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MacBooks Best Laptops, Says Consumer Reports

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 71 comments

MacBooks are the best laptops, according to Consumer Reports' testing.

Say what you want about Apple products, but they certainly have their fans. Consumer Reports, a generally objective consumer-centric product review North American magazine, is in love with the current generations of MacBooks.

Apple MacBooks top spot in each of Consumer Reports’ three laptop categories of 13-inch, 14- to 15-inch and 17- to 18-inch.

13-inch MacBooks ruled the category, with the unibody MacBook, the MacBook Air and the polycarbonate MacBook White taking the top three spots. The PCs that make up the bottom half of the list are the HP Pavilion dv3-1075us, Dell Studio XPS 13, and the Gateway UC7807u.

(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)The 15-inch MacBook Pro topped the 14- to 16-inch laptop category, scoring a 75 out of 100. The next closest offering in the category was the Toshiba Satellite M305-S4910 with a 64 out of 100. Of course, the so-called “Apple tax” was in full force with the MacBook Pro costing $2000 and the Toshiba running $700.

(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)The 17- to 18-inch category belonged to the 17-inch MacBook Pro with the highest score of 80 out of 100. Second place went to the Dell Studio 17 with 64 out of 100. The Apple tax strikes even harder here with the MacBook Pro 17 costing $2800 and the Dell Studio 17 at only $750.

(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)(Image excerpted from ConsumerReports.org)It’s no surprise that Apple products cost a premium over comparable PC products, but the MacBooks that topped the charts (and price points) also came with stronger specifications than its closest competitors in screen resolution, GPU, bundled software, just to name a few. In fact, Apple boasted about its own inherent ‘value’ in its products in a recent news story, though it’ll be hard to argue with a price difference of more than $1,000.

The message from Consumer Reports (subscription required for full ratings) is clear though – Apple hit a home run with its latest generation of MacBooks, but owning one over a PC will cost you.

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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    montanabay , May 5, 2009 9:11 PM
    why don't they compare $2000 PC to $2000 Macs? $2800 vs $750, really?
  • 19 Hide
    kyeana , May 5, 2009 9:21 PM
    ...and yet mac still takes dead last on price vs performance :) 
  • 11 Hide
    curnel_D , May 5, 2009 10:26 PM
    The consumer report makes these reports based on the 'average consumers', who have been proven time and time again completely illiterate in terms of technology awareness.

    This is the idiots guide to the best laptop.
Other Comments
    Display all 71 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    rooseveltdon , May 5, 2009 9:10 PM
    Oh boy i smell a flame war i better hide
  • 29 Hide
    montanabay , May 5, 2009 9:11 PM
    why don't they compare $2000 PC to $2000 Macs? $2800 vs $750, really?
  • 1 Hide
    Vettedude , May 5, 2009 9:13 PM
    CR = BS
  • 4 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 5, 2009 9:15 PM
    Lol yeah that is odd 13 inch and lower makes sence only a small price diff but the best is a $2000 laptop then the next best is at 700 lol that just looks bad.
  • 4 Hide
    Humans think , May 5, 2009 9:16 PM
    I own both Mac and PC laptops and desktops. Users that rated the products made an overall estimation which includes both hardware and operating system. I think that the satisfaction rate is mainly due to OS X and not hardware oriented. If the later was true then Macbook white would be very low (manufacturing quality and lcd quality are at least subpar) but OS X feels responsive and does not contain preinstalled laptop bloatware.

    I would comment this report as misleading in a way.
    Apple's jewel is OS X and they are just capitalizing on that ace to boost hardware sales
  • 19 Hide
    kyeana , May 5, 2009 9:21 PM
    ...and yet mac still takes dead last on price vs performance :) 
  • 4 Hide
    KyleSTL , May 5, 2009 9:24 PM
    So a small group of 'experts' at CR determine without bias the best with regards to design, usability, etc? I'm sceptical...
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , May 5, 2009 9:27 PM
    Hey I have a 13 inch. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    deltatux , May 5, 2009 9:32 PM
    I love my Macbook Unibody and I absolutely hate all OEM desktops, I always build my systems.

    As for PC laptops, the only brand I go with is ASUS since it's a meld between hardware quality and Windows. However, the Macbook Unibody is the icing with the LED backlit screen and the multitouch trackpad, it makes it very worth it since the multitouch trackpad is nowhere to be found on other laptops and makes work so much more efficient.

