Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

5 Laptops that Destroy the New MacBook Pros

By - Source: Tom's Hardware UK | B 30 comments

The 5 Windows laptops vs. 3 MacBook Pros showdown!

Yesterday Apple took down its online store and when it came back online, its entire MacBook Pro line was revamped with new specs. All the 15-inch models went from Core 2 Duo processors up to Core i5 and i7's. Available now are Core i5 and i7 options with entirely new Nvidia graphics. Each of the 15-inch MacBook Pros also comes with integrated Intel graphics and the units will automatically kick between the two based on usage.

All great and fancy right?

Not so fast. Here are five Windows laptops that give the MacBook Pros--all of them--a run for their money:

ASUS G Series G51JX-A1

CPU: Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1066 MHz
HDD: 500GB 7,200 RPM Harddrive
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M with 1GB RAM
Screen: 15.6-inch 1920x1080 LED LCD
Extras: Blu-ray combo drive, EAX Advanced HD audio, illuminated keyboard, ASUS Express Gate, 2-year ASUS 360 global warranty (1 year accidental damage with 30-day Flawless Display Guarantee)
Battery life: 4-hours average

Price: $1,1397.86 - Amazon.com

Alienware M15x

CPU: Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz
HDD: 500GB 7,200 RPM Harddrive
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M with 512MB RAM
Screen: 15.6-inch 1600x900 LED LCD
Extras: Personalized laser-etching
Battery life: 3-hours average

Price: $1,624.00 - Alienware.com

Dell Studio XPS 16

CPU: Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1066 MHz
HDD: 500GB 7,200 RPM Harddrive
GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 with 1GB RAM
Screen: 15.6-inch 1920x1080 LED LCD
Extras: Microsoft Works, 2-year Basic Service Plan warranty, Dell Online Backup 2GB 1-year
Battery life: 5-hours average

Price: $1,549.00 - Dell.com

Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q870

CPU: Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz
HDD: 500GB 7,200 RPM Harddrive
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M with 1GB RAM
Screen: 18.4-inch 1680x945 LED LCD
Extras: Blu-ray combo drive, illuminated keyboard, multi-memory card reader, HDMI
Battery life: 6-hours average

Price: $1,399.99 - Newegg.com

Sony VAIO VPCF113FX/H

CPU: Intel Core i7-720QM @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1333 MHz
HDD: 500GB 5,400 RPM Harddrive
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 310M with 512MB RAM
Screen: 16.4-inch 1600x900 LCD
Extra: Blu-ray combo drive
Battery life: Unknown

Price: $1,299.99 - Newegg.com

Even at its priciest option, Apple still only offers 4GB of memory for its top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro. Not only this, you'll have to step up to the $2,199.00 model to get a Core i7 CPU. The other models come with Core i5's and cannot be upgraded. The only tangible advantage that the MacBook Pros have is battery life, which at the moment is an industry leading across Apple's entire line-up. For the most part, we found that Apple's battery-life rating is a bit conservative and can actually last far longer than specced. So we'll give Apple a point for that. Unfortunately, it gets beaten in pretty much every other category.

Design wise, it's a matter of taste. Some users will appreciate the very elegant and refined design of the MacBook Pros, while others will enjoy more the aggressive looks of the Alienware. It's a toss-up in this category. Yes, the build quality of the MacBook Pros are industry leading, which in turn provokes other manufacturers to step up their game, but as far as making a difference in computing? No impact. Again, this category is a matter of personal preference.

Even at its lowest price point, the baseline MacBook Pro 15-inch comes in at $1,799, $175 more than the most expensive laptop in this list, the Alienware M15x. For $175 more, you get a slower CPU, less harddrive capacity, and a lower resolution screen. But, you do get a pretty swank aluminum unibody and other small details. Granted, the cost of making the unibody is significantly higher than plastic chassis, but we'll argue that most people here will want features that translate into performance.

