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View Full Version : And then there were 2: Need to hear from someone who chose MBA > Zenbook Prime please




waa1futs
Nov 14, 2012, 05:28 PM
I have a 4 year old asus eee netbook (single core atom processor! :eek:) that is on its last legs and needs to be replaced.

I've narrowed my choices down to 2 different options:
1) 13 inch macbook air (4gb ram, 128ssd, i5)
2) 1080p zenbook prime (http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-Prime-UX31A-DB51-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook/dp/B00863L2PK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352934778&sr=1-1&keywords=zenbook+prime) (4gb ram, 128 ssd, i5)

I am sure this decision has come up before for some members here and I'm not so much looking for someone to say to me "well whats better for you?" since both machines could work for me. I would really like to hear your opinions on why you chose the macbook air over the zenbook prime and its 1080p IPS display besides just the obvious "well it runs OSX instead of Windows" :)

Thank you so much for your help. It's a big money decision for me as I'm a student and could really use your expertise.



NutsNGum
Nov 14, 2012, 06:29 PM
Runs OSX AND Windows.

Runs Logic Studio.

Runs CSS Edit.

Runs OSX.

Mrbobb
Nov 14, 2012, 07:07 PM
Honestly,

Aesthetic.

Price.

Apple's smooth trackpad.

shakeman0
Nov 14, 2012, 07:10 PM
I chose the MBA over the Zenbook Prime and other ultrabooks actually. I purchased an ultrabook and ended up returning it a few days later. I would consider purchasing Mac laptops solely for the trackpad and Mission Control when it comes down to it, but a few other things impacted my decision:

I have to say it again. Mission Control and the trackpad on Mac laptops make me literally twice as fast and productive. I really can't live without it at this point.

2012 MBA has greater than 7 hours battery life compared to the advertised 5 on the Zenbook Prime.

The computer you linked is running Windows 7, and, if you choose to upgrade to Windows 8, lack a touchscreen. A touchscreen really does help Windows 8's usability.

The iLife sweet that comes with OSX handles all of my media needs very well. It's an extra step to get the software similar to iMovie, iPhoto, etc on the Zenbook Prime.

Those are a few of the reasons why I chose the MBA. Unless you absolutely have to have Windows, which you can load on the MBA anyway, I would definitely choose the Air. I'm 100 times happier with my air than I was with my ultrabook. I'm a student as well and that extra 2 hours of battery life makes a pretty big difference when you're in the library away from an outlet trying to get a project done.

jmxp69
Nov 14, 2012, 07:13 PM
I moved past Windows several years ago and *never* looked back. Hardware is the secondary issue for me. The operating system is my first concern. So I would (and have) select the MacBook.

JoelBC
Nov 14, 2012, 08:33 PM
I have been considering fro some time the move from Windows to OS X and have done a lot of experimentation and reading... the latest test that I have run is running Windows 8 in a VM to get the feel of what it would be like to run Windows application in OS X.

I have spent a fair amount of time familiarizing myself with Oracles' VirtualBox which admittedly is not as popular as either VMFusion or Parallels but it is free for an indefinite period...I think it is sufficient to give the user the experience that one would have running a VM.

To me the bottom line is that one needs to pick the right tool for the job and to the extent that i) one needs to run Windows apps ii) one does not want to invest the energy and time to really learn and tweak a VM [and it does take some time] and iii) one does want the sometime aggravation of a VM and iv0 one does want to be concerned about HFS+ versus NTFS and the need to purchase MacDrive or the like then simply said....get a Windows machine.

To me there is an exception to the above rule and that is the hobby / fun / mental challenge of tackling the above which might still lead me to get a Mac but the experience with running either W7 or W8 has tempered that somewhat and, unlike others here, I do need a Windows environment for some apps.

With respect to what ultrabook is best I would wait for the Samsung Series WQHD which looks fantastic both in appearance and spec wise.


Joel

skaertus
Nov 14, 2012, 09:02 PM
Well, I am as well in search of an ultrabook. Perhaps the two contenders that pop on everybody's mind is the MacBook Air and the Zenbook Prime, as they appear to be the flagship models of ultraportables. I don't own any of them, but I have done some research on the subject and perhaps I can help you.

I also have some knowledge on the subject as an owner, because I have a 13-inch white MacBook, and my sister has a 13-inch Zenbook (the first generation, not the Prime).

I am not a student anymore but, like you, I have my own budget constrains. A laptop in Brazil costs a lot of money due to taxes (the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Air will cost US$ 2,500, so you have an idea) and there is not really a market for second-hand products in which I could sell my laptop if I don't like it, so the choice has to be wise.

