Apple cornered the ultra-light laptop market for some time. Many thought that Apple’s MacBook Air would be a passing phase, a trend that wouldn’t stick around, and something that was more gimmick than anything else. Then something happened: the MacBook Air attracted more consumers and sold rapidly. So rapidly, in fact, that Apple didn’t really need to equip the Air with the latest and greatest that the processing world had to offer.
Now, it seems, thing are different. The MacBook Air is as popular as ever, but there are some excellent competitors out there as well. If you want a laptop that’s easy to carry around and can really rival all that the Air provides, it’s a good time to be in the market to purchase one of the following MacBook Air alternatives.
The Dell XPS 13 ($999)
Dell has stepped up its game recently by introducing the XPS 13, which fits nicely into the ultrabook category. The XPS 13 is actually fourteen percent smaller than the MacBook Air, so there’s no doubt that this ultrabook will travel well. In addition to its size, the XPS 13 is also equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Wireless Display by Intel. You’ll also find a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port included in the standard XPS 13. The one thing that is really capturing consumer attention in regards to this ultrabook is the price, though, at $999, this is one tough Air competitor.
HP Envy 14 Spectre ($1399)
HP’s Envy Spectre has a really nice and eye-catching design, which is actually the first thing that this reviewer noticed about the Spectre. While not as inexpensive as Dell’s XPS 13, the Spectre is still affordable at $1399. The Spectre has one of the longest battery lives on the market (outlasting the Air’s, in fact), and it is also incredibly compact (weighing in around three pounds). Inside of the Spectre you will find a built-in NFC chip and a beautifully designed keyboard (almost breathtaking, really). This Spectre is at the top of HP’s ultrabook line, which is why there’s such a high price tag attached to it – but it still is an excellent alternative to the MacBook Air as far as portability and design go.
Sony Vaio T13 ($799)
The T13 is the least expensive of the MacBook Air alternatives listed here. This ultrabook by Sony includes plenty of storage, updated Ivy-Bridge processors, and it weighs in at around two pounds (portability at its best!). The main drawback to the Vaio T13 is that this Sony doesn’t have a backlit keyboard (something that the Air does have), which might be a big deal if you’ve become accustomed to having this small convenience. Still, it’s hard to beat Sony’s price tag on the T13, and it is much more affordable than the Airs that Apple is putting out.
No More Optical Drive
Whether you choose one of the ultrabooks listed here or another alternative, keep in mind that ultrabooks are light because they have no optical drive (in most cases). If you want a laptop with an optical drive, you will have to look for something that’s a bit heavier than what you’ll find in the ultrabook class. Then again, many newer laptops are also void of an optical drive, so this may be something that you’ll just have to get used to.