The MacBook Air is a well-designed and ultra-portable laptop. It’s a very capable device with a super slim and compact body, which makes it an ideal choice for a lot of people who like to use their laptops on the go.
However, it doesn’t mean that the MacBook Air is for everyone nor does it mean it’s something everyone can afford.
Yes, MacBook’s user experience is very different from Windows-based machines, but even other laptops can’t get the job done equally well.
Like most Apple products, one of the main things that chase many people away is the ridiculous price tag. Fortunately, there are many alternatives out there and this article will highlight some of the best laptops like the MacBook Air but cheaper.
Below are some of the options you can consider if you don’t have enough money to buy a MacBook Air but want something that performs just as well.
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1. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 computer is more battery-efficient and powerful than its predecessor, which solidifies that it’s not only a great Macbook Air alternative but one of the best Windows laptops available right now. There was a substantial overhaul of this device recently.
Users can now have everything good about the new release with the extra advantage of having the newest chip from Intel. The new Dell XPS 13 machine replaces the 10th-Gen “Ice Lake” processors by Intel with Tiger Lake processors.
While this Dell laptop has always needed the help of integrated graphics instead of standalone GPUs, this new installment now has the latest Iris Xe tech by Intel, which replaces the previous model’s Iris Plus graphics. And, in terms of appearance, this machine has a sleek and clean overall design.
If you like the MacBook Air’s design, then this is what you should be strongly considering. This Dell laptop is a great ultraportable machine with top-notch computing capabilities housed in an aesthetically-pleasing design and well-manufactured chassis.
Even in the saturated spaces of premium ultraportable machines, all these new additions and interesting features are great accomplishments. Besides the differences in the operating system, this Dell laptop might even just be a better option than the MackBook for you.
Keep in mind, the notebooks from Apple are running older-gen chipsets that the company is about to replace.
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You will forget you are holding the lightest ThinkPad X1 Nano. However, you will love every bit of this machine. If the ThinkPad X1 Nano is something you think is a bit overweight, then the X1 Nano is what you need to strongly consider getting.
This is perfect for people who want a laptop for business that’s incredibly portable. The X1 Nano laptop swaps out the 14-inch screen on Carbon’s machine for a 13-inch display with a taller 16:10 aspect ratio than the 16:9 measurements, similar to the XPS 13.
Additionally, the X1 Nano laptop now only weighs about two pounds, which is a lot less than the 2.64 pounds the Dell machine weighs. Okay, the Nano is not the lightest device in its space, but it’s an excellent grab-and-go productivity laptop.
The display resolution of this Lenovo laptop is 2160×1350 pixels, and the device measures somewhere between the base 1900×1200 pixels of the Dell XPS 13 and the optional 3840×2400 pixel display.
As far as inside design is concerned, it’s manufactured with high-quality materials to help ensure high-performance levels. On the outside of the machine, users will get top-quality finishes because it’s made with a stealthy, sleek, and stylish overall design.
However, because of the laptop’s screen size, you shouldn’t be too surprised it features a smaller touchpad. Also, it only provides limited port connections.
If you think the high-end MacBook Air might be too expensive for you, then you might want to think about looking at the ZenBook 13.
Also commonly referred to as the ZenBook 13 UX333FA, this machine has a robust 8th Generation Core i5 processor and an incredibly long battery lifespan, all housed in a gorgeous outside casing.
Yes, it’s great and a lot cheaper than the MacBook Airs and Dell XPS 13s of the world, but it also has its own unique disadvantages, one being the fact that it’s slightly slower than many of the competitors in its class.
With that said, the ASUS ZenBook 13 is still an incredible ultraportable laptop that comes with a wide variety of different configurations, all having esoteric model numbers similar to a lot of the top-quality laptops in the market.
The latest versions have OLED panels accompanied by the newest AMD or Intel processors. Other configurations with Ryzen 5, Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs, and different storage and memory qualities, are available as well.
An Intel variant that has the newest “Tiger Lake” processors will provide you with pretty decent CPU performance. Furthermore, many people adore it for having an excellent battery life, which is ideal for when there’s a lot you need to do with your laptop.
However, one of the major downsides of this laptop is that it lacks a headphone jack feature, so if you need to join meetings via the laptop or if you’re working with audio-based files, then you might want to get another option.
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Razer is a big name in the gaming world and it’s well-known for its exceptional gaming devices and accessories. It is actually a very good brand, but most non-gamers don’t think they can find a laptop that’ll best suit their needs under this umbrella.
