? If it's anything really demanding, we can forget about it, because the 2012 MacBook Air only comes with Intel's integrated HD Graphics 4000 solution. However, several ultrabooks now have speedy Nvidia GT600-series graphics chips available as an option. These systems include the 13-inch ASUS ZenBook Prime UX32, 14-inch Gigabyte U2442N and Acer's M5-481TG.

Like other Nvidia-powered notebooks, these ultrabooks all feature the company's Optimus graphics-switching technology. So when you need great battery life, the notebooks go into integrated mode, but when you need a graphics boost, they fire up the GeForce.

Price

The starting price for the 11-inch MacBook Air remains stuck at $US999 ($1099 in Australia), while the 13-inch MacBook Air dropped to a still-pricey $US1199 ($1349 in Australia). While these prices are pretty reasonable for what you get, they're about double the price of the average PC notebook.

If you're willing to settle for a 14-inch ultrabook with a hard drive instead of an SSD, you can pick up the Dell Inspiron 14z for as little as $US599 ($799 in Australia). The super-thin 13-inch Portege Z935 will start at $US899, a full $US200 less than the comparably sized MacBook Air. You can even find a Samsung Series 5 ultrabook for just $US799 these days.

Form Factors

You can buy any size MacBook Air you want, as long as it's either 11.6 or 13.3 inches. If you want something bigger that turns Mac OS X, you either have to settle for the bulkiness of the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro or pony up a minimum of $US2199 ($2499 in Australia) for the 0.71-inch (1.8cm), 2.02kg new MacBook Pro with retina display.

With ultrabooks, you can get a lightweight 14-inch system, such as the upcoming 1.36kg ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the 1.8kg, 0.8-inch (2cm) thick HP Envy Spectre 14. You can even get a 15-inch ultrabook, such as the 1.72kg, 0.58-inch (1.5cm) Samsung Series 9. At just $US1499, that notebook is not only thinner and lighter than the new MacBook Pro, it's also $US700 cheaper.

If you really want something different, a few upcoming Windows 8 ultrabooks provide mechanisms for turning themselves into tablets. The 13.3-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and 14-inch Samsung Series 5 Ultra Convertible both have screens that bend back 360 degrees to turn them into slate mode, or bend back just a bit less to put them in tent mode. The ASUS Transformer Book has a screen that pops off to become a standalone Core i7 slate, and the 11.6-inch MSI Slider S20 has a keyboard that pops out of a compartment.

Final Thoughts

There's no doubt that Apple's 2012 MacBook Air laptops provide a compelling combination of performance and portability, but as with all things Apple, your choices are limited. If you're satisfied with the screen, ports, size, audio, price and graphics performance offered by the MacBook Airs, they are likely to provide a solid user experience for years to come. However, if you want something different, such as an HD screen, high-fidelity audio, discrete graphics or a larger form factor from your portable notebook, you may want to wait and see how some of the new Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks turn out as they hit the market over the weeks and months ahead.

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Comments

    9. It has Windows.

      What's number eight then? :P

        It doesn't have MacOS?

          This comment is going into the book, awesome work!

      You can get Windows for the MBA

        See point no. 6.

          I get what you are saying... but if you buy a MBA and add windows you are kind of getting two computers for the price of one (and some extra software)

            Yeah, but honestly, who wants to run MacOS?

              I hate Mac OS, but I have to support it

            if you add windows to a mac, why not just get a windows computer

            really macs are for people who REALLY need mac specific software, or are wealthy enough not to care about price. Usually they are one of the same kind of people (e.g. photographers)

            No, you are definitely getting one computer and two operating systems.

              I wasn't being literal, hence the 'kind of'

            No, you are just fragmenting your storage to the point that it becomes useless, for no discernible benefit whatsoever. MB Air is not the best hardware choice and OS X, so you'd just be spending money in a vain attempt to justify the purchase. Why not buy a Windows machine in the first place and be done with it?

              "for no discernible benefit whatsoever"

              I have clients that run an all Mac environment and I have others that are 100% Windows. While the databases I create are 90% cross platform there are always difference between how things behave.

              I can't be the only person who does multi-platform development work and could see the advantage of an ultrabook that does double duty?

              Because we don't all have time to re-format re-install our OS's every few months like you MotorMouth.

                now sure if this is your first time with a computer, but you dont have to "re-format" your OS - that is like saying you have to iron your car in the mornings, or water the phone, or bake a nice day!

