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Slashdot Asks: Which Windows Laptop Could Replace a MacBook Pro? 315

Last month, Apple unveiled new MacBook Pros, featuring an OLED Touch Bar, Touch ID, and all-new form factor that shaves off roughly 3mm in thickness. There are three base versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel Core i5 processors and 8GB of memory (upgradable to 16GB RAM and dual-core Intel Core i7 processors) for $1,499, $1,799 and $1,999. The base model 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with Core i7 processors and 16GB of memory for $2,399 and $2,799. Of course, adapters and AppleCare support are sold separately. The new laptops are great for Apple users -- but what about Windows users? Is there a Windows laptop that matches the new MacBook Pro in terms of build quality, reliability, and performance? Jack Schofield via The Guardian attempts to help Patrick, who is looking for a PC that matches Apple's new offerings as closely as possible. "I use my Mac for all the usual surfing, watching videos, listening to music and so on," Patrick writes. "I also use Adobe Photoshop pretty heavily and video-editing software more lightly." Schofield writes: The Dell XPS 13 and 15 are the most obvious alternatives to MacBooks. Unfortunately, they are at the top of this price range. You can still get an old-model XPS 13 (9350) for $950, but that has a Core i5-6200U with only 4GB of memory. The latest 9360 version has a 2.5GHz Core i5-7200U, 8GB of memory and a 128GB SSD for $1,050. If you go for a 512GB SSD at $1,150, you're only saving $420 on a new 2.0GHz MacBook Pro. HP's Spectre x360 range offers similar features to Dell's XPS range, except that all the x360 laptops have touch screens that you can rotate to enable "tent" (eg for movie viewing) or tablet operation. The cheapest model is the HP Spectre x360 13-4126na. This has a 13in screen, a Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for $1,050. You can upgrade to an HP Spectre x360 13-4129na with better screen resolution -- 2560 x 1440 instead of 1920 x 1080 -- plus a 2.5GHz Core i7-6500U and 512GB SSD for $1,270. Again, this is not much cheaper than a 2.0GHz MacBook Pro 13. You could also look at the Lenovo ThinkPad T560, which is a robust, professional 15.6in laptop that starts at $800. Do any Slashdotters have any comparable Windows laptops in mind that could replace a new MacBook Pro?
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Slashdot Asks: Which Windows Laptop Could Replace a MacBook Pro?

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  • X1 Carbon 4th Gen (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:25PM (#53319241)

    $1699 fully loaded w/ coupon - 6+ hours battery life out of the box on default Fedora 24 install! Everything "just worked". Windows seems fine, too.

    • Why do the X1? The question was for a MacBook Pro, not a MacBook Air. The ThinkPad X260 can get over 12 hours of battery life and costs even less, it also is much easier to upgrade or repair without voiding the warranty.
  • Woha... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:25PM (#53319245)
    Are you ever going to get blasted, you want to replace an Apple laptop with Windows instead of going for Linux? Just about the only thing people around here hate more than Apple is Microsoft.
    • Re:Woha... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:41PM (#53319355)

      Nah, those were the hard-core original geek types who used to hang out here. We're just the trend-chasing wannabe masses who finally figured out that being a geek was actually kind of cool. However, we don't embrace all that hard-core kernel-tweaking hacker libertarian idealist stuff. We vote for one of the two major parties and bash on the other one. We shun the pizza-and-cola diet and eat natural foods. We'd rather watch a stream of someone playing LOL than hack together a bot, cuz that violates the terms of service. We program in .NET, and we think Microsoft deserves a second chance.

    • That used to be the case, but the Microsoft of 2016 is different than the Microsoft of 1996 or even 2006. Instead of trying to destroy Linux, they now support it!

      If you want to run Linux servers, you can install them with several different supported distributions in Azure. If you want to run a bash shell under Windows 10, they now offer one that's based off of Ubuntu.

      Hell... even if you wanted to get rid of your old Windows 2008 system running SQL Server, they'll be offering a version of SQL Server that run

    • No, Apple is the most hated now, by far. Lately, everyone's giving Microsoft a pass (for the most part).

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        I only see marketing giving Microsoft a pass, but I digress. The rest of us still think they are ridiculous, and quite a bit lost as of lately.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I hardly even notice which platform I'm using any longer, because everything stuff I use is cross platform. Even Bash. The main day-to-day differences are font rendering, minor differences in window decoration, notification mechanisms, and how much screen space the graphical shell claims for its own use.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )
      It's 2016. Many of us want to run both. A lot of us use Linux for work-related things, and windows for gaming since it has a greater range of software available. At work I run Linux. At home I run windows with Linux in a virtual machine so I don't have to bother dual booting. I don't understand the "all or nothing" approach when in this day and age it's incredibly easy to have the best of both worlds.
    • Are you ever going to get blasted, you want to replace an Apple laptop with Windows instead of going for Linux?