What is even more interesting is that the 13-inch MacBook Pro with entirely lower specs than all the models here, is more expensive than 3 out of the 5 models in this list. The 13-inch MacBook Pros do come with awesome battery life, but fall short in a big way in terms of nearly everything else.

For what it's worth, here are 3 of the newest MacBook Pro configurations:


Top MacBook Pro 13
Baseline MacBook Pro 15
Top MacBook Pro 15
CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 GHz
Intel Core i5 @ 2.4 GHz
Intel Core i7 @ 2.66 GHz
RAM
4GB DDR3
HDD
320GB
320GB
500GB
GPU
NVIDIA GeForce 320M
Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w. 256MB
Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w. 512MB
Screen
13-inch 1280x800 LED
15-inch 1440x900 LED
Extras
Unibody enclosure, Magsafe Connector,
Battery-life
10-hours
8 to 9-hours
Price
$1,499.00
$1,799.00
$2,199.00

Before the comments get out of hand--which I know they will--let's remember to keep discussions intelligent and calm. I'm cool with the bashing, but out-of-hand comments that turn ugly are bad. Let's keep the bashing at a mature level please.

Display 30 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    ukgooey , 15 April 2010 04:12
    Er, how much is the ASUS G Series G51JX-A1 again?
  • 0 Hide
    ukgooey , 15 April 2010 04:15
    Oh, yeah. And sorry......
  • 4 Hide
    Clintonio , 15 April 2010 04:17
    Quote:
    The 13-inch MacBook Pros do come with awesome battery life, but fall short in a big way in terms of nearly everything else.


    It's logical when you think that what they do is bring down the power usage by reducing performance power, use a more modern and efficient battery, then slap an Apple price tag on top and you have what looks like a cleverly produced product, but what you have is a washed out looking underclocked small-notebook with a good battery life (That is, a 13" macbook pro)
  • 1 Hide
    LePhuronn , 15 April 2010 04:23
    it's not hard to beat a MacBook spec-wise, but unfortunately I've yet to find a laptop with the same build quality without spending similarly exorbitant amounts of money.

    Such is the nature of boutique builders, and I think half of the venom against Apple would go away if they just admitted they're boutique builders or a designer label.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , 15 April 2010 04:40
    Great internal hardware...then you realise you have to use Windows with them and, urgh no thanks.
  • 1 Hide
    silver565 , 15 April 2010 04:44
    I'm Alienware will have decent build quality
  • 0 Hide
    silver565 , 15 April 2010 04:45
    God damn...

    Should read: "I'm Sure"
  • 4 Hide
    LePhuronn , 15 April 2010 05:47
    messeleGreat internal hardware...then you realise you have to use Windows with them and, urgh no thanks.


    I would presume then that you've never used Windows 7, or cannot think outside of what Lord Jobs has permitted you to use.

    Seriously, its just an operating system - windows, icons, menus, pointer - they're ALL the same so unless you are some trolling fanboi or retard then I fail to see what's "ugh" about Windows when OSX and whatever flavour of Linux is fashionable this week is no more/less good/ugh.
  • 3 Hide
    ksampanna , 15 April 2010 06:03
    refreshing 2 c apple gettin' kickd up their ***
  • 0 Hide
    core i7 ownage , 15 April 2010 06:08
    I thought Alienware products are always dangerously overpriced?
  • 2 Hide
    ukgooey , 15 April 2010 06:08
    messeleGreat internal hardware...then you realise you have to use Windows with them and, urgh no thanks.

    At the risk of involving myself in a slanging match (again), I have to agree with the above. Windows 7 is excellent, and if you think it's poor then it'd be nice to know why. Personally, I prefer OS X marginally but I dislike Apple and to an extent the people that 'swear by Macs'. It's certainly not a big enough difference to say 'urgh' about. If you aren't using Windows at all then you're missing out on a lot. My guess is that you do use Windows sometimes.

