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

Best MacBook Air alternatives: Like the look of the MacBook Air, but would rather stick to Windows 10 instead of converting to Apple’s macOS? Then we’ve picked the top five alternative options.

The MacBook Air has certainly set a high bar for slim and lightweight ultrabooks that still offer a super-slick performance, but it’s arguable that Apple is no longer the champion of this remit.

Many Windows alternatives have popped up throughout 2019, with some championing special features such as gaming pedigree or weighing less than 1kg. Others are all-round stars that trump the MacBook Air in every single department.

We’ve included our top five picks below, while also providing a quick summary of the ranking if you can’t be bothered scrolling all the way to the bottom.

  • Best all-round MacBook Air alternative: Dell XPS 13 (2019)
  • Best budget MacBook Air alternative: Lenovo IdeaPad 720S
  • Best stylish MacBook Air alternative: Surface Laptop 3 13-inch
  • Best lightweight MacBook Air alternative: LG Gram 14
  • Best gaming MacBook Air alternative: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

Related: Best laptop 2019

Dell XPS 13

1. Dell XPS 13 (2019)

  • Price from: £999
  • Our Score: 9/10
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Pros:

  • Quality design and display
  • Improved performance and battery life
  • Huge range of configurations

Cons: 

  • Still no full-sized SD card reader or USB port
  • SSD slow at saving data
  • Screen not ideal for artists

The Dell XPS 13 (2019) isn’t just a fantastic Windows 10 alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air, it’s arguably a better device overall.

You can get the XPS 13 running faster than any MacBook Air, while the design and laptop boast such a pedigree that no other laptop can rival it. At 1.23kg, it’s marginally lighter than Apple’s ultrabook – and with prices starting from £999, it’s cheaper too, with an incredible range of configurations.

Dell’s 13in laptop isn’t perfect, though. There’s no full-size USB-A port on offer, while SSD speeds are surprisingly sluggish when saving and loading files on the system. These are very minor gripes overall, however, as the XPS remains our top recommended ultrabook.

2. Lenovo IdeaPad 720S

  • Price from: £699.99
  • Our Score: 9/10

Pros:

  • Slim, stylish, all-metal exterior
  • Great screen
  • Good connectivity
  • Affordable price

Cons: 

  • Nvidia graphics not necessary for all
  • 14in form factor adds weight

Most of our best MacBook Air alternatives cost over £1000; you’ve got to pay a premium for Apple-standard quality, after all. The Lenovo IdeaPad 720S is the exception, though, available for a very approachable £699.99. Of course, you’re not quite getting the same processing speeds on offer from other laptops here, but this Lenovo model is perfectly capable of ploughing through basic tasks.

The inclusion of a dedicated graphics card is a bit of a head-scratcher, but it does mean you’ll be able to do entry-level Photoshop on this device, so we’re not complaining. Battery life, display quality and connectivity options are all great too, so you’re getting a great value all-rounder with the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S.

Cost-cutting means compromises, and the IdeaPad 720S is one of the chunkiest and heaviest MacBook alternatives here, weighing as much as 1.55kg. That’s still a manageable weight, but it might be tempting to spend a little more on a sleeker device.

Surface Laptop 3 13

3. Surface Laptop 3 13-inch

  • Prices from: £999
  • Our Score: 9/10
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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13-inch Black Friday deal

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13-inch

Microsoft's 13-inch Surface Laptop is packed full of exciting new features, including Intel's 10th Gen i5 processor for a blazing fast performance.

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 another laptop that is arguably better than Apple’s MacBook Air. This recently released Microsoft ultrabook has the latest and greatest components to qualify it as a top-notch performance. Sporting an integrated graphics engine on the processor, it’s also capable of gaming, but only titles that aren’t too demanding, such as Fortnite and Apex Legends at low graphics settings.

One of the biggest benefits of the Surface 3 is the range of colours available. It’s one of the very few laptops that doesn’t limit you to black and silver – cobalt blue and sandstone pink are also available. The overall design is excellent, easily meeting the high bar set by Apple.

The only disadvantages of the Surface Laptop 3 13-inch are the middling battery life and the lack of Thunderbolt 3 support, but these issues aren’t significant enough to prevent this being one of the very best MacBook Air alternatives.

LG Gram 14Z980

4. LG Gram 14

  •  Prices from: £1199
  • Our Score: 9/10
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LG Gram 14 (14Z990) Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deal

LG Gram 14 (14Z990) Laptop – 14-inch, Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD

The LG Gram 14 is one of the lightest laptops on the market, weighing just 995g despite featuring an Intel Core i5-8265U processor that will easily handle day-to-day productivity tasks

Pros:

  • An ultra-portable machine weighing just 1kg
  • Superb battery life
  • Great keyboard

Cons: 

  • 256GB storage isn’t generous
  • Some might expect a dedicated GPU at this price

The LG Gram 14 may not be the best-looking or most powerful of the best MacBook Air alternatives on this list, but it does have a very significant advantage: weighing under 1kg, this ultrabook is easily the lightest laptop featured on our list, which is a definite blessing for those who frequently lug their laptop on their commute.

And, while the LG Gram 14 doesn’t have the latest and greatest components, our benchmark results prove it still has faster processing speeds than the closest Apple MacBook Air 2018 configuration. Add in a great battery life and display, and you’ve got a really good laptop on your hands.

It is one of the more expensive models here, though – you have to pay that little bit more for the luxury of such a lightweight machine. Its storage maxes out at 256GB, so you’re going to want to make the most of cloud saving.

Razer Blade Stealth

5. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

  • Price from: £1499.99
  • Our Score: 8/10
We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Pros:

  • Premium lightweight design
  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Dazzling display

Cons: 

  • Average battery life with RGB lighting turned off
  • Could do with more ports
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Stingy storage

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) has the most expensive base price of all our best MacBook Air alternatives, but that’s totally justified, given the inclusion of top-class components and the option of a dedicated graphics card. While this laptop isn’t strictly a gaming laptop, it’s the best option here for casual gaming, offering a decent performance for old AAA titles in Full HD, as well as for battle-royale and indie video games.

Considering one of the MacBook Air’s greatest flaws is its inability to play major video games, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the perfect alternative for gamers who still want the ultra-portable design.

Meagre port options, a below-par battery life and stingy storage all mean you’re not getting the best value ultrabook from the options here, but if you’re happy to put up with those issues to have the gaming-on-the-go luxury, then this laptop is still a top buy.

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