With the 2008 release of MacBook Air, a new era in laptops was born. At release, the MacBook Air was billed as the “world’s thinnest laptop,” with a weight of 3.0 pounds and a height of .76 inches when closed. As with all successful Apple products, Windows-based hardware manufacturers didn’t take long to follow with their own competing products. The market is suddenly crowded with ultralight models. Basically, for every computer manufacturer, at least one ultralight exists.
Still, Apple has its benefits. And its downsides. If you can’t decide between a Mac-based or a Windows-based ultralight, here are a few things to consider.
Apple MacBook Air
Many have fallen in love with the iPhone and iPad, so it stands to reason that those same consumers would wonder if now might be the time to make the leap to the Mac operating system. There is definitely a learning curve, but Mac loyalists swear nothing compares to the quality and reliability of a Mac-based system.
Certainly, iPhone users have been introduced to this quality. Apple has an attention to detail that is unmatched by its Windows competitors. The design makes it clear everything has been considered, from the location of the headphone jack to the one-touch switch that instantly silences the phone’s ringer.
However, there are some negatives to the Mac operating system, one of which is a learning curve. Many users learned on Windows-based systems and the Mac OS is different in many key areas. Still, this is an obstacle that can be overcome with time and patience.
One of the biggest deterrents to Mac-based equipment is its price. Apple products are always priced higher than competitors, so for those on a limited budget, there may not be an option. Still, Mac loyalists insist an Apple item will outlast its competitors, resulting in a product you can use for many years past the point when your Windows device would have died.
Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo…you name it, there’s an Ultralight available from that manufacturer. But as you read the comparisons to Apple’s MacBook Air, you may start to wonder, why not just by a MacBook Air?
One of the primary answers is ‘price.’ You’ll likely find with Windows-based ultralights, you’re paying less for the same functionality. You’ll also be able to use software you already have on hand, assuming you’ve been a Windows user for a while. If you switch to Mac, all of your existing software will be useless.
One negative to the MacBook Air is its inability to read CDs or DVDs. While this is becoming less of an issue as everything migrates to the Cloud, it still can be a clincher for users. It’s important to note, though, that as ultralights introduce this new lightweight, thin form factor, optical drives are being sacrificed by many manufacturers due to the fact that they add weight and bulk.
In the end, your choice will likely come down to which model best fits your needs. Luckily, there are many choices available to help you find the ultralight for you at a price that falls within your budget.