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Competitors to the 11" MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by maflynn, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I'm curious to know what laptops are direct competitors to the 11" MacBook Air and how they stack up against the MBA.

    In reading some threads, I know the Alienware M11x and perhaps Sony may have a model as well.
  2. macrumors member

    There are several, including Dell, Acer and Sony. Some have more powerful processors, some have longer battery life, some have screens that rival the MBA, but none seem to have put together the combination of these attributes quite like Apple has. I have read where several people have attempted to configure the MBA as a straight Windows 7 system, which I think is going to have limited results. Battery Life and performance on the MBA seems to have a lot to do with very tightly integrated hardware and software, which is usually the case with all Macs.

    I have Windows configured via Bootcamp, and can tell you that battery life takes a hit, but overall, Windows 7 performance is excellent.
  3. macrumors G4

    I wouldn't recommend a MacBook Air as a primary Windows device. The drivers for the touchpad make it a bit too sensitive, plus the machine isn't optimized for Windows' power management techniques. You'll get much lower battery life on Windows 7 than on OS X.

    I think the Sony Vaio X is the closest to the Air, though it is also more expensive. The Dell M11x is good as a gaming PC, though it is much thicker than the Air, and even the 13" MacBook Pro (though it is lighter than a Pro). The Dell Adamo is about the same size as the 13" Air, but it's thicker. It also uses the 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo as its only available processor. It also appears to be being discontinued, since it's no longer available for online order. I've heard that Dell plans some ultra-thin versions of its XPS notebook line, but not until next year.
  4. maflynn, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010



    Staff Member

    Dell did drop the adamo line.

    I just finished looking at the sony vaio x and boy I'm impressed with the design. I'd say it could give apple a run for its money except for the same price point you get an atom processor. They came close design wise, but whiffed on the processor.
  5. macrumors G4

    What, you don't like a computer with a processor that's half as fast as a 7 year old Pentium M on a MHz for MHz basis? :)

    People complain about the Core 2 Duo, but Intel's Atom line can use some improvement.
  6. macrumors regular

    VAIO X is undoubtedly the most sexy laptop, ever. Full stop. And the lightest.
    But it so SLOOOOOOOOOOW! Even for normal browsing and office use, let alone gaming. I loved seeing it on my desk, but every time I was about to use it I was asking myself, can I be a*sed? Too often the answer was no. Therefore it had to go.
    MBA 11" must be the best all rounder though. I'm very much impressed with the device! It's certainly the best ultra portable I ever owned.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    The Alienware M11x is not a competitor to MBA 11 when it weighs almost as much as the MBP 13" along as being twice as thick as the MBA 11's thickest point and is thicker than a MBP 17
    VAIO X come with a super slow Atom
    The VAIO X takes 55 seconds to boot to the Windows 7 desktop even with SSD
    Can't play standard definition content
    The First MB had a better GPU
    Insignificant speaker volume even at maximum
    Three hour battery life
    Yummy bloatware

    No it isn't a MBA competitor
  8. macrumors regular


    How about the 13 inch macbook air:D
  9. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I disagree. Except for the weight the mx11 exceeds the specs of the mba. Yeah its fat and heavy (and ugly) but it has a decent battery and great performance and so should also be considered
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Yes it exceeds the MBA 11 specs because it is super thick (as thick as a desktop replacement is not an ultraportable) and super heavy (90% heavier than MBA 11). With those insane specs it should be much better performance, the CPU isn't that much better (38%) nor is the GPU (35%)
  11. macrumors 6502


    apple set the bar. there is no substitute today.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Acer 3820TG
  13. macrumors 603

    I think that's the wrong way to look at this issue. Is Alienware M11x a good substitution to MBA 11? No. Is MBA 11 a good substitution to Alienware M11x? No. These are all niche products in a not so well defined category. Sure VAIO X is slower than MBA 11. But it's almost twice lighter and has 15 hours battery life (with extended battery). Apple seemingly tries to choose the specs to meet the needs of college students (liberal arts types). One can not say which laptops is better without specifying the target usage model. The truth is, unlike Apple, most other manufacturers offer tons of models so one can choose what he needs. As far as MBA11 type of laptop is concerned, Acer offers some similar models, specifically Aspire 1830 TimelineX:
    * Core™ i5-430UM or Core™ i3-330UM
    * up to 4GB DDR3
    * up to 500GB HDD
    * 11.6" (1366 x 768) LED backlit screen
    * 3.1 lb
    * 6 hour battery life (in laptopmag.com tests - vs 5 hours for MBA 11")
    * $700 (on Amazon)
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Yeah, I was gonna say the TimelineX as well. Good job pointing out what should have been the model for the 11" MBA, lilo777.

    The 1830 also recently got an i7-680UM (1.46Ghz that turbos to 2.53Ghz), the processor many thought Apple would put into the MBA - and maybe would have - if not for the silly Intel/Nvidia lawsuit that's preventing Nvidia from making integrated graphics chipsets for the Core-iX series of processors.

    Whatever the successor to the i7-680UM is, I hope it has decent enough graphics capabilities (OpenCL, mostly, I assume is Apple's criteria) that it can go into the MBA in Summer/Fall 2011. That'll be literally a 2-3x improvement over the Core2's currently used.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sandy Bridge doesn't have OpenCL :(
  16. macrumors 68030

    The m11x has serious hinge issues, so should be discounted unless you like toddling off to get it repaired regularly.
  17. macrumors newbie

    i Sold my Sony Vaio X (3g model) on ebay and got $1500 for it which paid for the 11" MBA. The Sony was a nice looking unit but very slow - the Atom CPU just wasn't enough power. The new MBA is so much faster its not funny.
    The Sony X was also starting to show signs of wear after 10mths usage - the MBA is definitely build to last longer.
    Pitty the MBA doesn't have the built in 3G but when I need this function I will just tether to the iphone4.

  18. macrumors G4

    What's taking Intel so long to get with the program? I thought they are technically one of the backers of OpenCL. In any case, that seems to rule out Apple switching the MacBook Air to the Core i-Series until Ivy Bridge. I still think they should be able to manage to get a Core i5 into a MacBook Pro 13".

    At this point, I think Intel would be better off ending their squabble with nVidia by just entering into a long term contract with them to build the integrated graphics solution for the Core i-Series. That way everybody would get what they want. nVidia would get their money, Intel would establish the precedent that the CPU should include an integrated GPU, and consumers would get faster graphics.
  19. macrumors G4

  20. macrumors 68040


  21. macrumors 6502a


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