      Given the software choice that most people go for who use professional laptops, yes, most people would if needed replace and Apple with a Linux laptop.

  • A recent Speak-N-Spell could probably come close.

  • by espenskaufel ( 4657525 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:34PM (#53319319)
    It comes with 16GB ram, up to 1TB disk, a detachable screen, touch screen, stylus and NVidia dedicated graphics.
    • Erm, you forgot to name the device you talk about or to link it. Because a detachable touch screen from a laptop running Linux or Hackintosh would be interesting.

  • This is silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:38PM (#53319343)

    What I mean is this is the same kind of thing Apple fans seem to do every time a new Apple product launches and their pricing is somewhat sane (it gets worse as time goes on because they don't update prices as parts get cheaper). They try to run some silly comparison of trying to find a PC that matches specs and when you can't do it, or can't do it for less, declare some kind of victory.

    Look, the new Macbook Pro is probably a good deal... so long as it is precisely what you want. It cannot be upgraded later and is very much a "one size fits all" design. So if that happens to be precisely what you want to have then cool, get it. However if that's not the case, then when looking at alternatives the question should be what can you get for less or more money that might more closely fit what you want. Maybe you are fine with less CPU, and a lower screen resolution so you find a computer with that and save some money. Maybe you don't care about size and weight so much but would like top of the like graphics, so you buy a big Sager or something.

    The point is trying to do a "This must match this other thing precisely or it loses," is silly, and is generally only done by fanboys when they are trying to make the alternatives lose and trying to justify their product as the "right" choice.

    Don't run computer analysis by starting with the specs and trying to match that, instead start with the need and then find the price/performance point that best matches it. I just bought a tiny little $500 server at work, because it matches the need the very best (small system to run a dedicated license server with hardware dongle). It will be running in the same datacenter as a $10,000 2U system that runs a bunch of VMs. Neither is remotely comparable to each other in any way, however both have a range of needs they can fill. I don't hate on the cheap unit for not matching the performance of the expensive one, or hate on the powerful one for not matching the size of the weak one.

    • That's pretty much what I've done for most of my device purchases: pick a few specs that it MUST have ( >= ).

      Phone: Android. Micro-SD, 3GB of Ram, less than $200.

      Laptops: AMD, AMD, must be able to upgrade|replace: battery, HD|SSD, RAM (to at least 16GB); preferably less than $1000.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      Yeah.... true statement. Ultimately, you buy a Mac because you decide you prefer OS X as an operating system. That includes such things as liking the increased resistance to malware and virus attacks, and the ability to take it in to a local Apple store in most major cities and get in person training or help using it. It may also be a choice made because you plan to be a heavy user of one of the software applications that only runs on a Mac, like Final Cut Pro X or Logic Pro X.

      With the latest Macbook Pro, t

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kuzb ( 724081 )

        That includes such things as liking the increased resistance to malware and virus attacks

        I'm sorry, but this is complete bullshit. Anyone with half a brain knows that the only reason Macs aren't targeted is because their market share makes it an undesirable target. Linux servers get hacked all the time, and they're arguably more secure than anything else when properly maintained. Macs aren't magical, they're just not on anyone's radar.

        Telling people Macs are more secure is just giving them a false sense of security. The reality is that if it's on the internet, and you don't know what yo

    • I usually flip this around on Mac fanboys (also applies to iOS fanboys). Pick out a Windows laptop and ask if the Macbook meets or beats all its specs. Macbook has a worse GPU? It loses. Macbook doesn't have an SD card slot? It loses. Macbook has lower resolution? It loses. A few rounds of this is usually enough to convince them how silly this type of comparison is.

      As I like to say, there is no such thing as a "best laptop." There is a "best laptop for you" and a "best laptop for me" and a "best
    • Silly? Yes and no.

      The problem with the new Macbook Pro isn't that it's too expensive. It's that the high-end laptops are effectively capped at those somewhat modest specs, and though they're fine for most people, there are a lot of "pros" who would like a more powerful laptop. Apple, I feel, has a responsibility for properly maintaining and supporting it's ecosystem, because unlike with PCs, users of MacOS software have only one choice of vendor for their Mac hardware. It's fine if Apple wants to build

    • by muffen ( 321442 )

      The point is trying to do a "This must match this other thing precisely or it loses," is silly, and is generally only done by fanboys when they are trying to make the alternatives lose and trying to justify their product as the "right" choice.

