Mac OS X Lion
Mac OS X Lion delivers a cadre of new, slick, user-friendly applications and hardware improvements for a bargain $29.99 upgrade. Considering that the Mac was already vastly efficient with swift boot times, well-honed software, and standout performance, Lion boosts this offering even more. Purchase a MacBook today and Lion will be included, but plan to spend at least $999 for the least-expensive Air.
Want something bigger than an 11-inch screen? You’re looking at spending at least $1,199 for a Mac. The average selling price of a notebook right now is about half that.
Windows 7 laptop shoppers have a lot more choices at much more aggressive prices. You can get a well-equipped notebook with a second-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for less than $600. If you’re willing to spend more, you can get a Windows 7 machine that caters to the needs of gamers, as well as business users looking for extra durability and security, all for reasonable prices.
As you can see, the Dell XPS 15z delivers much better specs across the board than the 15-inch MacBook Pro—for $300 less. What the numbers here don’t show is that the letters on the Dell’s keyboard were a bit difficult to see from certain angles and that the MacBook Pro lasted about 2 hours longer on a charge on our tests. Nevertheless, the XPS 15z provides more bang for your buck overall.
Yes, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros deliver plenty of value—and it’s hard to quantify certain intangibles such as design and ergonomics—but there’s no denying that Windows laptops offer better specs for your money. The fact that you can’t get discrete graphics on a MacBook for under a grand will be a dealbreaker by itself for some shoppers.