Top Windows 10-powered alternatives to the MacBook Pro (2017 edition)
Dell XPS 13
Probably the laptop that most closely resembles the MacBook Pro is Dell's XPS 13. OK, you don't get a Touch Bar, but you do get a couple of things that Apple doesn't offer:
- - 7th generation "Kaby Lake" Intel Core processors (a generation ahead of what Apple has to offer)
- - A whole range of ports, from an SD Card slot to USB 3.0 and USB-C ports
I think that it's also fair to say that Dell's XPS 13 is affordable -- a 13.3-inch system running an Intel Core i3 with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD costs $800.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
Powering the new XPS 13 2-in-1 is a choice between a 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor or a 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor, both 7th-generation Kaby Lake silicon, and both featuring Intel HD Graphics 615. Despite packing the latest silicon, Dell has designed the new XPS 13 2-in-1 to be completely fanless.
RAM options span 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB dual-channel LPDDR3, while storage options go from a basic 128GB SATA all the way up to 1TB PCIe SSD with Intel RST.
On the battery front, the 46WHr pack is good for up to 15 hours when combined with the full HD display.
There is also a webcam, a fingerprint reader that's Windows Hello-compliant, a couple of USB Type-C ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, microSD card reader, display port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Dell Latitude 5285
The Latitude 5285 2-in-1 features a 12.3-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio display, comes with a 1TB SSD option, 16GB of RAM, and there's an option of seventh-generation Intel Core processors - just like the Surface Pro 4.
There's also a built-in kickstand, a soft keyboard, and stylus support. Again, just like the Surface Pro 4.
There is one place where the Latitude 5285 deviates away from the Surface Pro, and that is the display. Microsoft opted for a pricy high-resolution 2736 x 1824 panel, while Dell went gone for a more traditional - and cheaper - 1920 x 1080 option. It's an interesting corner for Dell to cut in order to scrape in some additional revenue.
On the connectivity front there are two USB Type-C ports, a single USB 3.0 port, one microSD card reader, a micro-SIM slot (in selected models), and a connector for a keyboard.
Acer Predator 21 X
The Predator 21 X takes what is essentially a gaming desktop and crams it into a folding laptop-type shape. It starts with a 21-inch 2560 x 1080 resolution curved IPS display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Powering this monstrous display is Intel's 3.9GHz seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK silicon powerhouse, dual GeForce GTX 1080 X graphics cards, four DDR4 slots that can hold a maximum of 64GB of RAM, up to four 512GB solid-state drives (two of which can be NVMe PCIe SSDs which are five times faster than SATA SSDs), and a single hard drive bay which is home to a 1TB unit.
But that's not all. There's a full-sized mechanical keyboard featuring Cherry MX Brown key switches with customizable backlight options, a numeric keypad that flips over to reveal a precision touchpad, four speakers and two subwoofers, two power supplies, five AeroBlade cooling fans, and nine heat pipes.
All this is packed into a black shell that looks like it's been hacked out of granite or marble, which brings the total weight of the package to 19.4 pounds.
All you need is a spare $8,999 and this beast can be yours.
HP Spectre X360
Here's another Windows 10 laptop that is built around Apple's "thin and light" mantra, yet manages to offer up to 15 hours of battery life (in the real world this translates to something closer to 12 hours, but that's still pretty good) and a system that can easily convert from a laptop to a tablet thanks to its ingenious hinge.
A 13.3-inch system kitted out with a 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD starts at $900.
Microsoft Surface Book
If you've got deep pockets, then Microsoft's recently refreshed Surface Book is a system well worth taking a look at.
You get everything that you'd expect from a high-end system -- plenty of ports, a claimed 16 hours of battery life, an SD card slot, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics chip powering the graphics.
There's as a stylus and touchscreen display for those who are artistic or just like jabbing at things with their fingers.
But as I've already said it's not cheap -- a 13.5-inch system equipped with a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD will set you back a cool $2,400.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga
This is one of those laptops I keep coming back to. Not the best or the cheapest, but a solid laptop that has plenty of power to get the job done, and there's an optional touch-sensitive OLED display that's very easy on the eyes.
A 14-inch non-OLED system powered by a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD costs $1,549.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
OK, technically this is a hybrid, and it's a bit tricky to use on a lap, but for for portable power, the Surface Pro 4 is hard to beat. Unfortunately, while the Surface Pro 4 comes with a stylus, the Type Cover keyboard is an optional extra, adding an extra $130 to the price.
An Intel Core m3 system with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD costs $900 (excluding Type Cover keyboard), but I'd recommend spending an additional $100 and getting the 6th generation Intel Core i5 model.
Origin PC Eon17-SLX
If power is what you want, then power is what you'll get -- along with an eye-watering price tag!
The Origin PC Eon17-SLX is less a laptop and more a high-end, VR-ready desktop gaming PC that happens to fold closed.
What you get is incredible. At the cheap end of the spectrum, $2,351 gets you a 17.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display, an Intel Core i5 6500, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a single Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of RAM, and a 120GB SSD.
A fully kitted-out system, with a 17.3-inch 3840 x 2160 display, Intel Core i7 6700K CPU, 64GB of RAM, Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB of RAM, a pair of 512GB Samsung 950 Pro PCIe NVMe m.2 drives along with another pair of 2TB Samsung 850 Pro Series SSDs, breaks the $7,500 barrier.