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Apple’s products are usually more expensive than competitors. The iPad costs a pretty penny, the Apple Watch is twice the price of leading Android smartwatches, and the company even charges developers $100 a year for the privilege of using its app stores.

However, the MacBook Air is different from all this. It actually is better value for money than any Windows laptop at that price.

I’ve been a Windows user for ages Apples vs. Oranges: A Long Time Windows User Meets OS X Apples vs. Oranges: A Long Time Windows User Meets OS X What could happen when a long-time Windows user drops their defense and uses a Mac for the first time in years? Read More and always criticized the famed “Apple Tax”, but when I wanted to buy a new laptop, I found myself in a peculiar position. None of the Windows laptops in the same price range as the MacBook Air MacBook Air (Mid-2012) Review and Giveaway MacBook Air (Mid-2012) Review and Giveaway In my mind, people who purchase the MacBook Air have should have a clear idea of what they wish to accomplish with it. There's only one reason you should own a MacBook Air: for the... Read More offered all of its myriad selling points in a single package.

Unbeatable Battery Life


Go to any technology press conference, or just watch a recorded conference online. You’ll see a dark room full of journalists with a glowing Apple logo on virtually every lap. For several years now, the MacBook Air has been the weapon of choice for travelling professionals because no Windows laptop offers the battery life that it does, in such a compact size.

Recently, only the Dell XPS 13 has offered a fight, but it costs a few hundred dollars more. Things changed since the introduction of some new Chromebooks, which finally have comparable battery life in the same form factor, but there are other sacrifices you have to make in the process. However, if you calibrate and maintain your MacBook battery Calibrate & Maintain Your MacBook Battery For Best Performance Calibrate & Maintain Your MacBook Battery For Best Performance If you correctly calibrate and maintain your MacBook battery, it's possible to improve performance and put off replacing it for as long as possible. Read More , you’ll never feel let down.


Portability and Durability


Apart from the battery, the lightweight nature and small form factor makes the Air perfect for lugging around wherever you go. The weight is negligible, but more importantly Apple’s uncompromising build quality is what makes you not fret about carrying it on the road. So far, I’ve lost count of how many times I have dropped my MacBook Air—and I don’t use a cover.

It has survived a glass of beer spilling on it How To Deal With Spilled Coffee or Coke on Your Macbook How To Deal With Spilled Coffee or Coke on Your Macbook If you have spilled coffee or Coke on your MacBook the best you can do for it is be courageous. Read More . It has been exposed to unrelenting dust and heat, as well as multiple outings to the beach. It continues to soldier on in a house full of furry cats and a livewire puppy. All of the Chromebooks I have used (and I have tested quite a few) don’t inspire the same confidence in their build quality, and I have had the HP Chromebook die on me after a drop.

Knowing that your laptop will weather most storms instills the confidence you need from your main work device. Plus, it’s easy on the eyes too.

It’s Reliable


Reliability is a key aspect of any good purchase. Naturally, the hardware is durable and the impressive battery life means you know it’ll turn on when you lift the screen. But we often forget about the software, and some of the best is pre-installed Some Of The Best Mac Software Comes Pre-Installed Some Of The Best Mac Software Comes Pre-Installed While many Windows systems come bloated with crap you will never need or want, Mac OS X provides these following gems. Read More . As much as I like Windows and use it on my primary desktop PC, I have to admit that Mac OS X is the stable option I choose in crunch situations.

If I’m on a tight deadline, I can’t risk Windows freezing or crashing on me, which has happened with far more frequency than OS X. It’s not that OS X is infallible, it has crashed on me too; but when you’re under pressure, it’s all about likelihood of failure and trust. I’ll trust OS X to not fail. I don’t yet have the same faith in Windows.

The Mac vs. Windows war is a little silly Your Apple/Android/Windows Hatred Is Irrelevant, Give It Up Your Apple/Android/Windows Hatred Is Irrelevant, Give It Up Getting upset because someone is buying something you're not interested in benefits no one – so why do we get mad anyway? Read More . In terms of usability, neither operating system is clearly superior. Both have enough great features, and the OS you are more accustomed to is the one you will prefer Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Did you ever consider switching from Windows to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you're on Windows, stay on Windows—and don't worry about upgrading just yet. Here's why. Read More using (and switching is not a big deal). Don’t bother fighting about that.

Smart Money Decisions


Unlike most other laptops, the MacBook Air enjoys a high resale value Apple Tax: Why Do Macs Hold Their Resale Value? Apple Tax: Why Do Macs Hold Their Resale Value? You've probably heard it before: Macs may cost more, but they hold their value. Is this true, and if so why? Read More  mainly due to the aforementioned reasons of reliability and build quality. Apple makes it easy to exchange your old MacBook Air for a new model, but you could also sell your second-hand laptop for a pretty price.

It also works the other way around too. The reasons that give the MacBook Air a high resale value also make it a great second-hand purchase. If you’re on a budget, check out these three great stores for refurbished MacBooks The Top 6 Places To Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops The Top 6 Places To Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops Apple computers tend to last a long time, so you might want to consider purchasing a refurbished model to save some money. Read More . If you buy used, run through a few exercises to speed up that old MacBook Speed Up an Old Mac with These Tricks [Mac OS X] Speed Up an Old Mac with These Tricks [Mac OS X] Given time, the performance of any computer will tend to degrade - even Macs (gasp!). Years of improperly un-installing applications can leave your drive littered with preference files and resources that are no longer needed.... Read More and you’ll be glad you made that decision.

With money, there’s also the software argument again. If you want to buy a Windows laptop, you’ll need to spend a good chunk of additional dough for Microsoft Office, unless you want to use free Office alternatives 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office Microsoft Office has dominated the market of text documents, spreadsheets and slide shows for years, and for good reason – it’s one of the very best. However, there’s one drawback and that is the price.... Read More . Apple throws in the entire iWork and iLife suites for free.

Things to Watch Out For


We’re painting a pretty picture here, but let’s be fair, not everything is hunky dory with the MacBook Air. There are a few major sacrifices you will have to live with:

The Bottom Line


None of these are deal-breakers because the battery life and portability far outweigh the drawbacks. Ask yourself right now: why are you looking to buy a new laptop? Chances are, it’s because your battery is running out quickly, you’re finding the device a little slow, or you want something more portable. That’s what the MacBook Air will give you.

The Competition


These same three factors are big draws of Google’s Chromebooks. Then again, you don’t get a full-fledged desktop operating system and you miss out on fantastic OS X apps The Best Mac Apps The Best Mac Apps From email clients to system utilities, time savers to productivity boons; on this page you'll find the best Mac software used by MakeUseOf staff and readers alike. Read More .

Still, we’re curious to know what you think. Are the low-cost Chromebooks tempting you away from the MacBook Air? Are there any fantastic Windows laptops that you would rather buy at the same price? Maybe even the Surface? It’s time to start debating in the comments!

Image credits: Unsplash / Pixabay, StockSnap / Pixabay, Steve Rhodes / Flickr, Dan Taylor / Flickr, Firmbee / Pixabay, whity / Flickr

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