Needed a Windows machine and did not like where Lion was going - with 2011 MBA I would have no choice but to run Lion and Windows with half baked support (AHCI, other minor annoyances)
The X220 fits the bill -
1) Display is good - it's IPS panel with good viewing angles and great brightness (Make sure you opt for Premium HD display)
2) Battery life is great - 6-7 hrs for regular use is no big deal at all with the normal battery. Go with 9 cell for little extra thickness and you are talking 9 hrs.
3) It is fast even with the 7200RPM HDD - resume from sleep is fastest I've seen for a Windows laptop with regular HDD and pre desktop fingerprint authentication saves you more time.
4) Legendary Thinkpad keyboard - love it!
5) Fast regular voltage i5/i7 CPUs - not undervolted ones.
6) Does not get noisy or hot even under full load - the i7 models throttle a bit more but are still great.
7) Can have 8GB RAM - big deal for me as I run VMs. Not an option with the Air.
The only issue really is the tiny trackpad. It gets the job done but is nowhere near the nice big glassy one on the Air. If you were into Linux X220 runs Ubuntu 11.04 great out of box - added benefit.
Are you serious? This doesn't look like anything that may compete with Macbook Air in my book. Not to seem too negative, but the overall design is reminiscent of old laptops from the year 2001. (Typical for PC laptop designers).
Apple take their platonic ideal of design - a perfectly smooth pebble of metal and glass - and try and compromise it as little as possible in the process of making it a computer. They're amazingly good at that process, but inevitably face compromises.
Lenovo (and IBM before them) build purely for performance and let form follow function. If a bulge in the chassis means a better machine, they put the bulge in the chassis.
For example, you'll notice a VGA port on the side. Apple would consider it an unacceptably bulky legacy port. Lenovo fit it because their target market values being able to hook up to a projector without a fragile and easy to lose adapter. There are hundreds of really clever bits of design on a Lenovo, but they're all about Getting Stuff Done.
I've alternated between Mac laptops and Thinkpads for as long as I can remember, probably over a decade. They're both the best in their field by a very long way, but they're competing in very different markets based on very different design philosophies.
> This doesn't look like anything that may compete
> with Macbook Air in my book
> design is reminiscent of old laptops from the year
2. The ThinkPad was praised for it's industrial design back in it's day.
3. There are many people that prefer the ThinkPad design over the MBA unibody.
4. If the X220 surpasses the MBA in all aspected except looks, then does it really not compete in your book? Is the design of the laptop so important that you would be willing to pay more for less functionality just for your laptop to look nicer?
5. I don't quite understand how you can reply to someone saying that they went with a X220 due to features that it had that the MBA didn't (and which were important to the poster), with a "it's not even competitive because the design is not pleasing to my eyes." It comes off like this:
poster1: I bought a NASCAR because I need to go fast for
poster2: How could you even claim that a NASCAR is a replacement
for a sedan?! The external looks are horrible!
The original post suggesting the X220 listed a bunch of specs that it had (and that the poster needed) that the MacBook Air didn't. A response of, "Disregard that the design sucks cocks," adds nothing to the discussion even if that it your personal opinion. If someone thinks that the external looks of the laptop are important, they are not going to just blindly make the purchase based a comment on HN without personally checking it out.
The more important discussions are things like:
* X is billed as (or looks to be in the surface) a replacement for Y, but once you get it out of the showroom you'll notice issues A, B and C.
* X looks really cheap on the surface, but in my experience it's extremely durable.
* X looks really good, but doesn't run Operating System Y.
* X looks like it runs Operating System Y, until you need to use feature/hardware component Z.
I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who honestly believes a Thinkpad to be more elegant than a Macbook Air.
A response of, "Disregard that the design sucks cocks,"
The x220 certainly ain't ugly - it is thin, lightweight and durable. Many prefer the Thinkpad design. So even if for you personally elegance may be the first/only priority without override - many people are not that obsessive when it comes to choosing a work laptop.
