From the Air to the Pro, Apple’s MacBooks are winning the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere—including PC enthusiasts. Maximum PC investigates whether the hoopla is warranted.
What do you really get for the money when you throw down for a MacBook, and how do these Apple computers compare to their PC counterparts in terms of performance, features, overall usability, and price? Maximum PC tests and reviews the MacBook Air, the standard MacBook, and the MacBook Pro against five PC models sporting similar price points and formfactors. It’s time we set the record straight.
We wondered if Dell was making a passive-aggressive statement when it shipped us its new XPS M1530 in flamingo pink. Perhaps the boys in Austin think the MacBook Pro is a bit effete, so the pink is fitting. Or perhaps someone on the reviews team just finished watching Reservoir Dogs and was channeling Steve Buscemi’s Mr. Pink.
Whatever the reason, the XPS M1530—be it pink, blue, or brown—is a worthy contender to Apple’s vaunted MacBook Pro. Featuring Intel’s 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo T9300, 2GB of DDR2/667, a 250GB Samsung SpinPoint drive, and a GeForce 8600M GT, the XPS M1530 certainly has the specs to compete with the MBP in performance.
We’re always a little taken aback when we see Apple’s MacBook Pro in the hands of PC power users. For example, we’ve seen PC game developers typing on MBPs at industry events. And at trade shows, it isn’t uncommon to see Windows app developers sporting Apple’s pro-class portable. Are we far from the day when Bill Gates is a proud MacBook Pro convert?
Even diehard PC users will be wowed by this portable's specs.
With a 15.4-inch screen, Acer’s TravelMate 5720 skirts the edge of what qualifies as a mainstream notebook. But at 7.5 lbs. of carry weight, it’s still pleasantly portable for a device that offers respectable multimedia and gaming functionality with a good-size battery.
Check out our full review of this jackrabbit-of-all-trades laptop after the jump.
Asus has gambled the farm that the fancy graphics offering—an Nvidia 9500M GS videocard with 512MB of onboard memory—in its F8Sn notebook will be enough to eclipse the machine’s myriad shortcomings. Sadly, it isn’t.
Apple’s little white wonder of a MacBook excels against its PC counterparts, but it’s no Gandalf. As expected, gaming is this laptop’s weakest link. And even complex multimedia tasks can cause the MacBook’s magic to wither.
Still, in most applications, the Vista-booting MacBook performed admirably. Find out how admirably after the jump.
Proof you can have your 3-pound cake and eat it too.
When you pick up a Lenovo ThinkPad X300, you pick up 3 pounds, 6 ounces of excellence. In every way that the MacBook Air is stylish and beautiful, the X300 is built to perform. No usability is sacrificed for visual appeal—inside this unassuming black chassis is a workhorse. It sounds like an oxymoron, but this is one sturdy 3-pound portable.
Weighing a tad more than 4 pounds, Sony’s Vaio SX is the heftiest laptop in the ultraportable category. Yet despite its larger size, the Vaio isn’t the sturdiest small-size contender. That’s too bad because this little rig packs killer performance in its sexy carbon-fiber shell—it’s the only ultraportable we tested that includes discrete graphics.
Without a doubt, the MacBook Air is one of the niftiest-looking laptops we've ever tested. But he smallest notebook we’ve ever tested comes with sacrifices - the MacBook Air makes serious compromises to maintain its petite profile.