There are MacBook Air alternatives that offer cheaper prices, more battery life, more storage and more options. Many of these are Windows laptops, but there is one other Mac laptop to think about as you look at buying the MacBook Air. We’ll also include an iPad and a Chromebook that may be great options for some users alongside the high-end offerings from Razer, HP and Dell.
The new MacBook Air is a great device. Apple finally offers a Retina Display and modern internals after years of letting the MacBook Air linger. This makes it an excellent choice for many users, but it’s not the best choice for everyone.
MacBook Air alternatives include a range of cheaper options, but you’ll also find plenty of similarly priced and even a few more expensive options that might do the job better for you. No matter what you buy, you’ll need to factor in spending a little more on accessories. Unlike the Surface Pro 6, you don’t need to factor in the cost of a keyboard and stylus with the MacBook Air, but you do need to consider this with one of our alternatives.
All of these MacBook Air alternatives will last all day, come with enough power to handle web browsing, office tasks, media streaming and other regular activities. You get an array of connectivity options with many including more ports than the MacBook Air.
Some of the best MacBook Air alternatives may have started out as MacBook Air clones back in the day, but they’ve led the way for the past several years and offer exciting features that you won’t find on your MacBook Air like a Windows Hello camera. You will find fingerprint readers and voice assistants on most of these models and there are a few that you can buy with LTE so that you are always connected without the need for a hotspot or coffee shop WiFi.
If you are looking at MacBook Air alternatives because of the price, you should look into the latest MacBook Air deals that cut $80 off the newest model at Amazon and check into the Apple Student Discounts. You can also check out the Best Buy student discounts to save on a new laptop. It’s too early to find refurbished MacBook Air models with a Retina Display, and even with cheaper prices on older models you shouldn’t buy the current crop of refurbished MacBook Air models. They are simply too old to be worth paying that much. You should check out financing options if you need to find a cheaper way to buy a MacBook Air or MacBook Air alternative, or save up for a new model.
Best MacBook Air Alternatives
- Dell XPS 13 – Starting at $849 at Dell, Best Buy & eBay
- HP Spectre X360 – Starting at $1,049 at HP, Best Buy & eBay
- MacBook Pro 13 – Starting at $1,198 B&H Photo, Amazon Best Buy, Apple & eBay
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Starting at $1,091 at Lenovo, Amazon, Best Buy & eBay
- Razer Blade Stealth – Starting at $1,399 at Razer, Amazon, Best Buy & eBay
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 – Starting at $799 at Microsoft, Best Buy, Amazon & eBay
- iPad Pro – Starting at $799 Apple, Best Buy, B&H Photo & eBay
- Samsung Chromebook Pro – Starts at $499 at Best Buy, Amazon & eBay
Dell XPS 13 – Starting at $849
The Dell XPS 13 is a thin and light and one of the most popular MacBook Air alternatives you can buy. It is available from $849 up to $1600, depending on what you need.
There are a lot of options to choose from compared to the MacBook Air, and you can find it at Best Buy or customize it at Dell. We love this model because of the Infinity Edge display and the high resolution options.
We recommend going with at least one step up from the base model so that you get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. These are the minimums that most users will need.
The XPS 13 is 2.67 pounds, features a 13.3 inch display that is available in 4K with touch if you want the extra resolution and features. The XPS 13 battery life is up to 19 hours and 46 minutes on the models with a 1080P display.
It comes with a one year mail in warranty service standard. You can add up to four years of premium support with AppleCare like coverage.
HP Spectre X360 – Starting at $1,049
The HP Spectre X360 is a great MacBook Air alternative that is available in an array of configurations and that you can even get with a 4K touch screen.
We have a full guide on which HP Spectre x360 to buy, and you can find a lot of deals and options to fit any budget. You can pick one up at Best Buy or you can configure your own model at HP and get one that is just right for you.
The 13.3-inch screen looks great and you can opt for a 1080P or a 4K option. Unlike the MacBook Air, you can use this in a tent mode or fully open like a tablet. Some models come with an active stylus.
The HP Spectre X360 packs in up to 16 hours and 45 minutes of battery life on the FHD screen option and it’s still very portable at 2.76 pounds. It comes with a one year warranty standard and you can purchase an extended one from HP.
MacBook Pro 13 – Starting at $1,198
The MacBook Pro is arguably the best MacBook Air alternative if you want to stay on macOS. This is a thin and light laptop that gets almost as much battery life and offers a little more power. there is a $100 price difference, and you can always look for a refurbished model if you want to save on a MAcBook Pro.
