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Five Ways Ultrabooks Beat the MacBook Air
Ultrabooks and Macbook Air
Laptops haven't been completely replaced by tablets especially since, for "real work," you can't beat a real keyboard and big hard drive like those found in laptops. And yes, for under $500 you can buy a laptop with lots of memory, a fast processor, and a big hard drive but if you want the coolest laptop and have a few more bucks to spend, you'll probably find yourself deciding between an Apple MacBook Air and one of the new Ultrabooks from manufactures like Dell, Lenovo, Asus or Toshiba.
First, the Similarities Between Airs and Ultrabooks

There's no question that the MacBook Air is a stunning piece of technology with its unibody construction, backlit keyboard, and multitouch interface however, you'll also find similar dimensions, weights, Sandy Bridge processors and solid state drives (SSDs) in the latest ultrabooks from PC laptop vendors. That said, here are some significant differences that you may want to consider before buying a MacBook Air.
More Standard Ports on Ultrabooks

MacBook Air
MacBook Air

Toshiba Portege Z835-P370
Toshiba Portege Z835-P370
You won't find a VGA port on a MacBook Air nor will you find an Ethernet port. That doesn't mean you can't hook up a VGA monitor or connect to the Internet like at a hotel that doesn't offer Wi-Fi. Instead, you'll have to invest in a bunch of adapters and cables. For Ethernet you'll need a USB to RJ-45 that supports up to 100Base-T (no Gigabit Ethernet). For VGA you'll need a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter which will cost you $29.
Mac Air Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0
Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0
Thunderbolt was meant to replace USB as a high speed connection to peripheral devices. It was originally called Light Peak by its developer, Intel. Intel has favored it over USB 3.0 but the industry appears slow to adopt it. Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals are rare and if you do find one, an Apple cable will cost you $49. On the other hand, USB 3.0 devices are more common. For example, an inexpensive USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure will allow you to create very fast external drives and of course, you'll only find USB 3.0 on Ultrabooks not MacBook Airs.
No Matte Screens on MacBooks 
This may just be a pet peeve of the author but who in the industry decided that consumers wanted glossy screens on their computers? Shiny screens act like mirrors and can be difficult to view outside, in bright sunlight. Unfortunately most LCD screen devices use these high gloss screens but at least if you want an alternative, companies like Lenovo offer a matte screen option on their ultrabook although to be fair, we've also heard you can get an aftermarket matte screen retrofit for your MacBook Air if you really want one and we also have to admit that Apple makes one of the more readable glossy screens.
Ultrabooks Can Be Much Less Expensive
Ultrabook - Toshiba
Laptop prices depend a lot on configurations. For example a 13-inch MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD and Core i5 processor starts at $1299 and when you add more storage and a Core i7 processor the price runs up to $1699. Ultrabook pricing also depends on configuration but generally runs cheaper than a similarly configured MacBook Air for example a Toshiba Portege Z830 13-inch Ultrabook with 6GB (2 more GB of memory than the comparably configured Air) starts at $1049. You can also find Ultrabooks from Lenovo, Toshiba and other with various features missing or downgraded for well under $1000. In fact we've been told to expect sub-$700 Ultrabooks from some of the major laptop vendors in the coming months.
Be Different: Don't Get a Mac
In times past the way to express your individuality was buying an Apple product. These days walk into any coffee shop, university lecture hall, or just about any public place and you'll see an awful lot of Apple logos on laptop covers. Want to stand out from the crowd and look more like an independent thinker? Consider getting an Ultrabook instead.
It Might Still Be a Toss-Up
There are other reasons to consider an Ultrabook over a MacBook Air especially if you need to be part of a Windows "ecosystem." Of course you can always run a Windows emulator and have the best of both worlds but if you are heavily invested in Windows software, you can save some money and prevent compatibility issues by going with an Ultrabook PC. However in the end, Apple makes it pretty hard to resist joining their ecosystem with a sleek and sexy MacBook Air. It's a tough choice.
Check out the latest crop of ultrabooks in the market right now >>

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