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Ultrabooks vs. Macbook Air

Apparently, it takes a bunch of companies, a load of manpower, and a number of specially designed laptops to just begin to rival the Macbook Air. But is it even a rivalry yet?

We were promised last year by Intel that ultrabooks would be a significant portion of the PC market, but we haven’t quite seen that come to pass yet. That said, there have been a number of ultrabooks which are notable. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the ultrabook lineup was created to combat the new computer niche started by the Macbook Air, a niche no one knew they needed until Apple’s precedent. Of all the ultrabook we’ve seen and waited for in the last months, only a few have impressed enough to be a viable alternative to the Air. The main point that companies can beat Apple on is price, so it’s key that the manufacturers can get customers the biggest bang for their buck.

Below is a thorough comparison of the features and factors which come into play with the Macbook Air and the ultrabook competitors. See if you think the offerings of Sony, HP, Asus, and Samsung can stand up to Apple’s.

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Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 3: Speed

Whether you’re a daredevil driver who’s always dreamed of the autobahn, a lover of racing games, or even a regular street-law abiding person, we all have a need for speed when it comes to smartphones.

While benchmarks and tech specs have their advantages, there is more to a smartphone than just the hardware inside. Without an efficient and optimized operating system, even a dual-core 1.5 Ghz phone is about as fast as streaming an HD video with roaming data in a mountain range. Sometimes you just need to see how things work in the wild. For a quick comparison, I have an Android 2.3 Gingerbread phone, an iOS 5.01 device, and a Windows Phone 7.5 Mango phone, all only connected to the same WiFi network. The three have very similar hardware aside from the iOS device, with a clear disadvantage in hardware. I ran a few field tests and came up with some relative data, subject to a multitude of complications, but interesting still.

iOS 5 vs. Android 2.3 vs. Windows Phone 7.5
The three platforms face off in a field test.

As seen above, each operating system seems to have its strong suits. iOS never loses by much and maintains respectable comparative speed, Android is sometimes a ways ahead and sometimes a ways behind, and Windows Phone sticks out in a couple tests and is mediocre in others. In truth, its difficult to find a clear winner. Despite this, it is important to note that the Windows Phone and Android devices had the same chipsets, the slightly older iOS device had a more dated processor.  Knowing this, one would easily conclude iOS superior, comparing with hardware with an edge on it, but there are a lot of other factors involved. One strike against iOS is that the YouTube video would not play in the browser with the mobile HTML 5 version of the page, requiring a plugin to function, which is the only reason for the “n/a” displayed above.

Writing from personal experience, iOS and Windows Phone surpass Android in speed. That said, I have very little exposure to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, so I can’t say too much.

Wrapping it all up, the platforms tend to really have individual strong suits. iOS has everything there, but the design is not always the most functional, requiring an “app for everything”. Android has some degree of integration, but is sometimes inefficient. Windows Phone has the opposite problem of iOS. While it has a streamlined design, the app usage and some functionality is lacking. This all affects the speed of your day-to-day usage, so to make the most of your phone, you really have to find which is best suited to you.

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 1: Apps

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 2: Ecosystem and Extras

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