In the ever-escalating war to become the lightest, most powerful computer on the planet, Apple’s MacBook Air may have fired the first shot, but thanks to the new line of ultrabooks powered by Intel chips the battle is far from over. The new Intel line of lightweight computers presents serious competition to Apple, proving popular among everyone from nine-to-fivers to master’s degree students, especially those who’d rather not have to run Windows in parallel on a Mac. In fact, some Air users have actually switched over to the Windows side of the fence.
In order to qualify as an ultrabook, a computer must have the following specifications:
- Less than 0.8” thick
- Less than 3.1 pounds
- At least 5 hours of battery life
- Well-priced at around $1,000
- No optical drive
- Use solid-state-hard-drives
- Use Intel’s low-voltage line of processors
- Use Intel’s integrated graphics card
Lenovo Ideapad U300s
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Lenovo Ideapad U300s. Hardware-wise, the U300s features an attractive and thin aluminum body that’s just 0.6” thin, a breathable keyboard which keeps the computer’s underside from getting scorching hot during graphics-intensive activities, and a generous trackpad for all your scrolling pleasures. On the inside, the computer is customizable with an assortment of Intel’s low-energy 2nd-gen Core processors, up to 8 hours of battery life, and a swift 10-second boot time.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Lenovo ThinkPad X1, regarded as one contender against the MacBook Air. In fact, in features such as RAM, Lenovo comes out way ahead, offering 8GB of RAM, as opposed to the Air’s 2GB. The Lenovo unit also is equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity for even faster file processing, while the Air is only equipped with USB 2.0. Finally, the Lenovo offers 160GB of solid state disk drive storage as opposed to the Air’s 128GB.
Asus Zenbook UX31
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As if the Air didn’t have enough on its plate to worry about, along comes the Asus Zenbook UX31, an all-aluminum ultralight that boasts the latest Intel processor, known as Sandy Bridge, and has a performance output that puts many desktop units to shame. For example, the UX31 boots up and is ready to roll in about 15 seconds from a dead standstill. When it’s in sleep mode, 2 seconds has it ready for action.
The display resolution beats the Air with a 1600-by-900-pixel screen that delivers HD playback rivaling anything currently available. In addition to everything else, the UX31 has a battery life of nearly six hours. Best of all, the pricing on the UX31 is actually around $200 less than the Air.
For many users the main advantage the new ultrabooks have over the MacBook Air, of course, is the use of the Windows operating system.
Why is that so important?
Simple: Many offices are still locked into using Windows software, and having an ultralight laptop able to run the same software used at the office means the typical cubicle warrior can simply pack up his files from his desk, head on home, and do some late-night work in the privacy of his living room.
In the end, of course, going with one of the new Intel-powered ultralight computers is up to individual preference, but it is no longer a one-horse race. Not long ago the only game in town was the one the MacBook Air set up. Now, there are several new players out there, and they are looking to give Apple some serious competition.
What are your opinions? Would you prefer a Windows based ultrabook or the reigning Apple Macbook Air?