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Windows Laptop Makers Can't Catch Up to the MacBook Air

PCWorld - "The PC world is buzzing lately about how laptop manufacturers are struggling to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air, which has exploded in popularity since the introduction of the third-gen model in 2010. This year’s fourth-gen update is proving to be the must-have laptop of the year. For every laptop manufacturer not named “Apple”, the race is on to make new super-thin and super-light laptops. Intel calls them Ultrabooks, and the name is catching on, despite being sort of silly."

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fatstarr1938d ago

whats so cool about having a super thin laptop with no essentials that feels flimsy and like it would break under pressure?

snoop_dizzle1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

Travelling? I'd very much like to have an ultraportable, especially on trips or even bringing it along with me everyday. And they finally are starting to pack some power too alongside opting for SSD's versus traditional drives. Would I game on one? No, but I'd certianly use one for work.

Although you do bring up a point (mainly my issue with netbooks) is because they were made so cheaply, they suffered in build quality and were honestly, just crappy. Not to mention stuck mainly on super low end processors. But if you look at ultraportables like the MBA, Lenovo X1, etc, they are solidly made, and don't feel like cheap plastic. The funny thing is, in the ultraportable market, the MBA beats most ultraportables in benchmarks and battery life aside from the Viao Z, but that starts at over 2 grand.

If anything, I find massive laptops to be overrated given that my whole reason to have a laptop is for portability and battery life (build quality is another big plus). Unless it was merely a desktop replacement, I'd build my desktop for power then.

Plus with lightpeak/thunderbolt (appearing on Sony Hardware too) you are able to utilize external GPU's if you are docked. I find this far more appealing than carrying a 17"+ laptop like so many people seem to do. So in the case that you would need a desktop replacement, in a year or two you might actually have ultraportables that pack some pretty solid power.

Is this for gaming? No, but some of us work on our computers. ;)

fatstarr1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

Haha what a great rival you are, your outlook on things are great. I would never think about the other side of the gate since I have a geek point of view. My laptops weight between 5-10 pounds and my desktops between 20-60 pounds. Travel never and tech never really bothers me. Why would someone get a ultraportable vs a tablet if they were so concerned about ease and weight. You make some good points, I think I will just have to wait and see, I still have my doubts about the market it seems like manufactures are making multiple pillars.

Now you have the desktop that’s 1 pillar
Tablets are another pillar
Laptops
Netbooks
Ultraportables
Smart phones
E-books / E-readers
And so on

Its starting to get a little bit crazy everyone is trying to take a market and break it into niche categories . I fear in the end ot might just turn up into a case of the hd-dvd vs the blue ray and people are going to end up screwed after an investment.

snoop_dizzle1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

The thing with tablets at this point (Android and iOS) is that they still really are appliances at this point. Tablets are becoming pretty capable, but not as capable as a traditional OS. The problem was there were poor attempts in putting a full OS on a tablet and still stick to a low pricepoint. At the time, this simply was unreasonable to expect it to be smooth. A perfect example would be HP's earlier tablet (I forget the name of their windows tablet), but it was very wonky. This is where Windows 8 seems to come into play and might do well. I still am a bit skeptical, though.

They are more of an accessory device to a desktop or laptop, which works for many people, and that's good. But at this point, my EVO seems to be doing the job that the tablet would do. That's not to say I haven't considered buying a tablet, though. But I have other expenses at this point.

Now with ultraportables, would this be a primary device? Likely not. But you will likely see laptops become smaller and more powerful and desktops keep becoming more powerful. I find this to be a good thing. I was skeptical about ultraportables until now, because they are finally packing Sandy Bridge i5/i7's and SSDs. While not as powerful as regular i5/i7's, they are becoming surprisingly fast for what they do with SSD's.

The problem is, for many (including me) , this is becoming an even more expensive hobby, and we might just be owning a ton of devices either way, lol.

But ideally, for computers, an ultraportable alongside a powerful desktop would be my choice.

fatstarr1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

I think for tablets to be fully useful as a replacement they would have to get a real os that has real support from everyone and doesn’t feel like a novelty toy for playing games and surfing the net. If windows 8 manages to be good and not Microsoft’s next vista. It might change the tablet world in a big way. It would be a dedicated real os running on a tablet.

