What Should You Get Instead of a MacBook Pro?

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

I've found myself in the somewhat awkward spot of defending Apple's choices made with the new MacBook Pros over the past week. To summarize many pieces and hundreds of tweets, I think Apple made a "pro" laptop that will be a great machine for most professionals in the field. Your specific needs may require something different, and that's completely fair.

What I've found most frustrating though is that with all the rhetoric out there about how people feel the need to go to Windows laptops now because the MacBook Pro has such consumer-grade specs, no one has been able to show me a laptop that makes Apple's new pro lineup look silly.

I totally appreciate being upset with the MacBook Pro's specs, but I wanted to know what Windows machines are so much more powerful that you would tolerate using Windows over macOS exclusively for the specs.

The Verge made a helpful guide for the best professional Windows laptops you can buy if you are a disgruntled pro Mac user. Their piece was a nice summary of what each manufacturer offers, but didn't dive deep into the specs.

I took the MacBook Pro (13 and 15 inch models) as well as all the machines listed by The Verge and maxed them out for the ultimate pro experience. Money is no object, so each laptop has every available feature and upgrade applied.

*NOTE: looks like the Dell XPS has another version that can be configured a little higher than the model linked to by The Verge. *

As expected, the Macs are on the high end of the price range (although the Surface Book is the most expensive 13 inch laptop), but frankly it's right in line with everything else on this list. The Verge lists the Dell XPS 13 as "the most obvious and direct alternative to the MacBook Pro" but it comes with 8GB of RAM max (16GB is basically unacceptable from what I hear) and has the worst graphics performance of all laptops listed. For my money, the Razer Blade Stealth looks to be the best alternative to the MacBook Pro, but even it is basically on par with the MBP in terms of raw specs. I only give it the edge over the other machines as it has the best combination on new (USB-C/Thunderbolt) and old connectors.

Take this comparison as you will, but looking at the numbers up close has only solidified my view that the MacBook Pros are fine machines that have totally acceptable specs compared to their competition and who's major sin is pushing the I/O forward a little too aggressively considering the accessories on the market in late 2016.