The best MacBook alternatives


Included in this guide:

Dell XPS 15

Dell

XPS 15 (2020)

Asus VivoBook S15

Asus

VivoBook S15

Surface Laptop 4 15-inch and 13-inch

Surface

Laptop 4

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

HP

Elite Dragonfly G2

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell

XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Asus

ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

HP Spectre x360 (2021)

HP

Spectre x360 (2021)

Google Pixelbook Go

Google

Pixelbook Go

best MacBook alternatives

The best MacBook alternatives could be best for you if you love the idea of a MacBook, but would rather stick with Windows 10.

On this page you’ll find laptops similar to MacBooks. Apple’s MacBook devices are known for their excellent build quality, stunning displays, thin and light design and long battery lives, so it’s no wonder that they are so popular – especially with creatives who are looking for sleek and powerful laptops to work on.

However, they can be expensive, and they also run macOS. It’s a fine operating system, but many people much prefer using Windows instead. Also, while Windows laptops come in all shapes and sizes, and are made by various different companies, MacBooks are only made by Apple, and that can mean less choice.

So, we’ve put together this list of the best MacBook alternatives that take some of Apple’s best ideas and give them a unique twist.

If none of these MacBook-like laptops take your fancy, and you’re keen to stick with Apple, then check out our guides to the best MacBook Pro deals, best cheap MacBook Air deals and top Apple deals to save yourself some major cash.

The best MacBook alternatives

01. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best MacBook alternative overall

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

The Dell XPS 15 is in our view the best MacBook alternative ever made. It’s got the power, thanks to some of the most cutting-edge mobile components you can buy right now, and it’s got the looks, with a thin and light design that will make even the biggest Apple fan take notice.

While Apple has dropped the MacBook Pro 15-inch (in favour of the larger 16-inch model), the Dell XPS 15 proves there’s life in the 15-inch form factor yet. It has a screen that is bright and vibrant, and incredibly comfortable keyboard and excellent battery life. It also comes with a dedicated graphics card. While not the most powerful GPU in the world (this isn’t a gaming laptop by any stretch of the imagination), it’s ideal for video editors and 3D animators in particular, and it blows the integrated GPU of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch out of the water.

02. Asus VivoBook S15

The best affordable MacBook alternative

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

The Asus VivoBook S15 proves that you can have a MacBook alternative that offers a similar level of performance and style to Apple’s finest, but for a much cheaper price tag.

Asus is one of the most respected laptop makers out there, and the VivoBook range shows that the company is able to produce excellent mid-range laptops, as well as expensive high-end devices as well. It’s got a fantastic screen, an excellent keyboard, the ScreenPad touchpad, which enables extra functionality and an ErgoLift hinge that makes typing on the laptop more comfortable, while also improving airflow for a cooler-running laptop. All this, and it’s almost half the price of many MacBooks, making it an ideal alternative if you’re looking to save some money.

03. Surface Laptop 4

An excellent MacBook alternative from Microsoft

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Microsoft and Apple’s rivalry is legendary, and it’s not just about software, as Microsoft also makes some fine hardware these days as well. The new Surface Laptop 4 is a great example, combining a sleek and thin design with a stunning screen and premium build quality.

It’s all the things you’d expect from a MacBook, then, and it comes with some nice additions, such as powerful 11th generation processors (or AMD if you’d prefer), and up to 32GB of RAM. It’s also got a touch screen, which is great for digital creatives who want to hand draw their work – and it’s something that the MacBook just doesn’t offer. It’s quite expensive, but with an epic 13-hour battery life and excellent performance, this is a worthy alternative to Apple’s best.

04. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

The best MacBook Pro alternative

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

If you want a serious rival to the MacBook Pro 13-inch, which offers high performance in a sleek 13-inch body, then the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is a great choice. This laptop is designed primarily for business use – like the MacBook Pro – and is thin and light enough to carry around with you all day, with a long lasting battery life and a gorgeous 4K screen that exceeds the Retina display of the MacBook Pro.

It also boasts cutting-edge Intel 11th generation processors, bags of RAM and plenty of speedy SSD storage. Even better, it’s a 2-in-1 device, which means not only can you use it as a laptop, you can fold the screen backwards, turning it into a tablet-like device. Unlike MacBooks, it has a touchscreen that works brilliantly with the included stylus. This is a laptop that simply oozes class.

05. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

The best MacBook Air alternative

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

The MacBook Air is a thin and light 13-inch laptop that’s as stylish as it is a great performer, and that’s why the Dell XPS 13 is in our view an excellent alternative. Like the MacBook Air, it’s sleek and stylish, with an excellent 13-inch screen. It’s actually more compact that the Air, thanks to a thinner design and slimmer bezels around the screen, which makes it even more portable.

The latest model comes with 11th generation Intel processors and up to 32GB RAM, so it easily competes with the MacBook Air, and in some cases surpasses it, and its battery life is also now better than ever. It’s expensive, with some models far outpacing the MacBook Air, but if you want a brilliant thin and light 13-inch laptop, and the MacBook Air doesn’t do it for you, then get the Dell XPS 13.

06. Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Stylish and powerful

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

Apple doesn’t make gaming laptops, but if it did, we reckon it would be a hell of a lot like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502. Asus’ Zephyrus line of laptops have redefined what you can expect from a gaming laptop. Before they bust on the scene, gaming laptops were big, heavy and ugly. But devices like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502 show you can have slim and light designs that can still play the latest games.

Even if you’re not a gamer, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502 is a great choice for creatives – the dedicated graphics and powerful components makes it ideal for video editing and 3D animation in particular, and it’s all wrapped up in a stunning device that you’d be happy to take out in a studio or office – not something you could say about many other gaming laptops.

07. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

A great 2-in-1 MacBook alternative

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) is yet another stylish and sleek laptop from a company that can really challenge Apple when it comes to class. Packed with 11th generation Intel processors, loads of RAM and SSD storage, plus an excellent battery life, this is a 13-inch laptop that will let you do your creative work on no matter where you are.

It’s also a 2-in-1 laptop, which gives it a flexibility that MacBooks simply lack. If you want a laptop for writing on during the day, then a tablet to play games and watch movies on later on, this could be for you. The build quality and performance is top-notch, but the price is undeniably high. If you have the budget, then this is a fine MacBook alternative.

08. Google Pixelbook Go

A Chromebook MacBook alternative

Specifications

Reasons to buy

Reasons to avoid

You may not consider Chromebooks to be MacBook alternatives, as they are usually low-powered budget devices, but the Google Pixelbook Go proves they can rival Apple’s laptops when it comes to build quality and style. It’s got one of the best keyboards we’ve used on a laptop – far better than the keyboard found on older MacBooks – and a battery life that far outperforms any MacBook.

While Chrome OS, the operating system the Pixelbook Go uses, isn’t as fully-featured as macOS, most apps now have versions that you can use on a Chromebook. You’re also able to run Android apps, giving you access to a huge range of creative apps. Best of all, while the Pixelbook Go is a premium Chromebook, it’s still quite a bit cheaper than a MacBook, making it a great choice for anyone who’s on a budget.

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He’s a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq’s sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.

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