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Old Aug 20, 2012, 12:04 PM   #26
intervenient
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I'm excited for W8, but not until a few better tablets (dockable laptops) come out. I love my MBA, but I really want a beater laptop, but I'd love to combine them all in one into a beater tablet. Something that I'm not afraid to take outside and do a little light programming on while I'm not at the school's lab or a desktop at home.

That's the dream though.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 04:09 AM   #27
Fuire
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Great responses guys. Thank you!

So there seems to be a general consensus that as fast as fast and light laptops go the MBA is slightly above the rest in at least one category, despite its stagnant display quality, and that the combination of the software (esp OSX Mountain Lion) and hardware adds up to a more complete experience than on any comparable ultrabook.

Up for contenders we have:
  1. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
  2. Asus Zenbook UX31A/ Zenbook Prime
  3. Samsung Series 9

and also perhaps the
  • Asus Zenbook UX32A
  • Acer Aspire S5
  • Dell XPS
  • Vizio Thin and Light

Something that was touched on was the Surface tablets. Does anyone think the Pro version (or maybe even the RT version which would be very tempting at a potential $199) is going to turn out to be a real contender in the ultrabook sphere? Or will it be marred by Windows 8/ Metro?

Last edited by Fuire; Aug 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM. Reason: rectification of error
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 04:15 AM   #28
iamsophie
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Hey!
Well honestly, I would recommend going to a computer retailer and take a look there
If you are interested in windows more, then that's what I would do. See which one seems to be the right size and specs.
Remember, sometimes higher specs will be a bit bigger.
IMHO, I am an Apple fan, and I would get a MBA, but it just depends really. Do you need any windows apps? What apple apps do you already own (that you can't buy on windows?)
See what you prefer and let us know what you get
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 10:06 AM   #29
Roman2K~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuire View Post
Up for contenders we have:
  1. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
  2. Asus Zenbook UX31A
  3. Samsung Series 9
  4. Asus Zenbook Prime
The UX31A is the Zenbook Prime (13" model). The old Zenbook was UX31, is that what you meant?
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 10:11 AM   #30
Fuire
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Originally Posted by Roman2K~ View Post
The UX31A is the Zenbook Prime (13" model). The old Zenbook was UX31, is that what you meant?
Yes, although I think I meant the UX32 as further alternative. Thanks for flagging that up! Edited appropriately.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 10:18 AM   #31
Roman2K~
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Originally Posted by Fuire View Post
Yes, although I think I meant the UX32 as further alternative. Thanks for flagging that up! Edited appropriately.
Alright . UX32A then?
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 12:33 PM   #32
Smartie
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If going Windows I would seriously consider the Sony Vaio Z-series. It looks amazing and can be configured to come with a separate dock with DVD/bluray reader/writer and a dedicated 1gb VRAM GPU that can be used at home.

See a configuration here https://shop.sony.co.uk/shop/ipc/displayLayout/(rdb=0&cScrollCharGroupName=%24BASE_GROUP&xcm=PCM_b2ccrmstandard&layout=26_184_74_75_77_78_79_80_82_ 91_92_151&cInstId=1&cCharName=C1000000009_Z1311&uiarea=9&cCharGroupName=%24BASE_GROUP&carea=%24ROOT& citem=48867705D6F90083E10080002BC29B854F8FCB1FC9950033E10080002BC29B73)/.do
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 03:18 PM   #33
truciet
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I used to think PC's over Mac's but ever since Apple fixed the AHCI issue in all 2012 MacBook's, you can now get full SATA 3 speeds.

Previous 2011 and on, in Windows, the hard drives were in IDE mode so that was a huge disappointment.