              Because windows hardware is not as good?

                Windows hardware is exactly the same. It all comes from the same suppliers.

              "Why not buy a Windows machine in the first place and be done with it?" BECAUSE ITS A WINDOWS MACHINE!!!!

      That counts as a liability. -9 points.

    Not an Apple fan but the problem seems to be that there isn't one that beats the MacBook Air in all aspects. The closest one (my opinion) is ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A but the price is not appealing.

      What's it priced at? I thought that one was really competitively priced.

      I completely agree. I am in the market for a ultra portable/ultrabook. Macbook air has the ideal resolution for a 13.3" screen I think, and also the ability to spec up to 8gb ram. From early news the Asus ux31a which is my next pick only has 4gb ram max. The quality of the touchpad, keyboard, screen, body etc seem the best for the MBA.

      Individually yes, all these ultrabooks have perhaps better features, but if I was to buy one, this articles argument is invalid.

        you do realise that if you are buying a mac air you probably dont need more then 4 gb of ram. 8 GB is pretty excessive unless you were using some pretty intense program. But since its an air you would be due to lack of powerful CPU, limited storage, crappy screen and lack of graphics card. Same goes for the ultrabooks NO POINT. What you going to do have 100 browser tabs open?
        4 gb is more than enough for anyone except professionals and HC gamers.

      The thing is, who needs it to? I chose a Zenbook UX 21 over an Air because it was better in the ways that matter to me and it was several hundred bucks cheaper. The things the Air does better, keyboard and trackpad, were completely irrelevant to my needs. I think that is the point of the article - Apple restrict your choices and there are plenty of options that will suit many potential customers better than MB Air's limited offerings. And once Win8 lands and we start to see some of the amazing new devices running it, things will get even harder for the Air, I reckon.

        I wouldn't expect much, maybe a few touchscreen ultrabooks, foldable ultrabooks, that's about it. They still will prob not be better. Apple don't restrict your choices lol. thats like saying asus restrict your choices as they don't make a 90" laptop. I am not an apple fan, nor do I own anything by them. But right now they offer the best hardware for an ultrabook, and I don't see that changing in the next 6 months. Especially since most of the win 8 hardware has already been previewed at computek, and nothing there was really fantastic - all the keyboard dock/tablets were much thicker and heavier compared to standard ultrabooks, and just wait to see the cost of them......

          Did you not see the reports from Computex a couple of weeks ago? My next laptop will be the same size as an Air, with similar specs, but it will also have two 1920x1080 screens (one with touch) that make it an excellent tablet as well as a powerful laptop. i.e. A MB Air and iPad all rolled into one device. And before Win8 launches we are going to see a lot more of these kinds of innovative products, while Apple just keep peddling the same old stuff from last decade.

      No, that's just how most discussions are slanted because they incorrectly set the Air up as a standard to measure against rather than just another ultra portable. It's wording style, nothing more.
      It's like when people are inadvertently extremely racist when they compare all other ethnicities against white Europeans, instead of just seeing Europeans as another subgroup of people the same as the rest.

        I agree with you there were some great innovation (although all of it has been done before, just not for windows i guess), but 1920x1080 on a 11" or 13" screen is silly, as can be seen by user complaints of the MBPRO Retina. Apps aren't made for that resolution. You will be sitting 3" away from your tiny tablet the whole time..... Dual screen ultrabook by asus you mean? What a useless design lol. Just get the asus transformer. My complaint with these new products is that windows is not made for touch, forget about the stupid metro start menu, get down to the guts of the desktop side of windows, it sucks for touch. Therefore I think it would be nice to have a touchscreen ultrabook/laptop, but I don't care, as 99% of the time I would prefer to be using a keyboard instead of the on screen keyboard (which suck). So again, cool ideas but I don't think they will be the better product. If you are after the best light/thin laptop right now, the macbook air is the best (all round) option. FULL STOP. There will be more devices coming out with windows in the future, but the ultrabooks do not look to be as good as the MBA, the other devices (transformers or whatever) look cool, but they are not as good as the MBA as a laptop.

          I think the Taichi is far and away the most clever design for a laptop incorporating touch I have seen to date, for the simple reason that it gives me one screen to slide my filthy fingers over whilst leaving the screen I need to do my work pristine. Your rant about Windows and touch is really confirmation that the Taichi is a good idea - a touchscreen for Metro and a non-touch screen for the desktop.

