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How to Talk Anyone Out of a Mac Book Air
And by anyone, we of course mean your demanding teenager who is heading off to college, determined to drain you of every last resource because they will simply die without the snazziest new offering from Apple. The specs to the new MacBook Air have just been released; along with OS X Lion, the new lightening fast Intel Sandy Bridge Processors should provide more processing power along with better battery life, as well as your choice of an 11 or 13 inch screen, and 64 - 256 GB of solid state storage, not to mention the new, high speed Thunderbolt port. For those unfamiliar with Thunderbolt, it’s the new port that Intel is hoping will replace USB; it’s capable of handling LCD monitors and other displays so there’s no need for separate VGA, DVI and HDMI ports on computers now. It can also transfer at a staggering 10Gbps – twice that of USB 3.0. The dimensions and weight of the new MacBook Air haven’t changed but the prices have slimmed down with the base 11-inch model now priced at $999.

Believe it or not though, the laptop market has a few surprisingly robust offerings that could challenge Apple. Here are five alternatives for your consideration.

MSI X 460
If you want to compete with Apple then you need to have something that sets you apart – like biometric facial recognition perhaps? It works with the high definition built-in webcam to remember login passwords for personal accounts by storing them all under the ultimate password – your facial features. The X 460 also has some impressive hardware – an Intel i7 Sandy Bridge Processor, a 14-inch screen, USB 3.0, and a 750GB hard drive. It comes installed with Windows 7 Home Premium and 7 hours of battery life. It does weigh 4.3lbs, making it the heaviest on our list (granted by only .1oz). The X 460 is due out this summer and there’s no word yet on pricing. The X 370 however, a lower though comparable model, costs between $500-600.
Asus U
The Asus U is one of the more sleek and stylish offerings on our list today – in fact it’s probably one of the only ones that can compete with the MacBook Air in the ‘panache’ category. Beyond that though, its specs stack up pretty well also. The all-important Intel i3 Sandy Bridge processor, 640GB hard drive (though not solid state), a 15 inch screen, Windows 7 Home Premium, and 6 hours of battery life. The downside is that it weighs in at a hefty 4.2lbs. The one area where this definitely beats the competition is price. At $580 the Asus U is a full 1K cheaper than the high end MacBook Air.
Sony Z Series
The Sony Z Series isn’t going to save you any money on the MacBook air, since it comes in at a hefty $1800. Why bother to include it then? Because it’s a beast and offers some serious competition; who knows maybe there are those out there who need a work-horse that can take everything you throw at it, while still being uber-portable, and they hate Apple. Then this is your machine. At 3lbs the Z weighs .7oz more than the MacBook Air, has the Intel Sandy Bridge i5 Processor, an impressive 4GB of RAM, Blu-ray, 13-inch screen, and 192 GB SSD. Reviews have focused on the incredible LDC screen clarity, so that’s a bonus for any frequent fliers or gamers who want to kill some time. It also comes with a fingerprint reader for extra security.
Samsung Series 9
The 3lbs Samsung is another high-ender - though not as high as the MacBook Air or Sony Z - at $1049 it’s somewhat more wallet-friendly than the Sony and high-end MacBook. It has an Intel i3 Sandy Bridge Processor, 2GB RAM, and a 64 GB SSD - unfortunately it only comes with USB 2.0. It runs Windows 7 Home, with your choice of an 11 or 13 inch screen, backlit keyboard, and 6 hours of battery life. The Samsung also has a similar multi-touch clickpad to the MacBook Air, which allows pinch, swipe, rotate and 19 other types of gesture support.
Lenovo ThinkPad X220
Okay, let’s be honest: The X220 isn’t going to win any beauty contests. While it’s true that it does not have the MacBook Air’s style, under the hood it’s one of the best laptops on the market. With an Intel Sandy Bridge i5 Processor, 320GB hard drive, Windows 7 Professional and a multi-touch touchpad. What really sets the Lenovo apart though is its battery life, all the reviews we’ve read have raved about the 8-10hrs (15 with the extended battery) battery life that the 6-cell gives, with moderate to heavy usage. All that, plus a starting price of $890, makes this one of our top picks as an alternative to the MacBook Air.

At the end of the day, if you really want a MacBook Air, that’s what you’re going to get. It’s like trying to substitute Low-fat Yogurt for Ice Cream. However, if you have an open mind and keep your options open you’ll find that there might be a machine out there that fits your needs and doesn’t come with the high Apple price-tag.


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Here we go again

First of all I do not have an Apple product. It seems to me writers/critiques/bloggers like to write about an Apple product here comes the next I-pod/pad killer, or the next I-phone killer. Guess what it ain't gonna happen. Why is it never the other way around? Did ever anyone read like here comes the next XYZ brand windows7 alternative/killer. Have you?

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Why would they ever run an

Why would they ever run an article about a 'Windows 7 phone killer'? There's nothing to kill - beating Apple is such a big deal because they have a huge market share with just ONE phone. Wouldn't it seem like that phone is the phone to beat?

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Laptops

Here is my take: Sandi Bridge + I7 Processor + Solid State Drive (SSD) = High Price. End of story.

I got thisGateway, trashed

I got thisGateway, trashed the Win7 garbage and installed Ubuntu 11.04, got a good fast reliable laptop now..

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... you're kidding, right?

"Believe it or not though, the laptop market has a few surprisingly robust offerings that could challenge Apple"

So will you be presenting those "surprisingly robust offerings" next post? These are surely not them....
Just admit it.... MBAir has zero competition aside from a few lame copy cats. Get over it.

LOL!

You bet! The idea of running Windows, worrying constantly about viruses and moving away from the company #1 in customer satisfaction for a few bucks is a real turn on. Sorry, I'm sticking with the best.

LOL X 2

Yeah. Get a Sony which costs even MORE. And I agree. #1 in customer support and products and let's go with a virus riddled OS. And the MBA i7 is even faster than the 2010 MBPros. That's fast!

Comparo

Reasonable to consider. However you will have to pry my MB Air from my cold dead fingers.