So really right now, any MacBook can be used as a full PC now. With the high quality construction, I don't see any reason to get an ultrabook.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 03:48 PM   #34
Roman2K~
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So really right now, any MacBook can be used as a full PC now. With the high quality construction, I don't see any reason to get an ultrabook.
+1. I don't see a reason to bother with non-Apple PCs these days. With the MacBook Air you get a full blown robust, high quality PC with guaranteed long-term OS X compatiblity in addition to Linux and the old Microsoft mess of an OS, plus the unbeatable warranty and excellent value (for base configurations at least).
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 03:50 PM   #35
KPOM
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Originally Posted by truciet View Post
I used to think PC's over Mac's but ever since Apple fixed the AHCI issue in all 2012 MacBook's, you can now get full SATA 3 speeds.

Previous 2011 and on, in Windows, the hard drives were in IDE mode so that was a huge disappointment.

So really right now, any MacBook can be used as a full PC now. With the high quality construction, I don't see any reason to get an ultrabook.
Of course, the i7 MacBook Airs have a so-far unfixed EFI bug that prevents Turbo Boost from fully launching from within Boot Camp. It doesn't seem to affect the i5s or MacBook Pros, so hopefully Apple will get around to fixing it.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuire View Post
Great responses guys. Thank you!

Up for contenders we have:
  1. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
  2. Asus Zenbook UX31A/ Zenbook Prime
  3. Samsung Series 9

and also perhaps the
  • Asus Zenbook UX32A
  • Acer Aspire S5
  • Dell XPS
  • Vizio Thin and Light
The Vizio Thin and Light has a great display, but the trackpad is awful. My dad has one. It isn't a big deal for him since he uses a mouse, but as a general rule I prefer trackpads. Also, oddly, the Vizio is even more minimalist than the MacBook Air as far as ports (just 2 USB 3.0 and HDMI - no Ethernet, no SD card slot, or Thunderbolt).
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 03:57 PM   #36
plucky duck
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If you don't want or need OSX then getting an Macbook is an expensive and unnecessary option. I enjoy using OSX more so than Windows, and don't need Windows other than for gaming. OSX is just that much more user friendly and intuitive, even though I've used Windows for decades. I am a layman, and OSX tends to me better. It's simple and it works, yeah really.

The Air offers everything I am looking for, both hardware and software. The trackpad especially is such a joy to use.

I've tried the Samsung Series 9, but it just wasn't for me. Loved the design, it's much better than the Air, thin bezel, thinner than the Air, but the keyboard was too shallow for my tastes and the trackpad really was frustrating to use.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 04:21 PM   #37
sn0warmy
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I haven't read the entire thread but figured I should chime in with my experience since it seems to fall right in line with what you are debating...

For the past 1.5 years I've just been using a Dell laptop provided by my company. Previous to this I've owned 3 generations of Macbook Pros. About 2 months ago I decided it was time to get a more portable laptop. As I have grown quite fond of Windows, mainly due to the integration of my proprietary work software, I was initially looking at ultrabooks.

After a couple of visits to the local Microsoft store I ended up purchasing an Asus Zenbook. While I did like the overall design at first, I was having issues with a couple keys not responding properly. I exchanged it for another Zenbook which was plagued with display flickering issues. So this time I decided to exchange it for the Samsung Series 9 13". Overall I liked the design but the laptop felt cheap compared to the Zenbook, and especially compared to my girlfriend's 3 year old 13" Macbook pro.

After about 2 days of use I decided to return the Samsung within the full refund window and re-evaluate my situation. After spending another few weeks debating on what to do, I went up to the local Apple store to take a look at the revamped 13" Macbook Air's. I initially loved the overall build quality and the feel of OSX, which I forgot how much I missed.

Needless to say I picked up the Macbook Air and can honestly say that I should have just went with this from the beginning. It's obviously got a much more solid build quality and the ease of use and features built into Mountain Lion make this a no brainer in my book.

I'd go with the Macbook Air over the Zenbook and Series 9 again in a heartbeat.

Last edited by sn0warmy; Aug 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 03:48 AM   #38
KohPhiPhi
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Quite frankly, this decision is all about the OS you want to use.

