Earlier this week Apple announced updates to its entire notebook lineup, bringing it up to date with Ivy Bridge processors and a few other goodies. Like them, many other computer manufacturers have been showcasing new and updated laptops over the past few days and weeks at trade events like Computex as key partners including Intel, AMD and Nvidia roll out their latest and greatest products.

Ultrabooks in particular received quite a bit of attention, and we’re not surprised. Intel is putting a lot of weight behind the concept and expects it to be the main driver of PC market growth in the short term. Apple has already experienced some of this with the MacBook Air, which has rapidly become one of the best sellers in the Mac lineup. Arguably it's the laptop to beat if you are looking into buying an ultrabook-styled portable.

With all that in mind, we’re taking a couple of Wintel alternatives to check how well they stack up next to the new 13-inch MacBook Air and perhaps settle the old debate about the so-called “Apple Tax” — at least in this category, since there's no way a single comparison can be representative of the entire Apple Tax argument.

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