      This is absolutely not true, I think that a lot of people dont really care what OS they run, since most things run on most platform, and I can notice more and more that people don't really care about the OS.
      I found this post very interesting because I have been ask

    • They try to run some silly comparison of trying to find a PC that matches specs and when you can't do it, or can't do it for less, declare some kind of victory.

      No one is going to claim victory when someone can't replace the MacBook Consumer that was just released. This may be the first time where the Apple fans are the ones looking for the comparison rather than the PC fans.

  • by eagl ( 86459 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:47PM (#53319379) Journal

    The Lenovo T-series thinkpad laptops have always been good for me. The matte black non-slip exterior is a bit of a fashion statement all by itself and I guess some people won't like that, but the build quality is great.

    Plus, you can field-strip it and replace literally any part of the laptop anytime anywhere using only one techie screwdriver. My thinkpads have lasted over 7 years each, and 2 of the 3 I owned were repaired in extremely austere environments (temporary plywood building in the middle of Iraq for one of them).

    Lenovo spent a couple years building these with only super craptastic LCD panels, but now I think their entire lineup has an available IPS panel, and many offer optional touchscreen.

    The ability to replace/upgrade/repair every part including increasing RAM and SSD size a few years after buying is a HUGE bonus that I think outweighs the stylistic differences.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2016 @09:06PM (#53319465)

      No good - the Lenovos still have a headphone hack. Not a comparable system.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      If you want to run linux they're great. The only reason I can think of to buy a macbook pro is to run OS X. I can't figure what this guy really wants but if he wants the same experience that he's getting on the Mac from a Windows laptop I only see disappointment ahead. Every time I log in at work on my computer there I instantly miss my Linux and Mac computers. The difference is obvious to me every day.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      NEC LaVie ultrabooks and Panasonic Let's Note are pretty good too. Very well made, good specs, upgradable and repairable (no silly screws etc).

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:49PM (#53319385)


    We get that you want a comparable system to your macbook pro. We get that you don't want to pay 2000$+ for one. We get that you probably like macosx. We get that you probably want a bigger ssd, and other perks.

    This is a site for nerds. It is expected that you will know certain things, like the existence of hackintoshes. These are PCs, with PC pricetags, that have damned near identical hardware to apple's offerings, as far as the OS and software is concerned, and which can be coaxed into running osx.

    Since you should know that these exist, even if you do not want to run OSX, you can still see their known working hardware lists for very close analogs to macbooks, and make a good selection, without ever bothering to ask tediously redundant questions.

    Example, here is a nice article breaking down last years best offerings.

    http://blazinglist.com/top-10-... [blazinglist.com]

    So, since this info is readily available, you should already know about hackintoshes and their communities, why do you people keep asking Slashdot, instead of investing 10 seconds on google looking for a suitable hackintosh?

    Really people. This is not hard.

    • why do you people keep asking Slashdot, instead of investing 10 seconds on google looking for a suitable hackintosh?

      I for one always appreciate some fresh perspectives on which laptop is best for my next Linux install.

    • with no apparent upgrade path in the future, I'm more interested in the hardware. I can run Linux easily enough, though I'll miss some key applications that I use for work rather badly. But what I'll miss more are the ergonomics.

      In particular, the entirely clean and corner-free outer casing (this is underrated—it means less potential for cracks due to corner impact and much less potential for snags on, say, soft bags and carriers that end up breaking plastic widgets of some kind off); the all-metal co

    • Almost all questions on this site can be "answered" with a Google search. There is a wonderful social aspect to having conversation with humans.
  • by Socguy ( 933973 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:49PM (#53319391)
    Never spend more than $1000 on a laptop... unless someone else is paying.
    • Never spend more than $1000 on a laptop... unless someone else is paying.

      +1. My most satisfying laptop ever: $285 Gateway/Acer from Fry's, throw away the HD and put in a $100 ssd. Whamo, awesome. Still going great years later. Boots to KDE in ~10 seconds.

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        Why not spend > 1000? ...one of the shittier aspects of cheap laptops is the quality of the video display, and believe me, you will spend a lot of hours looking at it.
        • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @11:08PM (#53319993)

          Why not spend > 1000?

          Because today's $1000 laptop is tomorrow's $500 laptop.

          • And tomorrow's $500 laptop just seems to not work with today's software, and tomorrow's $500 laptop seems to not have updated drivers or support. And tomorrow's $500 laptop is usually simply discontinued and not discounted.