The MacBook Air and the Zenbook Prime each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The first thing you should have in mind is that MacBook Air comes with OS X and the Zenbook comes with Windows installed. Do you have any preference? You may install Windows on the MacBook Air, but you'll have to buy a separate Windows license, and that will cost you some money. In addition, remember that you'll have only 128 GB of storage, so installing two operating systems may eat a lot of your precious disk space. Finally, if you intend to run Windows on a virtual machine (through Parallels, for instance), remember that you'll only have 4 GB of RAM. While that may be enough for one operating system, it may be too low for running two of them simultaneously (and that difference will become higher next year, when Apple releases a new version of OS X which may well eat more memory to run).

Processor, memory and SSD should be quite similar.

The screen in the Zenbook Prime, however, is so much better. It has an IPS screen which is very bright, and it has a 1920x1080 resolution (a large work area). That's perhaps my favorite thing on the Zenbook. The first-gen Zenbook has a nice TN screen with a resolution of 1600x900, but the screen in the Prime is said to be one of the best in all Windows laptops. The MacBook Air has a TN screen with a 1440x900 resolution. The screen looks good, but pales in comparison with the Zenbook. In addition, the font rendering technology used by OS X makes fonts less sharp than under Windows, so lower resolutions are more noticeable.

I haven't tested the keyboard in the Zenbook Prime. The keyboard in the first-generation Zenbook is the worst part of it, with low key travel and not so good tactile feedback. The keyboard in the MacBook Air is better (although it is not so good as the one found in the MacBook Pros). However, I've learned that the keyboard in the Zenbook Prime is much improved, and that it should match the Air in this respect.

Trackpad in the first-gen Zenbook is OK, I don't know if the Prime has improved in this respect. Perhaps under Windows 8 it behaves better. Trackpad in the MacBook Air is, of course, much better, as it support for multi-touch gestures is amazing. Windows 8 may bring some of this to PCs as well.

People say battery life is better in the MacBook Air. I guess that this is due to OS X in particular, which saves battery in comparison to Windows. If both systems are running Windows, battery life will be very similar. I've seen some comparisons on this respect. The same applies to performance: big performance differences is due to the OS, and not to intrinsic quality of hardware (perhaps there is some difference in the speed of SSDs, but that's it).

If I were between these two laptops, I would choose the Zenbook Prime, definitely. It has a much better screen, and the large work area it provides would be of great use for me to boost my performance. If I were to buy a Mac, however, I would either buy the MacBook Pro with a retina display (which has a killer screen, of course, but costs a lot more), or I would wait for a possible release of a refreshed MacBook Air next year. I wouldn't buy the MacBook Air right now, as its design dates from 2010 and is currently being challenged by several ultrabooks out there.

These comparisons may help you out:

http://blog.laptopmag.com/apple-macbook-air-2012-vs-asus-zenbook-prime-ux31a-the-rematch

http://www.pcworld.com/article/262036/ultrathin-teardown-asus-ultrabook-vs-macbook-air.html

http://www.techspot.com/guides/538-ultrabooks-vs-macbook-air/

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12222252/content/91911416-a-model-displays-asus-s-n-series-laptop-ux31a-during-a-media-event-in-taipei

See also these reviews, they look some of the best and most complete I've seen:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-Air-13-Mid-2012-Subnotebook.80041.0.html

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-Zenbook-Prime-UX31A-Ultrabook.80135.0.html

waa1futs
Nov 15, 2012, 01:22 AM
Honestly,

...

Price

...

How would the MacBook Air being $100 more expensive than the Zenbook Prime somehow be listed as a positive? :confused:

Mrbobb
Nov 15, 2012, 01:51 AM
How would the MacBook Air being $100 more expensive than the Zenbook Prime somehow be listed as a positive? :confused:


Because for another 100, u get an object of desire by the world over. You get the genuine article, the one that people go ohhh and ahhh. A MERCEDES! So yes there is some right-brain involved.

If you just shop by the numbers, well that's easy enough, anybody can do that. :)

Oh BTW I missed your bold mention of the IPS screen. Fortunately my eyes are getting bad so I can't tell the difference. But if it does to you and it's a priority for u, then obviously the ASUS is 4ru.

P.s. if you are interested to run Win8 at all, it seems, a touch screen is mandatory.

Truffy
Nov 15, 2012, 01:55 AM
Well, I am as well in search of an ultrabook.
That's a nice, thoughtful comparison. Good job!

If I were in the market to replace my 2010 13" MBA, I would also wait to see what the MBA refresh looks like (especially retina screen). But then I've already bought inot the OS X 'ecosystem', and I really couldn't go back to Windows!
How would the MacBook Air being $100 more expensive than the Zenbook Prime somehow be listed as a positive? :confused:
It's not $200 more! :D

Melbourne Park
Nov 15, 2012, 02:15 AM
Problem with bigger screens is that they suck power. The more resolution, the more horsepower you need to drive a screen, which slows things down.

