The Macbook Air has been around for years now and it could be considered to be the very first Ultrabook in existence. To put it into terms, ultrabooks are laptops that are a cross between a netbook and a full-size notebook. It's high-performance put inside a light, portable body. The Macbook Air is a testament to that but a lot of competitors have popped up over the years.
Manufacturers like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo have tried their hardest to put out an ultrabook that can compete with the Macbook Air in all aspects; design, interface, reliability, and performance. With so many competitors, how does Apple cope?
Firstly, most ultrabooks have taken a lot of different designs and looks. Some feature a single sturdy unibody much like what the Macbook Air looks like. Others have more aesthetic qualities, while some have even gone as far as to being a tablet-laptop hybrid. Still, the Macbook Air's aluminum unibody frame is sturdier, more rigid and more compact than most other ultrabooks in the market.
When it comes to the keyboard and trackpad, Apple still reigns with its reliable and ergonomic backlit keyboard design and responsive trackpad. The trackpad, for the most part, is the most important thing to consider in portable laptops since most of these devices only have one USB slot and won't be a place for USB mice.
Apple's trackpad is responsive, well-built, and well-designed with minimal glitches and jumping that most other ultrabooks suffer in.
The screen is where the Macbook Air is lost in competition. The latest model of the 13-inch Macbook Air only has a non-glare 1440 x 990 LCD screen, which pales in comparison to what some ultrabooks can offer.
Performance-wise, the Macbook Air sports the Intel Haswell chips and can support up to 4GB of RAM for a speedy processing speed. Ultrabooks support more powerful hardware, with entry-level ones having the Intel core-i3 processor while more high-end ultrabooks have up to core-i5 and core-i7.
The Macbook Air comes with PCIe compatible SSD's but for better graphics, ultrabooks have more to offer with some ultrabooks having RAID graphics for gaming. Then again, Apple computers aren't internationally known for being a gaming platform.
In terms of battery life, nothing can top the Macbook Air with its 11+ hours run time. Most ultrabooks can only get around 6-9 hours of battery life. While ultrabooks do have detachable battery packs that can be swapped, it costs and weighs more to just match the Macbook's battery endurance.
Overall, the Macbook Air still tops over most ultrabooks with the exception of the screen resolution. This does come with a premium price tag however, but for what you are getting, it might be all well worth purchasing.