So the X220 is certainly a choice when you are thinking Macbook Air. The screen size falls nicely between the too small 11" and a bit too big 13.3", the CPUs are same gen, SSD is configurable etc.
Okay, I'm genuinely curious here. What's with all the strange, reactionary posts in this thread, and mis-categorization of people? When did I say anything about elegance being my first priority? I was quite clear in my statement, yet you've skewed it in a bizarre manner.
many people are not that obsessive when it comes to choosing a work laptop
Obsessive? How about appreciative? In fact, how about any word which isn't loaded? Again, there is some strange, defensive stuff going on here.
> > A response of, "Disregard that the design sucks cocks,"
> Excuse me?
My point was that the responder at the top of the thread was saying (in so many words):
ignore all of that so-called 'content' in the parent
post, my (subjective) ideas about the design should
trump all of that
As for your summary, I find it to be amazingly slanted toward a particular view. The X220 is truly nothing at all like the Macbook Air. I used a consumer grade Toshiba, so I have no horse in this race, but I can plainly see (from specs as well as design) that the X220 is in a significantly different category from the Air.
The elegance of the design alone is not enough to place it in a different category. If the argument had been that it can't be classified in the same category as the MacBook Air (with a list of reasons other than "I think that it looks ugly"), then this thread would look a lot different.
But for me if I can get function with form I will go with it. Sacrificing function for form is not a luxury I can afford at the moment :)
But the point is - Thinkpads are well built, the x220 is thin if not as thin, and it offers lot of functionality over the Air and even if it doesn't look as flashy it doesn't look that bad - people are used to seeing Thinkpads :)
[ I noticed you deleted the running OS X part - if anyone else was wondering - x220 can make a great hackintosh if you swapped the WiFi card - it has an empty mSATA connection if I remember correctly. Apart from that the hardware should be OS X friendly.]
The chunky black plastic is just as much a part of the Thinkpad brand as the unibody is for the Macbooks.
I suppose if style is the main consideration when purchasing a computer, Apple is hard to beat.
People complaining about the design are often failing to correctly identify the intended user.
Don't get all the fuss over the apple look. To me the thinkpad looks very sharp and functional.
I'd like to point out that chunky and heavy v. thin and light is not all about looking cool. A better comparison would be Thinkpad v. MBP. But since this is about alternatives to the Air, let's assume that thin & light are worth giving up some raw horsepower and perhaps some functionality.
If the form factor of the old Kaypro / Compaq luggables were around today you could pack a desktop machine's worth of power into it. If someone looking for a notebook computer was pointed toward one of those and remarked something like the above, I think we'd all agree with them.
Except you can't, because you're worried about crushing it, due to a relatively frail case, or you're worried about scratching it because it looks pretty.
This is why I ditched an MBA and carry around a netbook.
I have another client where the sales people have windows laptops, but they're not allowed to bring them to client meetings, instead they have to bring their iPads.
Sometimes form _is_ more important than function.
Agreed, I have zero problems with this statement when qualified.
For the 2011 Air - RAM is still an issue and WiFi card is another one - Broadcom is still working on getting a beta quality OSS driver out.
Compared to that x220 on Linux is very well supported.
8) The nipple mouse in the middle of the keyboard means you never have to take your hands away from home row.
You've two thumbs for a reason, I never had much issue using my thumbs on the trackpad.
And the new Lenovo trackpads are also multitouch, not as good as Apple's tough.
Would you say it's good enough for someone who wants to do Django, python dev, Photoshop, Illustrator and some basic video editing?
(I have the same i5 13", it's been great)
The Asus lowkey links, the Samsung 9 series (you can get this at Costco), the Sony Vaio Z series and the small end Lenovo ThinkPad's (which some friends have told me are a bit too small cause of the higher res screen).
When I looked the Samsung 9 had some serious touch-pad sensitivity issues. The Sony Vaio Z series is packed and quite expensive if you really load it out.
I would point out that the scrolling/zooming/multi-touch experience in Windows 7 on these other devices is no where near as fluid as the MBA; I don't know how important that is to you, but once I realized how herky-jerky it was going to be that was a turn off for me and how I was using my laptop.
