Let’s all take a minute and agree on the fact that Apple’s MacBook Air is ageing. It’s pretty much certain that Apple just doesn’t care about this line-up anymore. Well, that doesn’t mean the MacBook Air is mediocre by any means. When Steve Jobs unveiled the original MacBook Air seven years ago, it revolutionized the entire laptop industry, making way for a whole new category of compact, light-weight and super-thin laptops which are now widely known as ultrabooks. Now, it’s just a thing of the past. Take a look at the last MacBook Air model for example, it’s just the same old MacBook Air from 2010 except for some hardware changes under the hood. This clearly shows that it’s about time people started to look elsewhere for alternatives and that’s exactly what we’re going to help you out with. Well, let’s proceed to the exciting part where we discuss about the 8 best MacBook Air alternatives you can buy:
1. Microsoft Surface Laptop
Microsoft recently announced their latest Surface laptop, which is primarily aimed towards students. The company plans to take on the Chromebooks and MacBook Air laptops with its ultra-thin form factor and capable hardware. The Surface Laptop looks completely futuristic, unlike the ageing MacBook and at 14.48 mm thin, it’s much thinner than the thickest point of the MacBook Air. It’s also lighter than the MacBook Air, weighing at just 1.25 Kg. Microsoft’s new laptop can be configured with a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor depending on your budget. The MacBook Air on the other hand packs an older and inferior Intel Core i5 processor and there’s no i7 variant available. Microsoft claims an exceptional 14.5 hour battery life for their new laptop, but we’ll have to wait and see how it fares in real-world usage.
You will able to purchase the Surface Laptop in 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD variants depending on your preferred price point. Apart from this, the base configuration of the laptop packs only 4GB RAM compared to the 8GB offered by the MacBook Air. However, you can increase it up to 16GB if your budget permits. Surface Laptop will be running on Windows 10 S operating system, which is essentially is stripped down version of regular Windows 10. Not much to worry about here, as you’ll be able to upgrade to the regular Windows 10 Pro for free, if you purchase the laptop by the end of this year. As far as pricing is concerned, it’s pretty similar to the MacBook Air, starting at $999. It’s currently available for preorder and it will start shipping on June 15th.
Pre-order from Microsoft: (Starts at $999)
2. Dell XPS 13
Straight out of the future. That’s all I have to say about the looks of Dell’s XPS 13 laptop. Just take a look at those tiny bezels, which Dell proudly calls “Infinity Display“. It literally puts the MacBook Air to shame in terms of design, by making it look like a laptop from the past decade in comparison. It’s not just the design that the XPS 13 excels in, as it packs some serious power in a thin form factor. The base configuration of the laptop comes with a 7th Generation i3-7100U processor, 4GB DDR3-1866Mhz RAM and 128GB SSD. If that’s not good enough for you, the laptop can be configured with up to i7-7560U, 16GB RAM and 1 TB PCIe SSD. It outshines the MacBook Air in terms of battery department as well, by offering an impressive 13 hour battery life for normal web browsing. Now you’re excited, aren’t you?
At 1.22 Kg, it’s lighter than both the MacBook Air and Surface Laptops. Due to the reduction of bezels, it’s much more compact as well. The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best built laptops out there, featuring an aluminium chassis on the outside and a soft-touch carbon fiber finish on the inside. The webcam is weirdly priced at the bottom of the display, but that’s the price you’re paying for a laptop with super-thin bezels and I’ll take it any day. Pricing starts at $799, which is considerably lower than the MacBook Air, but that’s for a mediocre base configuration. It might even exceed $2000 if you’re opting for the highest-end configuration.
Buy from Dell: (Starts at $799)
3. Razer Blade Stealth
This is one of the best ultrabooks that you can buy instead of the MacBook Air, especially when you consider its asking price. It starts at a price of $899, which is lower than the entry-level MacBook Air and goes all the way up to $1,800 depending on the configuration you’re going for. There are two 12.5-inch display variants available, one with a QHD panel, which features 70% Adobe RGB coverage and other with a 4K touchscreen panel, which boasts 100% Adobe RGB coverage. So, the Blade Stealth’s 4K variant will be the one content creators should be going for, especially for that color accuracy. Oh wait, should we even talk about the 900p display on the MacBook Air, which is outdated by almost a decade?
The laptop looks pretty much like an imaginary matte black variant of the MacBook Air, if you take a look at those huge bezels in particular. The Blade Stealth is extremely thin at 13.2 mm, which makes it substantially thinner than MacBook Air’s thickest point. It also has a superior build quality, made out of anodized aluminium which is almost as good as the build quality of Apple’s laptop. That being said, the battery on the Razer Blade Stealth should be good enough to last you for about 7 hours.
The lowest end variant of the Razer Blade Stealth features a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U dual core processor with 8GB DDR3-1866Mhz RAM whereas the higher end variants feature the i5 7500U dual core processor with 16GB DDR3-1866Mhz RAM. It doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, instead it utilizes Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 620 for the graphical horsepower required. However, you can make use of the included thunderbolt 3 port and connect your desktop graphics card using an optional Razer Core External GPU enclosure, if you’re looking forward to game on this machine.
Buy from Amazon: (Starts at $899)
4. MacBook Pro 13-Inch (2016)
Well, what can be a better alternative to the MacBook Air than Apple’s own latest and greatest laptop. Yes, we’re talking about the 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch variant. These latest laptops are thinner than the MacBook Air variants at 14.9mm and pack much better hardware within them for a higher price. At 1.37 Kg, the weight is very similar to the MacBook Air, so you don’t have to worry about carrying a hefty laptop. That being said, if you’re looking for a MacBook Air alternative but you still want to use Apple’s macOS, then MacBook Pro is definitely the way to go.
