Samsung Series 9 NP900X3C (13-inch, 2012) This 13.3-inch Ultrabook is all business with its gorgeous anti-glare PLS display, 256GB SSD, Intel Core i5 processor and backlit keyboard. The Samsung Series 9 is one of the most well-rounded Ultrabooks we've seen with excellent performance, decent speakers and a great display. A thin, stylish design, long battery life, excellent screen, and a new second-generation Intel Core i5 CPU make the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A one of the best ultrathin Windows laptops we've ever seen.
But, While we got used to the trackpad, we still found it to be a hindrance rather than an enabler. The input features - namely the trackpad and keyboard - can't touch the MacBook Air for quality, and that's a big issue. The Series 9's way-too-high sticker price makes the MacBook Air look downright affordable by comparison; the flexy case design doesn't feel as good as the MacBook Air's, either.
The bottom line: There are performance issues, arising from its waif-like size, but it's still more than capable of serving most people's needs, while offering head-turning style that few competitors can offer. The $1,649 Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A certainly won't be for every wallet, but this light, well-featured, and striking 13-incher is the closest the Windows world will ever come to a MacBook Air. However, its higher-than-the-Air price will be hard to stomach.
System configurations: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB SanDisk SSD Specifications
ProcessorIntel 2nd Gen Core i5 i5-2537M / 1.4 GHz ( 2.3 GHz ) ( Dual-Core )
Memory4.0 GB / 8.0 GB (max)
Hard Drive128.0 GB
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
Display Type13.3 in TFT active matrix
Max Resolution1366 x 768 ( HD )
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 3000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology
Optical DriveNone Price;$1,699 / $1,649 VS Apple MacBook Air The MacBook Air has been known for its good battery life.New Intel fourth-gen CPUs help the updated MacBook Air achieve amazing battery life. The multitouch trackpad is still the industry's best, and even better, the 13-inch MacBook Air now starts at $100 less than the previous model.
The new Haswell processors use very little power, giving the 2013 13-inch MacBook Air and absolutely stunning battery life. In our test, in which we streamed the live BBC News channel feed on iPlayer over a wireless network, the laptop lasted for nine hours. That's significantly better than the 11-inch MacBook Air's 7 hours 15 minutes, and a substantial improvement over the 2012 MacBook Air's 5.5 hours.
Since switching to solid state storage off the shelf with the late 2010 update, the MacBook Air has been known for its good battery life. But with the Haswell processors in place, it's absolutely stunning. At last, you can use your notebook all day long on a single charge.
But, Newer features such as touch screens and higher-resolution displays are still missing. The ultrabook competition is catching up, in terms of design.
The bottom line: Apple keeps the latest MacBook Air updates on the inside, but greatly improved battery life and a lower starting price make up for a lack of flashy design changes. Specifications
ProcessorIntelCore i5 1.3 GHz ( 2.6 GHz ) ( Dual-Core )
RAM installed size4 GB
Hard Drive128 GB
Operating SystemApple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
Display Type13.3 in
Max Resolution1440 x 900 ( WXGA+ )
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 5000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Optical DriveNone Price $1,099 VS Dell XPS 13 The XPS 13 is a solidly built, lightweight laptop that's actually slightly smaller than the 13-inch Air. It has a usable, backlit keyboard and decent battery life. While it loses points for a low-end display, its $999 price point makes it a reasonable purchase as a more powerful go-anywhere computer to replace your aging netbook.The display is a full-HD panel (1920 x 1080) that features a 800:1 contrast ratio with an optional touch screen for navigating Windows 8.1's UI and apps.This is one area the XPS 13 falls short; it has just two USB ports, a headphone/microphone combo jack and DisplayPort video out. I’m chiefly disappointed in the lack of a media card reader. On the other hand, one nice feature is the inclusion of a battery status indicator which lets you check the amount of battery power you have left even if the laptop is powered off. All picture descriptions are shown from left to right.The Dell XPS 13 has a sharp new 1080p display, updated Intel processors, and the same sleek design as before.
But, Few ports; a high price; no touch-screen option.
The bottom line: Attractive and compact, the new Dell XPS 13 ultrabook isn't that much different from last year's model, aside from new processors and a higher-res non-touch screen. Specifications
ProcessorIntel Core i7 3rd Generation 3517U
Hard Drive256 GB
Operating SystemWindows 8, 64-bit, English
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD 4000 Price;$1,599.99