Mac-like notebook, but not from Apple?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macinit, May 6, 2014.

  1. macinit macrumors newbie


    Oct 7, 2013
    Is there a laptop out there that is "mac-like" but not from apple? I would love to buy that! Unfortunately, after being a very happy and satisfied apple customer for over 10 years I have come to the recent conclusion that their product quality has decreased to such an extent that I no longer think the 2.000 + dollars one pays for their notebook is worth it. And so I ask - what else is out there?!
  2. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009

    Hahahahaaahaa!! You crack me up, you little jokester!
  3. Ann P macrumors 68020

    Jun 29, 2009
    What's so funny?

    OP, check out the HP Envy's. Aside from the outer chassis and Windows OS, it looks very similar to the MacBooks.
  4. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi macinit,

    Here are my 2 cents, so you don't have to read it if you just want laptop suggestions.

    If you want an mac-like computer, the best you can do is get a mac. Macs do not have any worse build quality than other computers, and I personally think their trackpads are the best in the industry. I was frustrated with the Apple ecosystem myself, and I currently have a PC that I built for about 1600$. It is a great, powerful computer, but I kind of wish I had an iMac for about 400$ more. This is an extreme example because I built it myself, but the bottom line is that if you want a "mac-like" computer, you are going to miss Apple when you leave. My PC has run perfectly since day 1, but I still miss having a Mac, and my next computer will most likely be a Mac.

    If you aren't that attached to Apple, there are some great Windows laptops out there, and I'm sure some other forum members can help you out.

    Best of luck,
  5. BayouTiger macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2008
    New Orleans
    Curious what brings the OP the "conclusion" that product quality has decreased.

    I've owned a procession of Macs over the years and they have gotten better and better. Just bought a 13" rmbp and it is flawless, as is my 15"rmbp, iMac, and Mac Pro. I will say that OSX and IOS seem to have become less solid in the last two years.

    Add that every similar laptop I looked at was nearly the same cost. Yet all were greatly limited (mix of USB2 and 3, no Thuinderbolt or anything similar, Hugely inferior trackpad, SSD's limited to 256GB and no eSata available, somewhat lesser onboard graphics-mostly 4400)

    Not much really available to directly compete with the MBP's as most of the more desirable PC's were all Ultrabooks and using ULV hardware.

    And then there's the difficulty of getting to try out a top notch PC laptop as no one in many cities stocks anything that would compete on an even footing with the Macs.
  6. Mal67 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2006
    West Oz
    There's lots of great notebooks out there, I love my Envy and also my Mini, and windows 8 is improving however if it is a macbook like computer then I guess your best bet is to look at Apple.
  7. jeremysteele macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2011
    As has been said - HP envy looks very similar. If you're looking for something really basic (browsing, word, etc) even some of the cheaper Dell Inspiron models may do the trick.

    I have a samsung (np350v5c) I use for on-the-go stuff as well. Works well and was in the $600-700 range I think. Don't know if I would consider it super "macbook-like" since it is bulkier, but it feels sturdy anyway.
  8. gtanner00 macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2014
    There are tons of Air replacements out there. (All with 1080p screens or better) in the ultrabook category (Acer s7, Sony VAIO pro, HP spectre, etc.) but with the new price cuts from apple the macbook air is looking like a fantastic deal if you don't care about high resolution touch screens.
  9. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I was going to refer you to Lenovo. I tried visiting the site just to make sure I had some idea what to recommend and the site is such a mess I didn't bother.

    I've seen a Lenovo ultrabook I thought looked a lot like a Macbook Air but in the months since then, perhaps Lenovo has discontinued it or perhaps their site is just so messed up I cannot find it.

    When I consider your original question, I can't help but think that a few hundred dollars extra for a genuine Apple product is a small price to pay for real quality. I've owned Gateway, Dell, Compaq HP and Apple laptops. I would take a 5 year old Apple product over a 5 minute old "equivalent" from most other companies.

    I picked up a brand new top of the line $2300 Elitebook in fall 2009. I picked up a bottom of the line $500 iPad in April 2010. Just over 2 years later, in late 2012, the iPad was still worth $350 but the HP had fallen in value to $55. So my iPad had retained 60% of its value and the HP machine retained less than 3% of its value. Apple gear isn't perfect but it is definitely high quality. Has Apple quality slipped over the years? Perhaps just a bit. But their customer service has not slipped at all.

    When a company philosophy is driven by simplicity, ease of use, customer focus and uncompromising quality, it is reasonable to expect consistent result for decades (Apple) not just months (everybody else). If you absolutely need Windows for something, run it in a virtualbox on a Mac. If you insist on pursuing a non Apple product, I suggest you consider Lenovo but be prepared for a frustrating shopping experience.
  10. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    The site is a mess, but I thought I knew the name, so did a search. did you mean the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro?

