With the MacBook Air, Apple has a slim and light 13.3-inch notebook with an aluminium casing in its range that also looks really good. There are no macOS-based alternatives. End of story. Or is it? In this list, we gather some of the best MacBook Air alternatives notebooks that you buy this year!
But wait: If notebooks with other operating systems and without the Apple logo are also an option for you, there is interesting competition with comparable specs in the MacBook Air class. We present the candidates to you.
1. Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 – upper class with minor weaknesses
This Chinese notebook in an aluminium casing doesn’t hide the fact that it borrows its design from the Apple model: even the feel of the touchpad is reminiscent of the MacBook Air. The extremely narrow screen bezel even hugs the 6-million-pixel screen a little more beautifully than is the case with the prototype.
6 million pixels? Indeed: Huawei uses a 13.9-inch display with 3,000 x 2,000 pixels, which also has touch functionality. However, this also means that the screen is reflective and, despite its good colour reproduction and a very decent luminance of over 480 nits, is not everyone’s cup of tea when watching films.
The 720p camera built into the keyboard – a design concession to the super-slim frame – is not cinema-ready either. And thanks to the questionable positioning, it also creates, let’s say, a less than favourable appearance, especially during video calls. We know what we’re talking about…
In the top configuration, 11th generation i7 technology sits under the keyboard with 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD hard drive. Compared to last year’s model, the heat dissipation has been revised. It now works quite well for up to 10 hours of operation away from the power socket. A nice gimmick is the integrated fingerprint sensor. Besides the USB-A port, there are two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt.
At a street price of around 1800 euros, you get a high-end MacBook Air alternative that offers a wide range of uses: Online gaming, business or graphics applications included.
You can buy it here.
2. Acer Swift 5 SF514-55T – the low-priced MacBook Air alternative
Are you looking for a notebook that looks like a MacBook Air, but is lighter and cheaper? With its Swift series, manufacturer Acer has positioned itself in the mobile middle class. Nevertheless, magnesium, aluminium and lithium were used for the casing.
The Intel Core i5 of the current 11th generation uses 8 GB of RAM and a 512 SSD. Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics takes care of the graphics output. The 14-inch glossy IPS display with touchscreen function has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. There are 3 USB ports (two type A, one type C), a fingerprint sensor and a backlit keyboard.
Thanks to its extremely slim display frame, the device measures only 31.9 x 20.7 x 15 cm and weighs 1.05 kg. You’ll have to make concessions in terms of graphics performance. Rather unsuitable for gaming, this laptop is a good companion for mobile surfing, writing or emailing. The Swift 5 SF514-55T is currently on sale for just over 1000 euros.
You can buy it here.
3. Asus Zenbook 13 UM325S – the power lies in tranquillity
Where most of the competition currently relies on Intel, Asus installs AMD’s new Ryzen 7 5800U – successor to the 4800U – in the Zenbook 13. The SoC with 8 cores is supported by 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD. With two USB-C Thunderbird ports, plus USB-A, HDMI and microSD reader, the device is pleasantly sociable. The infrared camera, which only has a resolution of 720p, allows unlocking via face recognition.
The 1158 g business subnotebook with 13.3 inch OLED display and metal case is currently priced at around 950 euros. The good display and quiet fan also make it ideal as a portable home cinema. If you prefer Intel technology, you can find Zenbook sister models with Core processors under the abbreviation UX325.
You can buy it here.
4. ThinkPad X13 Yoga G2 – Lenovo’s alternative to the Apple MacBook Air
Windows notebooks can be recognised by their creaky plastic casing? The ThinkPad X13 Yoga gives the lie to this prejudice. The beautifully designed business laptop in a carbon/magnesium case has a high-quality appearance. The Yoga in the name stands for the articulated version as a convertible, i.e. the screen hinge can be folded down 360 degrees and transforms the notebook into a tablet with touchscreen and pen input.
Just sketch a technical component with the Pencil and import it into the design software? No problem thanks to the Intel Core i7 (11th generation) with 16 GB RAM installed here – the device has plenty of power reserves. The 1 TB SSD does not need to hide behind other notebooks.
In this second generation of the ThinkPad – recognisable by the G2 in the device name – Lenovo has installed a mirrored 16:10 display with 2560 x 1600 pixels (WQXGA). At 1.33 kg, it weighs 40 g more than the Air. The convertible, which costs around 2000 euros, is a classic business notebook, but it also proves its strength as a loyal companion, for example, in a technical study.
You can buy it here.
Is there an Apple alternative?
It’s not the Apple logo itself that bothers you, but the MacBook Air just doesn’t convince you? Then there may even be alternatives that also come from Apple. Maybe you need a bit more power and will be happy with the MacBook Pro M1 (here with contract), which also has the latest M1 chip built-in. Applications are said to run up to 2.5 times faster than their predecessor, provided they are optimised for the new chip.
The iPad Pro would also be a conceivable alternative for you, as it runs with the same chip – i.e. it has plenty of computing power. In addition, it is even more flexible and lighter than a MacBook Air and can also be used for relaxed gaming or watching films.
Conclusion: Even the competition can now do lightweight construction
Apple has been a style leader in smartphones for years. The Apple company is also a recognisable design model for many laptop manufacturers. Numerous notebooks and subnotebooks are inspired by the MacBook Air and its lightness of form.
There are now good reasons to opt for a MacBook Air alternative. For example, Apple has not yet launched a convertible laptop. Although iPads can be retrofitted with a keyboard, you are limited to a 12.9-inch screen diagonal. For comparison: Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, announced for early 2022, offers 14.4 inches.
You won’t even find a laptop with a USB-A port in Cupertino. Even in the price range below 1000 euros, there is still room for improvement in the Apple world. And the competition can also be super light and slim. Dell, for example, with its XPS 13 9300 business ultrabook, or HP with the EliteBook 830 G7.
So there are many niches that other suppliers cover with MacBook Air alternatives from the Windows world. It’s worth taking a look there.