[Best non-Apple Laptop] Who are the candidates?

Mondozei

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2013
1,043
0
86
#1
So I got a budget of about $1600 dollars. The Apple laptops are given candidates. My current laptop is 5 years old, it's an Acer which has been remarkably stable. But it's crushingly slow, low-res and has basically no battery life. I don't know how I managed for so long but now that I'm getting a new one, I want a really good one.

Basic critera:

1. Screen calibration has to be decent, color-wise.
2. Touchpad has to be good and preferably great(I know that Apple has a lead here, but what are the best non-Apple touchpads?)
3. Resolution should be 1440p or above. If you think I should consider a 1080p laptop, then forget it.
4. Battery life should be minimum 7 hours on mixed usage(Wifi on, browsing, some background music, some light excel work etc).

Everything else matters, of course, like the quality of the keyboard, how many USB connectors there are, the size of the SSD storage etc, but the four main factors I'm looking at are in that list. Everything else matters, but less so.

Which are the best non-Apple candidates out there on those 4 key points? I could increase my budget by at most 200 dollars to $1800.
 

Mondozei

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2013
1,043
0
86
#2
Oh, and to just add one thing: you'd notice that I didn't put in a specific screen size. And that's because it doesn't matter all that much. I'm not after a netbook or a hybrid tablet on 10". The Surface Pro 3 is probably the lowest I could go in terms of size on the screen.
 

gsethi

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2002
3,448
0
76
#3
Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus seems to meet all of your requirements.
 

Mondozei

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2013
1,043
0
86
#4
According to the German notebookcheck.com - who are one of the most thorough reviewers out there - the Ativ 9 Plus' battery life on their (relatively) demanding Wifi test at 150 cd/m² with energy-saving mode on, manages 6 hours. Which is below my 7 hour threshold. The MPR 15"(late 2013) gets a full 9 hours on their test. The 13" model gets 9 and a half.

There has also been issues with color calibration depending upon if you use AC or on battery, although Samsung has thrown out a GPU driver update to fix that, but from what I'm reading on the internet, it seems that the issue still plagues some owners.
 

Sheninat0r

Senior member
Jun 8, 2007
500
0
76
#5
you want a macbook. nothing else meets your criteria. it seems to me that you know that already and made this thread so that strangers on the internet will tell you to get the macbook. so go get a macbook.
 

It's Not Lupus

Senior member
Aug 19, 2012
839
0
76
#6
Good luck finding a non-Apple laptop with a good trackpad. How is this not yet perfected for PC laptops after all these years?
 
Last edited:
Jul 1, 2001
20,628
45
126
#7
I'd recommend a Lenovo ThinkPad T540p, but face it... you really want the Macbook. Otherwise, you wouldn't be comparing every feature to it.
 

win32asmguy

Senior member
Jan 6, 2002
300
0
76
#8
I would suggest a Dell XPS 15. Unfortunately the configuration you want (QHD+ screen, 91w battery) costs about $2000. However a refurbished machine should be in your price range. They can occasionally be found on Dell's Outlet website or eBay. New I think the Microsoft Store has the best pricing. If you happen to have one of these stores locally you may want to check it out in person.

The trackpad hardware they use is the same as Apple (Synaptics Clickpad) but the software will likely need some tweaking to get it acceptable. The Sharp IGZO screens are great, but I would stay away from the Samsung Pentile displays commonly found in the cheaper notebooks.

I will also say that if you need or prefer to run Windows, don't consider a Macbook running bootcamp. The battery life is worse, and the driver support is not very good.
 
Mar 20, 2010
155
0
81
#9
You probably want a great laptop, which has the quality of a MacBook Pro, but running Windows instead of OS X, right?

It is hard to find such a laptop, especially because the PC market is crowded with so many crappy devices. But there are some of them which stand out in the crowd.

You should pay attention to the quality of materials and how they feel in your hands; the quality of the trackpad and the keyboard; the quality of the screen (which should be IPS and not TN and have a very high resolution). It should also have an SSD and no signs of an HDD or any optical disk drive. You should also pay attention to heating issues.

Considering all that, you should take a look at these ones here:

• Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus
• Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
• Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
• Asus Zenbook UX301

They are all very thin and light, with 13-inch screens, and the resolution is either 2560x1440 or 3200x1800. You may also find some alternatives in the 15-inch range.

If you intend to run Windows on it, then a Mac is not something you should look at. BootCamp is terrible and the trackpad does not work well on it.
 
Feb 13, 2001
83,985
0
76
#10
You can put windows 8.1 natively onto a Mac Book Pro I am almost positive.

I run Parallels and do OSX and Windows 7 in convergence mode. I don't game or anything on my Mac. I mostly just use it for Internet Explorer for the sites that require it and of course Visio.

I just don't see Lenovo a competitor anymore with Apple except the T series has pretty decent build quality, they don't offer really high resolution screens though.

There are some custom laptop builders out there you may want to look into with a $1500-1800 budget.

Hard to beat the MacBooks today IMHO. My work gives use the option of a 15" Macbook Pro or a T540p....most take the Macbook Pro option.
 