          I agree that full HD in an 11" or 13" might be too small for some but for me the advantage will be that the laptop screen will have the same resolution as the 21" monitor it is usually attached to, which just makes life easier overall. It may be robbing Peter to pay Paul but until I've seen it in operation I am willing to reserve judgement. I definitely can't see it being an issue with the Metro side of Win8.

          Having actually bought an Ultrabook, I cannot agree with your assessment. The MB Air's SSD is comparatively slow, it has nowhere near the data throughput of the Sandforce SSD in my Zenbook, nor does the current one have any high-speed USB 3 ports. In every other respect they are otherwise identical - same CPUs, same RAM, same graphics, same screens - and a "nicer" keyboard is not compensation for slower storage, both on-board and external, so the Zenbook would have got my money even if it wasn't $450 cheaper. But it was $450 cheaper, which made it even better. The new MB Air is definitely better than my Zenbook but unless it has a Sandforce SSD it will be no match for the updated Zenbooks, which have addressed the few minor shortcomings the original had (keyboard stuff, mostly). So if you really want to put a full-stop at the end of this discussion, you have to agree that the updated Zenbooks are the best all-round options available today, FULL STOP.

            Actually, the recently updated MBA has damn similar data access speed to a sandforce SSD.
            Slower external storage? It has 2 backwards compatible USB3 (as opposed to: 1 USB2, and 1 USB3), and thunderbolt (which zenbooks don't currently have)...
            The next gen MBA will, no doubt, have a similar display construction to the new MB w/ retina, consequently competing with many ultrabooks in quality.
            Yes, you pay a premium for Macs that is, to a degree, undue (they do have fantastic support though), but I prefer their OS. Would I buy a cheaper non-apple computer and put Mac on it if I could? Probably.

    You're comparing the features across several ultrabooks against 1 ultrabook. Is there any that can compare head-to-head?

      this is probably the most succinct comment out of the whole lot. Sums up this article perfectly.

      Balls.

    the windows alternatives are getting close, but there is one area the macbook still shines in, warranty. i use my personal laptop for work, i cant afford to have more than a days downtime. IF (and it hasnt happened) i have an issue it will be resolved in 24 hours, often with a new laptop that i can restore from my pleasingly reliable time machine backups.

    no windows alternative can hold a candle to that.

      Win 7 has image backup built in as well as normal systematic backup.

      Restore the latest image then load the latest backup. Bingo, up and running in about 2 hours....

        up and running once you have taken your laptop back to point of sale and waited 4 weeks for a replacement to be sent out?

          True, but to be fair, Apple can only do that if they have one that matches your specification. If its a 'normal' one, they'll have spare. If you, you have to wait

    its a apple and it has the wifi's and it has the apps and it is the best comptuer. Dont you know?

    its a apple and it has the wifi's and it has the apps and it is the best comptuer. Dont you know?

      but no three gees

      and the bigger GBs!

      My computer can build me an island and turn into a mother f ing jet and fly me there!

    Usually comparison is between 2 specific computers. not one computer versus a GROUP of computers!!
    Of course there's a one with better display (but more expensive), better range of ports (but thicker), better price (but crap features), lighter & thinner (but lower performance), has a more versatile form factor (but not practical what so ever), and so on.... So what? can I glue a ZenBook display to Toshiba's body and add the ports from HP Spctre and make a thin, light, full port high res Ultrabook? NO.
    MacBook Air still stands as the best Ultrabook in the market, Not because it has the best average score in all these features mentioned in this article, BUT for running a superior OS that none of these machine run and STILL can run other operating systems like WIndows & Linux.

      True, but it's only a matter of time. When the car industry was born there were hundreds of car companies. Today there are only a few. Quality goes up, quantity (of unique models) goes down

      How about this comparison:
      Macbook air - 1 computer
      Ultrabooks - CONSUMER CHOICE

      Exactly @Symkx, it's not exactly a good comparison. But certainly for some people they may be willing to sacrifice build quality and reliabiltiy for lightness and cheaper pricing. But that's not really the angle the article is taking.

      Why would you need ALL of those specs? Surely you look at your specific needs and find the machine that best matches those? To put it another way, do you buy the best all-rounder or do you buy the one that does the things you need best? In any event, the new, second-gen Asus Zenbooks match the MB Air in each and every category and surpass it in several areas, at a lower price, so your point is moot. The article may have pointed out a variety of different models but there are certainly single models out there that are not worse than the Air in any way but surpass it in some areas. I would certainly be measurably worse off with an Air than I am with my Zenbook.

