zyodei wrote:Look at that i7 Acer powerhouse, and look at those MacBook Pros, and tell me that the Apple tax is not still alive and well. That's around 100% more expensive for the fruit logo and their take on a Unix desktop...
Let's do a comparison.
That Acer (http://www.woot.com/offers/acer-aspire-s3-13-3-core-i7-ultrabook-1)
versus a Macbook Air 13" (the most comparable computer to an Ultrabook)
Apple: $1249 (uprated the processor)
Winner: Acer on cost
Acer: Core i7 3517U (1.9GHz/3.0GHz)
Apple: Core i7 4650U (1.7GHz/3.3GHz)
Winner: Apple; newer generation processor, better power consumption
Acer: 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
Apple: 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
Winner: Tie, but I'd give the nod to Apple on LP DDR ram for a laptop
Acer: 4GB Maximum Memory
Apple: 8GB Maximum Memory
Winner: Tie; they're both limited to what you order with them (at least according to Acer), but the Apple can be ordered with 8GB at an additional $100 over the cost above
Acer: 128GB SATA/300 SSD (300Mb/sec)
Apple: 128GB PCIe SSD (800MB/sec)
Winner: Apple, both are upgradable but the Apple is a bit more aftermarket, but absolutely dominates in performance
Acer: 13.3" Screen, LED, 1366x768
Apple: 13.3" Screen, LED, 1440x900
Winner: Apple. Bettern resolution on a same size screen
Acer: Intel HD4000 Graphics
Apple: Intel HD5000 Graphics
Acer: No Optical Drive, No Ethernet Port
Apple: No Optical Drive, No Ethernet Port
Winner: Tied. They both lose, IMHO. Though, the Acer would rely on a USB to Ethernet adapter, which can't be truly gigabit throughput rated, but the MBA uses a Thunderbolt to Ethernet, which can be as TB is essentially an esternal PCIe port.
Acer: Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Apple: Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Winner: Apple. AC wifi is the next thing coming.
Acer: Bluetooth 4.0 + HS
Apple: Bluetooth 4.0 + HS + LP
Acer: SD+MMC card reader
Apple: SDXC card reader
Winner: Apple. The SDXC card slot does everything the Acer's does and then some.
Acer: 3 Cell LiPo battery, 6.5Hr claimed runtime
Apple: Multi-cell LiPo battery, 12Hr claimed runtime
Winner: Apple by a LONG shot
Acer: HDMI Out
Apple: Thunderbolt out
Winner: Draw to me; The Apple does require an adapter, but can do higher resolutions more reliably with proper adapters than HDMI. HDMI is easier to hookup to a TV though. Either will need an adapter for most DVI or VGA monitors.
Acer: 12.7" x 0.7" x 8.6"
Apple: 12.8" x 0.68" x 8.94"
Winner: Tie. Mostly the same. Height/depth slightly less on Acer, Apple slightly thinner
Winner: Tie really. If you care about 0.01lb then you have other issues.
Acer: Windows 7 Home Premium
Winner: Tie if you like Windows. Apple if you like Unix. Acer if you like Linux, assuming it's hardware is Linux compatible.
So, a "tax" on a newer generation of processor, newer generation of RAM, newer graphics, better display, double the battery, a more future-proof WiFi and a SSD technology that blows SATA out of the water; I'd say it's worth the extra $579. Then again, we bought my girlfriend hers over the weekend with Best Buy's $200 off for back to school, making that only $379 more for a computer that will last much longer.
I'm all about a good inexpensive laptop (I get almost as much use out of my Chromebook running Arch as I do my 2008 17" MBP) but when objectively looked at, you're not paying more for the same hardware. You're paying more for better hardware usually. Are there better deals, of course. But the Macs I've had have lasted much longer in use than the Dells and Lenovos I've had. Only my Asus laptop has held us even close to the same as my Macs.