The good thing about the Mac Air, is that it is so beautifully built, and its beautiful to use. And that is not a Mac OS X - its the hardware. The touch pad is a world apart, and that is something you use all the time. Like - all the time. Its such a basic difference, its weird that Apple have been allowed to have such a huge advantage. Same too with the keyboard.

But if you prefer an external mouse on a notebook, then the Asus comes more into the picture.

The issue with Mac Airs, is that if you upgrade them heaps, they loose their great value. Although the 8GB of Ram is a mandatory upgrade. Not so sure about going up to 256 SSD though ... if you can handle an external mini USB-3 drive, then that might be more valuable. But looking at them in the shop - yeh, they have heaps of appeal. But in the real world, they are not there yet.

Curious the previous user likes the Mac Pro 13" Retina. Fact is there's not enough horsepower to drive those screens, they have to many pixels. The next generation will be the one to consider.

Incidentally, the Mac Air's screen, although not as bright, is still very good and it has more anti-glare in it than other Apple 13" notebook displays.

Also, Asus are not over engineered. Apple notebooks are. And using alloy in the body work is far from what Apple do - they use a special alloy that they have a unique source of, and they mill it from a blank piece. The milling increases the strength of the alloy expotentially, providing a superior product from other technologies.

Someone posted some reviews. CNet's from this month, has comparison charts - the Air won easily the key comparisons, and was with small margins in the one's it did not win. http://www.cnet.com/laptops/asus-zenbook-ux32a-db31/4505-3121_7-35372459-2.html

And consider depreciation - the Air's don't fall in value very much at all, and when compared to Asus etc, they are much cheaper to buy, if one considers the spectacular fall in value that an Asus carries.

So if you are happy to buy the Asus, buy one second hand, they are so much much cheaper. If you dare.

Zetaprime
Nov 15, 2012, 03:55 AM
I got a Mac because it runs OSX. The idea was to get away from Windows. So no Zenbook would ever entice me no matter what the hardware specs were.

----------

Problem with bigger screens is that they suck power. The more resolution, the more horsepower you need to drive a screen, which slows things down.

The good thing about the Mac Air, is that it is so beautifully built, and its beautiful to use. And that is not a Mac OS X - its the hardware. The touch pad is a world apart, and that is something you use all the time. Like - all the time. Its such a basic difference, its weird that Apple have been allowed to have such a huge advantage. Same too with the keyboard.

But if you prefer an external mouse on a notebook, then the Asus comes more into the picture.

The issue with Mac Airs, is that if you upgrade them heaps, they loose their great value. Although the 8GB of Ram is a mandatory upgrade. Not so sure about going up to 256 SSD though ... if you can handle an external mini USB-3 drive, then that might be more valuable. But looking at them in the shop - yeh, they have heaps of appeal. But in the real world, they are not there yet.

Curious the previous user likes the Mac Pro 13" Retina. Fact is there's not enough horsepower to drive those screens, they have to many pixels. The next generation will be the one to consider.

Incidentally, the Mac Air's screen, although not as bright, is still very good and it has more anti-glare in it than other Apple 13" notebook displays.

Also, Asus are not over engineered. Apple notebooks are. And using alloy in the body work is far from what Apple do - they use a special alloy that they have a unique source of, and they mill it from a blank piece. The milling increases the strength of the alloy expotentially, providing a superior product from other technologies.

The trackpad on the Macbooks is the only one that doesn't leave you missing your mouse. On a Windows laptop the trackpad always feels extremely clumsy and inadequate to the task. Of course, Windows itself just makes it more clumsy.

halledise
Nov 15, 2012, 05:04 AM
buy a Zen book - whatever that is - and be happy :cool:

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 08:43 AM
Because for another 100, u get an object of desire by the world over. You get the genuine article, the one that people go ohhh and ahhh. A MERCEDES! So yes there is some right-brain involved.

If you just shop by the numbers, well that's easy enough, anybody can do that. :)

Oh BTW I missed your bold mention of the IPS screen. Fortunately my eyes are getting bad so I can't tell the difference. But if it does to you and it's a priority for u, then obviously the ASUS is 4ru.

P.s. if you are interested to run Win8 at all, it seems, a touch screen is mandatory.

Well, that's not a rational decision then. A MacBook Air is, of course, instantly recognizable by everybody else. That's the brand factor and you should always weigh if that's important for you.

For running Windows 8, a touch screen is desirable. But you can live without it, for sure. A nice multi-touch trackpad would be welcome, though, and I guess trackpad drivers have been enhanced for use with Windows 8. I don't know, however, how Zenbook Prime (or MacBook Air) behaves under Windows 8 because I haven't tested either.