        In what way is the ux31a better than the mba? For me the only downside is that the MBA runs OSX. Everything else is quite good. don't tell me that full hd res on a 13" screen is a good thing. I would prefer if asus kept the old res and just made the screen better.

          well unlike the MBA you dont get 3rd degree burns if you place it on your lap.

        How does the new asus ux31a surpass the mba?

        BTW your pricing is off. Please review this page: "http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/06/asus-zenbook-prime-gets-aussie-price/" and this page: "http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Superior_Mobility/ASUS_ZENBOOK_Prime_UX31A/#specifications" and this page : "http://store.apple.com/au/configure/MD232X/A?" You will save maybe $19 buying the asus, not sure what size ssd the asus i7 model comes with. Also will spec the MBA with 8gb ram which is not possible with the zenbook. Also you can get a 512gb ssd on the MBA. So for options, the MBA has more.....

          Who cares? I got $300 off my Zenbook, that's better than 20% below retail, two weeks after it was released. RRP is not what customers pay for PCs. That's Apple thinking. You need to think different. So given those pricing announcements, I'd expect to get a 13" Core i7 from JB Hi-Fi for less than $1500. The same spec Air will set you back $1900, no discounts.

            Right now the zenbook is not in the same league as the macbook air. When the zenbook prime comes out the macbook air will be cheaper than it is now, prob not as cheap as the asus. But macbook air will not have the issues of the zenbook prime: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/asus_zenbook_prime_ux31a.aspx
            Being one of the slowest ssd's, no 8gb ram option, eratic mousepad, worse performance if same cpu (note review is based on comparing ivy bridge vs older sandy bridge).
            Look mate, my argument is that the MBA mid 2012 is the best all round thin/light/laptop. You may pay a little more for it but you are paying for a better product. BUT if you want to save a few $$$ and put up with the various flaws of the current and future set of ultrabooks, by all means go ultrabook. I'll be getting macbook air, and sticking win 8 on it.

    "You still need an ethernet port because wired internet is more faster and more reliable than wireless in some locations. "
    Maybe with 802.11a/b sure, but what internet are you accessing that goes faster than 802.11n with frame-burst?
    I'm all for the computers having an ethernet port, but for imaging and internal network file transfers rather than "Internet" speed.

      "Running a superior OS", thats an incredibly subjective statement.

        Yes. In fact it is particularly interesting in the context of Apple's other OS. Applytes are very quick to point out how many ore apps there are for iOS than other platforms, touting that as proof of its superiority, but when ti comes to OS X they seem to completely ignore the fact that there are orders of magnitude more software available for Windows than for OS X.

      + you can use VPN and be completely safe even on wireless...

    You people actually need a life :/

      I completely agree. The insane level of fanboyism on both sides is pretty sickening.

      Get a grip of yourselves people...

        And yet you guys still commented on the article....You can grasp the concept of irony right? You people right here are worse then fan boys. Infact I'd go as far to say the level of fanboyism here is nothing compared to some of it out in the real world. THERES NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING AN OPINION.

    Sorry Gizmodo but this article is kinda stupid for comparing the whole army to one soldier! I am a Windows user but I can't deny the fact that Macbook Air is the best well-rounded "ultrabook" so far along with Apple superior customer service.

    And why you left out the two of the most important things:

    1. Warranty? Where are Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, and Samsung when we need them to do repair our laptop?
    2. Battery life? I used Acer, Samsung, Asus, Dell, and HP before and their batteries were just completely trashes and false advertising.

    The Air doesn't need an ethernet port. It's a mobile device, and that means wireless. Yes ethernet is 'faster', but speed difference are only going to be apparent if a user was transferring files between machines on a network. A wireless N connection is not going to be a bottleneck for an Air user browsing the internet. And for those finding themselves needing a wired connection there are ethernet-to-USB adapters that suit your needs.

    The goal of the Air to be light weight - removing the ethernet port is consistent with this goal, and justified in my view.

    As to needing VGA output, again adapters are available. It amazes me that people expect the latest hardware to be backwards compatible with extremely outdated standards. VGA was surpassed by DVI, and then DVI was surpassed by HDMI......and you want VGA support?! come on! Why not demand a SCSI card while you are there?