I still have the traditional 3 , Desktop, Laptop, netbook. Im thinking about getting a tablet but there is really no need because currently my phone does all that and maybe more. Tablets are about to get super good with NVidia and other company’s trying to push tablets to the next level.

I agree with you on the power issue. Id expect ultra-portables to be crap in that department but it still doesn’t seem cost efficient to me. To save 5 pounds for 200-1500 extra $$$ there needs to be some price drops.

Technology is becoming an expensive hobby for techies that have been there… because the masses are just jumping on blindly without knowing a thing which is screwing up a lot of stuff. Its cool owning devices but not when they all do the same thing in different shapes and forms.

To solve the problem. I think they should have a tablet that is thin and able to be docked into a ultra-thin keyboard bezel then you have to ability to get a super bezel which you can equip with ram and external graphics cards/ processors. Then to top it all off you get to choose your choice of os at any time
But that wouldn’t happen…

Gondee1938d ago

I was looking for a laptop recently, and I looked at all the manufactures offerings. Each of the large ones had something to offer, but it felt half assed. Plastic, shit screens, bad track pads, 3 hour battery life. The only laptop that did all the things pretty well was the Air. Im not an apple fan boy, but when the product is superior to the rest, its simply the best choice.

Also, I noticed that the apple was one of the only laptops that didn't bend or flex under pressure.

snoop_dizzle1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

I'd also take a look at Lenovo. They are another company I look to for solid laptops. Their higher end laptops are pretty awesome and built amazingly.

If you are looking an ultraportables alternative, take a look at the Lenovo X1. The problem I found in configuring it was screen resolution (the 13" Air is 1440x900 vs the non upgradable 1360x768 on the X1...which the 11" MBA comes with). The X1 also comes standard with a traditional drive, but you can upgrade to an SSD. The advantage is you can upgrade to 8 gigs of RAM. But even then, if price is a concern, you still might be paying more for the X1 depending on what upgrades you make. Still a solid competitor, though. And Lenovo builds their laptops pretty well, aside from their lowest end laptops.

Peaceful_Jelly1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

I bought an Asus U35jc-A1 last year and let me say, that laptop is the best thing I ever bought in my life. Is light, is small, is easy to carry around...

Specs:

13" screen, 1366x768 resolution
Core i3 370m
Nvidia 310m with Optimus
4GB Ram
Win7 64-bit

And a year later I'm still getting 5-6 hours of battery life. I have played many Saturn, PS1 and Snes games on it and on my HDtv through the HDMI output. You can add blue-tooth and then you don't even have to use a cable to use your PS3 controllers. I have even streamed a couple games with it on Justin tv and watched 1080p movies on my HDTV... Man this laptop is a beast and is only like $800.

I was going to buy a MacBook air but then I found out that it only has an integrated Intel HD and and it doesn't has an HDMI output either. For $200 dollars less I bought a laptop that is superior to the $999.99 MacBook Air in almost every way.

edit: I mean, superior to the 13.3" MacBook Air that is $1299 and sporting a crappy ULV Core i5 with intel HD vs a full fledged Core i3 with a dedicated Nvidia GPU with optimus.

snoop_dizzle1938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

Nice laptop. I'm not sure that's entirely an ultraportable though? It seems to be more of a 13" MBP competitor, but if it hits the middle of both that is actually quite appealing. The current ultraportables with some power competing that I know of are the Lenovo X1, Adamo, and Viao Z, etc. But Asus is another company I like (for laptops I typically would mainly stick to Lenovo, Apple, and Asus) My biggest issue with that would be the 1366x768 screen (which is on the 11" MBA). I just can't use a screen below 1440x900 or I'll get annoyed.

But I also was looking above the $1299 price point with the i7. The one thing that the Asus lacks though, is an SSD, and with Sandy Bridge processors it makes it actually surprisingly fast. The HDMI out would simply be alleviated with a Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor that you could get cheap online.

But like you, the GPU might become an issue if you do intensive work. At the same time, I would likely do intensive work at a desktop.

At this point, I'm just glad ultraportables are starting to get decently powerful. I never really cared about ultraporables (or netbooks...still don't) until now. I still might hold off on ultraportables for another year or so.

Shackdaddy8361938d ago (Edited 1938d ago )

Man, I've wanted a mac laptop for awhile so I can have both windows and apple operating systems at my disposal but they are just too damn expensive for what they offer. It's ridiculous.