MacBook Pro vs. the PC competition

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

The winner is...

Wait ... what? A draw?

In the past, this has been where the Mac has won, and more than once. It seems that this time around the combination of Windows 7, and the bundling of Windows Live Essentials and Office 2007 Home and Student has helped Dell fight back on more than the usual platform of price, support and connectability.

Of course, while each laptop has won four rounds apiece here, it's never that simple. More often than not, people fall into either the OS X or Windows camp, and the result for them will be predetermined no matter what the other camp says — precious few are platform agnostic.

The Dell has eSATA, extra video ports, ExpressCard, a card reader that handles more formats, a higher capacity hard drive, price and support in its favour; the Mac fights back by running nowhere near as hot, being better designed, having better battery life, a higher quality display and better performance. It's worth noting though that you could probably buy a more powerful PC for less than the MacBook and completely remove the performance deficit — but our basis for comparison here is machines with similar hardware.

If we had to choose one or the other, we'd still opt for the Mac on the basis of user experience and battery life. You're not held back from tapping the great expanse of Windows software available either, as running Boot Camp or a virtualisation suite will give you access to what you need. Running OS X on a PC is well, a little harder, and not considered entirely kosher by certain parties with big legal wallets.

If you must buy now, the MacBook Pro 13 is well worth a look. Otherwise wait just a little longer — new Core i5 and i7 MacBooks and PCs are surely only just around the corner, and with them, the next battle...



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rclemens posted a comment   
Australia

PC's require the use of a virus scanner and Mac's do not. Virus scanners use up resources. They should have placed a virus scanner on the PC and then tested the two. The outcome would have been different and Mac would have been a much better performer in all categories.

 

EdipB posted a comment   
Australia

Apple lets you chuck on windows. Isn't that freedom enough? :P

 

Ribbet06 posted a comment   
Australia

I'd rather buy a pimped PC for the same amount of the basic Macbook Pro. I do get mad at my crappy pc, but I'm just not sure about the exclusivity of Apple, I like my freedom lol.

 

akaked posted a comment   
Switzerland

I am an Engineer and University Professor. My last computer was a MacBook Pro 15.4'', 2.8 GHz and at this moment i own a MacBook Pro 13.3, 2.7 GHz i7 processor and it cost to me 1407 euros (about 1970 US dollars). The graphic card, an Intel HD 3000, it is fraud. This mac don't worth the money it cost. I need some software that don't exist for mac however, virtualization it is a crap on this mac. Ok, you could say that i should buy a MacBook Pro 15.4''! But it cost a lot and i have also to use virtualization. Ok you could say that i could use BootCamp! BootCamp??? To do dual-boot? For that i buy a PC and use linux! At this moment i switch my MacBook Pro 13.3'' for a Toshiba Tecra R840-10T that cost me 1010 euros (about 1414 US dollars)! Toshiba has an excellent processor, excellent battery life, excellent graphic card and cost less 300 euros (about 420 US dollars)! The only thing that i don't like on Toshiba is the OS, that is, the Windows OS, but i will never have to make dual-boot or virtualization. Macs are to expensive. They are well constructed, not excellent hardware but very well fitted. Another advantage of Macs is the OS. Mac OS X (Unix) is great, fantastic, but Mac definitely don't worth the money they cost!

 

idiotphone4lover posted a comment   
Australia

And the winner is - Windows 7 !

 

Mac+PC=Linux posted a comment   

I'm getting tired of reviewers. A of the time when they compare two popular products they end up with a draw.

 

kp posted a reply   

I agree. It's so annoying!

 

Craig Simms posted a reply   
Australia

Last time we ran this the Apple won -- this article is quite old now, so it's probably time for a refresh.

 

Somedude posted a comment   

Without being overly prejudiced against Apple, I'm not a huge fan of OSX. Installing windows isn't a concern but (from what I've heard) Apple offers terrible support driver-wise for Windows. It's been like that for a while now, so I'm starting to think that they're doing it on purpose or something. For that reason, I will never touch a Mac, because I'm essentially locked into their inflexible OS (or choose to opt for a subpar Windows experience on their machines) that offers barely any advantages over Windows. Seeing how everything on a Mac can be done on Windows, but not the other way around, I'd take a Windows-based machine any day.

If anyone wants "prestige" associated with Macs, then PCs have their options with the premium Sony Vaio line.

 

AnnK posted a comment   

After a year with an IPhone, my first Apple product I plunged & bought a MAC Book Pro 13". I have never been so disappointed with a computer in my life & I bought my first computer a Kay Pro XT in 1985. I would strongly recommend buying a PC product for anyone contaminating purchasing an Apple. And don't mention ITunes, OMG


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