I tried to leave the decision up to him. We went to BB so that he could get a "feel" for the various options. He "played" with the Dell Studio 15's they had on display and with the 13" MBP. In the end, he chose the MBP because: 1. Way smaller/lighter. He will be lugging this laptop around for the next 4 years. 2. Way longer battery life without some ugly 9 cell battery sticking out the back. The university provides on-site support for Apple and Dell systems, so those were the only considered. I spent lots of time on the Dell web site configuring various versions of 13" through 15" laptops. In the end, to trick out a Dell 13" laptop with equivalent features that is around the same weight (4.5lb), the price ended up being about the same. The biggest differences were, the Dell M1330 series does not have the same NVidia GPU although the 8400M GS and 9400M seem fairly close and that Dell support offers accidental damage coverage and Apple does not. I have about a month and a half to get him up to speed on the Mac OS and such, but I am not anticipating any problems.