Want A Great Value Laptop? Buy A MacBook Air

Mihir Patkar 01-06-2015

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 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 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 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 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 The Best Default Mac Apps That You Shouldn't Need to Replace Here are some of the best default, pre-installed, native Mac apps worth using. Don't ditch them before you try them! 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 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? 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? 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 Where to Buy Refurbished MacBooks: The 4 Best Sites Here are the best place to buy refurbished MacBooks, from Apple's official store to trustworthy third-party sellers. 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] 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 The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better! 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 to Install on Your MacBook or iMac Looking for the best apps for your MacBook or iMac? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for macOS. 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

Related topics: Buying Tips, MacBook Air.

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  1. erik
    July 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The chromebook is great, it's really cheap and everything is on my google drive instantly which means I carry it around or leave it without worries. If anything goes wrong, the whole thing can be wiped and reloaded in a minute or two with almost no effort. And seems safe and virus free. Great internet appliance, especially since I like to type with a keyboard. But it doesn't run programs I need or set up devices which require windows. So I have a win7 and ubuntu studio dual boot machine, which is currently in need of fixing. So I'll consider a macbook, it does sound good.

  2. Caroline Fairchild
    September 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Would love to win this laptop; our home desktop, which is the only computer we own, is needing a new motherboard but the computer is a refurbished 2007 so we're contemplating the costs of fix versus new.

  3. Dave
    September 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Space gray.

  4. Lynn
    September 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I like the rose gold.

  5. abd b
    September 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I prefer space gray.

  6. abd b
    September 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    MacBook in space gray.

  7. Mihaela Hauca
    September 26, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Space gray it's my choice.

  8. Joe Bonondonna
    September 25, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Gold would be awesome

  9. Tara Moser
    June 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I Got my apple macbook air about 2 years ago and I love it. I had an acer laptop and it broke and couldn't be fixed. I have never been more happy with the battery life of this slim computer and all the power.

  10. Nicolas Riquelme
    June 2, 2015 at 4:03 am

    The HP Spectre X360 cost around the same, it has better performance, it's touchscreen, great battery life, and you can do gaming. Gaming is just a plus, and not my intention when I bought it! Weights nothing and it's extremely thin. I won't post any review, so that you can see any review on the web, you'll be amazed!

  11. Zhong Jiang
    June 1, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I think of a Macbook as an investment, not necessary for consumer purchase as if you're only using it for general work then there are plenty of other options. I'm only saying that because the machine itself is "controlled" by Apple from their warranties to repairs. There are new iterations introduced and it just makes you think what's the difference between each model. I own a Asus Zenbook UX305, it has its merits and people compare this alot to the Macbook. Certainly it has some similarities but definitely not the same.

  12. tsorrentino
    June 1, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Anything from Apple is extremely expensive from where I hail. Macbook Airs start at US$ 1,861.00 (exchange rate of approx. R$ 3.14 to US$ 1.00). An iPhone 6, 16GB costs approx. US$ 1,115.00. Simply put, not an option to most of us.

  13. likefun butnot
    June 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I can't think of a general use case where I'd prefer to have an Air over a Surface 3 or Surface Pro. The battery runs a little longer, but the Surface Pro 3 at a given price point will be substantially faster. Neither is terribly comfortable to use for keyboard input, but I'd rather have a touchscreen than Apple's awful touchpad.

  14. David Luu
    June 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    It would be nice to mention comparing Mac Air to Windows tablets (high end and low end) as Stijn briefly points out. The high end may compare more to Mac Air functionality while low end towards Chromebooks. But one thing I would love to see for portable computers is a simple and unified charger. Like micro USB. Some Windows tablet/laptop combos are taking that approach (although with their own charger but using micro USB cable). I don't like the custom charger port and cable for all laptops currently. More hassle and space needed to carry around. The new Mac laptop I heard uses the new USB 3 type C port for charging though, which is a nice thing going forward as more devices adopt type C cabling. I wouldn't mind if all laptops in future used type C USB port for charging.

  15. Stijn Jodts
    June 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Fair points, but to my use I feel more comfy using a Surface Pro. It's even more portable, offers a fair battery-life, offers me absolute freedom to do as I wish in my OS and has tons of software, mainly x86 of course. At work I just click-in to my docking stations and use it as a full-blown desktop machine. The entry-level versions costs less than the entry-level Air, but keeping the optional keyboard in mind; both would cost about the same price.

  16. Howard A Pearce
    June 1, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    My macbook isn't a pro and is incredibly slow IMHO

  17. Hildegerd Haugen
    June 1, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I have an old white macbook from 2010 as my main working machine still.