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Evan's avatar

Are there any PC laptops than can compare to the quality of Macbooks?

Asked by Evan (810points) September 23rd, 2009

Okay, i’m REALLY not looking to start a discussion about MacOS vs. Windows. I love both MacOS and Windows, and I’ve seen tests that show Macbooks as some of (if not the) fastest running Windows laptops. Now whether that’s true or not, the point is that you can just run Windows on the macbook if that’s your cup of tea. Or run VMware, or whatever..

What I AM interested in is the hardware question. Seems to me that Macbooks are a) more durable b) break less c) have far superior battery life c) are faster and have greater disc capacity and d) are better designed.

With these factors as the metric.. are there any PC laptops that can really compare?

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45 Answers

CMaz's avatar

“Seems to me that Macbooks are a) more durable b) break less c) have far superior battery life c) are faster and have greater disc capacity and d) are better designed.”

Not true.

You just hear more about IBM PC’s because there are more of them. 96% of the world runs on Microsoft.

dpworkin's avatar

You just proved that all of them are comparable to MacBooks, by comparing them.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Sony Vaio’s would be the closest comparable I think…They have a lot of the same safety features like the G sensor for the hard drive…

@ChazMaz the aluminum uni-body frame for the macbook pro is very durable, and holds up well with time…I usually don’t compare macs to ibm laptops…it’s like personal use vs business use. And the macbook line does have a better battery life than majority of the PC’s you’ll find in a Best Buy, or other computer store.

I think a personal use computer with similar features would be the Sony Vaio’s.

RandomMrdan's avatar

but yeah…disc space is not a selling point I’d say for a Mac…or that they break less. I’d estimate they would have an average life just like any PC, but may prove to be useful longer due to the OS being a bit more efficient, less troubles with viruses, things like that.

Evan's avatar

@ChazMaz – whether or not 96% of the world runs on Microsoft isn’t the point – i’m not interested in the software.. show me an example of a laptop that’s built better than a macbook..

@RandomMrdan – i wouldn’t go so far as to say that Macs can’t be used for business.. again, software issue. though even software wise, when we switched our office to Mac, everything became more efficient, and the only difference was that we no longer needed a tech guy to do all the networking, and fix all the issues

but as for the longer lasting.. i know it may be anecdotal, but i just can’t think of a single pc laptop that i’ve ever seen that lasted longer than any single mac laptop that i’ve ever seen..

i mean, they just feel more put together; it’s like the difference between driving in a Saturn, and driving in a BMW.. the Saturn just feels like it’s made of plastic, and is squeaking everywhere, whereas the BMW just feels rock solid…

CMaz's avatar

“OS being a bit more efficient, less troubles with viruses, things like that.”

The OS is is more efficient due to the operating system and the hardware proprietary to one another. Which is good and bad.
And the virus issue is due to less Mac’s around then IBM PC’s.

SO it really is a statistical thing for the most part.

RandomMrdan's avatar

The IBM Laptops then I would argue will have on average a longer life than a macbook.

How can the OS being proprietary with the hardware be a bad thing? BSOD piss me off.

And people will argue that viruses are less of an issue because of the number of PCs that outnumber mac, but honestly, the OS is more secure too.

Evan's avatar

@ChazMaz – I totally agree w/ the point that it’s more efficient because of the OS and hardware being proprietary to one another—

that’s just my point, though, w/ the hardware. Apple controls the entire process from design to creation.. and it just seems that in doing so, they end up with a more rock solid piece of hardware than they might otherwise.. even if it also jacks up the price..

RandomMrdan's avatar

The hardware isn’t proprietary in the sense that you can’t get it for any other computer out there…

The processor is still Intel, the RAM can still be used in any computer, the hard drive is the same anywhere you get it, the optical drives really are the same.

The only think proprietary about the Macbooks are the style and look, and the OS.

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CMaz's avatar

“they end up with a more rock solid piece of hardware”

This is true. But I feel it limits them, and it has. (easy boys)

Mac limits versatility to their approval of software.
As IBM PC allows for a more open source. With that flexibility comes “issues”. I prefer the challenge.

RandomMrdan's avatar

So to answer the question…Hardware that compares (OS aside)

IBM, and I’d still say Sony Vaio’s

kevbo's avatar

Any computer that is mil-spec (meets military specifications) will be more durable than any Mac.

sweetteaindahouse's avatar

Of course there are. You can get a really good PC for less than the price of a Mac.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@sweetteaindahouse you can easily get a good PC for less than the price of a mac…but if you match them feature for feature, you’ll find the price to be a lot closer than you think.

robmandu's avatar

@ChazMaz, I call bullshit on your claims that Macs are built with proprietary hardware and less allowance for “open source”.

All Intel-based Macs are capable of running all consumer-grades of Windows out of the box. And they run Windows faster than any PC of matching price. You’re probably considering the “bad old days”, before OS X, where Apple relied on proprietary ROMs for proper execution of the Classic OS.

[ sorry for this next, software-aimed bit ]

And not open-source friendly? That’s crazy talk. And saying Microsoft is… zomg!

