We examine three great laptops comparable to MacBook Pro, since it is a coveted laptop by many, but not affordable to all. Here we review three laptops, Dell, HP and Microsoft Surface, all comparable to a MacBook Pro in terms of features, such as excellent RAM capacity, stunning graphics, and great battery life, each costing less than $1,000.

Dell XPS 13 Silver Edition Windows 10 Laptop

Hard Drive

This Dell XPS 13 has a 128 GB hard drive which puts it at the lower end of the scale, however, it is not everyone who needs a massive amount of hard drive space. With the increasing use of multiple devices, having everything stored on one device can often make less sense than using a cloud storage service.

Even so, 128 GB is not exactly puny and, in practical terms, means the equivalent of 57,000 photos or 18,000 music tracks.

RAM

This where this Dell laptop competes well with its competitors with 8 MB of RAM. This allows the Dell to start without delay, and when using apps, surfing or playing games on this laptop, you see no noticeable delays and certainly no crashing or freezing.

There are top-end laptops with more RAM but unless you need it, you’d just be paying for extra memory your laptop is never going to use.

Processor

The processor in this Dell laptop is one of its most appealing features. It uses an Intel Core i5-7200U processor rated at 3.1 GHz with a 3MB cache. To give you an understanding of the processing power it gives you, it allows for lightning-fast graphics and functions when playing games, and more mundane programs used for office or student work, for example, operate seamlessly.

Display and Graphics

The screen size is 13.3 inches and has Full HD for the best possible clarity. Dell are masters at maximizing the screen size into the smallest possible frame with their groundbreaking ‘InfinityEdge’ displays and that is exactly what they have achieved here.

Other visual enhancements are the anti-glare nature of the screen, and not forgetting it is also a touchscreen display.

At the heart of the stunning display is the graphics card which is no less impressive. It is an Intel Graphics 620 which does an amazing job of producing images and videos with superb color depth, and a sharpness which must be seen to be appreciated.

Battery Life

If you didn’t already know, battery life will very much depend on what you are doing with your laptop at the time. This Dell laptop will give you up to 22 hours for normal use, which will reduce to around 13 hours if you are streaming videos, for example. Even so, this is mighty impressive form one charge and compares very well with some MacBook models which have a maximum of 12 hours battery life.

Pros Dell XPS 13 Silver Edition Windows 10 Laptop

  • Excellent battery life
  • ‘InfinityEdge’ display maximizes viewing area
  • Powerful Intel i5 3.1 GHz processor
  • Touchscreen display
  • Lightweight – Only 2.65 lbs.

Cons Dell XPS 13 Silver Edition Windows 10 Laptop

  • Cooling fan is louder than it should be
  • Webcam is located below the screen.

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HP Envy 13-inch Laptop

HP ENVY 13-inch Laptop, Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid-state drive, Windows 10 (13-ad010nr, Silver)
10 Reviews
HP ENVY 13-inch Laptop, Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid-state drive, Windows 10 (13-ad010nr, Silver)
  • Full HD touchscreen: An intuitive touchscreen and unforgettable image quality of stunning FHD. 13.3" diagonal IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit multi touch-enabled edge-to-edge glass (1920 x 1080) for a stunning entertainment with over 5 million pixels of detail.
  • Processor: 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7500U Processor, Dual-Core, 2.7GHz up to 3.5GHz; Fast, responsive performance and more natural, intuitive interactions with your PC.
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM; Use multiple applications at the same time without slowing down.
  • Solid-state drive: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2; Up to 17x faster performance than a traditional notebook hard drive.
  • More productive with Windows 10 bringing ideas forward and getting things done and a battery life of up to 10 hours and 30 minutes (mixed usage), up to 9 hours and 15 minutes (video playback); Recharge your PC less often.

Hard Drive

This HP Envy 13-inch Laptop has a 256 GB SSD hard drive which is what you would expect at least from a device of this standard. Its read/write speed is impressive with tests showing it took less than 25 seconds to save almost 5 GB of data, which is speedy compared to may similarly size drives.

RAM

This comes with the standard 8GB RAM which you will find is more than adequate for everyday use. Even for gamers, this will be more than enough to allow you to play without lapses and delays. Other software and apps will be equally stable with this memory specification.

Processor

This is where the Envy has the edge over many of its competitors as it uses the newer generation Intel i7 quad-core processor which can operate between 2.5 GHz and 3.5GHZ. This is a faster and more responsive processor which gives users the ability to have multiple folders, apps, and websites open at the same time, without any noticeable drop in speed, nor any sign it can’t cope with that level of use.