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 09:06 AM
Problem with bigger screens is that they suck power. The more resolution, the more horsepower you need to drive a screen, which slows things down.

The screen in the Zenbook Prime does consume more energy than the screen in the MacBook Air, but I don't know by how much. It is brighter and has a higher resolution; of course it is a better screen, a much better one. The trade-off is that it sucks more battery, but I don't think the difference would be huge.

As for horsepower, the integrated video card used by Intel in Ivy Bridge processors (the HD 4000) is more than enough to handle either 1440x900 or 1920x1080 resolutions, so, in any case, the laptop will not suffer from slowdowns. Of course the 1920x1080 screen sucks more horsepower, but the difference will be negligible with the HD 4000. It can even handle the 2560x1600 resolution of the 13-inch MacBook Air with a retina display (although, in that case, a better video card would be desirable). Be aware, however, that you won't be able to play games with your MacBook Air/Zenbook Prime, because they are not meant to, and the video card is not powerful enough.

The good thing about the Mac Air, is that it is so beautifully built, and its beautiful to use. And that is not a Mac OS X - its the hardware. The touch pad is a world apart, and that is something you use all the time. Like - all the time. Its such a basic difference, its weird that Apple have been allowed to have such a huge advantage. Same too with the keyboard.

You should test the keyboard and trackpad yourself at a store. As I said, the keyboard in the first-gen Asus Zenbook was much worse than MacBook Air's, but it has been dramatically improved. As for the trackpad, it's great in the MAcBook Air, but that's also because software works so well with it.

But if you prefer an external mouse on a notebook, then the Asus comes more into the picture.

Depending on how trackpad drivers for Zenbook Prime are under Windows 8, a mouse may be very helpful.

The issue with Mac Airs, is that if you upgrade them heaps, they loose their great value. Although the 8GB of Ram is a mandatory upgrade. Not so sure about going up to 256 SSD though ... if you can handle an external mini USB-3 drive, then that might be more valuable. But looking at them in the shop - yeh, they have heaps of appeal. But in the real world, they are not there yet.

If you plan to run Windows on a virtual machine, then the upgrade to 8 GB RAM and 256 GB of SSD are something you should consider.

Curious the previous user likes the Mac Pro 13" Retina. Fact is there's not enough horsepower to drive those screens, they have to many pixels. The next generation will be the one to consider.

Yes, I do like it. The HD 4000 provides enough horsepower to run the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display. I haven't noticed any lag while testing it at the store and I haven't seen many complaints here (although I have seen some). The big issue seems to be when you use the 1680x1050 mode, and the video card has to render a 3360x2100 resolution. Depending on the kind of applications you wish to run at 2560x1600, however, the integrated video card may be a problem.

The next generation will be equipped with Haswell, which will bring a much faster video card. It will certainly have more than enough horsepower to drive such high resolutions without gripe.

The bottom line is that there certainly is some debate on whether the integrated video card is enough to handle 2560x1600. But, if you're not considering the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display, the HD 4000 is more than enough to run either 1440x900 or 1920x1080, unless you have some specific graphic needs.

Incidentally, the Mac Air's screen, although not as bright, is still very good and it has more anti-glare in it than other Apple 13" notebook displays.

Yes, it is good, but far from great. But it pales in comparison with the one of the Zenbook Prime. And you can't even compare it with the one in the 13-inch retina model. Other models have also superseded it. Just compare them at a store. There's no match. But that will depend on how important the screen is for you, of course.

Also, Asus are not over engineered. Apple notebooks are. And using alloy in the body work is far from what Apple do - they use a special alloy that they have a unique source of, and they mill it from a blank piece. The milling increases the strength of the alloy expotentially, providing a superior product from other technologies.

Someone posted some reviews. CNet's from this month, has comparison charts - the Air won easily the key comparisons, and was with small margins in the one's it did not win. http://www.cnet.com/laptops/asus-zenbook-ux32a-db31/4505-3121_7-35372459-2.html

As for the reviews, they always express the subjective opinions of the reviewers. Pay attention to the details. Things that are important to the reviewer may not be for you, and vice-versa. Both are very good laptops, and you have to weigh which one is the better for you. There's no one-size-fits-all.

Go to a store, look at them side-by-side, test the screen, the speakers, the keyboard and the trackpad and choose the one that feels better for you. This real-world experience is very important.

And consider depreciation - the Air's don't fall in value very much at all, and when compared to Asus etc, they are much cheaper to buy, if one considers the spectacular fall in value that an Asus carries.

Macs tend to devaluate less than other brands. That is important if you keep your laptop for 2 years and then wants to exchange it. However, if you are going to stick with the laptop for 4 or 5 years, the price which you will get in 2017 for selling it will be so low, anyway, that the difference will be negligible.

