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Are Macs Much More Expensive than PCs: Part 1

Updated on August 15, 2012

When it comes to personal computers, it has long been said that Macs are much more expensive than their PC counterparts. This is true for the most part, but the price of Mac computers are becoming much more comparable to other brands. In this series I will compare the prices of different types of Macs and PCs of similar forms and specs. In this part, I will be comparing the MacBook Air to other Ultrabooks.

An Ultrabook is a new type of notebook / laptop. This class is compared to the MacBook Air where it has a thickness of less than 0.82 inches thick and under 3.3 lbs in weight. They all use Intel processors and similar specs, but do they have similar prices? Continue reading to find out more.


MacBook Air 13.3" - $1199

  • 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 13.3-inch LED Display
  • 0.68"
  • 2.96 lbs.

Asus ZenBook Prime 13.3" - $1099

  • 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 4 GB DDR3 Ram
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 13.3-inch LED Display
  • 0.71"
  • 2.9 lbs.

Samsung Series 9 13.3" - $1299

  • 1.7 GHz Core i5 Processor
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 4 GB DDR3 Ram
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 13.3-inch LCD Display
  • 0.64"
  • 2.55 lbs.

Acer Aspire 13.3" - $850

  • 1.6 GHz Core i5 Processor
  • 320 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
  • 4 GB DDR3 Ram
  • Intel Graphics 3000
  • 13.3-inch LED Display
  • 0.7"
  • 2.98 lbs.

HP Folio 13.3" - $990

  • 1.6 GHz Core i5 Processor
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 4 GB DDR3 Ram
  • Intel Graphics 3000
  • 13.3-inch LED Display
  • 0.7"
  • 3.3 lbs.


Now it's time for the good part. Here I will be comparing the 5 laptops above which I will refer to as the group. I will be comparing the specs of each Ultrabook to see which one comes out on top and is worth the price you made and answer the debate on wether Macs are more expensive than PCs.


Each Ultrabook contains an Intel Core i5 Processor with speeds ranging from 1.6 to 1.8 GHz. The MacBook Air comes in with the fastest which is clocked at 1.8 GHz. Each computer also has Turbo Boost technology which can drastically increase speeds when needed. The MacBook Air's Turbo Boost takes it up to 2.8 GHz while the next best is the Samsung with 2.6 GHz. Additionally the first three on the list contain 3rd generation Intel Core i5s while the next two have 2nd gen models. This can make a major difference on the speeds of each which is shown in the specs.

Hard Drive

The largest hard drive by far is that of the Acer Aspire which is packing a 320 GB hard drive which is running at 5400 RPM. However, this does not make it much better. The rest of the group contain 128 GB Solid State Drives (SSDs) which are proven to be much faster and less susceptible to damage since an SSD uses flash memory and contains no moving parts. Ultrabooks are meant for travel so an SSD can be your best bet to ensure your hard drive doesn't crash as long as you have enough memory for what you need.


This category is a bit boring as each laptop contains 4 GB DDR3 Ram which is standard in most laptop computers these days. I am sure all of them have optional upgrades which will affect the price.


The first thee Ultrabooks contain Intel Graphics 4000 integrated graphics while the last two have 3000s. It is obvious that the 4000s are newer and the graphics card seems to be affecting the price of these computers as the Intel 3000 laptops are much cheaper than the others.


All of the Ultrabooks apart from the Samsung have 13.3-inch LED screens. However, the Asus Zenbook has a 1080p display (192x1080) while the MacBook Air has a resolution of (1440x900). At the moment LED is the best you can get on the market while LCDs are not far behind, but a big difference can be seen between the clarity of LED and LCD screens in certain conditions.


As mentioned above, an Ultrabook is classified as having a thickness of less than 0.82 inches. The thinnest Ultrabook in the group is the Samsung Series 9 which is only 0.64 inches thick. The next best is the MacBook Air which comes in at 0.68" while the rest hover around 0.7".


Another defining characteristic of an Ultrabook is a weight of less than 3.3 lbs. The HP Folio barely makes the cut as it is 3.3 lbs. on the nose. The lightest by 0.15 lbs. is the Samsung Series 9. The weight of a laptop can make a big difference when travelling. I have only held a MacBook Air for comparison purposes and it feels like paper compared to my 4.5 lb. MacBook Pro so the Samsung must be extremely light.

Which Ultrabook has the best value for money?

See results


When comparing the specs and prices of each laptop the MacBook Air is not much more expensive than it's counterparts. The most expensive is the Samsung Series 9 ($1299) and the least expensive is the Acer Aspire ($850). The cheaper of the group have older processors and graphics and they are much bigger, but the most expensive ones have great specs and all balance out in price and specs. So I have found after this research that the MacBook Air is on par (price-wise) with its closest competitors. I may be a bit biased towards Apple, but all of this information is based on the facts and not my opinions. Feel free to comment on this hub, especially if you have found an Ultrabook that is perhaps better in specs and price than those above.

Are Macs More Expensive than PCs Part 2

*I chose not to compare operating systems and software because that is a matter of preference.


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    • redwards01 profile image

      redwards01 5 years ago from Bermuda

      Thanks JJH for commenting. It's hard to say that I was not purposefully trying to make the MacBook Air look better than it's competitors because I did say I was a bit biased towards the MacBook Air. I did overlook some of the points you brought up and I have no clue where I got the number of 3.2 pounds for the weight. I used the list price of all of the ultrabooks so I wouldn't have to compare the prices of all the 3rd party vendors. You can easily get the MacBook Air just as cheap. When looking at the comparisons, you can see that the MacBook Air is not too over priced compared to its PC counterparts. If you look at my part 2, you can see that the MacBook Pro is overpriced.

    • profile image

      jjh 5 years ago

      It seems you're trying to make the Mac a little too good by posting incorrect specifications. I've 3 quibbles about just your first two comparisons:

      1) The MacBook Air 13.3" is 2.9 - 3.0 lbs, not 2.38 lbs. You were using the MacBook Air 11" weight.

      2) The Asus ZenBook retailing for $1099 has a 1080P IPS display while the MacBook has a 720P LED display. It's hard to judge what Apple would have charged to upgrade to a 1080p display, but it looks like it's around $200 based on the configs for the lower-end, non-retina MacBook Pro.

      3) And the official weight, by Asus and the reviewers CNet and engadget is 2.9 lbs.

      Just by retail price alone, the PC seems cheaper by around $250 to $300 if you compare spec for spec, but what's great about the PC world is that hardly anyone pays full retail price. People paying retail is why Apple makes insane profits. But in the PC world, with so many vendors competing, the ZenBook's market price is actually $999.00 at three online vendors.

    • redwards01 profile image

      redwards01 5 years ago from Bermuda

      Hey iefox5, you seem to know quite a bit about technology and should realise that the specs of the computers are not necessarily the same. I tried to make it easy to understand since the two cheapest computers have older generation processors and graphics card. By buying computers with almost outdated components can make a big difference nowadays since technology is rapidly improving. Specs-wise, they will not be as fast as newer computers and software compatibility can be a factor if you manage to keep your computer long enough. Also, the more expensive computers are much smaller.

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 5 years ago

      Macs are much more expensive than PCs. Why not buying the cheaper one if the devices have same specification.