5 Laptops that Destroy the New MacBook Pros

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
Weight: 7.6lbs

Price: $1,397.86 - 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
Weight: 9.0lbs

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
Weight: 6.5lbs

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
Weight: 9.7lbs

Price: $1,399.99 - Newegg.com


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
Weight: 6.9lbs

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. Another point Apple can get a good point or two for is in weight. The above laptops are significantly heavier, and for being in the class of laptops, is a bad thing. Unfortunately, Apple gets beaten in pretty much every other category as far as specifications go.

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 and weight, but fall short in a big way in terms of nearly everything else.

Bottom line: Do you want awesome battery life + weight savings, or higher specs? And yes, you can use your savings to buy some extra batteries but that adds even more to the weight. As far as actual performance goes, the Core i7 MacBook Pro should do quite well, since it can run at 3.33 GHz (Core i7 Turbo mode) while the above notebooks max out at 2.8 GHz.

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

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Top MacBook Pro 13Baseline MacBook Pro 15Top MacBook Pro 15
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 GHzIntel Core i5 @ 2.4 GHzIntel Core i7 @ 2.66 GHz (3.33GHz Turbo)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce 320MIntel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w. 256MBIntel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w. 512MB
Screen13-inch 1280x800 LED15-inch 1440x900 LED
ExtrasUnibody enclosure, Magsafe Connector,
Battery-life10-hours8 to 9-hours

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.

  • dwave
    Got to love the Apple Tax....
  • mauller07
    in terms of general daily use, most mainstream laptops destroy mac books

    not much need with all that extra power for the price
  • Humans think
    I would get the dell for its excellent screen (the best available from what I hear) and Dell's known support
  • Get a spare battery with the extra money and macbooks get pawned 100% :D
  • nforce4max
    dwaveGot to love the Apple Tax....
    Its Teaparty time in the Boston harbor again.

    Along with an MacBook I'll toss in the recently passed and unfinished health care bill.
  • tenor77
    hoyt81Will they play Crysis?
    Who likes being banned?

    Anyway, why should the comments get out of hand?
    It's not like no one is arguing that Macs have a premium price tag for the Apple "experience"
  • dragonsqrrl
    "ASUS G Series G51JX-A1"

    "Price: $1,1397.86 - Amazon.com" ??
  • c_schwab
    No quad core + no Blu-Ray = Fail
  • babybeluga
    Seriously, did this article really need to have anything to do with Apple...
  • tuannguyen
    hoyt81Will they play Crysis?Banned for signing up just to troll.