Fortunately, there’s one, and it goes by Razer Book 13. This is the only non-gaming laptop under the Razer brand and is considered one of the best ultraportable laptops in terms of features, performance, and design.
To make something fresh and build a non-gaming laptop that everyone will love, Razer decided to mix two very well-recognized styles. It has taken inspiration from the original MacBook design and added the squared-off sides found in its Blade laptop brand.
In simpler terms, this is an all-silver, slim, ultraportable laptop that has a small overall footprint. However, it is still a bit thicker than the MacBook Air.
That being said, being that it has such a small footprint means that it will take up way less suitcase or desk space compared to the incredibly compact MacBook Air. This helps boost the device’s portability and helps make it the perfect machine for your lap or aircraft tray table.
But if you’re looking for something that has a lot of storage space, then you may need to look somewhere else. Why? Because this particular Razer laptop can only provide you with storage space of up to about 256GB.
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Because this laptop is an Intel Evo machine, it has the newest features and tools Intel has to offer, like Thunderbolt 4 connections, the 11th-Gen “Tiger Lake” processors with integrated Iris Xe graphics, and fast awake.
This device combines the processing power of the Core i5 with 16GB RAM, a 512GB drive, and a touch display with 1920×1280 pixel resolution.
In the package, you will find a carrying sleeve, a Sure Review Reflect privacy screen, and a rechargeable tilt pen.
When it comes to its outward appearance, this HP Spectre is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing ultraportable laptops available. Its gem-cut contrasting edges showcase the device’s CNC-manufactured aluminum chassis, similar to previous Spectre models.
The laptop is available in two color schemes; Nightfall Black with hints of Copper Luxe and Poseidon Blue with accents of Pale Brass, both of which will cost you slightly more than the original silver model. The lid features a stylized four-slash HP emblem, which sadly requires both the user’s hands to open.
Additionally, there are a pair of hinges that allow the user to fold their display screen back into the familiar tablet, tent, and easel configurations.
When the device is in laptop form, the display screen rarely wobbles about, and there is nearly no flex in the machine’s chassis if the user holds its edges or presses the keyboard deck.
Some of the major downsides about this machine are that the touchpad might be a little too stiff and the laptop comes with a bit of bloatware.
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Another great MacBook Air alternative is the Envy x360. If you are in search of an economical and fast big-screen ultraportable laptop, this Ryzen-based machine is a fantastic choice, as long as you’re okay with a full-HD display screen in its AMD iteration.
HP claims its Envy brand is designed for the creative space and tries to bridge the gap between the budget Pavilion series and the flagship Spectre.
You can put AMD or Intel processors in an Envy x360, but the Core-i7 devices with discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics rather than integrated graphics are available too.
As far as design is concerned, this laptop has a classy overall aesthetic, with a keyboard that has many interesting functions.
However, just like with everything in life, it has its own unique downsides. For starters, it’s a bit bulkier compared to the MacBook Air and many other alternatives on this list, and this leads to it being a considerably heavy laptop, even though you’re using it in a tablet position.
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Another great solution that’s a cheaper version of a MacBook Air notebook is the Dragonfly Max also from HP. The Elite Dragonfly Max machine has an intriguing blend of a 5-megapixel webcam, 5G, and a security display screen that will help keep curious nearby seatmates at bay, although this feature will cost you extra.
If you’ve used the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 laptop before, then the Dragonfly G2 will surprise you even more.
The G2 has an option of 4K or 1080p resolution screen displays, but the Dragonfly Max device only has a 1080-pixel touchscreen display panel with Sure View Reflect also from HP, which helps make the screen display a bit opaque to people who aren’t directly in front of the screen.
When it comes to the laptop’s display screen, the backgrounds in standard mode are beautiful and white, and all the colors are rich but not that vibrant. It has good contrast and sharp details as well.
In addition to all this, even when it’s disabled, the privacy tech looks to absorb about over 600 of the rated 1000 brightness nits and reduces the viewing angles, but this is not such a problem. And unlike the MacBook Air, this device provides users with a strong port selection portfolio.
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8. Acer Swift 3
The Acer Swift 3 for 2021 has a 14-inch display screen with a more rectangular and common 16:9 aspect ratio and is one of the cheapest MacBook Air alternatives in this article. If you’re okay with a wider display screen, then there’s plenty you’ll like about the 2021 Swift 3 laptop.
The 14-inch Acer Swift 3 laptop starts with an Intel i5 Core CPU, 521GB solid-state drive, and a RAM of 8GB. However, you can bump up the processor to a Core i7, which will double its memory. But all versions come with a non-touchscreen display with full high-definition and a 16:9 ratio.
