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Dell’s MacBook Air.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the PC market is currently trying to combat Apple’s rather-very-successful MacBook Air range of laptops with their own thin, lightweight portables, AKA “Ultrabooks”. Unfortunately the Ultrabooks released to date haven’t really cut the mustard. PC manufacturers can match technical spec, they can do small and lightweight no problem, and some of them are getting good at making aesthetically-pleasing, well-built machines, but they are seemingly incapable of putting this all together in a package that bests (or even just matches) Apple’s pricing1.

But it looks like Dell are set to change all that with the release of the XPS 13.

Dell XP 13 side-on

Here’s a aluminium-topped, carbon-fibre bodied laptop which squeezes a 13-inch screen onto a 12-inch laptop chassis and sports an Intel Core i5 chip, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. Sure this thin-and-light design has sacrificed a few ports (some may complain) but that hasn’t stopped people buying similarly afflicted MacBook Airs. It’s a very good-looking bit of kit and apparently impeccably built, but best of all it has just gone on sale in the US for $999. That’s a price that’s sure to stop some people buying Apple hardware to run Windows on.

  1. Do you need an example? OK, have this. The snappily-named Toshiba Portégé Z830-104 is a decent-looking, magnesium alloy-clad ultrabook with innards as good as identical to the 13-inch MacBook Air and yet it retails in the UK for over £200 more. So much for Apple products being expensive.