Display and Graphics

The display is 13.3 inches, corner to corner, so it is comparable with most laptops of this type. No fewer than 5 million pixels combine with the HD technology to give very clear and sharp images with a color array which is equally impressive.

When games were being played, the frame refresh rate of 48 fps impressed and is higher than a lot of screens in laptops of this grade, although it doesn’t get up to the lightning-fast speeds of those machines specifically designed for gaming.

Battery Life

On average the battery life of this laptop is around 9 hours 45 minutes, which includes time spent connected to Wi-Fi. This allows you to watch a least 3 or 4 movies, or surf for several hours.

It has less battery life than the MacBook Pro but not by much and given you will rarely be online with a laptop continuously, it should be long enough to see most people get through their day’s activities between charges.

Pros HP Envy 13-inch Laptop

  • Weighs just 2 lbs.
  • Intel quad-core i7 processor
  • 256 GB SSD Hard drive
  • 8 GB Ram
  • 5-million-pixel screen

Cons HP Envy 13-inch Laptop

  • Fan is very loud
  • Audio can sound tinny

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Microsoft Surface Laptop – Platform

Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) D9P-00001 Laptop (Windows 10 S, Intel Core i5, 13.5' LED-Lit Screen, Storage: 128 GB, RAM: 4 GB) Platinum
476 Reviews
Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) D9P-00001 Laptop (Windows 10 S, Intel Core i5, 13.5" LED-Lit Screen, Storage: 128 GB, RAM: 4 GB) Platinum
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop features a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 128 GB of storage, 4 GB RAM, and up to 14.5 hours of video playback
  • Backed by the best of Microsoft, including Windows and Office
  • Sleek, elegant design; ultra-thin and light laptop fits easily in your bag
  • Luxurious Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard
  • 3.5mm headset jack. Exterior has aluminum casing and up to 14.5 hours battery life

Hard Drive

This laptop from Microsoft has a hard drive of 128 GB so not the biggest but as we often say, if it is big enough for the number and size of files you are likely to store on it, then it isn’t an issue. For example, 1 GB is the equivalent of over 80 images or photos, 75 music tracks, and just over 4 minutes of video. Multiply it by 120+ and you’ll see it soon adds up to a decent amount of memory.

For those of you who need more, you have the option to upgrade to 256 GB, 512 GB, or if you have the motherlode of files you need to transfer, there’s also a 1 TB model.

RAM

Unfortunately, this is where the Microsoft falls behind the other two laptops we have looked at, as well as the MacBook Pro. 4GB of RAM might have seemed adequate 5 years ago, but in today’s competitive market it appears to be lacking. Despite this, the laptop seemed to perform well, and there did not seem to be any noticeable difference when watching videos or even playing games.

There are options for 8GB, and if you really want to go to the top of the class there’s a 16GB version, although this is only really needed if you are using your laptop for professional purposes and for games which devour RAM.

Processor

Our old friend the Intel Core i5 is the processor running the show inside this Microsoft laptop. It copes admirably with everything you might throw at, including opening multiple windows, multiple tabbed browsing, and some very dynamic games.

Display and Graphics

The high-resolution screen produces very clear images and the colors are vivid. With a size of 13.5 inches, it is slightly bigger than the others we’ve reviewed, and its aspect ratio is different too. This has 3:2 versus the 16:9 you’ll see on the others. Neither one or the other is ‘correct’ and for many users, it is their preference.

Battery Life

This is one of the features many users report being one which has most impressed them, and we can see why; it is normally at least 8 hours and often can go over 10 hours depending on what it is being used for at the time.

Bear in mind it is a continual 8-10 hours, so if you are using it at various times during the day, it should last from morning until night

Pros Microsoft Surface Laptop – Platform

  • Great battery life of up to 10 hours
  • Touchscreen display
  • Surface pen compatible
  • Ultra-thin design – only 0.57 inches deep
  • Many upgrade options

Cons Microsoft Surface Laptop – Platform

  • Touchpad is sluggish
  • Not enough connection ports

Conclusion Laptops Comparable to MacBook Pro

Having assessed all three laptops and looked at the main features they would need to be able to compete with the MacBook Pro, we believe the HP Envy 13-inch Laptop wins. Its 256 GB hard drive beats the other two, and when you also consider it has the quad-core Intel i7 processor then it races further ahead. The excellent graphics package and 13.3″ touchscreen, with 5 million pixels of clear, vivid images, add to its appeal, as does the fact it is extremely thin and light. Since it was first introduced by Apple in 2006, the MacBook Pro has built a reputation as being one of the top laptop computers in the world. With its excellent RAM capacity, stunning graphics, and great battery life, it is not hard to understand why it has so many ardent fans who would never swap their MacBook Pro for anything else, but here we offer you an excellent alternative.

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