Best MacBook Air alternatives for 2020


For years, Apple’s popular MacBook Air set the bar for what you could expect from a $1,000 laptop. And a couple of years ago, the Mac maker announced that it would raise expectations with a new version of the MacBook Air.

The new device featured some welcome, though nonessential, upgrades including USB ports, a higher-quality display and Touch ID. And, significantly, Apple also jacked up the starting price to to $1,199, a 20% increase. Since then, the company has debuted yet another version of the MacBook Air, adding True Tone display technology and lowering the list price to $1,099 — though you can often find it for even less.

However, some people simply don’t like the new model’s butterfly keyboard or the limits of its eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor. Despite having what’s arguably the best computer operating system around, MacOS, Apple rarely delivers the best value on major components (processor, RAM and hard drive capacity), battery life, and ports and connections. And Apple still doesn’t offer a laptop with a touchscreen option — a useful feature found on an increasing number of competitive models. 

All six laptops highlighted below as Macbook Air alternative options cost roughly as much as the MacBook Air, have a 13-inch screen, weigh less than 3 pounds (1.4 kg), and are reasonably streamlined and stylish. Each will make a worthy alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air. Check them out.

Read more: Best laptops of 2020

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At 2.4 pounds, the 13.3-inch Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air. Its quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, faster 2,400MHz memory and speedy Samsung PCIe solid-state drive give it better performance than the Air. And starting around $620, this sleek device is plenty cheaper, too.

Read the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S review.

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The Spectre x360 starts at around $900 and comes equipped with specs that are mostly superior to the MacBook Air’s including longer battery life and better storage. It gives you an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU (the Air has a Core i5), 16GB of RAM (versus the Air’s 8GB), a 512GB SSD (the Air has 128GB), a microSD card slot (the Air has none) and superior battery life (more than 13 hours versus the Air’s 11.5). Plus, users get the Spectre’s great HD touchscreen display, which can be rotated between tablet and laptop mode, and a terrific keyboard. 

Read our HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2019) review.

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Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro is less expensive than the newer MacBook Air, but includes mostly superior specifications and a 13.3-inch touchscreen. The base configuration features an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and at 2.8 pounds, it’s one of the lightest ultraportable two-in-ones we’ve seen. The 12-hour plus battery life it delivers doesn’t hurt, either.

Read our Samsung Notebook 9 Pro (13-inch, 2019) review.

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If you’re looking for a great laptop that’s a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the new MacBook Air, the entry-level Surface Laptop 2 will do the trick. You get a slim, modern design; a great 12.3-inch touchscreen; a solid keyboard and trackpad; and a decent set of ports. 

That noted, it may be worth waiting. There’s a strong chance that Microsoft will introduce new Surface devices at its Oct. 2 event, which could result in steep discounts on this particular laptop.

Read our Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 review.

Read more: Best 15-inch laptops for 2020

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Lenovo has spent years refining its premium two-in-one design to deliver a laptop that convincingly doubles as a tablet. The Yoga C930 is the form perfected. The keyboard and display are very good, the speakers are great, and there’s sufficient power for any productivity or entertainment task. Though it’s not cheap, it’s a solid value — you’re getting a laptop and a tablet that offers flexibility and features beyond any version of the MacBook Air. 

Read our Lenovo Yoga C930 review.

Read more: HP Spectre x360 13 vs. Lenovo Yoga C930: Which is the best laptop and tablet in one

Originally published earlier this year.

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