MacBook Pro vs Windows laptops – The premium you pay for the Apple logo

There are multiple Windows-based laptops which offer the same or better specifications than an Apple MacBook Pro at much cheaper prices.

It’s no news that Apple is often criticised for the expensive price tags of its products, which has largely excluded its offering from budget and mid-range consumers.

Perhaps the most clear-cut example of this is when the company announced the pricing of its Pro XDR Display stand at WWDC 2019.

At a hefty $999 (R15,240), the stand cost more than many of the company’s own flagship smartphones.

Another product in its line-up which is exorbitantly priced is Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro, which features top-of-the-line hardware and features for professionals with heavy workload demands.

This laptop comes in two sizes – 13-inch and 16-inch – with various storage options including 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.

The larger model will perhaps be the preferred option for many serious buyers, as it offers the best hardware. The 13-inch market also has the alternative option of the MacBook Air.

The cheapest 16-inch MacBook Pro currently available from the iStore comes at a retail price of R50,599.

It offers the following specifications:

  • Display: 3,072 × 1,920 LCD
  • Processor: Core Core-i7 9th-gen with up to 4.5GHz boost
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon 5300m
  • SSD: 512GB

While this level of hardware means it easily falls into the premium segment, its pricing is excessive when compared with Windows-based laptops aimed at the high-end market.

Equivalent Windows laptops

To see how much more consumers pay for that Apple logo, we’ve assembled a selection of premium Windows laptops available from Evetech, Takealot, and Wootware that are cheaper than the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro.

We’ve ensured that each of these laptops has either the same or a better display, processor, RAM, graphics, and storage.

Build quality was not taken into consideration, although we also stuck with models which had plenty of ports which included at least one Thunderbolt 3-capable option.

While there were many laptops at just over R20,000 with the same or superior internal hardware than the MacBook Pro, those with the same or a better display started at around the R30,000 mark.

This was because the MacBook Pro has a rather unconventional resolution that slots in between HD and 4K/UHD.

This resolution was not available on any of the laptops we found, which meant we had to step up to 4K in each instance.

The cheapest model we identified was a Gigabyte Aero 15S SA from Wootware – which was more than R20,000 cheaper than the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Below are the Windows-based laptops we found that offer better or equivalent performance than a 16-inch MacBook Pro at cheaper prices.


Gigabyte Aero 15S SA – R20,441 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 60Hz OLED
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM 16GB DDR4
Storage 512GB NVMe SSD
Graphics GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Ports 1 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, 3 x USB-A 3.1 Gen1,  1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x SD Card Reader, 1 x Ethernet port
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 92.24Wh
Dimensions 356mm x 250mm x 20mm (2kg)
Price R30,158


Dell XPS 15 – R13,600 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 LCD Touch Display
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM 16GB DDR4
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Graphics GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
Ports 1 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C 3.1, 2 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x SD Card Reader, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 97Wh
Dimensions 357 x 235 x 17mm (2kg)
Price R36,999


MSI Prestige 15 A10SC – R12,600 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 IPS-Level Display
Processor Intel Core i7-10710U
RAM 16GB DDR4
Storage 1TB NVMe
Graphics GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Battery 82Wh
Dimensions 357 x 234 x 16 mm (1.6kg)
Price R37,999


HP Envy 15 – R10,600 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 LCD Touch Display
Processor Intel Core i7-10750H
RAM 16GB DDR4
Storage 512GB NVMe SSD
Graphics GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x microSD Card Reader
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 83Wh
Dimensions 358 x 237 x 18 mm (2.14kg)
Price R39,999


HP Omen X 2S – R5,600 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 IPS-level G-SYNC Display
Processor Intel Core i9-9880H
RAM 32GB DDR4
Storage 512GB NVMe SSD
Graphics GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Ports 1 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C 3.1, 3 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x Ethernet port
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 72Wh
Dimensions 362 x 262 x 20 mm (2.45kg)
Price R44,999


MSI P65 Creator 9SF – R3,600 less

Specifications
Display 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 LCD IPS-Level
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM 16GB DDR4
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Graphics GeForce RTX 2070
Ports 1 x Thunderbolt USB-C 3.2, 3 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini-DisplayPort 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x Ethernet port
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 82Wh
Dimensions 358 x 248 x 18 mm (1.9kg)
Price R46,999


Apple’s answer

Thanks to the development of its own chips, Apple may soon start to be more competitive in terms of pricing.

It recently unveiled the ARM-based M1 SoC for its 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini compact computer.

While it remains to be seen how this chip performs against the Intel processors, the current MacBook Pro models using it are much cheaper than their Intel-based variants.

For example, the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro with 512GB storage is currently priced at R29,999 as opposed to the R37,899 for the Intel Core-i5 model.

Now read: Old MacBook Pros bricked by macOS Big Sur

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MacBook Pro vs Windows laptops – The premium you pay for the Apple logo