Sandy Bridge-powered MacBook Air rivals are on the way

I’m not sure I like the compromises Apple makes to keep its MacBook Airs slim, like the 11.6" model’s relatively small battery. Still, like many Apple products before them, the new Airs seem destined to spawn an army of copycats. The folks at DigiTimes have been tipped off by sources at notebook makers that several MacBook Air rivals featuring Sandy Bridge processors will be out next quarter.

Acer, Asus, and Lenovo will reportedly introduce those machines, outfitting them with 13.3-14" displays and matching form factors. Considering the Sandy Bridge guts, those larger screen sizes make sense… there can’t be much of a market left for premium 11.6" ultraportables, which I’ve heard some folks call "overpriced netbooks" despite the more powerful hardware inside.

In any case, DigiTimes says changes to LCD assembly conventions spearheaded by Apple have brought about panels "up to 3-5mm thinner" than before. So, along with powerful Sandy Bridge processors, the new Acer, Asus, and Lenovo machines may also be slimmer than their predecessors. That could leave the MacBook Air family some heated competition. Apple’s razor-thin notebooks are still packing old-fashioned Core 2 processors, and while they do have Nvidia graphics built in, Sandy Bridge’s integrated graphics promise to be quite potent.

Comments closed
    • ltcommander.data
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      This seems like a no brainer. The high end drives the direction of the market. Features/selling points/design goals show up in the high end at a price premium and slowly migrate down as improvements make them cheaper to produce.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Some folks are idiots.

    • crsh1976
    • 9 years ago

    People don’t buy Apple products for their performance; not saying it’s a bad choice or whatever, but you pay a premium for the stellar industrial design, not cutting-edge hardware.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 9 years ago

      That is some price to a fancy looking apple logo.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      Ever heard of context?

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    Meh.

    It will probably be way out of my $700 CND (incl tax) laptop budget anyway.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    I would just like to see these manufacturers not go apeshit over a mm or two of ‘thinness’…I’d rather see non-extreme dimensions and simply a larger battery.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      I agree. I think 1″ is the magical thickness. After you get down to a uniform one inch thickness, just pack the rest with battery and shove it out the door.

      But alas, battery life isn’t as shiny for the showroom floor. I bet most consumers would like an ultra-thin laptop that lasts for 3-4 hours/charge instead of modestly sized marathon runner.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        Most of them don’t know a laptop ought to last 10 hours and think you’re just “supposed” to plug it in constantly. Most of them also buy hulking behemoths and I seriously doubt there are very many people paying that close of attention to how thick or thin a laptop is.

          • demani
          • 9 years ago

          Yeah but let’s face it- the last 20 years of laptop design didn’t have laptops that got 10 hour battery life, and many still don’t. The bar was set low. It’s not that consumers don’t think they should have beattery life, it’s that the market has been pushing performance over portability for such a long time that few people have expectations of battery life anymore.

          I do agree that a uniform thickness would be better just for extra battery storage, but I also think that there are other options to optimize for space available. Brick batteries are a pain to design around, and designing batteries around the space would probably be a better way to pack more juice in.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 9 years ago

            I’m not so sure their angle is “performance.” In the last 20 years, there also wasn’t a blatant disregard of available technology and how it applies to the way laptops are designed and used by the people buying them.

            This is the day and age of mirror glossed “business” models, pricier laptops with smaller batteries, shrinking screen resolutions, and laptops that have both IGPs and high powered graphics cards, but no switching capability. Completely illogical compromises have become more of a norm than an exception.

            The industry as a whole just doesn’t care to offer anything compelling. Sadly, Apple does well with laptops, whether people buying their computers actually care about “performance” or not, simply because they pick and choose the parts for their laptops and make them identifiable. Not a single one of the other OEMs seems to get it. They just spam as many cookie cutter models as possible.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      I have to agree insomuch as I don’t get the obsession with thinness. “being too thick” hasn’t been a problem for portables designed to be portable for quite a while now. Lightweight materials and smaller dimensions in width and depth are most important.

    • Grigory
    • 9 years ago

    No fair! Straights get all the good hardware for cheap! 🙁

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Leaving gays with floppy drives? (Oh, c’mon, it /[

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        No, they will just be forever stuck with USB 2.0 ..

        • Grigory
        • 9 years ago

        You’re not making me feel better, girlfriend. :(((

    • ImSpartacus
    • 9 years ago

    §[<http://www.anandtech.com/show/4009/asus-ul80jt-overclocked-i3-ulv/5<]§ "The UL80Jt has a mediocre CPU and a mediocre GPU, but the real question is, can it match its predecessor’s amazing battery life? Sadly, no." That sentence sums up ulv arrandale completely. It's a real pity, but the MBA is actually a better product because it uses an old CPU. The 1810T's SU7300 has the best battery life per battery capacity based on Anandtech's reviews. So the MBA11's "SU7400" (actually an SU9400) was a good choice. Top that off with capable graphics and the MBA should be able weather the torrent of rivals quite well.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      And that only tells the ultraportable side of things, but it doesn’t stop there:

      §[<http://www.anandtech.com/show/2886/7<]§ 14 hours at idle, 10 in their "heavy" internets test, putting normal use somewhere in between. I saw several other sites that used real world instead of worst case scenario internets tests where it lasted 12 hours. This wasn't even a super trimmed down laptop. The Core 2 CULV platform blew everything else out of the water. It's possible it actually exceeds the best case scenario for Pinetrail netbooks in /[

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    It was inevitable. not that it matters. people will still buy the apple ones, as they’re branded. hardware doesn’t matter. Hasn’t for years. It’s coolness, that’s the issue.

    • h4x0rpenguin
    • 9 years ago

    So people will stop using only the very lowest end GPUs in more expensive notebooks?

    EDIT: Ha, SSK.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      you lucky boy…. like 1 second before me ;p well done sir

        • h4x0rpenguin
        • 9 years ago

        LOL! Less than 1 minute 😛 Both your replies were posted before my page refreshed xD

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