Pros Please look at summary
Cons Please look at summary
Summary Let me hold your hand and walk you through why many people have not adequately explained the $350 price delta. The MBA retails for $1299.00. Now, add $100.00 to bring it from 2 GB to 4GB of RAM. Now, add an Apple extended warranty for an additional 2 years to bring it up to a total of 3 years (to match the Samsung) for $250.00. This brings the MBA to a total of $1649.00. You can purchase a Samsung Series 9 laptop for $1599.00 from Amazon.com.
Oh wait, I forgot a few things:
1. the Samsung has a back lit keyboard
2. the Samsung has a processor that is two generations ahead of the MBA's Core 2 Duo (the Core i5 allows for four simultaneous threads, not just two, and over-clocks based on processing demand up to 2.3 GHz--meanwhile, the Core 2 Duo in the configured MBA mentioned above is stuck at 1.86 GHz)
3. the Samsung has better wireless connectivity options: Bluetooth 3.0 and WiMax 4G connectivity (neither of which are on the MBA)
4. Duralumin is 2x stronger than aluminum (more expensive too)
5. the Samsung has a MATTE screen, not glossy (which has been a common complaint on Apple's screens) and has a much brighter screen which will save battery life (since it does not have to be set as high to match the MBA--unfortunately the review testing the battery life here is flawed in this respect)
If all this does not add more value than the MBA over and above the similarly configured system I mentioned above then you have confirmed that your opinion is biased and not subjective.
A side note: I love Apple products and I would consider myself an Apple fanboy. I have owned an iPhone 1, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 (including several iPods). Everyone in my family has one too. In this case, Samsung is clearly the winner for bringing the best ultra-portable to market. Who knows, in 6-10 months Apple will probably swing back with a hard punch when it refreshes its MBA line and it completely dominates the Samsung. But for now, the Samsung Series 9 is king.
Pros If you actually "compare" the two side by side with similar options, the samsung comes out cheaper since it comes standard with an i5 processor (not available on the Air) 4GB of memory.
Cons The integrated Intel HD graphics might leave you slightly dissapointed compared to the Geforce 320M on the Air.
Summary Both are great laptops, just depends on your OS preference. Air is nice since you can run both Windows and OS X. Samsung is nice because you dont have to put up with Apple's "trapped in a box" mentality. Although, its a very nicely packaged expensive box :)
Pros Thinner and more bang for your buck
Cons none, as this is simply better than the mac air
Summary You do the math:
13" Samsung 9 Series MacBook Air 13
Price $1599 Price $1299
Includes 4 GB RAM standard - Includes only 2GB RAM. Add 2 GB RAM: $100
Includes 3 year warranty standard - Add 3 year AppleCare coverage: $249
Total Cost: $1599 Total Cost: $1648
Bottom line: It costs less to own the world's thinnest 13" laptop (0.64 inches, 2.88 pounds). Plus, Intel's newest processor, USB 3.0 & WiMax are included. Bottom line: It costs more for the world's second thinnest laptop (0.68 inches, 2.9 pounds). 5 year old processor family, USB 2.0 & no WiMax. Seems simple to me Mac Fan Booooys.
Pros Very light,very thin. Gives me back a lot of room in my briefcase. Battery life is excellent so far. Screen is bright and much better than my Dell which felt washed out. I can actually hear the speakers, very fast and quick to start up from hibernate
Cons Would really like a larger hard drive, but I can live with this. Like the feel of the keyboard, but I sure miss dedicated home / end / pageup and pagedown keys.
Summary A little pricey but you're getting a heck of a lot
Pros One of the highest contrast and vividly color producing screens in a laptop currently, anti-reflective matte finish on screen, 3yr warranty advertised/encouraged on packaging, sound clarity and amplification, aesthetically pleasing, sturdy design, keyboar
Cons Ethernet dongle, slightly warm around the G and H keys when performing heavy tasks, charger (would prefer magnetic like the MBA), needs a magnetic charging port, track-pad needs to be more fluid.
Summary Quick pricing and features run-down:
I'm a previous owner of the 13" MBA with 2GB of ram. With a similarly configured MBA as the Samsung Series 9 you would pay $1800+. How do I get these numbers? $1299 base price, $150 Matte finish (15" MBP pricing that's not even an option on air), $250 to extend 1yr warranty to 3yr Apple care, $100 to upgrade to 4GB ram, $100+ for 2nd gen i5 processor. See the pricing dilemma now? Also, with the Samsung you get a higher contrast screen with more vivid color reproduction, and one of the brightest screens produced (a retina scorching 400nit-can be used outside without a problem) (MBA has higher resolution, but not significantly). Also, you are getting the latest hardware. Even with the 2nd gen upgraded processor coming in June/July for the MBA, you still get more for your money with the Samsung Series 9. Oh, I also forgot to add that the Samsung has an auto adjusting backlit keyboard and screen that adjusts to the ambient lighting ! ! ! ! The charger that comes with this laptop can also comfortably fit in your pocket? Battery life is similar between the two devices. Both keyboards on either device is a pleasure to use (comfortable with prolonged use). The speakers are louder on the Series 9. I had trouble watching Netflix with my MBA, although you're at a loss of bass with the series 9, the speakers are louder and sound more crisp.
What's not to like about the Series 9:
What I don't like about the Samsung that the MBA has is a magnetic charging port, but that's not a deal breaker for me by any means. I am impressed that magnets are used in the side drop-down ports as longevity was a concern for me. The side ports feel sturdy and reassured my confidence before I purchased the product from Best Buy. I'm sure the drop down ports will be an issue for potential buyers as it was for myself. One other negative is that the keyboard does get noticeably warm around the G and H keys under heavy loads, but not anything that will end the world. I think the dongle for the Ethernet adapter is ridiculous. This was Samsung's attempt to please everyone and for those an Ethernet port would be a deal breaker for. I'd prefer they left it out like the MBA; it will be useless for me as Wi-Fi is common these days for student, companies and local hangouts. The Samsung has a plastic bezel and area around the keyboard. Although it has plastic, it appears to be of good quality surprisingly; you'll have to see for yourself as it's difficult to describe high-quality plastic lol. Although the track-pad on the Series 9 is beautiful and comfortable, Apple's track-pad is still much more fluid to use. The sound freq range is higher on the MBA; although the Samsung's speakers are louder and more crisp, they have no bass. The bass is not a deal breaker and the speakers by no means are poor in sound. However, I have to give credit where it's deserved. This isn't a disappointment for me. A deal breaker would have been poor sounding speakers in the Series 9 which they were not.
Consumer Brand Loyalty:
Between my old 13" MBA and the Samsung series 9, I'm much more pleased with my Samsung. I also have more confidence in the Samsung brand when discussing any hardware issues with the company. Apple is in the habit lately of just telling their customers they are disillusioned with a problem, don't know what they are talking about or aren't using Apple products properly. To add to the mix, it is being rumored that Apple is planning to use Samsung's higher quality screens in the Ipad 3 which is a serious contender for Apple. This just emphasized the already high quality screen of Apple products to that of Samsung's. Overall, I'm very pleased with the Samsung Series 9. From the high quality packaging and to the device itself, I'm a proud owner now of a Samsung Series 9.
I enjoy both Apple and Windows platform powered devices. I'm neither a fanboy or Windows all the way kind of guy. However, I have to hand it to Samsung although they are late to the drawing board. Apple set the standard and Samsung perfected it.