Also the hardware loadout in the MBA compared to some of these other devices actually ends up making the MBA really competitively priced, especially when you add the SSD to the likes of the Sony Vaio Z which got quite expensive.
As always it depends what you want to do with the laptop (gaming? programming? web?) but just know that if OS X/Win isn't an issue the hardware on all these high end ultra lights is within the same ballpark and not night/day different.
So alright alright, it's not, cheap. It's not in the same ball park as the MBA on the performance side (it annihilates it)
- it's slightly lighter than the MBA
- its just as thin and compact
- it has a gorgeous screen that also doesnt reflects everything instead of showing you content
- it runs linux just fine
- you can plug a lightpeak graphic card if you like
- the SSD's are extremely, extremely fast (750mbyte/s sequential writes, and over the gigbyte/s sequential reads. And no, its not mbit/s)
- standard voltage i7
- bunch of options if you like that sort of stuff (fingerprint reader, 3G card, fullhd screen, etc)
- battery sheet if you like 10-12H battery life for a slightly heavier lappy (long courier flights anyone?)
-actual HDMI out, VGA out, ethernet port, no need to carry adapters.
-it still looks pretty cool
6 gbps SATA with 8/10 encoding (standard SATA) means the bus is saturated at 600MB/s.
(imo of course) OS X beats Linux for keyboard shortcuts because they are more consistent. My ranking is: 1. OS X, 2. Linux, 3. Windows.
I'm a keyboard junkie, to a fault sometimes, but I find that I use the trackpad on my MacBook quite a bit because it's so useful with all the gestures and such.
Hmm, I guess you're right. Without the dedicated context menu key, you have to use SHIFT+F10. That's a pain.
This way you get
* the unibody
* the magsafe
* the battery of the MBP
* the flexibility to easily use OSX if you ever need to (without doing the sketchy hackintosh approach)
* the resale value of the MBP
And you get a lot more machine for the money than the MBA. The one cost you have to accept is the weight. But that's giving you a very sturdy machine, something you might value.
The video performance on this generation of 13" MBP is the one weak spot, but it will suffice if you don't need to be on the bleeding edge.
Points to note: when it first came out, I had to come up with a patch of tp smapi to get it to work. Not sure if that's still the case. You'll get inferior battery life in Linux, even worse than in Windows 7. I'm typically getting 5-6 hours on wireless doing not particularly intense stuff. Also some oddities with the special ThinkPad keys that's simply a matter of not caring enough to fix. Touchpad a bit funky.
It's a solid alternative, though I think I mostly chose it for a superior GUI, not the system itself.
Similar weight as the Air but much thicker. Little more powerful CPU to which I added 8GB ram and a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD.
12-13" IPS display, is the crappiest IPS I ever saw, still better than a TN though.
Battery life is around 5h, OK I guess.
Keyboard is great but touchpad is horrible. Mac os x is not an option, but Win 7 runs pretty great on it.
Here's a review: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1610568
if you're considering a macbook air then i suspect the s10 or sony are closest to what you want. personally, i'd go for one of the other two...
The Samsung 9 in the link is 1600EUR. I checked the German Apple site. The top end Air is 1499EUR. The low end 13" with a 128GB SSD like in the link is 1249EUR.
I looked up the Viao Z series on the Sony German site and this is a bit confusing. It says that it starts at 1754EUR which seems like a really good deal. But at the bottom where there are preconfigured models with more detailed specs that you can compare, it really starts at 2299EUR (so what are you getting for 1754EUR?).
The Air is the cheapest option???
Of course, you don't get the same between a MBA and a Z.
The MBA is a pretty nice machine in fact, if you're an OSX user and don't need the best-of-the-best (aka the Z, so far, its so much faster than the MBA it's not even funny)
I only looked at preconfigured 13" systems. I was only looking at the basics too. CPU, RAM, SSD capacity. The Z is faster for sure, but I am not convinced it's worth the premium that they are selling it for.
