Even Apple’s biggest detractors must admit that the MacBook Air is quite the machine. It’s lightweight, beautifully designed, and promises uninterrupted pleasure with a long battery life. While some critics claim it is the best laptop on the market, there are two main shortcomings: it’s significantly overpriced, and it runs a Mac operating system instead of the far superior and flexible Windows operating system. Fortunately, PC notebook makers have taken notice of Macbook Air’s popularity due to its design, portability, and attractive Windows alternatives are flooding the market.
I am using MacBook Air 13″ and the battery life is 12 hours. Cool Isn’t it? 😉
Last year, computer chip maker Intel introduced a new generation of Intel Core processors to encourage laptop manufacturers to create lightweight, powerful notebooks. With new processors and a desire to create a Windows laptop that can stand up to the MacBook Air, Ultrabooks were born. Ultrabooks are characterized as thin notebooks equipped with low-voltage processors, at least five hours of battery life, and fast boot times. Most Ultrabooks sport an expensive solid-state drive, so don’t expect to find a $500 version.
Here are three of the top Ultrabooks that will make you think twice about purchasing Apple’s MacBook Air.
1. The Asus Zenbook Prime
A mere eight months ago, Asus was the first PC maker to release a credible Apple MacBook Air alternative. It sports a sturdy chassis case similar to the MacBook Air, gets the most out of the battery with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor, and matches Apple’s best-seller in most ways except for one major flaw: a terrible trackpad.
Fortunately, Asus just released the new and improved version, the Zenbook Prime UX31A and UX21A. Most importantly, it includes the new Ivy Bridge processors, an improved matte 1080p display, and a backlit keyboard. The trackpad received a full redesign, and while it is better, it still pales in comparison to the MacBook Air’s keyboard. Depending on processor choice and hardware upgrades, the Zenbook Prime will cost between $1,149 and $1,599.
2. Lenovo IdeaPad U310
If the Asus Zenbook Prime’s price tag is dangerously close to that of the Macbook Air, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is an excellent budget alternative. Costing approximately $800, the IdeaPad is powerful, featuring Intel’s dual-core Ivy Bridge processor and 4 GB of RAM. It feature’s Lenovo’s famous keyboard, a beautiful design featuring an
aqua blue finish, and excels at streaming content.
The IdeaPad falls short with cheap speakers, which get distorted and have a lack of depth. The machine isn’t powerful enough for gaming and is also bulky, weighing in at 3.8 pounds.
HP Folio 13
If you told any computer geek one year ago that Hewlett Packard would have one of the best laptops on the market, they would have laughed you out of the Windows store. A year ago Hewlett Packard was debating quitting the PC market for good. Now it has one of the best and most affordable Ultrabooks on the market.
Throw the Folio in your backpack with the charger, and you are looking at four pounds on your back. It comes with a keyboard that can compete with even Lenovo’s. Other noticeable features include a large array of slots and ports and a solid-state drive promising speedy performance. Unlike many other powerful Ultrabooks, the HP Folio 13 has a battery up to the task. One standard test put battery life at over eight and a half hours. Again, it isn’t built for gaming and the display could be brighter, but that’s the sacrifice for a battery that can last a full day and is still portable. The HP Folio 13 is powerful, portable, and one of the best Ultrabooks on the market – especially for retailing at only $900. HP is back in the PC market in a big way, and likely to stay.
With the new line of sleek, portable, and performance-driven Ultrabooks, PC notebook makers have finally found a way to offer consumers credible MacBook Air alternatives. Are you considering buying an Ultrabook, are will you stick with the pioneer, Apple’s MacBook Air? 😉