      I think its outlined pretty clearly in the article that VGA is not yet an 'extremely outdated standard'

      How does the new asus ux31a surpass the mba? The one feature that I believe is against the MBA for me is that it runs OSX.

    Is it just me or has Giz become extremely anti-Apple with its articles? And, no, I am not an Apple fanboi!

      Sort of. But that's a little unfair too. This article is from Laptop Magazine. Gizmodo have just reproduced it with permission.

      So valid points against something is Anti-Something? No, your wrong. Just like something thats got valid points Pro-Apple isn't an Apple fanboy article.

    I've been using PCs since my old green screen 386 oh-so many moons ago, but since acquiring a second hand MBP last year (purely a personal preference here), I'll be sticking with Mac's from now on.

    Macs are simple and elegant. They just work. No mucking about with drivers. I've found them to be a more stable platform over-all. Less targeted for viruses. Mostly an intuitive UI and associated software. The OS doesn't cost $gazillion to update.

    I'll still update my PC rigs for all my video encoding/rendering (towers aren't dead yet!), but I'm saving up hard for the new MBP!

    What point is there to owning an ultrabook that is hamstrung by windows? You would have to format it and install Linux for it to be halfway decent and even then it will be inferior to OSX.

    One major point in regards to cost is software. To match the MBA in installed software, your PC machine would cost hundreds more, and then what about anti virus? A MS license of $Hundreds$ plus the cost upgrades, as compared to $19- $29 for Lion or Mountain Lion. PC users might think they're better off in the pocket when they walk out the store, but in the long run, a PC will cost far more to run, upgrade and keep secure. This is always a stark point conveniently left out in any comparisons. Any Mac comes bundled with $hundreds$ of free stuff, MS, zero. MS Office - $210+. iWork - $60. Need I say more.

      my PC updated last night for free. as for a copy of the OS i purchased 7 home premium for $99 for a mediacentre i just built. Sure it was OEM edition but thats exactly the same except you have to call up and get them to unblock the license if you upgrade your motherboard/cpu after 1st install.
      Microsoft releases services packs for free these are effectively the same as your lion and mountain lion releases. Vista was initially terrible but by service pack 2 it was pretty good. OSX hasnt been good since leopard (snow leopard was ok). Have you seen how large these OSX releases really are? they are tiny! No more then updates. windows 7 was a completely different animal compared to vista and same goes with windows 8. As for MS Office its even more expensive on Macs and we have alternative just like you to. i personally prefer libreoffice since its free and is compatible with ms office.

        You said "update", I said "upgrade". XP to Vista to W7. Upgrades cost far more.Updates cost nothing. I don't know how much you know about OS X, but I've been using Mac OS's for 26 years. Lion is by far a much better, cleaner OS than Leopard. Have you tried either lately? I just spent the past week using Leopard on an old Machine and I couldn't get back to my Lion machine quick enough. A good OS isn't judged on its size but its efficiency. Apple have been trimming the fat since Snow Leopard, and thank god for that. Without comments like yours, Gizmodo would lack humour.

    The MBA is the best computer on the market by simple virtue of the fact that I own one.

    It's really that simple.

    Err, Gizmodo Australia's had a bit of an Apple bias for the longest time. The constant 'droid poking and the WP ignoring. I think personally they've moved to a more neutral position and I prefer it. Apple will always get attention because they know when to release products to keep themselves always in the news, but considering the FLOOD of alternatives out there, I'd prefer to know a bit more about the rest of the tech world.

    Consider it a reality bias, because the Apple ecosystem is just intoxicating and there are those of us who'd prefer to stay sober. You won't be missed.

      Up to a point but why is the new MccBook Pro getting so much coverage when it is just one of many laptops in a very crowded market? I don't see that it deserves more than one review but it has had half-a-dozen this week already. OK< they are the first Ivy Bridge machines to see the light of day but I bet the first Ivy Bridge PC laptops don't get anywhere this level of exposure here.

      This comment was deemed inappropriate and has been moderated.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      This comment was deemed inappropriate and has been moderated.

        I'm sorry, but who keeps flagging my posts? I have said nothing worse than that troll esophagus (who just drops in on even Apple article to bitch and troll). If this is how how you moderate (with bias) then why not drop comments all together? If not, do something about your trolls here.

    I'd agree with some of that Esophagus. The not closing of apps and the toolbar not multitasking properly REALLY annoys me to.

