CNET Top 5
MacBook Air alternativesFive ultraportable laptops that rival the MacBook Air.
AppleÃ¯Â¿Â½s MacBook Air is helping make Apple the hottest laptop maker. So that begs the question, is there really nothing else worth a damn? IÃ¯Â¿Â½m B.C. with the Top 5 Alternatives to a MBA. TheyÃ¯Â¿Â½re all Window machines, but thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s fair since the MBA runs Windows just fine. #5 is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Like most ThinkPads -- and unlike a lot of Windows laptops -- this guy doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t feel like its made by Mattel. Rock-solid with a clean look, Core i5 CPU like some of the new MBAÃ¯Â¿Â½s, SSD optional, and a webcam that works well in low light. You donÃ¯Â¿Â½t realize how much youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll appreciate that, like for those nasty little videos of yours I donÃ¯Â¿Â½t want to see. On the down side that solid construction brings this 13Ã¯Â¿Â½ machine in at 3.8 pounds vs. 2,3 pounds for the same size MBA. And battery life is weaker, too. #4 Dell XPS 15z This is the thinnest 15Ã¯Â¿Â½ windows laptop out there, with an available full 1080p display to take advantage of that screen size and a nice metal case to give you that hand feel that AppleÃ¯Â¿Â½s MBA has in spades. An MBA trait you wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t get here is battery life: We got 3.5 hours in our video playback test where we got 6:46 from the 13Ã¯Â¿Â½ MBA. Sweet spot price is around $1,200. #3 is the Toshiba Portege R835 Also powered by a Core i5 and a battery that lasts 3 hours longer than the last verion -- a full 7 hour charge, nosing out even the 13Ã¯Â¿Â½ MBA. Also, the price is pretty good for this class around $800. What its missing is sexy. This is not a machine youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll ever have to wipe drool off. At number two is Samsung Series 9 This machine has one thing an MBA doensÃ¯Â¿Â½t have: An even more gut wrenching price! At $1,650 list this 13Ã¯Â¿Â½ beauty requires a commitment and probably a second shift to pay for it. It is the most direct assault on the MBA, with the same weight, SSD, 5.5 hours of battery life, stylish lines and really good display, all powered by the latest Intel Core i5 chip. But you know, even for this money it doensÃ¯Â¿Â½t have that billet machined quality of an Air. Still, its hot, but make sure you shop aggresibvley for price, we have the links to the lowest in the CNET review. The #1 ultraportable when you donÃ¯Â¿Â½t want to carry something with an Apple logo is the Sony Vaio Z (8.2 - 1 / 5) Thin, ligh, powerful, blah, blah, thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s a given at this level. Two things set this one apart: The interesting docking station that grafts on optical drive a nd Blu-Ray, a bunch of extra ports, and a dedicated AMD Radeon 6630M graphics processor. WeÃ¯Â¿Â½ve never seen anyone create an ultraligh with tha range that weÃ¯Â¿Â½d want to own. Oh, the other big distinction? ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s a fortune. Vaio ZÃ¯Â¿Â½s start at 2 grand. Well, you asked for #1. Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein are busy every week digesting the latest ultralights, youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll find them at CNETÃ¯Â¿Â½s .Laptops review section, right off the fornt door. And for mor T5Ã¯Â¿Â½s like this and links to all these 5 machines reviews,, go to Top 5.cnet.com. I am Brian Cooley, thanks for watching.