Best MacBook Pro alternatives for 2020 – CNET

As much as some of us may deride the MacBook Pro for its awful keyboard, annoying Touch Bar and overreliance on USB-C connections, its balance of screen quality, weight, battery life and performance had no Windows-based peer for a long time. But now that OLED displays are beginning to hit the market, that balance is tipping. OLED delivers true blacks, which means high contrast, as well as a wide gamut of colors and high dynamic range that can rival or outperform the MacBook’s Retina Display.

The 16-inch update to the MacBook Pro changes things up a bit. It’s still the size of the 15-inch but slightly heavier and ditches the butterfly-switch keyboard in favor of a slightly better scissor-switch-based one (I still don’t like it). It’s basically the same, however, still with no 4K options. On the other hand, like its predecessors, its performance beats similarly configured Windows systems on a lot of tasks.

Read more: Best MacBook Air alternatives for 2020

But even an entry-level MacBook can stretch the limits of your budget, and those who’ve set aside a nice chunk of cash might want something a little more customizable. No one can deny that one appealing thing about Windows laptops is the variety. Even when trying to imitate the offerings of a MacBook (heck, or even an iPad or iPad Pro) there are all sizes of far less expensive Chromebooks, as well as 14- and 15-inch laptops that are slightly smaller and lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but not quite as small as the 13-inch MacBook Air, across the price spectrum. Plus, we’re seeing lots of experimentation with multiscreen designs.   

Read moreBest 15 inch laptops for 2020

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With longer battery life than the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the more flexible feature set of a two-in-one, the Spectre is a great choice for work and play. The backlit island keyboard is a pleasure to type on, making it great for typing on. Software-wise, the HP Spectre comes with Windows 10 Home 64, a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor and 256 GB SSD storage. Users are also a fan of its trackpad. Read our HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2019) review.

Read more: The best premium midsize laptops of 2020

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Just a little bigger than a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Yoga C940 is fast, attractive and feature packed. Plus it gives you something you can’t get in a MacBook: the 360-degree screen that lets you use it like a tablet or prop it up in a tent or kiosk configuration. Read our Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch) review.

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If, like me, you’re not a fan of OLED screens for photo editing — they’re not optimized for Adobe RGB and aren’t great at tonal range in the shadows — then what you need is a laptop with a good IPS display. The Dell XPS 17 9700 with the 4K screen option delivers that, and it’s not as reflective as the OLED screens I’ve seen. Dell’s PremierColor software isn’t perfect, but it gives you more control over screen settings than most I’ve seen, and it’s got two Thunderbolt 3 controllers to make your external drives happy. It’s heavier than the MacBook, but not much bigger, especially given its larger 17-inch screen. And while its battery life isn’t terrific, it’s performance can certainly keep up.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is a strong runner-up here if you’re willing to trade higher performance and a similar design for a bigger, heavier model. Read our Dell XPS 17 9700 review.


Read more: Best two-in-one PCs in 2020 for when you need a laptop and tablet in one  

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If you’re drawn to a MacBook Pro for its featureless-slab aesthetic, Razer’s your Windows go-to. If you want one that matches the 13-inch Pro for design, size and weight, the Stealth is your option. Razer seems to have discontinued its Mercury White version, though, so for your light-color fix you’ll have to go with the bigger 15-inch Razer Blade Advanced.

It’s priced similarly to the top-end of the smaller MacBook Pro options, and should provide better performance, since it incorporates discrete GeForce GTX 1650 Ti.  Read our Razer Blade Stealth (2019) review.


Read more: Best college laptops for 2020

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Dell’s is a 13.3-inch laptop that’s so trimmed up that the body is basically the size of an older 11.6-inch laptop. Being part of the company’s XPS line means both its chassis and components are top notch for its class, so you’re getting great battery life and performance, too. Power delivery is via USB-C and it comes with a MicroSD reader and headphone jack. Read our Dell XPS 13 (2020) review.

Read more: Best laptops, desktops and tablets for designers and creatives in 2020

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Cheaper than even the MacBook Air with roughly the same footprint but lighter. The 14-inch C436 has the flexibility of a two-in-one if everything you do is cloud-based. Its sleek look and feel at a Chrome OS price makes it a cost-effective alternative.  Read our Asus Chromebook Flip C436FA review.

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favorite laptops of 2020 still • TopThreeRatings.com

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