Best MacBook Pro alternatives for 2021

As much as some of us may scoff at the idea,

 for its


True blacks, high contrast, a wide gamut of colors, and a high dynamic range are all features of OLED that rival or outperform the MacBook’s Retina Display. Its balance of screen quality, weight, battery life, and performance had no Windows-based peer for a long time, despite its overreliance on Thunderbolt/USB-C connections. However, with the introduction of OLED displays, the balance is shifting.

We expect

the announcement of new MacBook Pro models
Soon, there will be many changes that may skew our recommendations, such as higher-end processors and upgraded screens. But for the time being, these are the rules.

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The M1-chip-based 13-inch MacBook ProWhen compared to similarly sized competitors, they may have a performance advantage.Windows There are still compatibility issues, and Apple has raised the prices of the Intel-based models, making it less of a slam dunk in comparison to Windows systems than it might have been otherwise.

 And the 16-inch MacBook ProAlthough it has replaced the butterfly-switch keyboard with a slightly better scissor-switch-based one (which I still dislike), it is otherwise unchanged and still lacks 4K options. On the other hand, it outperforms similarly configured Windows systems in a variety of tasks, just like its predecessors.

But even an entry-level MacBookcan push the boundaries of your budget, and those who have set aside a substantial sum of money may prefer something a little more customizable. No one can deny that there is something appealing about Windows laptops Even when attempting to imitate the features of a MacBook (or even an iPad), is the diversity iPad or iPad Pro) there are all sizes of far less expensive Chromebooks, as well as 14- and 15-inch laptops that are smaller and lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro but not quite as small as the 13-inch MacBook Air. 13-inch MacBook AirYou can also get more variety by choosing from options such as , with prices ranging from low to high. 2-in-1s. Plus, we’re seeing lots of experimentation with multiscreen designs.   

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It’s also available with AMD Ryzen 5-4500U or Intel Core i5-4500U processors. It’s light, weighing just under 3 pounds (1.3 kg), and the battery lasts a long time despite its size. The HP Envy x360 13 is a great choice for an older high-school or college student — or anyone looking for a small, stylish, and easy-to-travel-with two-in-one for a lot less than an entry-level MacBook Pro 13. Intel 11th-gen Core processors

Read our HP Envy x360 13 (2020) review.


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The Yoga 9i is a slightly updated and renamed version of the Yoga C940, and it’s about the same size as a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s faster, more attractive, and packed with features. Plus, it has a 360-degree screen that you won’t find on a MacBook, allowing you to use it as a tablet or prop it up in a tent or kiosk configuration.

Read the Lenovo Yoga 9i review.


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If you, like me, aren’t a fan ofOLED screens for photo editingDell’s PremierColor software isn’t perfect, but it gives you more screen control than most I’ve seen, and it has two Thunderbolt 3 controllers to keep your external drives happy. Since this review, the XPS 17 has been updated and is now shipping; the older model starts at $1,940, while the 9710 starts at $1,568. The starting price difference is due to the newer model’s lack of integrated graphics. It’s a little bigger than the MacBook, but not by much, especially considering the larger 17-inch screen. — they’re not optimized for Adobe RGB and have poor tonal range in the shadows — then a laptop with a good IPS display is required. That’s what the Dell XPS 17 9700 with the 4K screen option offers, and it’s not as reflective as OLED screens I’ve seen. While its battery life isn’t great, its performance is more than adequate.

If you’re willing to trade higher performance and a similar design for a larger, heavier model, the Razer Blade 17 is a strong runner-up. We haven’t yet put the Blade 17 (formerly the Blade 17) through its paces in 2021. Blade Pro 17While I recommend this Blade 17 laptop for creators because of its 4K display option, I’m a big fan of the newly ubiquitous 165Hz 1440p laptop screens, which are a great match for the screen size without the 4K overkill. ) with a starting price of $2,400, but nothing has changed our opinion of it: It now has faster components and more screen options, though one older model is still available for $2,900.

And a great lower-cost alternative is the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus, which doesn’t make the cut because of its lower build quality, and I’m guessing that if you’re looking for a MacBook Pro replacement, you’ll want a metal chassis, a better screen, and higher-end components. However, if you want to save up to $1,000, it’s worth thinking about.

Read our Dell XPS 17 9700 review.


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If everything you do is cloud-based, the 14-inch Flex 5 has the flexibility of a two-in-one. Cheaper than the MacBook Air, with a similar footprint but less weight. Its sleek look and feel, combined with the low cost of Chrome OS, make it a cost-effective alternative.

Read our Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review.


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Razer is your Windows go-to if you’re drawn to the MacBook Pro’s featureless-slab aesthetic. The Stealth is a good option if you want something that matches the 13-inch Pro in terms of design, size, and weight.

It’s priced similarly to the Intel-based MacBook Pro options, and because it has discrete GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics, it should outperform the Intel models (we’re still figuring out how to compare the M1 Macs and Windows systems).

Read Razer Book review.


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Because it’s part of Dell’s XPS line, you can expect top-of-the-line chassis and components for its class, as well as excellent battery life and performance. The Dell XPS 13 is a 13.3-inch laptop with a body that is roughly the same size as an older 11.6-inch laptop. It has a microSD reader and a headphone jack, and it is powered by USB-C. It’s available in both a standard clamshell and a two-in-one configuration, but I prefer the two-in-one because it can be folded up into a tablet if you need to work in a small space.

Read Dell XPS 2-in-1 review.


Josh Goldman/CNET

Furthermore, Asus excels at extracting every ounce of performance from its high-end laptops, and the 14-inch offers excellent battery life. What could possibly be better than the Touch Bar? The Duo’s tilt-up second screen can be used as an auxiliary display, an extension of the primary display (for viewing long web pages), or a separate control center where you can run Asus’ custom utilities or control surfaces for select creative applications. That’s right, a full half-screen second display.

The Duo 14 comes with 11th-generation Core i5 or i7 processors, discrete Nvidia MX450 graphics, and up to 32GB of memory. It’s available in two sizes: 15-inch and the 2021 14-inch Duo 14, which we tested.

Read the Asus ZenBook Duo review.


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