10 Best MacBook Pro Alternatives for 2023

Apple has made some much-needed changes to the MacBook Pro in recent generations, which means it’s no longer available terrible keyboard, Annoying Touch Bar or overreliance on Thunderbolt/USB-C connections. Still, these improvements don’t mean the MacBook Pro is right for you. The best MacBook alternatives offer almost everything you could want.

The fact is, there are more designs, feature sets, and display options Windows laptops and Chromebooks. Moreover, Windows remains the preferred platform for native gaming. while cloud game It allows Macs to overcome the gaming problem to some extent, only part of the gaming universe is played through the cloud. Thankfully, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to MacBook Pro alternatives.

This list is a great place to start to get an idea of ​​what’s available. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or a two-in-one is right for you, skip on Our laptop FAQ is at the end of the list.

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For much less than the entry-level MacBook Pro 13, the HP Envy x360 is a great choice for anyone looking for a small, stylish, and easy travel companion with a 13-year-old high school or college student or two. in one. It’s less than 3 pounds (1.3 kg) light and has a long battery life despite its size. It is also available with a choice of Intel processors such as i5 or i7.

Read our HP Envy x360 13 (2020) review.

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A slightly updated and renamed version of the Yoga C940, the Yoga 9i is slightly larger than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, fast, attractive and packed with features. Plus, it gives you something you can’t get on a MacBook: a 360-degree display that lets you use it as a tablet or prop it up in a tent or kiosk configuration.

Read our Lenovo Yoga 9i review.

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Unless you’re a fan like me OLED screens for photo editing — they’re not optimized for Adobe RGB and aren’t great at tonal range in shadows — then what you need is a laptop with a good IPS display. With the 4K display option, the Dell XPS 17 9720 delivers, and it’s not as reflective as OLED screens I’ve seen. Dell’s PremierColor software isn’t perfect, but it gives you more control over display settings than I’ve seen, and it has two Thunderbolt 3 controllers to keep your external drives happy. It’s heavier than the MacBook, but not much bigger, especially given its larger 17-inch screen. Although the battery life is not great, the performance can certainly last.

And it’s a great low-cost alternative Dell Inspiron 16 Plus, it’s not at the front of the line primarily due to its low build quality, and I’m guessing that if you’re looking for a MacBook Pro equivalent, you’d want a metal chassis, a better screen, and higher-end components. But if you want to save hundreds of dollars, it’s worth considering.

Read the Dell XPS 17 9720 review

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It’s even cheaper than the MacBook Air, about the same size, but lighter. If all you do is cloud-based, the 13-inch Flex 5 has two-in-one flexibility. At the price of Chrome OS, its sleek look and feel make it an affordable alternative.

Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.

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If you gravitate toward the MacBook Pro for its featureless slate aesthetic, Razer is your Windows choice. If you want one that roughly matches the 14-inch Pro in terms of design, size, and weight, the Blade 14 is your choice; his younger brother Razer book 13 it’s a great alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro when you want something a little smaller and cheaper.

A smaller version of the 15-inch staple, the 14-inch Razer Blade packs plenty of gaming power for its size without feeling small — an important consideration for a gaming laptop, and one Apple doesn’t need to worry about — but with decent battery life, a nice size for travel, and a high it has a slim design (for a gaming laptop) with enough buttons to sit on the floor or in a meeting with clients.

Read our Razer Blade 14 (2021) review.

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Dell’s XPS 13 is a 13.3-inch laptop, and it’s been redesigned so much that the body is basically the size of an older 11.6-inch laptop. Being part of the company’s XPS line means both its chassis and components are top-of-the-line for its class, so you get great battery life and performance, too. Power is supplied via USB-C, and it comes with a microSD reader and a headphone jack. It comes in both a standard cover and a two-in-one, but I prefer the two-in-one because you can fold it into a tablet if you need to work in a tight space.

Read our Dell XPS 2-in-1 review.

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What’s better than the Touch Bar? A second full-half-screen display, that’s it. The Duo’s tilt-up second screen can act as a secondary display, an extension of the main display (for browsing those long web pages), or a separate control center where you can run Asus’ custom utilities or a control surface for select creative apps. . Plus, Asus excels at squeezing every bit of performance out of its high-end laptops, and the 14-incher also offers great battery life.

It comes in two models, the 15-inch we reviewed and the 2021 14-inch Duo 14. The Duo has 14th or 11th generation Core i5 or i7 processors, optional Nvidia MX450 discrete graphics and up to 32GB of memory.

Read our Asus ZenBook Duo review.

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Frequently asked questions

Which is faster, a MacBook or a Windows laptop?

This is an almost impossible question to answer.

First, it’s a moving target. We’re starting to see Windows models featuring Intel’s new 12th generation CPUs with the same hybrid-core architecture as Apple’s M1 chips, as well as new mobile GPUs. We haven’t had a chance to test many of these next-generation models yet, but it’s safe to assume that Apple’s M1 processors will face stiff competition.

And to date, Apple hasn’t even launched an M1 MacBook with a discrete GPU its integrated graphics expand Competing with current low-end Nvidia and AMD graphics up to RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800M and definitely improves on earlier Intel-based Macs though none of that is really surprising. But that means that at the high end, we’re still kind of in a MacBook storage model when it comes to comparisons with heavier Windows options.

Moreover, differences in operating systems complicate things. Mac OS has long been more efficient than Windows, and it’s only improved now that Apple owns the entire food chain. But you don’t have to worry about compatibility with partner systems and countless different components. Then the challenges of getting reproducible, comparable, representative and broad-based benchmark results for cross-platform comparisons…well, I don’t feel like going down that rabbit hole now.

Is the MacBook Pro better than a Windows laptop for content creation?

Again, this is a difficult question to answer because there are no sweeping generalizations you can make. If you’re basing your concern on Windows’ old reputation for being inferior in terms of graphics performance, then it was accurate, but it’s no longer true.

Windows laptop screens have come a long way, and convertibles (aka two-in-ones) mean you can paint or sketch right on the laptop screen. With a MacBook, you should also buy an iPad.

Some graphics programs are only available on one platform or the other, so before choosing between Windows and MacOS, you need to figure out which one you need and which one you can get away with. Also note that MacOS no longer supports 32-bit apps, so it’s something to think about if your old favorite hasn’t been updated — which happens mostly with small utilities — but is still available on Windows.

Some apps may be better optimized for one platform than another, or may rely on a specific GPU from AMD or Nvidia for the best acceleration. Since you can’t really use an Nvidia card with a Mac, and none of the M1 MacBooks come with discrete graphics, Windows is a better choice, especially for applications based on Nvidia’s CUDA programming interface. Also think about any accessories you need – the drivers and utilities needed to use them may not be available or may have been removed in one or the other.

MacBooks can run faster than equivalently configured Windows laptops because MacOS is more tightly integrated with hardware than Windows could ever be on the fence about. Microsoft simply has to support a wider range of hardware than Apple would need, which adds an extra burden on performance; this can be especially important for latency-sensitive activities such as audio recording. The flexibility of Windows is both its strength and its weakness.

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets, and other PC-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions at CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating the device’s aesthetics, ergonomics, and features. The final supervisory decision is a combination of both objective and subjective judgments.

The list of benchmarks we use changes over time as the devices we test improve. The most important core tests we currently run on every eligible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.

A more detailed description of each criterion and how we use it can be found in our article How We Test Computers page.

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