    If Apple weren't crap, you'd be able to use Snow Leopard on any of these machines. As it is, they are. So you get ripped off instead on poor hardware with a decent OS.
  • 2 Hide
    Nexus52085 , 15 April 2010 06:49
    core i7 ownageI thought Alienware products are always dangerously overpriced?

    Yeah... so that ought to tell you something about Apple's pricing.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 15 April 2010 06:54
    LePhuronnunfortunately I've yet to find a laptop with the same build quality without spending similarly exorbitant amounts of money.


    core i7 ownageI thought Alienware products are always dangerously overpriced?


    Yeah exactly
  • 1 Hide
    tstebbens , 15 April 2010 07:13
    I'm sorry Tuan but are you really surprised Apple gets slated so much?

    1) Yes the case is nice, but to be honest I bought my wife a cheap laptop (£259 nearly four years ago). It gets dropped, banged, cups of tea spilt on it and generally abused and it has never gone wrong and nothing has broken off of it. 8+ hours a day usage, 5 days a week.

    2) Top of the line MacBook has a 1440x900 resolution screen? Either that's a typo or Apple really are taking the mickey. The afore-mentioned cheap laptop has the same resolution and, as I said, it's nearly 4 years old. Built in webcam too.

    3) Where exactly is the "value-add" coming from that would justify spending nearly $800 more on an inferior spec laptop?
    The case? Is it really worth $800?
    The (mythical) build quality? Give it to my wife and I'm sure it would do no better or worse than her current laptop.
    The OS perhaps? You could buy 3 copies of Windows 7 Ultimate for that money and even Windows Server 2008 doesn't cost that much!
    Perhaps all 3 of these together: case, build quality, and OS? Somehow I doubt it.

    Unless you have a genuine reason to buy a Mac (of which there are some at least) then that $800 premium just seems like a complete waste. Think of all the things you could do with $800! This, for instance, looks much more fun than a MacBook.
  • 0 Hide
    cj_online , 15 April 2010 13:17
    I love Macbooks' build quality and thin frame... none of the PC laptops have that...

    However, for desktops, PC FTW.
  • 1 Hide
    baldinie , 15 April 2010 23:14
    ermm.. at the risk of being barrage by the usual stockholme syndrome apple fanboy, may i remind you all that Apple came 4th in a recent laptop reliablilty (behind ASUS and MSI) and thats just on the laptops they accepted were their responsibilty. Usually with Apple if it fails it's your fault, since they're perfect, you probably used the wrong finger to turn it on or gave the screen a funny look...
  • 1 Hide
    may1 , 16 April 2010 00:48
    ASUS FTW!!!!!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 16 April 2010 11:12
    If you're willing to spend mac like prices, you can get serious PC hardware. I just ordered a Dell M4500 mobile workstation w/ 4 core i7 + 8mb cache, a graphics professional quality display (no gloss here), and a true professional workstation graphics card, all encased in a slab of black metal for $2100.

    Meanwhile you'll need to spend $2400 to get close to that on the mac book... and its still only dual core (I think? The only 2.66 ghz i7 I can find lists 2 cores)
  • 1 Hide
    devilxc , 16 April 2010 17:27
    As long as people buy Apple products the prices will remain high. Its just economics. I need performance for my £ but that's not everyones cup of tea.

    Quote:
    Yes the case is nice, but to be honest I bought my wife a cheap laptop (£259 nearly four years ago). It gets dropped, banged, cups of tea spilt on it and generally abused and it has never gone wrong and nothing has broken off of it.


    You might have a reliable VW but you'd still wish you had a Porshe that breaks down. It's just whether the cost is justified. (But in this case the Porshe has a 1 litre Fiesta engine in it.)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 April 2010 06:57
    Don't forget resale value. You can buy a mac and sell it 2 years later for significant chunk of the original value. Example, MBP bought 18 months ago for $2k sells now for around $1.5k.
Display more comments