8 laptops that rival Apple's new MacBook

Apple recently announced a new addition to its Mac family - the MacBook. After being discontinued back in July 2011, it's back with a bang. But what about if you're not interested in the MacBook? We've found eight alternatives that might be for you.

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  • Gold MacBook Alternate The new MacBook
  • Dell XPS 13 Dell XPS 13
  • Lenovo laVie Z Lenovo LaVie Z
  • ux305 edition 02 Asus ZenBook UX305
  • Aspire S7 Acer Aspire S7
  • Toshiba Toshiba Kirabook
  • SurfacePro3Primary Print Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
  • topic macbook air 2015 MacBook Air
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Apple recently announced a brand new MacBook at its Apple Watch event that’s only 13.1mm thin and weighs only 0.9kg. It has a 12” retina display, which is also the thinnest ever on a Mac at only 0.88mm. That’s not all though, it has the new USB-C that can handle data transfer, video output and power input all from one port as well as Force Touch, which brings a new dimension of interactivity to the Mac.

If you want to find out more information about the MacBook, you can find out more about it here.

So, what happens if you don’t want to buy the new MacBook? Don’t worry, we’ve found some great MacBook alternatives that you might find enticing.

Read: Here's why it doesn't matter that the MacBook is expensive, underpowered and only has one port

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Next Prev Gold MacBook Alternate

Apple recently announced a brand new MacBook at its Apple Watch event that’s only 13.1mm thin and weighs only 0.9kg. It has a 12” retina display, which is also the thinnest ever on a Mac at only 0.88mm. That’s not all though, it has the new USB-C that can handle data transfer, video output and power input all from one port as well as Force Touch, which brings a new dimension of interactivity to the Mac.

If you want to find out more information about the MacBook, you can find out more about it here.

So, what happens if you don’t want to buy the new MacBook? Don’t worry, we’ve found some great MacBook alternatives that you might find enticing.

Read: Here's why it doesn't matter that the MacBook is expensive, underpowered and only has one port

 

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is a good example of a laptop that can compete with Apple’s new MacBook. In terms of form factor, it’s pretty impressive. The XPS 13 only weighs 1.2kg and is 6-18mm thin; according to Dell, the XPS 13 is the smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet, with a similar size to a standard 11-inch laptop.

How is this possible? The display is described as ‘borderless’ because the bezels around the display are only 5.2mm thin, so it’s as close to an edge-to-edge display as you’ll find. That’s not all that’s impressive though; in addition to being borderless, it’s also an UltraSharp Quad+ infinity display with touchscreen capabilities.

Even though it’s described as the smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet, it still manages to fit a full size, backlit keyboard (a la MacBook) to make typing in darker environments more comfortable.

Performance wise, it comes packing fourth-generation Intel Core i7 Processors, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD as standard. It’s also made with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass and apparently has a 15-hour battery life, which is pretty impressive. The Dell XPS 13 retails for around £1,099.

 

Lenovo LaVie Z

Next in line is the Lenovo LaVie Z, which, according to Lenovo is the lightest laptop in the world (seeing a trend here?). In fact, it only weighs 0.8kg and has a 16.8mm thin body. This is made possible by a super light Mg-Li Alloy material and “uniquely developed build techniques and components,” according to the company.

Display wise, it comes with a 13.3-inch display with a 2560x1440 resolution. It’s also an anti-glare display and supports touch screen input, great for use with Windows 8 - which the LaVie Z runs. It also offers a 180-degree lay flat hinge or a 360-degree hinge, depending on the model you choose.

It comes with a fifth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, but a rather disappointing SSD capacity at only 128GB. It also comes with 4GB RAM as standard, but an 8GB RAM model will also be available. The battery life isn’t the greatest either, clocking in at around 6 hours on a single charge. The Lenovo LaVie Z is currently due for release in May and will cost $1,299 (around £900-1000).

 

Asus ZenBook UX305

The Asus ZenBook UX305 is an aesthetically beautiful machine. Apart from being 12.7mm thick and only weighing 1.2kg, it comes in two finishes – white Ceramic Alloy or Obsidian Stone, with spun metal hairline details and diamond cut edges. It also has a 13.3-inch auto IPS full HD display, which can be upgraded to an IPS QHD+ display.

Unlike other MacBook alternatives, the Asus ZenBook comes with an Intel Core M processor, which Asus says combined with a SSD will be faster than an i5 processor with a 500GB HDD. Like the MacBook, the ZenBook also features fanless cooling, which dissipates heat with a natural airflow. This results in a near silent laptop with better performance and battery life than if it’d had a typical cooling system.

It also comes with 8GB RAM and a fairly standard 128GB SSD. The ZenBook is a lot cheaper than other alternatives too, with a price tag of only £649.95.

 

Acer Aspire S7

The Aspire S7 is Acer’s answer to a premium notebook that’s available in two screen sizes: 13.3” and 11.6”. It’s also incredibly light and thin, measuring in at only 1.3kg and 12.9mm thick.