            I've never been happy with a sub (I'll be generous) $800 laptop. I was happy with my expensive Pentium 800m at the time, but it's replacement despite being faster and more feature rich was utter garbage that was just horrible to use, same with it's successor, and finally I bought the bull

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      I have the opposite rule: anything under 1k tends to break down in a year or two, while I still have stuff from 4+ years ago that I paid 1-2k for. On top of that, you get appreciably better performance and stronger specs. Cheaping out on your main tool is a bit weird to me.
  • Any new one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @08:57PM (#53319421) Journal

    Seems pretty straight forward to me. Take any current Macbook Pro, and look at a comparable Dell XPS, and it'll be $200-$400 cheaper, and have better specs. Wasn't hard. Next question?

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Dell does rebranding of hardware...I will never buy it for Linux or even for Windows - if I ever run Windows, but that is an entirely different talk.
  • by night ( 28448 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @09:05PM (#53319461)

    Dell XPS 13. Generally nice build quality. Sadly the "nice" 3200x1800 screen is rather reflective and very power hungry (about half the battery life). If you go with the 1080P option you have limited CPU/GPU/ram options. Also note the kaby lake version (2016) does NOT have the IRIS. So if you want faster graphics get the 2015 version with the IRIS graphics. Also the "nostril" cam is a common complaint.

    Lenovo Ideapad 710S (13") is also quite nice. Aluminum unibody, chicklet keyboard, looks kinda apple like. They have an ugly hack for some weird RAID driver (despite there being a single storage device). They disable ACPI which breaks microsoft and linux install media. So you have to use their install media (unless hacking install media is your thing), so you can't do a fresh install to get rid of whatever rootkit/malware/crapware that lenovo includes. They did (finally) release a bios to reenable ACPI, but seem to REALLY not want windows folks to use it, it's explicitly unsupported for windows. Makes you wonder why lenovo REALLY doesn't want users reinstalling the OS. The good news is it does have the IRIS graphics (like the macbook pro 13" and the 2015 dell XPS), but can get gotten with a top spec (i7 and 16GB ram) and still get a nice matte 1080P screen. I'm all for more pixels, but don't really think that 3200x1800 is worth it on a 13" screen screen, especially if it significantly impacts battery life.

    • A modern computer without proper support for ACPI on purpose should have a very big red warning th stay away from it...
    • I avoid Dell now. Had one too many Dell laptops bite the dust with mainboard issues (cheap caps?) or need to replace the keyboard. Never had one last very long. Better luck with Acer and Asus.

  • by cmaxx ( 7796 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @09:08PM (#53319473)

    Only one really springs to mind right now: Dell Precision 17 7000 Series.

    For the same money as a tricked-out MacBook 'Pro' you get a Xeon CPU with 64GB of ECC RAM, and plenty of useful configuration and IO options.

    Also: next-day on-site service for 3 years, extendable to 5 for a bit more money.

    Having used a laptop for paid work in the field I can tell you for sure that not having undiagnosable OS crashes or silent data corruption is, y'know, professional.

    Having the ability to call out an engineer with parts to fix the damn thing if it breaks while you're on-site at a client location and thus get working again quickly? That's also professional.

    Having a sleek Apple MacBook. Sure, that conveys the impression of professionalism, but right now, that's all it is.. superficial. It's finely crafted consumer-grade appliance tech undeserving of the 'Pro' moniker right now.

  • Currently using a "Late 2011 17" MacBookPro8,3" with 2.5 GHz core i7, 16 gigs or RAM, 1TB SSD + secondary hard drive in DVD bay. Running under 10.10.5 Yosemite, or Bootcamp Windows 7. The machine is fantastic, except that (of course) video performance is a bit subpar when compared to what's out there now, with 4k screens and all the rest.

    Would love to know what's comparable to that today with roughly 32 Gigs of RAM, 6th -gen core i7 processor, numeric keypad, 4 gigs of graphics RAM in a dedicated graphi
  • There is no equivalent to a MacBook Pro sold as a Windows laptop.


  • i have one these with i7 6700HQ in it paid 700$ cause coupon sale i bought it on but it starts at 900$ with a gtx960m atm though probably get updated soon which i think would stomp a mac pro. biggest Minus is only Hybrid HDD + 8G Cache. When only paying 900$ vs 2grand+ can just buy an m.2 drive and still save a ton of money.
  • The Yoga 900 comes with a Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U. From what I understand if you are doing image or video editing the Kaby Lake outperforms the Skylake (in the new MBP) at the same clock speed. It comes with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. That configuration [lenovo.com] runs $1,700. It's also a stunning design. Should do anything the MBP can do except empty your bank account.
  • I actually asked a similar one to this at one time in history and got roasted for it.