So if you are happy to buy the Asus, buy one second hand, they are so much much cheaper. If you dare.

If you dare. As the laptop is kind of new, I don't know if there are too many second hand for sale...

Barche
Nov 15, 2012, 11:10 AM
I am sure this decision has come up before for some members here and I'm not so much looking for someone to say to me "well whats better for you?" since both machines could work for me. I would really like to hear your opinions on why you chose the macbook air over the zenbook prime and its 1080p IPS display besides just the obvious "well it runs OSX instead of Windows" :)

I haven't actually bought the Air yet, but I will soon. The Zenbook was a close contender, but I really need 8GB RAM, so I will go with the air. Anandtech compare the screens on the Zenbook and the air:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6063/macbook-air-13inch-mid-2012-review/3

If the Zenbook had 8GB RAM, I'd probably have preferred it.

calvol
Nov 15, 2012, 12:12 PM
I looked at the Zenbook at BB, and it's pretty impressive, not quite the build quality of the Air, but the trackpad is the best I've seen on a Win machine, and the IPS screen has the Air beat in display quality.

I would choose whichever laptop allows you to run the Apps you need most. For me, I like the Air for the stability of OSX, the trackpad, and the Apple ecosystem and run VMWare Fusion/Win7 for Win apps such as Excel that run best in Win.

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 12:14 PM
I haven't actually bought the Air yet, but I will soon. The Zenbook was a close contender, but I really need 8GB RAM, so I will go with the air. Anandtech compare the screens on the Zenbook and the air:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6063/macbook-air-13inch-mid-2012-review/3

If the Zenbook had 8GB RAM, I'd probably have preferred it.

There are other thin-and-light laptops alternatives, the MacBook Air and the Zenbook Prime are not the only options. Have you seen the Dell XPS 12, for instance? It has a 1920x1080 12.5" IPS screen and is convertible into a tablet. See it here: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-12-l221x/pd?~ck=mn&~ck=mn

Mrbobb
Nov 15, 2012, 12:56 PM
For running Windows 8, a touch screen is desirable. But you can live without it, for sure. A nice multi-touch trackpad would be welcome, though, and I guess trackpad drivers have been enhanced for use with Windows 8. I don't know, however, how Zenbook Prime (or MacBook Air) behaves under Windows 8 because I haven't tested either.


Have u seen all those Win8 Ads? They always show sum1 playing with the touchscreen. Read all the Win8 reviews, they ALL say if you have a traditional KBD and mouse only, it's not going to be pretty.

Live without it... that's the whole point of Win8. Wo a touch screen, may as well stay with Win7, very capable still.

Trackpad for Win8... First off, not until I got my Air I understood why it's so much fricking bigger than anybody's else, u need the real estate to interface with the whole screen properly. The people who are running Win8 on their Mac are keeping quiet how it's working for them.

chrisrosemusic1
Nov 15, 2012, 01:12 PM
I've just re invested in a Windows PC and I do love Win7 (only used Vista in the past) but I still boot my Mac up and smile - OSX is just beautifully simple and functional. For a laptop on the go I'd pick a Mac every time. For the media and gaming beast for the living room, the Alienware far surpasses any Mac machine.

Swings and roundabouts. Once you go to OSX (especially on a portable device) you won't go back. It's so well thought out.

Good luck with whichever choice you make :)

entatlrg
Nov 15, 2012, 01:15 PM
Curious the previous user likes the Mac Pro 13" Retina. Fact is there's not enough horsepower to drive those screens, they have to many pixels. Q

Quit spreading FUD. It's not true.

Barche
Nov 15, 2012, 01:34 PM
There are other thin-and-light laptops alternatives, the MacBook Air and the Zenbook Prime are not the only options. Have you seen the Dell XPS 12, for instance? It has a 1920x1080 12.5" IPS screen and is convertible into a tablet. See it here: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-12-l221x/pd?~ck=mn&~ck=mn

Yes, took a hard look at that one, good review on notebookcheck as well. In the end, the 8GB version costs more than the MBA though (100 EUR with edu discount from Apple), and here in Belgium there is no way I'm going to see one of those Dells in a store to be able to check if the better screen is worth the price. Also, I usually run Linux, and I'm not sure how nicely that will play with this convertible thing.

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 01:43 PM
Have u seen all those Win8 Ads? They always show sum1 playing with the touchscreen. Read all the Win8 reviews, they ALL say if you have a traditional KBD and mouse only, it's not going to be pretty.

Live without it... that's the whole point of Win8. Wo a touch screen, may as well stay with Win7, very capable still.

