Top 7 Ultrathin Windows Laptops: Alternatives to Apple's MacBook Air

LG P530

Advantages: The thin LG P530--which looks much like its sibling the LG 430--has a 15.6-inch display yet somehow manages to weigh less than conventional 14-inch laptops do. Like its 14-inch sibling, the P530's advantages include more memory, a built-in DVD multi-drive, and four times the video memory with the Nvidia graphics card.

Disadvantages: With a laptop of this screen size, you'll have to sacrifice a bit of mobility, as the P530 is about 0.4 inch thicker than the Air and weighs nearly 2 pounds more. And yet again, the MacBook Air has a higher display resolution (1440 by 900 pixels versus the P530's 1366 by 768 pixels).

Note: The P530, like the P430 (see the previous page), is expected to be available in May and June 2011, starting in markets outside North America.

LG P530/MacBook Air comparison

Dell Adamo-Like Mystery Ultrathin

Advantages: Like the LG P530, this upcoming rumored ultrathin laptop from Dell is said to have a larger 15.6-inch display. If it debuts at under $1000 as expected, the laptop will also be several hundred dollars less than the MacBook Air.

Disadvantages: Dell discontinued its earlier MacBook Air look-alike, the Adamo, after a poor reception. If the new mystery ultrathin shares any of the Adamo's drawbacks (high price, underwhelming performance), it will suffer the same fate.

Note: Dell has not yet officially announced this MacBook Air challenger as of this writing, but we expect the company to introduce the laptop sometime in late spring or early summer.

Dell mystery ultrathin laptop/MacBook Air comparison

Which Specs Matter Most to You?

If you want a laptop that's:

  • Most similar to the MacBook Air in size, weight, and price, buy the Samsung Series 9
  • The least expensive option, buy the MSI X-Slim X370
  • Built for business, buy the Toshiba R830 (business model) or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1

If you want a laptop that has a:

  • Built-in DVD multi-drive, buy the Toshiba R830 or the LG P430
  • Backlit keyboard, buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, the LG P430, or the Samsung Series 9
  • Solid-state drive, buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 or the Toshiba R830 (business model)
  • Larger amount of memory (up to 8GB), buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 or the LG P430
  • Larger screen size, buy the LG P430 (or the 15.6-inch LG P530)
  • Discrete graphics processor, buy the LG P430

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