Ask LH: Should I Get An Ultrabook Or MacBook?

Dear Lifehacker, I am in the market for a new laptop. I can't decide between the Macbook Pro, HP Folio 9470m and Dell XPS 14. The OS doesn't concern me. Factors affecting my judgement include price (upper limit of $1650), weight, battery life and performance (most important). Thanks, Power User

Dear PU,

You've managed to create a pretty compelling shortlist — all three of those laptops provide good battery life, thin dimensions and plenty of grunt beneath the hood. They also happen to be three of the most stylish looking laptops on the market (in my humble opinion).

The Dell XPS 14 boasts a second-gen Core i7 CPU and 8GB of DDR3 RAM as standard, which puts it above the HP Folio in terms of processing power. However, it's also more expensive — the premium model goes for $2,499 — and unlike the HP model, it forces you to use Windows 8. (You did say OS wasn't important, but have you actually tried Windows 8? Let's just say it's a bit of an acquired taste).

Then there's the Macbook Pro. As luck would have it, Apple has just lowered the price of its 13-inch Macbook Pro in Australia to make way for an upgraded model. Prices now start at $1,649 for the 128GB SSD Retina display version, which is just inside your price range. Of the three, we'd plump for the Mac on this occasion.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Or you could go for the non-premium model Dell XPS 14".

    It has almost exactly the same specs as the premium, with the only difference being a 500GB HDD instead of a 512GB SSD. The big difference is the price- the non-premium model is $1299 atm due to $500 cash off. (although that promo apparently ends tonight).


    Last edited 14/02/13 3:53 pm

      the macbook would still be a better choice.. lighter, faster and not much of a price difference :) although personally i would hate a 13" screen!

    "The OS doesn't concern me" - Dead giveaway that this person DOES NOT EXIST.

      Thank you for making me doubt my existence as well.

        Get an Ultrabook - Windows 8 is not bad at all.
        I've been using Windows 8 for a while now. At the start, I was hesitant to install it (xmas present) with all the bad reviews I had seen and now I have found there is nothing wrong with it.
        It actually boots very quickly (to the point where I shutdown my PC instead of put it to sleep).
        During Win8 beta some autistic types got annoyed that they couldn't have a Start menu and now the OS is tarnished by their incessant whining (no offense to people with autism).
        "Power user" and "Don't have a preference for an operating system" are mutually exclusive :)
        IMO - operating system choice is far more important than hardware choice.

        Have you looked at the Thinkpad X1 Carbon?

        It has the same profile as (height, width, depth) as a MB Air 13 but has a 14" screen!

        Seriously beautiful laptop

      I'm in the "OS doesn't concern me" part of the world, its not the 1990's anymore.

    Windows 8 is an 'acquired taste'? I've found windows 8 to be excellent, and essentially performs exactly the same way as Windows 7 when it comes to functionality.
    I'd choose the dell personally, especially if you can get it right now for only $1300 online from dell.

    I'd also go with the Dell. Windows 8 is no more an 'acquired taste' than Windows 7 was.

    @bentobox: The ThinkPad looks alright (if a little bit business styled) but you can keep your nub mouse. Ugh.

    Last edited 15/02/13 1:18 pm

    Don't forget that the Mac needs a Windows license purchased in addition, which adds to the cost.

    " it forces you to use Windows 8"? It will be a sad day, a sad day indeed, when a hardware vendor "forces" an OS on the user. Granted, both MS and Apple try to suggest there is no other alternative than the crude they pre-install, but any of the models mentioned can be wiped and have a respectable OS installed. Now, of course, they *do* force you to buy a license to a crummy OS, which is unfortunate.

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