MacBooks Best Laptops, Says Consumer Reports

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • rooseveltdon
    Oh boy i smell a flame war i better hide
  • montanabay
    why don't they compare $2000 PC to $2000 Macs? $2800 vs $750, really?
  • Vettedude
    CR = BS
  • IzzyCraft
    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.
  • Humans think
    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
  • kyeana
    ...and yet mac still takes dead last on price vs performance :)
  • KyleSTL
    So a small group of 'experts' at CR determine without bias the best with regards to design, usability, etc? I'm sceptical...
  • Hey I have a 13 inch. ;)
  • deltatux
    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.
  • lire210
    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