You can also get it with the TouchBar if you want that feature, or skip it. However if you skip the TouchBar, you also skip out on TouchID, which is actually really handy.
The 2018 Macbook Pro is basically the same size as the MacBook Air. The Pro is a quarter pound heavier and thinner overall than the MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro screen is brighter and features a wider color gamut as well as more processing power. You get 12 hours of web browsing on the MacBook Air, and only 10 hours on the MacBook Pro.
Buy the MacBook Pro at B&H Photo, Amazon Best Buy or Direct from Apple starting at $1,299. B&H Photo often offers $50 to $150 off and Amazon offers the MacBook Pro for $101 off. You can also find deals on eBay.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Starting at $1,091
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 is an amazing thin and light laptop that features a better keyboard than you’ll find on the MacBook Air. You also get great battery life and rapid charging.
You can get a variety of screen options including a beautiful HDR option that looks simply stunning. You can get several screen options, but if you can afford it go with HDR. the 14-inch screen is a little bigger than the MacBook Air, but the overall size isn’t much different. The X1 Carbon is a quarter pound lighter than the MacBook Air.
The battery is rated for 15 hours and if you need more 60 minutes of time on a charger gets you to 80% battery life — that’s 12 hours of power. You can also use Cortana for voice control with a cool 360 degree microphone that can hear you even behind the computer and across the room. Read our ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 review for more.
Razer Blade Stealth – Starting at $1,399
The Razer Blade Stealth is the MAcBook Air alternative you need to check out if gaming is your thing, or if you need more power for video editing and other work.
You can get the Razer Blade Stealth with up to a 4K screen and it comes with a Chroma keyboard that lights up in a wide range of colors. Inside you get up to NVIDIA GeForce MX150 4GB graphics and the latest Whisky Lake Intel Core i7 processor.
Razer promises up to 13 hours of battery life. The Windows Hello camera makes logging in easy, and it is external GPU ready so that you can plug in at your desk for access to even more power without buying a separate machine.
With weights from 2.82 to 3.04 pounds and a 13.3-inch display it is about the same size and weight as a MacBook Air, with more power.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 – Starting at $799
One of the big benefits to the MacBook Air is the first party support and attention to detail. If you can work on Windows, the Surface Laptop 2 is a great option that includes many of these benefits and that is also thin and light.
With a 13.5-inch high resolution touch display that supports the Surface Pen you get a beautiful screen that can do much more than the MacBook Air Retina Display can. You get a lot of options for storage and RAM with similar specs to the MacBook Air. The Surface Laptop 2 battery life is rated for 14.5 hours. You’ll get Windows Hello support and you can also use the Surface Dial off screen with the Surface Laptop 2.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 is available in several colors, weighs 2.76 to 2.83 pounds and is similar in overall size to the MacBook Air.
iPad Pro – Starting at $799
The iPad Pro is a great MacBook Air alternative if you are willing to make some changes to how you work and also to invest in a keyboard an an Apple Pencil.
Instead of buying the MacBook Air, I bought the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard Cover and Apple Pencil, which was about the same price as buying a similarly equipped MacBook Air.
With the iPad Pro you get a beautiful big screen, a wealth of iOS apps and a touch screen. You can also get the iPad Pro with LTE included for always available connectivity. You need to use the Apple Pencil in place of a mouse, which is why I recommend it.
I use the iPad Pro to write and to edit 4K video. The 2018 iPad Pro is very powerful and edits video very quickly.
I miss the backlit keyboard of the MacBook Air, but third party options will add this in soon. The iPad Pro doesn’t deliver desktop level web browsing which may be a hang up for some users, but as a second machine for me it is very good.
Samsung Chromebook Pro – Starts at $499
It’s also worth exploring Chromebooks as you look for a thin and light laptop. While it may not go toe to toe with the MacBook Air on all counts, it might be a better cheaper option for some users.
With the Samsung Chromebook Pro you get less RAM and Storage than the MacBook Air, but it is designed with users who work spend almost all of their time on the web.
You get a 12.3-inch 2400 x 1600 touch screen, the ability to flip the display over and fold it to use as a tablet and it is 2.4 pounds, which is lighter than the MacBook Air.
With the Chromebook Pro you only get 32GB of on board storage, but you get 100GB of free Google Storage and it supports micro SD cards to expand storage. It’s not the perfect MacBook Air alternative for everyone, but for some users it is an excellent fit.