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Best MacBook Air alternatives: 5 Windows and ChromeOS laptops you’ll love

The MacBook Air might be some people’s first choice when it comes to slim, lightweight ultrabooks, but not everyone likes macOS or Apple’s lofty prices. Trusted Reviews has rounded up five lightweight laptops worth the attention of any Windows 10 user. Read on to see the best MacBook Air alternatives for 2020.

The MacBook Air offers reliable performance, a bright display and the new and improved Magic Keyboard (RIP controversial butterfly keys) wrapped up in a thin and lightweight package. While the Air may be the iconic slim laptop, there are plenty of thin Windows rivals offering equal – or better – performance. 

These competitors haven’t been shy this year. Offering better graphics, stunning 4K displays and versatile touchscreens, at times for a fraction of the weight – and price – of the MacBook Air. 

Related: Best laptop deals

You can see our top five picks at a glance below, or scroll down further to discover more information, including pros, cons, images and links to our full, comprehensive reviews.

  • Best all-round MacBook Air alternative: Dell XPS 13 (2020)
  • Best budget MacBook Air alternative: Honor MagicBook
  • Best stylish MacBook Air alternative: Surface Laptop 3 13-inch
  • Best lightweight MacBook Air alternative: Samsung Galaxy Book Ion
  • Best Chromebook MacBook Air alternative: Google Pixelbook Go 

Related: Best laptop 2020

Dell XPS 13 2020

1. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

  • Price from: £1099
  • Our Score: 5/5

Pros:

  • Ideal 16:10 InfinityEdge display
  • Comfortable and clicky keyboard
  • Remarkably thin and compact
  • Productivity performance perfection

Cons: 

  • Short on ports
  • Keyboard can get a tad warm

The Dell XPS 13 is the all-round best alternative to the MacBook Air – in fact, we think it might be better. 

In our review of the XPS 13, we named the device the best ultrabook you can buy right now. From the stunning InfinityEdge display to it’s comfortable keyboard and 10th gen processor, the XPS 13 is an all-round impressive laptop. 

At 1.2kg, the XPS 13 is lighter than the MacBook Air and outshines the Apple ultrabook with its optional 4K display. You can even get iPhone notifications on the Windows laptop. The only downside here is the price, with the XPS 13 starting a little higher than the MacBook Air at £1099. If that’s a deal breaker for you, keep reading for our best budget pick. Put the cost aside and the XPS 13 is among the absolute best MacBook Air alternatives on the market. 

MagicBook 14

2. Honor MagicBook 14

  • Price from: £549.99
  • Our Score: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • Student-friendly premium style
  • Superb value
  • Pleasant typing experience
  • More than capable productivity performance

Cons: 

  • Webcam position on keyboard
  • Below average display

If you’re on a budget, the Honor MagicBook 14 is the best low-priced MacBook Air alternative. For almost half the price of it’s Apple equivalent, the Honor ultrabook offers a Full HD matte display, decent selection of ports and fingerprint scanner squeezed into a light 1.38kg body. 

It’s kitted with the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, which offers plenty of processing power for your money and is more than sufficient for everyday tasks, such as browsing the web. 

Some sacrifices have been made to justify the MagicBook’s low price. The display isn’t bright and colour accuracy could certainly be improved. The webcam is also awkwardly angled since it’s been built into the keyboard, though it does allow Honor to keep a small bezel. That said, for under £550, the Honor MagicBook is a fantastic pick for anyone looking for an ultrabook on a budget. 

Best MacBook Air alternatives - Surface Laptop 3 13

3. Surface Laptop 3 13-inch

  • Prices from: £999
  • Our Score: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • Classy, ultra-portable design
  • Excellent performance
  • Stunning 3:2 display 
  • Available in four different colours

Cons: 

  • Middling battery life
  • Lack of Thunderbolt 3

The Surface Laptop 3 13-inch is the best looking MacBook Air alternative we’ve reviewed this year. The Surface Laptop 2 successor has a slim aluminium body and feels surprisingly sturdy considering it weighs in at just 1.28kg. The laptop is available in four colours – Sandstone, Matte black, Platinum with Alcantara and Cobalt Blue with Alcantara – has a good variety of ports and boasts some punchy speakers. 

Beyond its slick design, the Surface Laptop 3 includes a great keyboard, sharp display and a powerful 10th gen Ice Lake processor, with both i5 and i7 options available. Both CPU options offer excellent multi-core performance, allowing it to run several tasks, such as web browsing and document editing, at once with ease. 

At a similar price as Apple’s ultrabook, the Surface Laptop 3 13 is a one of the best MacBook Air alternatives with a truly stunning design.

Best MacBook Air alternatives - Samsung Galaxy Book Ion

4. Samsung Galaxy Book Ion

  •  Prices from: £1299
  • Our Score: 4/5

Pros:

  • Ultra-portable design
  • Incredible battery life
  • Lovely QLED screen
  • Great port selection

Cons: 

  • Relatively expensive
  • Sub-standard keyboard
  • Weak graphics performance

At just 970g, the Samsung Galaxy Book Ion is the lightest option on this list. If you’re looking for a laptop truly built for on the go use, you’ll struggle to find something better suited than the Galaxy Book Ion. The ultrabook has an outstanding battery life that can reach up to 14 hours and 40 minutes, extending hours beyond Apple’s 11 hour claim and allowing to last a full day of work or lectures with ease. 

The QLED display is gorgeous, too. It has a max brightness of 443 nits, making the colours appear incredibly vivid. Colour accuracy is excellent and the 1080p resolution makes this ultrabook perfect for streaming video. 

The processor lacks the graphical power to handle games or creative apps, and the price is slightly steeper than the MacBook Air, However, if you’re looking for something truly portable to browse the web, work on documents and watch movies, the Samsung Galaxy Book Ion is an excellent option. 

Best MacBook Air alternatives - Google Pixelbook Go

5. Google Pixelbook Go

  • Price from: £629
  • Our Score: 4/5

Pros:

  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Attractive, understated look
  • Impressive battery life
  • Android apps on Chrome can be useful (even if buggy)

Cons: 

  • Can get far too expensive if you upgrade the specs
  • No fingerprint scanner/facial unlock
  • Have to get the top model if you want a 4K screen

If you’re looking for a MacBook Air dupe that runs Chrome OS, the Google Pixelbook Go is our top pick. The Chromebook has a minimal design that hits all the right marks, with a matte black finish and a subtle “G” branding it as a Google device. 

The Pixelbook Go is small and lightweight at just over 1kg, making it great for on-the-go use. The keyboard is smooth and offers plenty of travel, and the 1080p LCD screen offers support for touch. The ultrabook is even available with a 4K display, though you’ll have to pay quite a bit more than the base price for the privilege. 

The Chromebook offers great performance, able to handle upwards of 20 tabs and HD YouTube videos with no lagging, and the 7 to 8 hour battery is enough to last a standard work day. 

ChromeOS offers integration with Android phones and Play Store apps work perfectly. The Google operating system isn’t for everyone due to its lack of Windows apps but, if you prefer it to macOS or Windows, the Pixelbook Go is easily one of the best MacBook Air alternatives you can buy.

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