Linux Blog

MacBook Air Alternatives

Filed under: Linux Hardware — at 6:03 am on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ok, so there that been a lot of smugness in the Apple community about the new MacBook Air, which I must say is a stunning looking notebook. Although tiny it is still not the lightest of notebooks weighing in at 3.0 pounds. Here I’ve got an alternative to the MacBook Air. Although not as pretty it should get the job done.

This is a slightly slower Core 2  Duo at 1.2GHz and a 12.1″ Screen but its a worthy laptop for any road warrior

The Portege R500.  Right from Toshibas website comes this statement:

The Ultimate Ultraportable
With its ultralight design and stunning silhouette, the feather light 1.72 pound* Portégé® R500 Series is the transcendent expression of executive mobility and style. Offering the world’s lightest* widescreen 12.1″ notebook PC in one configuration, and the world’s thinnest widescreen 12.1″ notebook PC with an integrated DVD-SuperMulti drive in another, the Portégé® R500 Series represents an uncompromising synthesis of portability and productivity that’s meticulously engineered for the demands of executive computing.

*Lightest model configuration of 1.72 lbs is based on a 64GB solid state drive (SSD), a 3 cell battery and no optical disk drive. The Portégé® R500 with the solid state drive will not be available until the end of July 2007. Weight may vary. See Weight Legal Footnote at
Here are the dimensions:

• Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 11.1” x 8.5” x .77”(f)/
1.0”(r) without feet
• Weight: Starting at at 2.4 lbs, depending upon
• LCD Cover Color: Aluminum Silver

It boasts on the flyer that its the worlds thinnest 12” widescreen which I can believe since it is .01” Thicker in the thinnest part then the MacBook Air. Don't think that with the lack of size on this laptop that you get skimpy options like the MacBook Air either. You get Three, yes I repeat Three USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, Gigabit Ethernet, a/g/n wifi for all of your wireless internet needs. 1 Type II PCMCIA slot, an optional DVD Burner a 6 Cell 5800mAh battery, SD Slot and all kinds of other goodies that you would expect from a laptop. I'm sure if they removed some of these lovely features they could make it thinner. It has the same resolution as the MacBook Air but is a little skimpy on the RAM with 1GB but makes up for it with a 3 year warranty on the hardware and a 1 year warranty on the battery.

They claim that you can get 8.18 hours from this battery so I'd love to get my hands on one of these to play around with powertop to see if it could get even more.

Lenovo have some sweet ThinkPads that are under 3lbs also. I can't find the exact measurements of them but I'm sure they don't come close to the Toshiba or the Air. Actually looking at these specs I think I got a pretty decent deal on my Toshiba Tecra M2 which has done me good so far. It has the following dimensions: 12.3” x 10.1” x 1.2/1.4” and is apparently 4.98 lbs although it feels more like 6. Its a single core 1.7 but I bet you it will boot faster than the MacBook Air. Resume also works too. All in all I probably saved about $1300 by purchasing my laptop. I think they still have some of the Tecra's I have left, they are a pretty good deal at ~$420. Shoot an e-mail if your interested.

Random Man Pages:



Comment by Lore

February 22, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

I own a Portege R500 running openSuse 10.3. Actually, you can get 8 hours in Windows (XP, Wifi off, reading documents, 8.1 Watts power consumption!). In openSuse it needs 12.5 Watts, Wifi turned on 13.5 Watts, which give me a runtime between 4 and 5.5 hours (all, but one powertop tricks applied, USB_SUSPEND is not support by the suse kernel.). I’m wondering, where the 4.5 Watt gap to Windows is coming from??

In general, this is a true linux machine, i.e. almost all is running (except the sd-card reader, which should be fixed in the newest kernel and the transflexive display feature).

Read on my blog:

There are more “undocumented” nice features, for example you can charge the machine via USB (draining my iAudio X5 in USB host mode, hehe…)!


Comment by Owen

February 22, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

On my Toshiba Portege 4010 I could get the battery life up to 6.5 hours using powertop, turning screen brightness down and making sure that my processor was always running in the most power efficient mode by eliminating all unneeded processes and kernel modules. It was down to 6.2W and still usable.

Comment by william malo

February 23, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

this is so dumb!
this computer comes with windows!!!!!!
it’s not a linux computer!!!!!
you might as well buy a macbook air and put linux on it =O

Comment by

February 23, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

@william – this was also posted in 2008. You’re right, its not a Linux specific computer, but neither is the Air. You can however refuse your Windows license and get the cost of Windows back. I have never heard of anyone doing that with Apple though.

Comment by william malo

February 23, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

oh really? you can return windows?
thats nice,
it can be such a pain in the ass to find a computer company that doesn’t preinstall windows.
so far I know: system76, apple, and zareason…

Comment by

February 23, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

as long as you do not accept the EULA, you are suppose to be able to. I have heard Amazon does honor this.

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