It comes with a WQHD screen with a maximum resolution of 2560x1440 that also has touchscreen capabilities. One annoyance with touchscreen laptops is that the display moves back ever so slightly with every tap – that’s not the case with the Aspire S7. The S7 has a dual-torque hinge that locks the screen in place when you tap on it, but releases whenever you open or close the lid.

With such a slender display on the S7, extra protection was needed. That protection comes in the form of Corning Gorilla Glass, which covers the display lid and makes it stronger and more rigid.

It boasts fifth-generation Intel Dual Core i5/i7 processors, depending on the model that you want. Acer also estimates that you’ll get around 8 and a half hours of battery life from a single charge, though this will vary depending on usage. The Aspire S7 has a range of configurations, with the cheapest starting at £799.97.

 

Toshiba Kirabook

The Toshiba Kirabook is a competitor to take note of. It comes packing a WQHD+ display with a 2560x1440 PixelPure display that Toshiba claims has a 90% higher pixel density than standard HD, measuring in at 221 pixels per inch. It also has touchscreen capabilities with 10-point multi-touch that’s covered with Corning Concore Glass and a fingerprint resistant coating.

According to Toshiba, the AZ91 pressed magnesium alloy used in the Kirabook’s LCD cover is over 100% stronger than the A6063 aluminum alloy used in the MacBook Air. Toshiba didn’t stop there though; it has a honeycomb designed reinforced base that helps to increase structural rigidity.

The Kirabook boasts a sleek profile, with a width of only 17.8mm and a weight of 1.3kg. It also comes with a fifth-generation Intel Core i7 Processor. Interestingly, Toshiba made the decision to still supply power to USB ports when it’s in sleep mode or turned off, which means that you’ll be able to have your phone plugged in and charging while the laptop is powered off in your bag. If you’re interested in the Toshiba Kirabook, you can pick one up starting at $1399 (£950-1050).

 

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 isn’t your typical MacBook competitor, but it can certainly handle itself against laptops. It has a 12” touch screen display with a 2160x1440 pixel resolution and is only 9.1mm thick. It’s also the heaviest out of the MacBook alternatives, weighing in at a rather light 0.8kg.

The Surface Pro 3 comes with a Surface Pen, and while you may think that using a stylus isn’t the same as a pen and paper because you can’t rest your hand on the display, Microsoft have come up with a solution. The company claims to have palm block technology built into the Surface Pro 3 that’ll let you rest your hand on the screen without input being registered.

It’s powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Processor, depending on the model chosen and should last around 9 hours on average. It has two 1080p HD cameras built in and stereo speakers, making it a viable option for conference calls. It also has an adjustable kickstand so you’re able to find the perfect angle for comfortable use. The Microsoft Surface Pro isn’t that expensive either, starting at only £639.

 

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus

The ATIV Book 9 Plus is Samsung’s answer to the MacBook. It has a 12.2-inch screen with a resolution of 2560x1600 – but that’s not the interesting thing about the display. Usually, laptops have a brightness level of 350 nits; the Book 9 Plus can double that if needed with its outdoor mode, rocketing up to 700 nits.

It has to be noted that an increase of nits will have a negative effect on battery life. Samsung have said that it’ll last 10.5 hours with average use if it’s set at 350 nits. At double the brightness, it’s safe to assume that battery life will be halved to around 5 hours per charge.

It has a sleek form factor, weighing only 0.95kg and measuring in at 11.68mm. This is partly thanks to its fanless design, similar to the MacBook. The standard model packs an Intel Broadwell Core M Processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. As an extra security measure, you can even set up a draw path on your trackpad to be used for login purposes. If you’re interested in the ATIV Book 9 Plus, you can pick one up for around £782.

 

2015 13-inch MacBook Air

The last MacBook alternative is one of Apple’s own, the MacBook Air. Even though the new MacBook is around 20% thinner than the MacBook Air, which measures in at 12.7mm at its thickest point, it’s still a good alternative. It’s also light, weighing in at only 1.3kg.

It has a 13.3-inch LED backlit display with a 1440x900 resolution and a fifth-generation 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 Processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7Ghz. It comes with 4GB of memory and 128GB SSD. It also has a FaceTime HD camera, which can be used for FaceTime or other video calling services.

With specs like these, you’d expect a less than satisfactory battery life right? Apparently not, as Apple claims that its 13” MacBook Air will last 12 hours on a single charge, describing it as an “all day battery life”.

Of course, with an Apple laptop running OS X Yosemite you get all the extra features that Apple users love, especially if they have an iPhone. If you’ve got a compatible iPhone, you can make and receive both calls and texts directly from your laptop. That’s not all either; if you’re writing an email on your iPhone and you want to carry on, on your MacBook Air, all you have to do is open the email app and you can carry on right where you left off. The MacBook Air isn’t as expensive as the MacBook either, coming in at only £849.

See also: Four reasons why you shouldn't buy the new MacBook

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