Apple MacBook Air While Apple doesn't own the exclusive rights to the super-skinny notebook guest list any longer, it is still the market leader. But while the latest MacBook Air impressed us greatly, the wow-factor has worn off slightly, due to this being the third iteration of the current design.The 13-inch MacBook Air has new Intel CPUs, better battery life, and an improved 720p Webcam, and finally adds USB 3.0 ports, while shaving $100 off the price from last year's models.
But, The design, while strong, stays largely the same: there's no Ethernet port, and the base SSD storage option of 128GB is smaller than a standard hard drive, though common for ultrabooks.
The bottom line: This year's MacBook Air opts for gradual improvements rather than anything revolutionary, but lowered prices continue to make it the go-to mainstream recommendation for any MacBook owner-to-be. Specifications
ProcessorIntel 3rd Gen Core i5 1.8 GHz ( Dual-Core )( 2.8 GHz )
Memory4 GB/ 8 GB (max)
Hard Drive128 GB
Operating SystemApple Mac OS X Mountain Lion
Display Type13.3 in
Max Resolution1440 x 900 ( WXGA+ )
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Optical DriveNone Price;$1,199 VS Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch The 13-inch Samsung Series 5 535U3C-A01 is a great little Ultrabook competitor that manages to keep its price low thanks to AMD innards.With a slim, sturdy design and a powerful mainstream CPU, the touch-enabled Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch is a great sub-$900 13-inch Windows 8 machine.
But, Good thing it has a touch screen, because the touch pad is a bit jumpy. Performance is slower than that of similar Core i5 laptops.
The bottom line: Samsung's midprice Series 5 UltraTouch looks and feels like a more expensive machine, but keeps it simple by skipping the complex hybrid mechanics of so many new Windows 8 systems. Specifications
Processor3rd Gen Core i5Intel i5-3317U / 1.7 GHz ( 2.6 GHz ) ( Dual-Core )
Memory4 GB / 8 GB (max)
Hard Drive500 GB - Serial ATA-300 - 5400 rpm
Operating SystemWindows 8 64-bit Edition
Display Type13.3 in
Max Resolution1366 x 768 ( HD )
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology
Optical DriveNone Price;$849 VS HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 has a nice array of ports, including a cleverly designed 10/100 Ethernet port that expands when you push the cable in but stays within Ultrabook height specs when closed.HP's Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is an attractive ultrabook with a respectable mix of components for its price, a responsive touch screen, and a backlit keyboard.
But, The Envy TouchSmart 4 isn't very configurable, so you can't make it too much more powerful than it already is. It's on the heavy side for an "ultrabook" (if you consider 4.5 pounds heavy). Its touch pad is jumpy at default settings.
The bottom line: The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a good gateway to the Windows 8 experience with a responsive touch screen in a traditional laptop body. Specifications
ProcessorIntel 3rd Gen Core i5
Hard Drive500 GB
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8
Display Type14 in
Max Resolution1366 X 768 Price;$850.00