Want a MacBook Air? Prices are now more in line with Windows laptops

Apple computers have long been more expensive than comparable Windows models. But that's changing as the company slowly lowers prices, while the cost of Windows computers, especially thin-and-light models, creeps up.

Keeping with that trend, Apple yesterday introduced a couple of new MacBook Air laptops priced $100 lower than the previous versions.

I took a look at how the features stack up in the 13-inch version of the Air compared to a Windows laptop. And guess what? You can get a similarly configured MacBook Air for the same price as or even less than a Windows PC.

Do your homework before you shop, with our computer buying guide and Ratings.

Here’s an example: Dell’s XPS 13 is a thin-and-light laptop that weighs 3 pounds—about the same as the Air. It also gets a touch over 12 hours of battery life, which is what Apple says the Air will get. The Dell has a 1.7GHz Intel Core i3 processor, while the MacBook runs on a 1.4GHz Core i5. Both have 4GB of memory and 128GB solid-state drives. The MacBook costs $1,000, and the nontouch version of the Dell is $1,050.

The point? The MacBook and Dell are strikingly similar when it comes to specs. The Dell XPS 13 was an excellent performer in our Ratings, and we’ll be testing the new Air soon to see if it keeps up. Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a Mac, price is fast becoming less of a barrier than ever.

—Donna Tapellini

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