Apple MacBook Air 2013 vs. The Competition

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The biggest news surrounding the 13-inch MacBook Air is that, with Intel's Haswell CPU and other power-saving technologies, the notebook should last up to 12 hours on a charge. That's about 5 hours longer than the previous generation. Also, the Air will now have 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which should provide up to three times the throughput of 802.11n Wi-Fi.

Now that Apple has updated its MacBook Air, how does it compare to the competition? This handy chart will let you compare specs at a glance.

MORE: 20 Sexiest Laptops of All Time

Note: All the specs listed are for the starting configurations.

  MacBook Air Acer Aspire S7-392 Samsung ATIV Book 9 Sony VAIO Pro 13 Toshiba Kirabook
Display 13.3 inches/1440 x 900  13.3 inches/1920 x 1080  13.3 inches/1600 x 900  13.3 inches/1920 x 1080 13.3 inches/2560 x 1440
Touch screen No  Yes  No  Yes No
CPU 1.3-GHz Intel Core i5-4250U Intel 4th gen.  1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U  1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-4200U   Intel Core i5-3337
GPU Intel HD Graphics 5000 Intel 4th gen.  Intel HD 4000  Intel HD Graphics 4400   Intel HD
RAM 4 GB  4GB  4GB  4GB   8GB
Hard Drive 128GB  128GB  128GB SSD  128GB SSD   256GB SSD
Wireless 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0  802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0  802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC   802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Ports 2 USB 3.0, Thunderbolt  USB 3.0, microHDMI  USB 2.0, USB 3.0, microHDMI 2 USB 3.0, HDMI   3 USB 3.0, HDMI
Size 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.11-0.68 inches  12.7 x 8.8 x 0.46 inches 12.3 x 8.6 x 0.51 inches  12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches  12.44 x 8.15 x 0.7 inches
Weight 3 lbs.  2.9 lbs. 2.5 lbs.  2.4 lbs.   2.7 lbs.
Starting Price $1,099  TBD  $999  $1,249  $1,599

In some ways, the Air remains the same as last year. The Retina display many were hoping for has yet to materialize. In fact, the Air's 1440 x 900 resolution is the lowest among all its competition. The Air also lacks a touch screen, OS X isn't optimized for that as Windows 8 is.

Still, when it comes to ultraportable notebooks, battery life trumps all. We're looking forward to testing Apple's claims.

Add a comment
5 comments
  • Dennis Says:

    the table misses 4 of macbook airs main selling point.

    1) 12h battery. probably the best on the market considering price, weight and performance

    2) touchpad. the mac touch pad out performs the mouse in most scenarios. Gestures works great. I still haven't used a pc touch pad that is nearly as good. Not surprisingly, a lot of pc users use an external mouse which adds weight and is not very convenient

    3) build quality: been having my air without any protection in my bag for 2.5 years with just a few scratches. I replaced both my earlier laptops (pc) before that when they broke not when the hardware got dated

    4) osx: you can still run windows or emulate it when needed.

    you can get a pc with higher performance/price ratio but that doesn't necessarily mean that a pc is a better buy or that you will be more productive. Nor does it mean that macbook air is overpriced. saying that would be blatantly naive. just like saying a soccer player is overpriced just because there are faster players that are cheaper.

  • Greg Says:

    @Roman How is it not?

    The competitors either have the following features added:
    - NFC
    - More Memory
    - Higher Resolution Display
    - Higher Clock CPU.

    Even if the competitor is using Ivy Bridge, the integrated graphics won't perform as well as a Haswell. But unless you have the Iris Pro the integrated graphics don't matter- Which non of the computers listed have. Which means they are all equally footed graphic wise. Which means the Macbook Air is underclocked compared to it's competitors. So yes, it is equally priced- But doesn't have hardware that even warrants the price tag it has.

    The one closest to the Macbook Air in specs is the Samsung ATIV 9 which is one-hundred dollars less then the Apple. It also boast a higher resolution screen, better clocked CPU, and is lighter.

    So your remark is blatantly naive-

  • Roman Says:

    haha :D when you put apple computer aside similar specs Windows machine, it suddenly is not as expensive as people like saying it is compared to Windows machines.

  • anonymous Says:

    Hey, Toshiba Kirabook is available in a touchscreen version also.

  • hesshss Says:

    Considering that the Vaio Duo 13 got 10 hours powering a touchscreen with an active digitizer, I expect that the battery life claims will be accurate...

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