Max OS X is built on the Mach Kernel and FreeBSD UNIX. Apple even developed the WebKit browser technology and set it loose on the open-source community. It’s used in a number of different browsers and is the fastest thing out there.

As annoying as Apple fanbois can be… it’s the Windows-luvin’ haterz that still amaze me.

RandomMrdan's avatar

What I think is funny, is that whenever anyone ever asks a question pertaining to both Mac and PC, it’s like a virtual brawl takes place whether they mean it to or not.


CMaz's avatar

“I call bullshit on your claims that Macs are built with proprietary hardware”

I bullshit you not.
That is how Mac builds their PC’s. It is a hardware/software relationship. That is why the do work “so well.” Good and bad.

“All Intel-based Macs are capable of running all consumer-grades of Windows out of the box.”
With the help of Mac software.

“You’re probably considering the “bad old days”,”


robmandu's avatar

No, @ChazMaz, you misunderstand.

The entire world population of Macs – OS X ones anyway – has been built by Apple. They choose off-the-shelf components (CPU, RAM, hard drives, NICs, etc.) they want to use and test the heck out of those particular combinations. And they optimize the OS X software to run like the wind on it.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has to support all potential combinations that might ever be used by any of the myriad of PC manufacturers out there. It’s way more complicated.

The point is, in no meaningful way is Apple using proprietary hardware.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@robmandu what about the logic boards?

If you want a laptop that looks like a macbook how about the new HP Envy?

CMaz's avatar

Apple exclusively produces Mac hardware, choosing internal systems, designs, and prices. Apple does use third party components, however. Current Mac CPUs use Intel’s x86 architecture; previous models used the AIM alliance’s PowerPC and early models used Motorola’s 68k. Apple also develops the operating system for the Mac, currently Mac OS X version 10.6 “Snow Leopard”. The modern Mac, like other personal computers, is capable of running alternative operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Windows, though Apple does not license Mac OS X for use on non-Apple computers.

majorrich's avatar

I think it’s more a matter of consistency. A LOT of PC laptops are spec built in China and Thaiwan et al. Dell is especially know for having variations of parts within the same model number,. HP, and in the old days Grid Systems were/are pretty consistent and I consider them nearly at the quality of Mac.

Mac is pretty well vertically integrated. They have cradle to grave knowledge of each unit by serial number and know what it was when it was built and, presuming you stay with the system, what happened to the system. Problem with mine is it is a SAVAGE LOIN DESTRUCTION DEVICE! Metal Cases get really hot! ow ow ow

se_ven's avatar

Not sure if anyone’s mentioned them yet, but I have a Lenovo (used to be IBM) ThinkPad T61. It’s a very well manufactured machine, very durable, good hardware, and I haven’t had a hardware issue in over two years. The design aspect is probably lacking to a mac fan, but I like the look of a business use laptop.

majorrich's avatar

Lenovo’s are still available?! They were pretty good machines as I recall.

evegrimm's avatar

I can’t think of any, but then again, I’m not horribly familiar with laptops and such.

Although I think you could argue that you could build a better/cheaper desktop Windows computer than a laptop Apple, that’s not really the question, is it?

If you’re really looking for a way to purchase a computer but avoid the high prices prevalent in Apple computers, I have two options for you: one, buy refurbished. Personally, I don’t think the MBPs change enough in 2 years to really warrant (me) buying a new one. It’s got a prettier and slimmer case, but there’s nothing wrong with mine (except for battery issues, which AppleCare will take care of).

The other option is to go Hackintosh.

jenlk1207's avatar

No, mac is about as good as it gets with all of your concerns.

se_ven's avatar

@majorrich They sure are, and will be at the top of my list when I need another laptop. (not sure when that will be)

US Site

majorrich's avatar

Caveat. That was when IBM had their hands on the wheel. If they spun off as a subsidiary, then you are golden. If they got sold off, well… all bets are off….

gggritso's avatar

Lenovo. Two of my roommates have Lenovo laptops. They cost a pretty penny, that’s for sure but they’re unkillable. They carry them everywhere, drop them constantly and those laptops take it all and ask for more. I also haven’t heard of either of them complaining about battery life, but they have replaceable batteries just in case. Not sure about disk capacity, one of them has an SSD, which I imagine is pretty small.

ShiningToast's avatar

This is going to be nasty….

ratboy's avatar

The Free Software Directory lists a few free programs for UNIX.

cwilbur's avatar

I think the salient point here is that any Windows laptop that matches the power, quality, and durability of construction of the Apple laptops is going to cost about as much.

(My own experience is that I can kill a Windows laptop within a year, because I’m not gentle on my computers, but that Powerbooks and MacBooks are far more durable. My old Powerbook reached the ripe old age of 6 before I replaced it.)