Trackpad for Win8... First off, not until I got my Air I understood why it's so much fricking bigger than anybody's else, u need the real estate to interface with the whole screen properly. The people who are running Win8 on their Mac are keeping quiet how it's working for them.

Well, in fact I've not only read reviews, but I have tested both Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Release Preview on my non-touchscreen PC laptop. I can say that it is perfectly possible to live without touch-screen. However, the touch-screen adds a new dimension to the experience in these laptops and you can see the real reason why Windows 8 has such a different interface.

BTW, there is a Zenbook Prime with touch-screen functionality. However, I don't know if it's already for sale in the U.S.

----------

Yes, took a hard look at that one, good review on notebookcheck as well. In the end, the 8GB version costs more than the MBA though (100 EUR with edu discount from Apple), and here in Belgium there is no way I'm going to see one of those Dells in a store to be able to check if the better screen is worth the price. Also, I usually run Linux, and I'm not sure how nicely that will play with this convertible thing.

Oh, OK, you're in Belgium. Then perhaps you won't be able to test this one. What exactly are you looking for in your laptop?

Barche
Nov 15, 2012, 02:08 PM
Oh, OK, you're in Belgium. Then perhaps you won't be able to test this one. What exactly are you looking for in your laptop?

These are my requirements:
- an ultraportable (13.3" max) with decent build quality
- 8 GB RAM
- A screen better than the very old 1366x768
- At least intel i5

I'll be using it almost exclusively for C++ software development, using GCC or Clang. So far I've been doing that only on Linux, but I see colleagues using OSX with MacPorts without any hassle. The laptop is only for use during travel and the daily commute, at work and at home I have access to more powerful machines. For now, it seems that the best fit is the MBA, and it even happens to be the cheapest machine that meets all my requirements.

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 02:10 PM
These are my requirements:
- an ultraportable (13.3" max) with decent build quality
- 8 GB RAM
- A screen better than the very old 1366x768
- At least intel i5

I'll be using it almost exclusively for C++ software development, using GCC or Clang. So far I've been doing that only on Linux, but I see colleagues using OSX with MacPorts without any hassle. The laptop is only for use during travel and the daily commute, at work and at home I have access to more powerful machines. For now, it seems that the best fit is the MBA, and it even happens to be the cheapest machine that meets all my requirements.

Is SSD a requirement? What's your budget?

Barche
Nov 15, 2012, 02:16 PM
Is SSD a requirement? What's your budget?

Yes, SSD is required, having seen what it does for my desktop ;)
128 GB should be enough, provided there is USB3.0 as well for fast external storage if needed.

My budget is ~ 1300 EUR.

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 03:15 PM
Yes, SSD is required, having seen what it does for my desktop ;)
128 GB should be enough, provided there is USB3.0 as well for fast external storage if needed.

My budget is ~ 1300 EUR.

Well, you have the Acer Aspire S7, the Samsung Series 9, the Sony Vaio Z and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The Sony Vaio S is also an ultraportable, but it comes with an HD that can be replaced with an SSD. Most of them come with 4 GB RAM, but I guess you can upgrade. I don't know the price in Belgium, though, not even if they are available there.

Take a look at this list: http://ultrabooknews.com/product-databank/

waa1futs
Nov 15, 2012, 07:47 PM
It's strange but I just got an email yesterday that an electronics place near me has the Zenbook Prime UX31A-DB51 ($1099 version) on sale for $999 :eek:

So this has a 1080p IPS display + 128gb ssd drive for the + 4GB ram for $100 cheaper than I could get the Macbook air 11.6 inch, and $200 cheaper than I could get the 13.3 inch with comparable specs? Sold :D

I'm not tied down to a particular OS so the OSX vs Windows isn't a huge deal breaker for me either way.

The only problem? When I get it home I find out it has Windows 8 on it!!! :mad:

God dammit, if only it had Windows 7 :(

I ****ing HATE the Metro UI gimmick. I wouldn't use the touchscreen feature even if the laptop had one. Just give me a damn desktop and let me be!

Sigh, this was a surprise to me since I figured that without a touchscreen they would keep Windows 7 on the device and allow you to upgrade to Windows 8 if you wanted (which I don't). The advertisement didn't say anything as to what OS it had and the sales guy didn't know either (kind of a, you've gotta open the box to find out sort of thing).

So now I'm at a crossroads. I probably will return the device for a refund unless I can either A) Find a way to downgrade to Windows 7, but unlikely since it seems only the pro version of Windows 8 is allowed to do this, or B) Find a way to set the desktop as the default instead of Metro.

God I ****ing hate Windows 8 :mad:

JoelBC
Nov 15, 2012, 08:27 PM
So now I'm at a crossroads. I probably will return the device for a refund unless I can either A) Find a way to downgrade to Windows 7, but unlikely since it seems only the pro version of Windows 8 is allowed to do this, or B) Find a way to set the desktop as the default instead of Metro.

