A new trend seems to be rising among Chinese manufacturers, and it’s an odd one at that. While rumors chalk off Apple’s MacBook Air as dead (the reasoning being that it’s been all but replaced by the company’s new ultra-thin MacBook) a crop of new ultraportables with “Air” in their names are showing up in China.
A few days ago, it was Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air; on Thursday, Lenovo launched the Lenovo Air 13 Pro, a 13-inch, Windows 10-based ultraportable with a dedicated graphics chip.
The Lenovo Air 13 Pro has a 13.3-inch full HD screen, an Intel Core i5 or i7 (Skylake) processor, 4GB of RAM, 256GB/512GB of SSD storage and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX940MX graphics chip.
It sounds like a dead ringer for Xiaomi’s 13-inch offering, but there are differences. The Lenovo starts with less RAM — 4GB vs. 8GB — but it comes with a fingerprint sensor, and it has a more powerful graphics chip (2GB of RAM vs 1GB). The price of the two (at least during Lenovo’s pre-order period) is the same: RMB 4,999, or roughly $750.
That price will go up when the device hits stores. The least expensive version, with 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 processor will cost RMB 5,499 ($827). The variant with the same SSD but with a Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM will go for RMB 6,299 ($947); if you want a 512GB on top of that, you’ll have to pay RMB 6,999 ($1052).
In terms of design, the Air 13 Pro doesn’t stray too far from today’s standards, with a black keyboard on a gold or silver body and a subdued company logo on the lid. It weighs 2.84 pounds and has a 0.58-inch thick body — exactly like Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air, and somewhere in-between Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Air.
As far as ports go, we’ve counted 2 USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, a memory card reader and a headphone jack.
Lenovo’s ultra portable is aimed for the Chinese market. Availability in other countries has not been announced.