    I use MBP's for work. They're great for work; you can dual boot (even if it does take 3 years to load into Windows) and if you just wanna browse and do email, they're light, fast and you can thankfully install Chrome (rather than that Safari Shit) to browse. Ultimately though, for anything else, I'd buy an Ultrabook. Windows is so much more powerful in everyday use.

    Yes @Ricko we've heard you troll before .
    We know you love everything Apple and don't like the Galaxy S III and think it looks too cheap.
    But that's OK Giz AU is the one with bias.
    I'm with @Esophagus. Welcome to reality.
    One in which Giz AU also named the MacBook Air the best laptop of last year:
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/11/gizmodo-awards-2011-best-laptop/

      naming the MBA was a mistake i am sure you will rectify this year with the new W8 notebooks coming out :P

      but i agree, for a long time Gizmodo was heavily pro apple, and now it seems as though we are getting an even side to the tech story. Keep it up!

      (btw, i am pro Windows and Android, and anti Apple)

        "(btw, i am pro Windows and Android, and anti Apple)" - I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!

    It all comes down to build quality. People use the Mac for its superior build quality. Its lovely to touch. Every element has been thought about. Every button, every screw. Pure quality.

      Pure build quality, made in foxcon, china.

      Sorry but there are much better built PCs out there. Check out the quality of an HP workstation. Not the consumer krap you buy at Harvey Norman but a "Z" Series. And no laptop I'v e ever seen can match the quality of my Dell M4400 Precision Mobile workstation. That thing is indestructible and its keyboard is the best I have ever used on anything, laptop or desktop. The keys feel like velvet under your fingertips. I'd also suggest my Zenbook is every bit as well built as a MacBook Air.

        Find something at the same pricepoint that is as well built as a macbook air. The zenbook still doesn't have the apple trackpad or keypad which are simply better. And i know you said in one of your comments earlier that keyboard and trackpad weren't a consideration for you,. If so then why did you buy an ultrabook? Clearly if you were going to use a seperate keyboard and mouse, youve just negated all the pros of getting any ultrabook ie the portability. how were you intending to interact with your laptop?

          Yea I agree. Also why upgrade to a zenbook when all you want is a screen that looks ugly, is heavy and will survive drops? There are many reviews out there that indicate the opposite.

          The updated Zenbooks definitely do have keyboards that are a match for Apple's and all the trackpad ever needed was an updated driver, so even my original version has a trackpad the equal of an Air. Of course, it is not at the same price point, it is hundreds of dollars cheaper.
          I originally bought an Ultrabook as a second laptop, thinking it would look cool on stage and would be easy to take to client meetings and stuff. I had no expectation that it could replace my dual-SSD, Radeon powered Vaio as my computer workhorse but all I had to do was start loading files onto it to see that it was actually faster. After running a few graphics tests and seeing how quickly it could cache full-HD video frames in Combustion and After Effects, I quickly realised that it could easily replace the Vaio, which only 6 months previously had been the fastest 13" laptop money could buy (it cost twice as much as the Zenbook). You see, that's the good thing about being me - I keep an open mind about everything, I don't pigeon-hole things until I know enough to make an informed decision about them.

      Pure quality they even included the ability to fry and egg on it for free!

    Wouldn't you buy a machine based on your OS preference? HW is commodity and completely uniform across the board. I believe this is a HW comparison, not a "my OS is better than yours" slagging match. Only the smallest of minds can't appreciate diversity.

      Because the hardware on the windows side varies so much, so many different resolutions, varying build quality, dodgy drivers etc etc. OS could be the deciding factor for many, but I am a hardware man, and I will buy the best piece of hardware out at the moment, with the best capabilities, no matter the OS.

    What's the best ultrabook/netbook out there that is the LIGHTEST yet also has the best battery life? I'm looking for a combination of the lightest and best battery life. Has to be windows, I don't do apple.

    Pointless article trying to desperately find fault in Apple products.
    Ultrabooks are OBVIOUSLY MacBook Airs copies. Anyone who thinks otherwise are in denial. If it weren't for Apple, they'd probably wouldn't even be any ultra books at this point in time... actually, there may not even be PCs in general... no internet, no blogs, no forums... no nothing :D

    One of the biggest bottlenecks is that they run windows. Windows 7 doesn't even have super basic things like multitouch scrolling down yet... its pathetic. But lets see what Windows 8 can do...

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