    Back in the day you had to be really careful about what hardware you bought when you ran Linux - there were a lot of "Win-products" which didn't actually have their firmware on their chips permanently but had to load it from a Windows only driver. Those days are pretty much gone - Linux has improved to the point that it can load that stuff, the manufacturers have either pulled their heads far enough out of their asses to e

  • I recently picked up the mid-tier 13" 2015 model for $1k. 2.9Ghz, 512GB SSD, 8GB memory.
  • by Billy the Mountain ( 225541 ) on Friday November 18, 2016 @10:25PM (#53319861) Journal
    This question was discussed on Hackaday about a month ago. The criteria for the solution being high-end laptop with Linux capabilty. The conclusion was Lenovo Thinkpad models X, T and P. Here's the link: http://hackaday.com/?s=thinkpa... [hackaday.com]
  • I honestly think the XPS 15 is a top choice too, although the reasoning for this is not directly for design/size/display, but mostly because it ticks all the right boxes specs-wise that make a great laptop. For an all around machine, meaning it can be used both as a work performer or an entertainment, i'd rarelly take away these features:

    - Intel Skylake 40w+ TDP QUAD chip (usually ending in HQ), be it i5 or i7, later preferable if doing any heavy rendering (video, stills, photoshop, audio, 2 or 3d modelling

    • Correction: By "raid laptop", I meant a laptop with 2 actual m.2 pci-e nvme slots soldered to the board. I believe the dell options, even with raid available on the config, use an m.2. adaptor ("interposer" as they call it) which just uses the SATA bus, which bottlenecks pci-e. The only reason wanting something like this would be for fast RAID 2 (reliability), but it would seriously hamper the soldered m.2 ssd performance, as every write would have to wait for the slower SSD. Reads would probably not be aff

  • You can have a more reliable laptop that costs less, and has a vastly superior pointing device as well. To top it off, you can repair / upgrade it yourself without voiding the warranty.
  • If you think that saving "only $420" on a laptop compared to a MacBook Pro, there's something wrong with either your math or your sense of how much a different $420 makes in that kind of purchase.

  • The Razer Blade series is generally considered to be the closest direct replacement for the Mac Pro, being unibody aluminum laptops with a similar form factor and build quality. There are three options: The Razer Blade Stealth, which is a 12.5" ultrabook that is kind of like a retina macbook air, the Razer Blade, which is sort of like a 14" retina Macbook pro, and the Razer Blade Pro, which is sort of like a 17" retina Macbook Pro.

    At this point, all three have thunderbolt three and support an external GPU,

  • I switched from PC to Mac in 2005. I had G4s, G5s, and intel versions. Recently, my MBP 17" Turned itself on in a backpack and melted the GPU loose. So I went looking for a new one. Nothing about them excited me. It was the same old shit, except NOW I couldn't get a 17". In addition, my OSX experience has been getting fairly shitty. The MBP turning itself on while closed and unplugged from anything, for instance. Had happened quite a few times, before the fateful backpack incident. There have been other i

  • They've got a whole range of laptops that are generally sane - for instance ctrl key is on the outside left not the f@#!$ing Fn key. Last time I looked, which was 8 months ago, I got one with a 17" 4k screen, 16 gigs RAM, 512 gb PCIe SSD, 3 usb3 ports for $1100 and I'm sure that's cheaper now. And it'll be much cheaper if you want a smaller screen - but I have to do real coding and design work on this on the road so went as large as possible.

    Note - like Lenovo or Dell their autoupdate stuff is poop.

  • A windows laptop runs windows. So it not replacing a Mac Book Pro with OS X but is a lame alternative, if it is at all.

    If you don't like Mac OS X anymore, go for Linux or if you must Open Solaris ... how a professional can work with windows is beyond me ... OTOH Mac OS X is going downhill and approaching windows ugliness and clumsiness quite quickly over the resent years.

  • No windows laptop can replace a MacBook because Windows laptops don't run macOS. What a stupid thing to ask.

  • What's the point really? I think the market has more than proven that software trumps over and over hardware everytime new models for x or y brand comes out.
    Here's the summary of what I heard coming from Macbook Pro users with this new release:

    1. Some declare it's prefect, all Apple decisions were great, they had orgasms fingering the new OLED strip, blah blah;
    2. Some hated some of Apple's decisions in different degrees or specs, but they've waited up to 4 years for a new model, they'll upgrade anyways, and

  • Are you intending to do actual work, or are you just going to use it for dicking around?

  • Why do I have to read about other people's pedestrian shopping problems on a "news for nerds" site?

grep me no patterns and I'll tell you no lines.