    The original poster did not say which Mac laptop they wanted a substitute for, Pro or Air? I really don't think anything outclasses the Pro for product quality. Some have advantages in certain areas (mainly screen res) over the Air, but again it is a top quality product.
  11. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I don't think the one I saw was a Yoga. It didn't seem to fold like the Yoga series and it looked like brushed aluminum and had a large trackpad that reminded me of the MBA. It was a little over $600 in Office Depot so perhaps it was the "U" series. They mentioned $2K pricing so perhaps they were thinking of the rMBP. There is nothing on the market to compare to the rMBP right now. Perhaps they should take a look at either Apple's refurb site or Microcenter's discounted MBP models.

    That's what I did. I picked up my 15 in MBP at Microcenter new for less than what Apple was charging for the same refurb 15 in MBPs at the time. I've been very happy with my purchase and unlike the rMBP or the MBA, I was able to open mine up and put in more RAM and a Samsung EVO 840 SSD.
  12. nexusrule macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2012
    Honestly speaking, this year I've bought both a new desktop and a new laptop (iMac 27'' and mbpr 13'') and they are the best macs I've ever bought. My first Mac was a white 13'' plastic macbook bought 10-11 years ago, with the same amount of money last month I've got a 13'' retina macbook pro, better building quality, materials, autonomy and so on (the same holds true for the iMac). Why do you think the quality decreased?
  13. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    I don't see where "Mac-like" hardware would be the determining factor. Anyone can sell you superior build quality at a price. Ports, storage, CPU, RAM, display... as buckets of parts, "quality" shouldn't matter at all - everyone is sourcing from the same component makers. Go down the checklist, find all the models with the desired features, put them into a spreadsheet, sort on price, buy the cheapest.

    It's all about Windows, as far as I'm concerned. It was that way in 1985 - make the installed base of IBM-compatibles sufficiently Mac-like that Microsoft's customer base wouldn't jump ship - same hardware as before, and it's got windows and a mouse, just like a Mac.

    So, save a few hundred bucks. If you're already adept with Windows, then there may not be a $300 initial productivity hit/learning curve. Your paid applications may all be available in Windows at no charge to convert the platform. Or not. Add an anti-virus subscription... That's the stuff that matters.

    Since we just passed Star Wars Days, I'll paraphrase Yoda... "There is no 'like.' There is either Mac, or Not Mac."
  14. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    The Asus Zenbook and cheaper Vivobook lines are similar to the Macbook Air in terms of size and looks. I am very impressed with the build quality of my Vivobook and I only spent $400. The higher end Zenbooks have some pretty good specs.
  15. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2010
    Brooklyn, New York.
    I buy dozens of Macs at a time at my job.
    I alsobuy dozens of HP and Dell computers.
    Never had to return a mac (not saying it does not happen)
    have returned many HP's and Dell.
    I also do not have any Windows machines going past a 4th year in use.
    We have a ton of Macs that are still going strong after 6 years.
    I think you don't so much have a problem with quality. Or a problem with price (the $2k thing is a farce, there are plenty of cheaper macs).
    You just want the look of a mac, but are too cheap to pay for that look.
    Get a Mac Air. Less than a grand.
  16. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Macs are quality builds.

    you have compare to quality build machines, and as you see from other replies, they do not reach same quality of build.
    Yes the Envy is similar to the mac, but it's's like buying a ePhone or a eeePad, instead of buying the real thing or at least similar priced alternatives.

    Apple have been, on numerous times, been selling out too low a price tag, when recently upgraded, too expensive when about to buy when newly updated.
  17. RIZZO124 macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2013
    It's not just the hardware and build quality. What you are really paying for is the user interface of Mac OS. That's worth the price of admission alone. The great ware hardware is gravy.
  18. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    Like many go the other respondents, I haven't seen any evidence of a quality decline. Indeed, I'm quite impressed with Apple's quality. That said, if I were purchasing a PC, I would choose the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It's about the size of a 13 inch MBA and roughly equivalent from a quality perspective.
  19. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2012
    You could always buy an old MacBook that was built by old Apple. The quality should be the same. I'm pretty sure it runs OS X too.
  20. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    You know you're not required to buy a 15" rMBP, right?
  21. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
  22. mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    Gotta love that button...


    I wonder if the 'Beats-Branded Button' patent resides with Beats or with HP?
  23. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Probably the fact that people on MacRumors tend to complain about Apple products, but you don't find many complaining about their HP, Lenovo, Sony laptops etc. The reason: Lots of these laptops are cheap and people expect rubbish quality, the expensive ones don't sell that much, and if people have problems, they don't complain _here_ but elsewhere.
  24. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    They are getting fewer. Samsung reportedly leaving the UK market (market share dropped from 8% to 1%, most likely because they don't even try to sell them), Sony laptops closing down end of 2014.

    Where I work, every Windows only user with a bit of influence uses Windows installed on an MBA. Haven't seen anyone with Windows 8 yet.
  25. brianvictor7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2013
    United States
    IMHO, it comes down to this: there some look-alike computers out there for a few hundred bucks less than what you would pay for a similarly sized/spec'd Macbook. If you want the brand, support, and authentic feel of a Mac, get a Macbook. If you want to settle for something a few hundred dollars cheaper and live with the Windows ecosystem (which isn't all that bad, but is certainly no my choice environment), then buy a Windows machine like the HP Envy of Lenovo Yoga. Just be sure you are going to enjoy it like you would a Mac.

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