    Apple fixed manufacturing issues with the unibody Macbook. Heck, the only reason why I got the unibody Macbook was because Apple replaced my old white Macbook for free due to constant defects.
  • 8 Hide
    lire210 , May 5, 2009 10:03 PM
    i really don't see how much better os x is my sister labtop.
    it doesn't run faster because you can just get better hardware from a pc.
    it doesn't run games.
    it cost so much more.
    so why is it being rated so much better
  • -6 Hide
    gosefroba , May 5, 2009 10:21 PM
    i like my macbook pro 15 inch about 20x more then my dell xps 15
  • 11 Hide
    christop , May 5, 2009 10:23 PM
    Macs are nice but they should have pitted the Mac against a laptop in the same price range....
  • -2 Hide
    cadder , May 5, 2009 10:25 PM
    Apple doesn't skimp on their products, which is part of the reason they are so much more expensive.

    I was considering a small iFruitBook for my travel machine, since I wasn't expecting to do much with it but surf the net and view photos. Then I decided I needed to run our CAD software on it so I got serious and bought a Dell Latitude instead.

    I'm not sure the people at consumer reports are smart enough to know what it means to be objective. What they write sounds good, until you find an article they wrote about products that you really know about and then you discover that maybe they don't know much after all.
  • 11 Hide
    curnel_D , May 5, 2009 10:26 PM
    The consumer report makes these reports based on the 'average consumers', who have been proven time and time again completely illiterate in terms of technology awareness.

    This is the idiots guide to the best laptop.
  • 4 Hide
    hallic7 , May 5, 2009 10:49 PM
    OMG!!! I think that while the Consumer Report was being made we all hardware enthusiasts where at home busy reading tom's hardware!!

    For me (and people who read and are well informed about hardware) is crystal clear that mac is just a "cool"(yeah right!) and overpriced option...

  • 0 Hide
    kamkal , May 5, 2009 10:56 PM

    People still read magazines to get information?

    There's something called the internet nowadays...
  • -1 Hide
    the_one111 , May 5, 2009 10:58 PM
    Damn.......... people get stupider with each friggin' generation.

    I mean how the.... just wow. I think I might go emo now... (not really)
  • 1 Hide
    kamkal , May 5, 2009 10:58 PM
    deltatuxI love my Macbook Unibody and I absolutely hate all OEM desktops, I always build my systems.As for PC laptops, the only brand I go with is ASUS since it's a meld between hardware quality and Windows. However, the Macbook Unibody is the icing with the LED backlit screen and the multitouch trackpad, it makes it very worth it since the multitouch trackpad is nowhere to be found on other laptops and makes work so much more efficient.Apple fixed manufacturing issues with the unibody Macbook. Heck, the only reason why I got the unibody Macbook was because Apple replaced my old white Macbook for free due to constant defects.


    Constant defects? I though macs were the uber bestest thing evar? LOL.
  • -2 Hide
    kamkal , May 5, 2009 11:00 PM
    Humans thinkI own both Mac and PC laptops and desktops. Users that rated the products made an overall estimation which includes both hardware and operating system. I think that the satisfaction rate is mainly due to OS X and not hardware oriented. If the later was true then Macbook white would be very low (manufacturing quality and lcd quality are at least subpar) but OS X feels responsive and does not contain preinstalled laptop bloatware. I would comment this report as misleading in a way.Apple's jewel is OS X and they are just capitalizing on that ace to boost hardware sales


    Good try. OS X is UNIX. Let me know when Apple makes their own OS...oh wait they tried, it was called OS 9 and it blew goats...thats why they went to UNIX.

    But really good try though.
  • 4 Hide
    erloas , May 5, 2009 11:02 PM
    I don't think I've ever found a Consumer Reports report actually useful as a consumer. I've checked them a few times and I have yet to find anything that helps me actually make a purpose. (cars, TVs, a few other minor thigns)

    As for this particular incident, its clear that price was a very low factor in their rating system. The fact that a supposedly similiar system that is rated only slightly worse but costs half as much I think says a lot too.

    Like who would buy a car, even if it got a perfect 100 score, if it was 60-80k compared to the 20-40k of its primary competitors.
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