Jun 23, 2001
27,733
0
0
#11
You probably want a great laptop, which has the quality of a MacBook Pro, but running Windows instead of OS X, right?

It is hard to find such a laptop, especially because the PC market is crowded with so many crappy devices. But there are some of them which stand out in the crowd.

You should pay attention to the quality of materials and how they feel in your hands; the quality of the trackpad and the keyboard; the quality of the screen (which should be IPS and not TN and have a very high resolution). It should also have an SSD and no signs of an HDD or any optical disk drive. You should also pay attention to heating issues.

Considering all that, you should take a look at these ones here:

• Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus
• Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
• Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
• Asus Zenbook UX301

They are all very thin and light, with 13-inch screens, and the resolution is either 2560x1440 or 3200x1800. You may also find some alternatives in the 15-inch range.

If you intend to run Windows on it, then a Mac is not something you should look at. BootCamp is terrible and the trackpad does not work well on it.
I have slight buyer's remorse for not springing for a Yoga 2 sku; I bought a Yoga 11S because it had upgradeable RAM and SSD. But the Yoga 2 models are damn nice. Not to see my Yoga 11S is bad, it isn't.

Curious on the OP though, he rages in his first post that he won't even consider using a 1080p screen in a laptop, has to be higher than that. Just so you know; 1) The IGPs in ultrabooks do struggle with the 3200x1800 in the top end Yoga sku, and 2) these are mostly 13in models. You're not going to be able to tell the difference between 1080p and 1800p beyond that fact that Windows' scaling is hosed.
 
Mar 20, 2010
155
0
81
#12
You can put windows 8.1 natively onto a Mac Book Pro I am almost positive.

I run Parallels and do OSX and Windows 7 in convergence mode. I don't game or anything on my Mac. I mostly just use it for Internet Explorer for the sites that require it and of course Visio.
You can definitely put Windows 8.1 on a MacBook Pro natively. I do have a 15-inch retina MacBook Pro and I run Windows 8.1 both on Boot Camp (native) and Parallels (virtual machine). In any case, you will have to buy a separate Windows license.

Under Boot Camp, Windows 8.1 runs at native speed, but the user experience is crap. Apple's Boot Camp drivers are very bad. The trackpad does not work well under Windows 8.1, not even with third party drivers (TrackPad++, which people usually praise, but which is crap).

Under Parallels, Windows 8.1 runs fine, but there is a performance penalty. I do have 8 GB RAM and I can feel the pain. It would be recommended to have 16 GB for running Windows on a virtual machine. In addition to buying a Windows license, you would have to buy more RAM as well.

Overall, I do not recommend a MacBook for running Windows. Due to the drivers, Windows runs much better on a PC laptop.

I just don't see Lenovo a competitor anymore with Apple except the T series has pretty decent build quality, they don't offer really high resolution screens though.

There are some custom laptop builders out there you may want to look into with a $1500-1800 budget.

Hard to beat the MacBooks today IMHO. My work gives use the option of a 15" Macbook Pro or a T540p....most take the Macbook Pro option.
I do not see Lenovo T series as a competitor to the MacBook Pro. The build quality is inferior. The screen is inferior. It uses HDD instead of SSD. No, definitely not a competitor.

Perhaps the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a worthy competitor to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Or maybe the Yoga 2 Pro. Apart from that, I do not think Lenovo can compete with Apple.
 
Mar 20, 2010
155
0
81
#13
Curious on the OP though, he rages in his first post that he won't even consider using a 1080p screen in a laptop, has to be higher than that. Just so you know; 1) The IGPs in ultrabooks do struggle with the 3200x1800 in the top end Yoga sku, and 2) these are mostly 13in models. You're not going to be able to tell the difference between 1080p and 1800p beyond that fact that Windows' scaling is hosed.
Let me disagree.

There is a big difference between a 1920x1080 and a 3200x1800 resolution on a 13-inch screen. You can definitely notice the pixels on a 1920x1080 screen, but you cannot see them on a 3200x1800 screen. I can see the pixels even on the 1920x1080 screen of a Surface Pro 2, and it is 10 inches. So, there is a difference, and it is not negligible.

Windows has scaling troubles, but Microsoft will probably fix that in Windows 10 which is to be released sometime in 2015. In addition, even as it is, Windows is not that bad at scaling.

Last, but not least, all 2560x1440 and 3200x1800 screens I have seen in laptops use an IPS panel. Some 1920x1080 screens use IPS, but most of them still use TN. TN is crap and provides poor viewing angles. IPS is much superior.

You should go for a 2560x1440 or 3200x1800 screen. Leave 1920x1080 resolutions behind.
 

daniel49

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2005
4,814
0
71
#14
Been looking for a while. Have it narrowed down to the asus zenbook or dell xps15. 1300.00 vs 2200 trying to decide if that dell is worth 900.00 more.
 

FutureShock28

Junior Member
Jan 12, 2017
10
0
11
#15
Gotta agree 100% with daniel. The only windows laptop with the same build quality are the DELL XPS 13 & 15 and perhaps they are even better. Lenovos.....maybe.
 

Similar threads



ASK THE COMMUNITY