Sony Vaios are ridiculously expensive; that being said, they offer 1920x1080 in a 13.1" form factor. This completely destroys everyone else, in my mind.
(Exaggerated for emphasis)
Apple's retina display works because they have graphics that are the same physical size on screen. When I switch from my MacBook Pro display to an external Samsung display, the icon and text both get smaller.
The X201s , X220 are extremely durable machines (I've had Thinkpads since 1999) and have like Apple (and unlike Sony and some others) outstanding warranty service. Thinkpads (on certain models) and Apple both have international warranty.
If you want the larger screen of the Mac Air over the X201s or X220 then I don't see an alternative to the "Air" today.
The downsides: super sharp edges make it uncomfortable to rest on oneself, the power socket is flimsy and the charger easily damaged, awful drivers for the Broadcom WiFi chip.
I tend to give laptops a rough treatment lugging them around (my ThinkPad was continually damaged and had bits shattered off it on a regular basis). My last laptop was a Toughbook which bravely survived years though a few screws came out of it. The Samsung has done very well and the only damage is to the charger and the screen getting bright patches from being squashed in transit.
The SSD is very fast, maybe faster than the Intel X25M I had before, and I'm generally pleased with it. I use Ubuntu without major issues.
That said, I find the OP a bit unclear. If you need a computer that runs Mac OSX, your choices are clear, though fairly limited. The discussion in that case is about what form-factor you prefer (ultra-mobile, portable, desktop).
If you don't care about operating system, but are looking for a computer with a similar design aesthetic and form factor, there are several choices. The Samsung Series 9 is the closest match, in my opinion, for being metal, thin, light, and lacking a optical drive. With an optical drive, I would suggest the Toshiba Portege (R835) or so, which runs Ubuntu well.
Some are very Linuxey. My Acer netbook is fast enough for me and, for the price of an MBA, I could buy 4 of them. It's been reported Toshibas and Sony's have some issues. The i5-based Dell I got issued at work also works very well and seems to be built like a tank.
If you want Windows, well... There are small computers, some of them well built that can run Windows at Windows functionality levels.
Sometimes second place isn't good enough.
And yet they're much better to run anything that isn't Mac OS X. They allow you to boot Linux or Windows from USB. They don't disable AHCI just because and force you to apply a sleep-breaking MBR hack if you wanted to use it. An Apple laptop is the worst possible laptop you could get if you wanted to run Windows. Trust me, I have one and I really hate it. This is the last Apple laptop I'm ever going to own.
If all other laptops are too Windowsey, then give me a Windowsey laptop over an Apple one any day.
edit: awww, seems like I hurt the delicate sentiments of a poor widdle Apple fanboy.
The only drawbacks I've seen are the price (it's quite expensive) and Sony isn't very good about keeping their drivers up-to-date, so anything custom/customized in the machine (like the graphics card) is kind of annoying to get new drivers for.
The only thing not to like about this machine is the price.
The machine can be configured with fingerprint reader, 3G modem, and maybe something else. I don't have any of the extras so I don't know the level of support for these.
When I got it last year, there were a few minor issues with suspend, but these have since been fixed.
Also, the production of Apple's laptop cases have to be a drop in the bucket compared to how many other CNC items are produced. I am skeptical of the article's claims.
Of course I was going to install Linux on the Levono and Wipe Windows, but now I have OS X with my Laptop and Linux with my Desktop.
I own one and just love it, at first I installed Ubuntu but video and clickpad drivers didnt map well.. then found out I could just run Ubuntu inside VirtualBox with seamless performance .
The model is a bit older now but the specs are good and you can probably find them quite cheap now. There is also a second gen version (3830 i think is model?) that has most of the same specs except second gen i5, usb 3 & i think nvidia instead of ati video.
Since those are pretty much the defining characteristics of the Air, not really an "alternative".
The display is not as good and the touchpad is probably inferior, otherwise it looks like a good fit for $$$ when compared to the Macbook Air.