Having reviewed the first four ultrabook laptops to hit stores, and spent some hands-on time with a just-announced HP version, it's clear Apple's dominance of the superthin laptop category faces a serious challenge.
Acer, Asus, Toshiba, and Lenovo all have impressive systems, all under 18 millimeters thick, and all with second-generation Intel Core i-series processors and solid-state drives (SSDs). The key is that these 13-inch laptops start at $799, while the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299.
That said, stack all of these systems together on a table and we'll still pick the Air for general everyday use, as long as price is no object. To date, no one has matched the multitouch trackpad experience of the MacBook, along with its excellent keyboard, and simple sleep/hibernate quick-start states.
But, if you're looking for the best value based on system specs, the field is suddenly wide open.… Read more