MacBook Air Alternatives

These slim laptops are worth a look if Apple's latest isn't a perfect fit.

When Steve Jobs revealed the new MacBook Air, we were taken aback by its simplicity and elegance. But while the design is revolutionary, the Air appeals to a smaller, more specialized audience, thanks to a stripped-down set of connections and features. With just a single USB port and no expansion slots or optical drive, it's not for everyone, so we put the Air up against a selection of recent high-end ultraportable laptops for a little compare-and-contrast action.

This handy list should give you an idea of the pluses and minuses of each system (and prove that there's no such thing as the perfect laptop), but you'll have to check out the video to really appreciate the side-by-side comparisons.

Apple MacBook Air ($1,799)
+ Super thin, powerful custom CPU, très sexy
- Only one USB port, still kinda heavy

Sony Vaio TZ150 ($2,299)
+ Almost as thin, includes optical drive, plenty of ports
- Expensive, slower CPU, filled with bloatware

Panasonic Toughbook W7 ($2,099)
+ Tough and water-resistant
- Slower CPU, heavy and bulky

Asus U6S ($1,699)
+ Includes optical drive, plenty of ports, cool leather detailing, powerful CPU
- Poor battery life, small touchpad

Toshiba R500 (64GB SSD) ($2,699)
+ A mere 1.7lbs, less expensive SSD option, more ports
- Not as thin, slower CPU

 

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