This laptop has a sturdy silver exterior with an all-aluminum chassis that has a silver-colored lid, a silver bottom panel, and a silver keyboard with silver-colored keys.
The only areas of this device that are not silver-colored are the laptop’s matte black bezels that frame the screen display. This small difference adds to its understated overall design that looks just right in both the coffee shop and the boardroom.
It has a strong and solid metal chassis and the silver lid is rigid and lends excellent protection for the display screen. The keyboard feels firm and there is very little flex to its chassis, with a display hinge that’s free of screen wobble.
This ultraportable laptop weighs around 2.7 pounds with a measurement of 0.63×12.7×8.4-inches. It’s slightly heavier than the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, but it’s still not hard or cumbersome to carry around.
The keyboard deck has a comfortable feel to it, with shallow travel that helps make them feel incredibly responsive and quick. However, it is still not as unyielding as what you’d get with an older “butterfly” keyboard on MacBooks.
This laptop’s major drawback is its diminutive cursor arrow keys. The down and up arrow keys are in the same single key space, and the right and left arrows aren’t full height because the company squeezed in Page Down and Page Up keys above them. You’ll need to use the laptop for some time before you stop pressing the wrong keys.
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The Asus Flip C436 laptop is for those of you who want a Chromebook device that can do a lot more than it’s accustomed to. This ultraportable device blends function and form in a considerably priced package.
This Asus Flip has a robust overall build and a slim profile with clean and sharp lines. The Aerogel White (satin white model), is pure, and sophisticated and has a lot of that MacBook swagger. However, you can also get it in Transparent Silver.
The Chromebook’s bottom half is made out of magnesium alloy and that doesn’t change with the colorway you select. Chrome accents finish the whole appearance.
This portable laptop is a convertible, which means that you can use it like a regular laptop, get a tablet-style input out of it, and stand it in a tent posture. The laptop’s hinge is incredibly strong and can firmly hold the lid at nearly any angle.
One of the most interesting things about this laptop is that it’s the first Chromebook by Asus to integrate a fingerprint reader into the keyboard. Located in the upper right, the fingerprint reader works seamlessly without a hitch. Unfortunately, though, its oversized, glass trackpad was a bit inconsistent.
With that said, the company included a rather standard set of connection ports. You have two USB-C connections, one on both sides of the laptop, a microSD card port on the right, and a headphone jack feature.
The volume toggle and power button are on the left side, while the stereo speakers come in the form of mesh strips found in the lower deck.
As far as the display screen is concerned, it has an excellent 14-inch LED screen that boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio with full high-definition resolution.
Asus reduced the size of the bezels across the top to 6.5mm and along the sides to 4.9mm, giving this Flip a screen-to-body ratio of more than 80%.
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The 15.6-inch Galaxy Book2 Pro is an original convertible with a 12th-Gen Intel processor, that boosts the 2-in-1 performance level without having to change its ultra-slim overall design and brilliant AMOLED screen display. You can also get your hands on a clamshell (non-convertible) model and a smaller 13-inch model.
Weighing in at around three pounds, this laptop’s portability is simply outstanding for a MacBook Air-like 15-inch laptop and its exceptional 18-hour battery lifespan helps boost the device’s mobility even further.
This travel-friendly laptop that measures around 0.46×13.9×18.9-inches is a beacon of portability in the 15-inch laptop space and the Book2 Pro is almost identical to the original.
The laptop has a high-end build quality that’s not flimsy despite the incredibly lightweight of the device. The chassis has almost no flex, looks sharp, and feels incredible to the user’s touch.
Additionally, as with most OLED devices, the advantage they have over generic LCD displays is very clear, especially when touching on true blacks and color vibrancy. AMOLED display screens achieve this feat by lighting their pixels through self-emitting organic layers rather than separate backlights.
Furthermore, when you apply an electric current, the blue, green, and red subpixels will start to become their own light sources.
Lastly, as a 2-in-1 convertible, the screen of this super-portable laptop can fold and flip into multiple orientations, which honestly is hardly novel in this day and age.
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The MacBook Air is an elegant and beautifully-designed ultra-portable laptop that provides its users with top-in-class performances. With the new versions of the Air, such as the M2 installments, performance is even better.
However, if you are in search of something cheaper, now you know about some of the best laptops like the MacBook Air that are not as expensive.
Of all the entries above, I like Dell XPS 13. Not only is it one of the best Windows machines out there, but it also uses the new, incredibly powerful “Tiger Lake” processors.
The XPS 13 from Dell is no doubt the best and cheapest alternative to the MacBook Air.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.