The display on the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro boasts a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 for all the eye candy that you’ll need. Under the hood, the base configuration of the laptop features a 6th generation 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and 256 GB PCIe SSD for blistering fast performance. As far as battery life is concerned, it should last you for about 10 hours of regular web browsing, which is slightly lower than the 12 hours offered by the MacBook Air. If this configuration doesn’t impress you, you can go for the higher end variants if you can push your budget. Pricing starts at $1449 for the base model and goes up to $2000 depending on the hardware you prefer.
Buy from Amazon: (Starts at $1449)
5. HP Spectre x360 13-Inch
The highly popular HP Spectre x360 is a convertible laptop, which is currently available in 13 and 15-inch variants, but we’ll focus on the 13-inch variant, considering that’s a better alternative to the MacBook Air. The x360 name comes from the fact that this laptop has a 360 degree hinge design, thereby making it a convertible laptop. This laptop sits at the top of HP’s consumer range and includes all the necessary features to justify the price as well. It packs some serious power in a thin and light form factor, despite the fact that it has an impressive battery life lasting well over a whopping 14 hours.
Under the hood, the base model of this laptop features a Full HD display along with the i7-7500U dual core processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 256 GB PCIe SSD. With a thickness of 13.8 mm and a weight of approximately 1.29 Kg, the HP Spectre x360 is not only significantly thinner, but also lighter than the MacBook Air. As far as pricing is concerned, the base variant starts at $1199 and goes upwards depending on your hardware demands.
Buy from Amazon: (Starts at $1199)
6. Asus ZenBook UX330
Asus have been recently known for making some great affordable ultrabooks and the ZenBook UX330 is no exception. It replaces the older UX305 laptop which was already considered as a worthy MacBook Air alternative. Similar to most of the ultrabooks that we mentioned above, this one’s thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air, weighing at 1.2 Kg and having a thickness of just 13.5 mm. Asus claims the battery on this ultrabook should be good enough to last up to 12 hours of web browsing, which is quite similar to what you can expect from the MacBook Air. So, we got no complaints on that front.
Under this thin and light chassis, the ZenBook boasts a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U or i7-7500U depending on the configuration you’re going for. You can also configure this laptop with either a 256 GB or 512 GB m.2 SSD, with 8GB RAM coming as standard across all models. If you’re not satisfied with the Full HD screen offered by the base model, there’s a variant with QHD display available as well. For an asking price starting at $699, the ZenBook UX330 it’s significantly cheaper than the MacBook Air, which makes this ultrabook, a hard one to beat.
Buy from Amazon: (Starts at $699)
7. Samsung Notebook 9 13-Inch Laptop
This laptop from Samsung might not be one of the latest in the list, but it still packs quite a punch and that’s exactly why we consider it as a worthy MacBook Air alternative. With a thickness of 13.46 mm and weighing about 1.27 Kg, the Notebook 9 is thinner and lighter than the Apple’s counterpart. The design looks quite similar to Apple’s MacBook laptops and other Windows laptops that ripped off Apple’s design, so nothing special here. Samsung claims a battery life of up to 10 hours on the Notebook 9, but that’s slightly lower than the 12 hour life offered by the MacBook Air.
As far as hardware is concerned, the laptop features a Full HD display powered by a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor with a stock clock speed of 2.3 GHz and turbo boost up to 2.8 GHz, so you don’t have to worry about the performance at all. Apart from this, 8GB RAM comes and 256 GB m.2 SSD comes as standard. The laptop is only available in a single configuration, so you don’t have to worry about hidden costs. For a price tag of $999, which is same as the MacBook Air, this laptop is good enough to give Apple a run for their money.
Buy from Amazon: ($999)
8. Acer Swift 7
Last but not the least, it’s about time you guys meet the showstopper. Introducing the world’s thinnest laptop ever made, the Acer Swift 7. But, what if we tell you that the world’s thinnest laptop is also one of the world’s most affordable ultrabooks? Well, we understand your excitement, so let’s get down to what this laptop boasts about. At 9.9 mm, this ultrabook is as thin as a smartphone available today. Weighing at approximately 1.13 Kg, it puts the MacBook Air and several other ultrabooks to shame. With a Full HD IPS display, you can expect great viewing angles on this laptop. Acer claims the battery on the Swift 7 should be good enough to last up to 9 hours, which is quite decent for a laptop, this thin.
However, what we’re not impressed about this laptop is the hardware. For the sheer thickness and weight, you’ll be sacrificing a chunk of performance. The Acer Swift 7 is powered by the 7th generation Intel Core i5-7Y54 or i7-7Y75, both of which are underpowered processors. So, don’t expect anything exceptional, just because it’s a Kaby Lake processor. The i5 processor clocks at 1.2 GHz and goes up to 3.2 GHz on turbo boost, whereas the i7 processor clocks at 1.3 GHz and goes up to 3.6 GHz on turbo boost. Apart from this, the laptop packs 8GB DDR3 RAM and a 256 GB SSD, which is decent for an ultra-thin laptop. It’s the price tag which gets us all excited about this laptop, which starts at just $799, thereby making it a much better alternative to the MacBook Air, if you’re keen on having a thin and light-weight laptop.
Buy from Amazon: (Starts at $799)
The Best MacBook Air Alternatives You Can Buy
Well, these are some of the best ultrabooks that can give the outdated MacBook Air laptop a run for its money. What was considered revolutionary a few years ago, is now completely outdated, which goes on to show how the competition has caught up in the game. It’s about time Apple starts getting serious and implement a design change on their MacBook Air line-up, in order to make these laptops much more desirable for the present. So, are you guys looking for an alternative to Apple’s ageing MacBook Air? Do let us know which one you personally prefer, by dropping a few words in the comments section down below.