RandomMrdan's avatar

I had a 7 year old 12in Powerbook G4 that I finally got rid of right before buying my new Macbook Pro. It was in great shape, the aluminum frame holds up extremely well as it ages.

majorrich's avatar

I still have my 847mhz TiBook. Running Tiger, only 1G. It is still my backup laptop should this one die and I sync my files weekly. This MBP is 13 Months old. The aluminum display cover dents pretty easy. Dropped my cel phone on it and made a nice corner shaped dent. I like the LED lighting though. Less heat on the display so it can burn my loins better. The Targus cooler ain’t worth much other than to provide space. Will look for another when this plate dies. (it was a gift, gotta wear it out or hurt my kids pride)

timtrueman's avatar

While I would seriously recommend considering a MacBook even if you’re only running Windows on it, I always loved the Thinkpad T-series but I haven’t used one in a couple years so I’m not sure their quality is still as awesome as they used to be…

For the record I use to do IT and I’ve used a lot of PC laptops. None of them compared to the build quality of the Thinkpads.

mzgator's avatar

My husband and I have MacBooks and love them. They were our first Macs, and we will probably only have Macs from here on. We bought our daughter a Lenovo last Christmas. It is a very nice computer . The only reason I don’t like it is because of Vista.

rottenit's avatar

I really like the Lenovo thikpad line of laptops, I manage about 50 of them and we have almost no hardware issues, several of the users are alittle rough on it, (wait? why is there peanut butter in the optical drive?) kinds of things.

In the same token I have handled a couple of macbooks and they definatly feel more sexy (subjective) and maybe a tad better built.

rwiedeman's avatar

Yes, all Windows laptops compare favorably, when you include cost in your equation. I am typing this answer on a Gateway laptop I bought today for $500. 4 gig ram, dual core processor, etc. An equivalent Mac would cost 4x that. I love their design and human factors stuff, but Jebus, I just don’t think they’re worth it. Plus, laptops are essentially disposable commodities now. Who keeps one more than 2–3 years? Any piece of plastic can last that long.

Inofaith's avatar

I’ve seen people using macbook pro’s (and powerbooks) for over 5 yeras.
And I mean really USING them. taking them everywhere they go, working on train, back of car, plane. Throwing it into a backpack or bag without sleeves.. and still sometimes only the harddrive dies after that intensive use.

I think with the new ones, if you get a matt screen, it would last forever (glass can break easyer)/ and if the battery lasts 6 or 7 hours. well, there would be plente left after 4, 5, 6 years of (proper) use.
I’ve got a Macbook Pro (2006) with a defective battery, havent replaced it yet. but the machine itself it sturdy as a rock. Its a real life saver for studentes, photographers, video editors, musicians, or any (semi) pro designer/artist. cuz you can rely on it everywhere you go.

Now there are machines that come with manufacturing defects… everybody makes mistakes. but “if all goes well” they will last you a very long time. Most people i know with dell, hp, sony, ibm laptops had to buy a new one after 2 or 3 years.

One more benefit is that you can easily upgrade your macbook pro after a few years (new wifi, bluetooth, battery, larger harddrive, RAM) to keep it a bit up to date [except processor) because apple is just this one big company with the same line of machines.. so you can find and order parts easily.
[correct met if im wrong, but i had to find a replacement part for my GF’s laptop of 1 year old and the didnt sell it anymore.. hence my thinking.)

so as far as machine goes, i think apple designs theirs very well to last. and just go with that if you can afford it.

charhalCDW's avatar

I’m happy to recommend Lenovo’s ThinkPad line (commonly confused with IBMs in this thread as they used to be owned by IBM). They are rock solid. I sell just a bit more of them into San Francisco than I do Apples. Lemme know if you need some more personal help in picking one out. I have demos for companies as well some times.

arria1's avatar

I bought my first Apple back in 1995 and had it for almost 10 years. Sure back then almost nothing was compatible with Macs but it was a great computer…So seeing nothing was compatible with my Mac back then…I switched over to PC windows. Ok software was compatible and all but up until Mac came up with their new line of computers..I have been through about 5 PC’s. They simply just do not last and the quality is not there.

jerv's avatar

I have a Powerbook 180 that still runs after 15 years, Longevity isn’t always a good thing. Try running modern software on System 7. These days, 4MB and 33MHz just isn’t enough :P
Granted, I think it’d make a better melee weapon than any PC laptop I’ve ever seen, even many “ruggedized” models. It’s heavy enough to fracture a skull and tough enough to not fracture itself in the process. Try that with your modern Mac!

So far, I have yet to keep a PC for more than three years, but they’ve all gone away due to upgrades and were sold/gifted in working condition. Then again, many of them were a couple of years old when I got them. If the hardware can outlive it’s relevance, that is long-lasting enough for me :)

dabbler's avatar

Good to keep IBM-compatible=Windows machine distinct from IBM-manufactured laptops= thinkpads (with Windows on them).

IBM really knows how to make tough business-oriented machinery and their thinkpads were definitely no exception. Lenovo had been making the IBM thinkpads and by all accounts Lenovo continue to do a good job making tough laptops, and keeping pace with features.
I always liked their straightforward ergonomics, compared to any other Windows laptops. And I’ll still take a hula-point over a trackpad any day.

Apple hardware is usually top-notch on the other hand, and sometimes tough to match among Windows machines. But Apple will make a decision based on design imperatives that compromises quality… those laptop slot drives were awful until just a couple years ago. And early MacAir laptops had issues with flimsy hinges breaking.

MadMadMax's avatar

Windows is the major problem.

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