The MBA 13" is a fantastic piece of hardware, but so are the Zenbook and Samsung 9 series. All of them will satisfy you. So the decision should be based on OSX vs. Windows really.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 04:10 AM   #39
Roman2K~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KohPhiPhi View Post
Quite frankly, this decision is all about the OS you want to use.

The MBA 13" is a fantastic piece of hardware, but so are the Zenbook and Samsung 9 series. All of them will satisfy you. So the decision should be based on OSX vs. Windows really.
Not really since the choice of OS for the MacBook Air is a superset of that of the alternative. Linux and Windows run perfectly on bare metal, and at near-native performance virtualized (except for 3D tasks), while OS X is not guaranteed to work on other PCs and if it does, the workarounds are likely to not be supported in the long run.

Software-wise:
  • MBA: OS X | Linux | Windows 7, 8
  • Competition: OS X* | Linux | Windows 7, 8
* Not guaranteed, temporary workarounds

Hardware-wise:
  • MBA: Build quality | Battery | Display* | Keyboard | Trackpad | Warranty | Price
  • Zenbook Prime: Build quality | Battery | Display | Keyboard | Trackpad | Warranty | Price**
* Inferior to the Zenbook's (1080p, IPS), but better than the rest
** Lower value given the poor warranty service
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 04:11 AM   #40
Fuire
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Originally Posted by KohPhiPhi View Post
Quite frankly, this decision is all about the OS you want to use.
The OS will undoubtedly affect the way you use the hardware, and the MBA/ OSX ML combination has a certain synergy to it, but I was trying to steer away from analysis purely based on OS. Although most people have a preference, many of the people on this forum (myself included) will be happy using OSX or Windows.
Bootcamp makes that choice slightly less of an issue in any case, even though the MBA's battery life on Windows is substantially lower than some of the leading ultrabooks (as well as its own battery life running OSX).
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 04:43 AM   #41
twintin
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Originally Posted by plucky duck View Post
If you don't want or need OSX then getting an Macbook is an expensive and unnecessary option.
If you want an ultrabook like PC like the OP, then the PC variants aren't exactly cheap either if you are looking for a good one like the Series 9 or the ASUS Zenbook Prime. None of the latter does even have an 8 GB RAM option at 13".
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 03:53 PM   #42
jeremyka
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Originally Posted by Fuire View Post
The OS will undoubtedly affect the way you use the hardware, and the MBA/ OSX ML combination has a certain synergy to it, but I was trying to steer away from analysis purely based on OS. Although most people have a preference, many of the people on this forum (myself included) will be happy using OSX or Windows.
Bootcamp makes that choice slightly less of an issue in any case, even though the MBA's battery life on Windows is substantially lower than some of the leading ultrabooks (as well as its own battery life running OSX).
Macbook running windows makes fairly average (mainly because it was not designed to run windows) and overpriced ultrabook so OS decision is a major one in this case.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 08:54 PM   #43
calvol
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There were three things that sold me on the Air:
1) 1440x900 resolution
2) Trackpad
3) Battery life

I looked at the UX-31A at BB, and it has surpassed the Air on the Display with an IPS screen, and the trackpad is nearly as good. It will be a serious contender when I upgrade my 2010 Air. We'll see what Apple brings in 2013.
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 02:07 PM   #44
Vyruss
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Originally Posted by Smartie View Post
If going Windows I would seriously consider the Sony Vaio Z-series. It looks amazing and can be configured to come with a separate dock with DVD/bluray reader/writer and a dedicated 1gb VRAM GPU that can be used at home.

See a configuration here https://shop.sony.co.uk/shop/ipc/dis...02BC29B73)/.do
The Sony Vaio Z looks great on paper but from actual experience it is terrible. I had mine for a few days and then promptly returned it.

Build quality was terrible, I thought it was going to break in my hands. The screen is way too flimsy for a machine of that price point. The keyboard was also just awful, it literally has zero travel, you really cannot tell when you actuate a key.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 08:43 PM   #45
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Apple getting a new customer?