God I ****ing hate Windows 8 :mad:


Easy to do...there are a number of ways to do this, just search the internet...the easiest that I have seen is to add the "desktop exe" to your startup group which will make windows 8 boot into the desktop as described http://www.pcworld.com/article/2012885/20-must-know-windows-8-tips-and-tricks.html

skaertus
Nov 15, 2012, 08:58 PM
It's strange but I just got an email yesterday that an electronics place near me has the Zenbook Prime UX31A-DB51 ($1099 version) on sale for $999 :eek:

So this has a 1080p IPS display + 128gb ssd drive for the + 4GB ram for $100 cheaper than I could get the Macbook air 11.6 inch, and $200 cheaper than I could get the 13.3 inch with comparable specs? Sold :D

I'm not tied down to a particular OS so the OSX vs Windows isn't a huge deal breaker for me either way.

The only problem? When I get it home I find out it has Windows 8 on it!!! :mad:

God dammit, if only it had Windows 7 :(

I ****ing HATE the Metro UI gimmick. I wouldn't use the touchscreen feature even if the laptop had one. Just give me a damn desktop and let me be!

Sigh, this was a surprise to me since I figured that without a touchscreen they would keep Windows 7 on the device and allow you to upgrade to Windows 8 if you wanted (which I don't). The advertisement didn't say anything as to what OS it had and the sales guy didn't know either (kind of a, you've gotta open the box to find out sort of thing).

So now I'm at a crossroads. I probably will return the device for a refund unless I can either A) Find a way to downgrade to Windows 7, but unlikely since it seems only the pro version of Windows 8 is allowed to do this, or B) Find a way to set the desktop as the default instead of Metro.

God I ****ing hate Windows 8 :mad:

Don't do that! Windows 8 is way better than Windows 7. You just need a way to set the desktop as default. In addition, there are add-ons that bring back the start menu. I particularly liked Start8, from Stardocks (http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/).

coldjeanzzz
Nov 15, 2012, 09:49 PM
Personally I would never buy another Windows based system ever again. Before I started using OS X, I used Linux (Ubuntu specifically) and that's where I started to realize how primitive and far behind Windows was. OS X and Ubuntu destroy Windows

The lack of smoothness in just about every way is such a deal killer for me. I hate the fonts on Windows, I hate the scrolling, I hate the obsession with ugly transparent windows, ugly icons and buttons, basically I just find Windows hideous to look at. I know a lot of people don't care about that kind of stuff, but I like the stuff I use for hours a day to look nice. Another deal breaker is that Windows doesn't have multiple workspaces built in, such a basic feature and they still haven't put it in. So much of my productivity is based on multiple work spaces.

I could honestly live with a nice ultrabook running OS X, but I'm just not interested in doing all the work needed to set something like that up.

Mrbobb
Nov 16, 2012, 02:22 AM
Sold :D


Now u realize u can't come back here no more to ask questions, you are OUT of the Mac Club! :D

halledise
Nov 16, 2012, 03:58 AM
this is a Mac forum yes?
then why, for goodness' sake, are we talking about anything related to:

Windows/Zen/Asarse.

please?

waa1futs
Nov 16, 2012, 03:13 PM
Now u realize u can't come back here no more to ask questions, you are OUT of the Mac Club! :D

Nooooooo! :(

I'll be good and take it back. I promise ;)

Actually the only reason I "purchased" it is because they don't have any restocking fee at all on returns. So I can get opinions from others with this thread on what the Macbook Air does better than the zenbook, try it out for a few weeks, then go to the Apple store and compare it side by side against the Macbook Air's screen and, with the help of this thread, make a final decision a few weeks from now. I am in no way committed to either one so I really appreciate the responses others give me in this thread on the benefits of the Macbook Air over the Zenbook prime.

this is a Mac forum yes?
then why, for goodness' sake, are we talking about anything related to:

Windows/Zen/Asarse.

please?

The original post is asking those who have wrestled with the decision themselves to explain the benefits/reasons why they chose the MACBOOK AIR over a competitor.

I put capitals and bold to make it easier for you to understand that this is a macbook air question.

Have a great day.

jterp7
Nov 16, 2012, 03:29 PM
I have a 4 year old asus eee netbook (single core atom processor! :eek:) that is on its last legs and needs to be replaced.

