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IGN presents The Greatest MacBook Substitutes Available in 2023


As great as MacBooks may be, they’re still some of the most expensive laptops, making the best MacBook alternatives, like the Dell XPS 13, alluring. Luckily, if you’re not too attached to macOS, there are a ton of laptops that are as good, if not better. Click here to , or check the list below:

TL;DR - The Best MacBook Alternatives at a Glance

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Whether you’re a creative professional seeking the horsepower of the MacBook Pro or someone needing a good laptop for office work or school, the best MacBook alternatives will get the job done at a lower price or with extra features.

Best MacBook Alternatives

1. Dell XPS 13

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Dell

XPS 13

Perfect on-the-go laptop thanks to its razor-thin design, lightweight, bright InfinityEdge touchscreen, excellent processor, and 12 hours of battery life.

The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops on the market for a while now, and each year Dell makes it even better. This time around, it’s equipped with Intel 12th-generation processors, up to 32GB of RAM and it has a beautiful 1080p display, with an optional touchscreen for a little extra.

All of this makes the Dell XPS 13 an excellent substitution for the MacBook Air. It’s a thin and light Ultrabook with a nearly bezel-less display. Seriously, there is no better 13-inch laptop for sitting down and getting some browsing, writing, spreadsheets, or whatever else you need done. The best part? It starts at just $849, which makes it quite a bit cheaper than the latest MacBook Air.

2. HP Spectre x360

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Best 2-in-1 MacBook Alternative

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HP

Spectre x360

A highly capable 2-in-1 laptop featuring a stunning display that can be tented or used like a tablet.

Sometimes, you just need a laptop that’s good for not just sitting and getting work done, but also for watching movies in bed. But, if you’re anything like me, you love spending time lying in bed covered in a bunch of blankets binge watching trash TV on Netflix. The HP Spectre x360 is perfect for that.

Hear me out. The laptop has one of the most beautiful displays I’ve ever seen on a laptop, even knocking the MacBook Pro out of the water. And, I can put it in a tent mode or stand, where you just get the screen end of the laptop. I can just poke around on the display in order to pick what to watch like on a tablet – but with a way bigger screen. You simply can’t do that on a MacBook Air. Plus, the Spectre x360 has speakers tuned by Bang and Olufssen, so you know they’re on point.

Stunning picture of the Razer Blade 16

3. Razer Blade 16

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Best MacBook Pro Alternative

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Razer

Blade 16

Enjoy a gorgeous display driven by RTX 4090 graphics and an Intel Core i9-13950HX, so you know this laptop can keep up with almost anything.

The MacBook Pro is an absolute powerhouse of a laptop, especially when it’s equipped with the M2 Max. But there’s a MacBook alternative that’s even more powerful. The Razer Blade 16 has all the glitz and glamor of a MacBook Pro, but with hardware that can beat it in every race, including an Intel Core i9-13950HX, an Nvidia RTX 4090 and 32GB of RAM. If you’re looking for a great 4K laptop that can take on the MacBook Pro, you really can’t do much better.

Plus, because all of this hardware is behind a Windows 11 laptop, you can play all the best PC games with all the settings cranked up to max. The Razer Blade 16 gives you the best of both worlds as a gaming laptop and workstation. There’s nothing this thing can’t chew through, except maybe your wallet.

Flexible screen on the Surface Laptop Studio

4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

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Best MacBook Alternative for Artists

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Microsoft

Surface Laptop Studio

Creatives will love the flexible display on this 2-in-1 laptop featuring slightly dated processors.

The MacBook Pro is known for being a laptop that artists and creative professionals love, but spend a few minutes with the Microsoft Surface Studio and you’ll be left wondering why. What makes this laptop special is its hinge, which allows the display to move with more flexibly than most 2-in-1 laptops. What artists are going to love is that you can tilt the display into an digital easel , which you can then draw, sketch, and paint on with the Surface Pen to get a great angle on Photoshop or whichever app you create in.

Now, the Surface Laptop Studio is held back a bit with its dated hardware as we wait for an update to the line. It’s still equipped with an 11th-generation Intel processor and an RTX 3050 Ti, after all. But even with the older hardware, it’s still the best laptop on the market for creative pros that need pen interaction with their devices.

5. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

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Best Chromebook MacBook Alternative

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Samsung

Galaxy Chromebook 2

Flashy Chromebook featuring a slender body, a sharp QLED touchscreen, and an Intel Core i3 processor for decent performance.

Admittedly, many of the best Chromebooks will have a hard time keeping pace with even the lowest tier Macbooks, but Samsung has given the Galaxy Chromebook 2 a little more oomph. It’s running on an older 10th gen Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM, so you should have no problem scrolling the web or using more basic apps. Cloud gaming is even in the cards with this laptop.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 features a 13.3-inch 1080p display with QLED technology, so you’re in for a wide color gamut support and high brightness. There’s even USI pen support to make drawing on the screen easier. If you’re worried about how long the laptop will stay charged with such a stunning display, the 45.5Wh battery will keep the device running away from a power outlet for up to 13 hours. For those that want an even sharper screen and more powerful internals, you can also check out the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.

Compact chassis of the MSI Stealth 14 Studio

6. MSI Stealth 14 Studio

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Best MacBook Pro 14 Alternative

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MSI

Stealth 14 Studio

Compact and portable gaming laptop offering powerful internals and a stunning 14-inch QHD+ display.

The MacBook Pro 14 is a beastly machine offering a beefy processor and a brilliant 14-inch screen that's hard to beat, but the MSI Stealth 14 Studio gives Apple’s device a run for its money. With it, you get a compact and portable gaming laptop featuring a crisp 14-inch QHD+ screen in a 16:10 aspect ratio for extra vertical pixels that could be handy in games or creative work. That display gets bright and has 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, while the 240Hz refresh rate esnures smoother visuals.

The power behind MSI Stealth 14 Studio’s stunning display makes this laptop a true competitor of the MacBook. Our favorite model is configured with an Intel Core i7-13700H processor and RTX 4060 graphics, which should have no problem chewing through games in 1080p and even some QHD action. However, its less-than-stellar battery slightly mars an otherwise solid laptop. If you feel like these specs are more than you need, there are also toned-down versions of this laptop.

What Is the Best M2 Competitor?

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Now that Intel has taken a big.LITTLE approach to its processors, its 12th-genration Alder Lake and its 13th-generation Raptor Lake are the best competition for Apple’s processors. Intel’s chips have the same configuration of performance and efficiency cores that once made Apple’s chips so unique.

Is Any Laptop Better Than a MacBook?

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It really depends on what you’re looking for. Unfortunately the only reliable way to run macOS is to buy a MacBook, and there are a ton of people out there that love the operating system. However, if you’re not attached to macOS, there are plenty of laptops out there that are either more powerful, more affordable or both.

What is Better, Apple or Surface?

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Apple MacBooks are generally better for traditional laptop tasks. However Surface Devices are great for artists, thanks to the beautiful displays and the Surface Pen. So, again, it really depends on what you’re using your device for.

Jackie Thomas is IGN's tech and buying guides editor, specializing in hardware reviews and features.

Sources


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