Originally I looked for an ultrabook (finally Wintel has something thin!) then it's always one problem or the other, AND to top off they aren't any cheaper than an MBA! So I want no-thinking, just works notebook and Apple has reputation for best hardware so that's that.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 08:51 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by KPOM View Post
Mountain Lion is made for the MacBook Air. Even if you don't like it on the iMac, give it a try. The reverse scrolling, etc. make a lot more sense with the large trackpad.

I have seen the Samsung Series 9, and my dad has a Vizio Thin and Light (14"). While the Ultrabooks have their strengths, they all tend to be missing something, usually a workable trackpad. The Vizio's trackpad is awful, which greatly detracts from the otherwise solid machine (its screen is very good and has a 1600x900 resolution). The Series 9 is lighter than the Air, but it, too, has trackpad issues.
Hi KPOM,
Your forgetting one critical point. The series 9 and Vizio run Windows..That in and of itself is enough reason to go with OSX.
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 09:11 PM   #47
plucky duck
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Originally I looked for an ultrabook (finally Wintel has something thin!) then it's always one problem or the other, AND to top off they aren't any cheaper than an MBA! So I want no-thinking, just works notebook and Apple has reputation for best hardware so that's that.
I really tried to make a conscious effort to shy away from Apple, thinking I would be satisfied with an Ultrabook. I came out disappointed with the trackpad/keyboard experience from the Ultrabooks I've tried. I haven't tried the Lenovo X1 Carbon, but I've always been satisfied with the Thinkpad experience.

The MBA, especially the brand new clearance 2011 model I got from Bestbuy, offers very competitive pricing compared to Ultrabooks and with the ability to dual boot it was pretty much a no brainer. The added value was in the OSX and larger 256GB SSD, with an incredible trackpad/keyboard, at the same price point as an 128GB SSD ultra book.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 02:06 AM   #48
ESUNintel
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I think I like OS X and Win8

I know this sounds crazy - but I did replace my 13" retina display MB Pro for a Windows 8 machine. I completely got rid of the new Mac for two reasons - one, I wanted to see if I could live without a Mac and perhaps get used to Windows 8, and two, although the 13" MB retina has made design enhancements, I found it to be to heavy (I've been a MB Air user since the first gen).

I think I was also getting a bit bored of not having a unique laptop (I'm in IT - having a cool laptop is a fashion statement ). I ended up going with the Sony Vaio Duo 11 (sure, maybe it looks a bit weird, but it works, and it's different). The reason why I went with the Duo 11 over others was because I didn't want a laptop with a touch screen, like the Vaio T, and from past experiences I know that pure slates, like the Samsung 7 series, are a hassle to carry around and use if you forget the keyboard at home - not to mention that carrying a tablet with an external keyboard around looks dorky.

From a hardware perspective, I'm happy. The computer has 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Core i7, a backlit keyboard, and a pretty cool screen. I don't have a trackpad though, which has been a challenge getting used to not having one, and there is no way the Duo 11 (or any Windows machine) lasts as long as a MacBook on battery life - thankfully Sony offers external battery option on some of their models, resulting in more unwanted weight, but a must for travel.

Have I been able to survive without a Mac? Maybe - but I do use my iPhone and iPad heavily, so that might be helping keep things balanced. Am I happy with Windows 8? Yes. I do think I will end up getting another Mac in the near future. I'm going to wait a bit to see if any rumors of a MB Air retina get serious, otherwise, I might get the new iMac.

My suggestion for anyone buying a computer would be to go with a Mac, unless you plan on getting a touchscreen computer. The touchscreen has added another way I can interact with my system, and I've become accustomed to now use a physical keyboard, an on screen keyboard, a mouse, and the touch screen to be quick and productive. I can't really justify the reason for having Windows 8 on a non-touchscreen system, other than perhaps the live tiles providing real time data and the app store.

I think it might be nice for Apple to consider creating a touchscreen system, the added interaction capability could add to productivity if the right apps are created.

If you got this far - sorry for the long post, but being a long time Mac person, I just wanted to express my opinion on using Windows 8 for the last few weeks
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