I've narrowed my choices down to 2 different options:
1) 13 inch macbook air (4gb ram, 128ssd, i5)
2) 1080p zenbook prime (http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-Prime-UX31A-DB51-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook/dp/B00863L2PK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352934778&sr=1-1&keywords=zenbook+prime) (4gb ram, 128 ssd, i5)

I am sure this decision has come up before for some members here and I'm not so much looking for someone to say to me "well whats better for you?" since both machines could work for me. I would really like to hear your opinions on why you chose the macbook air over the zenbook prime and its 1080p IPS display besides just the obvious "well it runs OSX instead of Windows" :)

Thank you so much for your help. It's a big money decision for me as I'm a student and could really use your expertise.

if you never used osx, then prime for the ips screen. otherwise the 2012 screen for the MBA isn't bad, but I wouldn't do it for someone trying to switch from pc to mac.

entatlrg
Nov 17, 2012, 12:07 AM
I wouldn't buy the MacBook Air right now, as its design dates from 2010 and is currently being copied by several ultrabooks out there.

Fixed that for ya.

Zenbook Prime - poor trackpad, poor keyboard, poor battery life, screen is high-resolution but that does not mean it's good. Build quality is fair. It is no MacBook Air.

Don't take my word for it, read the user reviews over at Notebookreview. There you can read about the user's appointment in windows ultrabooks, not just Asus but also Samsung and Lenovo's offerings. In fact many users there are considering buying MacBook Airs just for the purpose of running Windows because it is a superior laptop.

skaertus
Nov 17, 2012, 12:28 AM
Fixed that for ya.

Zenbook Prime - poor trackpad, poor keyboard, poor battery life, screen is high-resolution but that does not mean it's good. Build quality is fair. It is no MacBook Air.

Don't take my word for it, read the user reviews over at Notebookreview. There you can read about the user's appointment in windows ultrabooks, not just Asus but also Samsung and Lenovo's offerings. In fact many users there are considering buying MacBook Airs just for the purpose of running Windows because it is a superior laptop.

Well, I have no doubt that the MacBook Air is a great laptop, but that doesn't prevet others of being too. My sister has a first-generation Zenbook and she loves it.

The sheer fact that the MacBook Air has a 1440x900 resolution would be a deal breaker for me anyway. I will not consider a laptop with a screen resolution lower than 1920x1080, because otherwise I would lose precious work area and my productivity would be severely reduced.

Lindberg
Nov 18, 2012, 07:57 AM
Performance, the MBA is faster according to reviews.

Trackpad, Apple does trackpads like no other computer company.

Better keyboard

Small things like the magnet charger and the relative high volume loudspeaker.

Lone Deranger
Nov 18, 2012, 08:12 AM
They always come crawling back. When will people learn. :p

halledise
Nov 24, 2012, 01:42 PM
Either learn to read or keep your mouth shut.

The original post is asking those who have wrestled with the decision themselves to explain the benefits/reasons why they chose the MACBOOK AIR over a competitor.

I put capitals and bold to make it easier for you to understand that this is a macbook air question.

Have a great day.

nice comment - very polite, very tasteful

AppleAlfred
Nov 24, 2012, 02:34 PM
I have a 4 year old asus eee netbook (single core atom processor! :eek:) that is on its last legs and needs to be replaced.

I've narrowed my choices down to 2 different options:
1) 13 inch macbook air (4gb ram, 128ssd, i5)
2) 1080p zenbook prime (http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-Prime-UX31A-DB51-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook/dp/B00863L2PK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352934778&sr=1-1&keywords=zenbook+prime) (4gb ram, 128 ssd, i5)

I am sure this decision has come up before for some members here and I'm not so much looking for someone to say to me "well whats better for you?" since both machines could work for me. I would really like to hear your opinions on why you chose the macbook air over the zenbook prime and its 1080p IPS display besides just the obvious "well it runs OSX instead of Windows" :)

Thank you so much for your help. It's a big money decision for me as I'm a student and could really use your expertise.

For me it was all about OS and trackpad. I have heard great things about the zenbook's trackpad, but honestly nothing compares to that of a macbook.

Also, keep in mind apple's superior customer service. I always overlooked that until yesterday when my iPhone was having camera issues, walked into the apple store (on one of the busiest days of the year) and got it replaced, no questions asked! In and out in 10 minutes. No one can offer you the service they do, and in a situation like this that should be taken into consideration.

sostoobad
Nov 24, 2012, 06:14 PM
I jumped into the Mac pond about a yr+ ago. I now have a Mac mini, Ipad2 (was a gift) and a 11.6" Air on the way, also have had a 13" air.

All share the same selling point to me that the OP asks....why choose the Air over...even fill in the blank using windows....is because the Air DOES not use windows...although it can. It is the OS that makes it ...then all the niceties after that.

I got SO frustrated using PCs, freeze ups crashes...slowness and the ever popular viruses. I don't know alot about computers but I know what I want and don't want...and pcs and windows have everything i Don't want in a computer.