Sunday, March 18, 2012

11-inch Apple MacBook Air versus the 12-inch Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Earlier this week we compared Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air against Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120 in our search for good ultraportables with a budget capped at Php50,000. If you are willing to go a bit larger, 12.5-inch Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B might be the best choice among the three.

11-inch Mac Book Air

Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Price. The entry level 11.6-inch MacBook Air is priced at Php49,990 at the Apple Store. The Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B, with Windows Home Basic (64-bit) per-installed, is priced at Php32,900. The Samsung is a cool 17K less.
Winner: Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B 

Display. Both the MacBook Air and the ThinkPad EDGE e120 have 1366 x 768 resolution displays. The MacBook Airs display is 11.6-inches, the Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B had a larger 12.5-inch display. More real estate is always a better thing.

Winner: Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Keyboard and track pad. Both laptops have good keyboards, but both are a bit shallower than I would like. I would give the edge to the MacBook Air. The MacBook has the advantage of a back lit keyboard, so I would say this round clearly goes to the MacBook Air.

Winner: Apple MacBook Air

Power. The entry level MacBook Air runs on a more powerful Intel Core i5 2357M with its processor which runs at 1.6GHz and can run to up to 2.3 GHz on demand. The graphics chip on the entry level MacBook Air also runs at 350 MHz, and can go as fast as 1150 MHz on demand. Cache is also a 3 MB. The Core i5 processor provides plenty of power and Mac OS X Lion can run on 2 GB, but it really feels much faster with 4 GB of RAM. Upgrading the RAM on a MacBook Air is fairly expensive at 5K.

The Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B is powered by a more powerful Intel Core i5 2430M which is clocked a 2.4 GHz, and can turbo boost to 3 GHz. The graphics chip is also clocked at a faster 650 MHz, and can turbo boost to up to 1.2 GHz. The Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B comes with 4GB of RAM.
Winner: Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Endurance. The 11-inch MacBook Air promises 5 hours of battery life, and will give you that in real world use with reasonable settings. The Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B promises 6 hours, and a battery test by PCWorld puts it at about 6 hours.

Winner: Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Portability. Both are small and light. The MacBook Air is a tad less than 0.7 inches thick, while Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B is 0.98 inches. The MacBook Air is substantially lighter at 2.5 pounds, versus the 3.1 pounds of the Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B.

Winner: MacBook Air

Storage. The entry level MacBook Air comes with a 64 GB SSD. Upgrading to a 128 GB hard drive will set you back all of Php10,000 (this also comes with another 2GB of RAM). The Lenovo comes with a 1 terabyte hard drive. I love SSD's and the performance and durability they bring, but 64 GB is a bit small and the Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B 1 TB hard drive is impressively big.

Winner: Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B

Each has its advantages, but the Samsung Series 3 NP350U2B is more powerful, has much more storage  and cost 33% less.


  1. I have been looking for this NP305U2B but no one seems to have this anymore except for the one in pink color. Great setback for me especially that these go for ~28k now. What a great bang-for-the-buck.

  2. Yup, seems to be pretty hard to find one of these Samsung 12.5 inchers these days.

  3. cash price from the mall outlets could go as low as 31k. where are they selling them at 28k?

    no, they're not hard to find. but it's the pink one that you're likely to get, no the black one. which could be a downer, but has got nothing to do with the bundle of value for listed specs and given price tag.

    1. Sorry, I meant the black one. I don't consider pink as an option, although others may prefer this color.


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