viable alternative for 13" quality laptop <€900 ??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by stefan1975, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    Hi All,

    i have seen a few threads around here about alternatives for the new 2010 MBP line. Like some i too have been *really* underwhelmed by the new models and the i7 models are *way* out of my reach.

    most threads i saw though and even toms mbp killer list are about >= 15" laptops or laptops >= €1000. and these are both too large and too expensive for my tastes.

    i was looking for a 13" white MB last fall but since it kinda sucked decided to wait for the spring MBP 13", which is a little better but specs wise feels outdated even before i ordered it.

    the vaio-z is awesome but way too expensive as is the envy. i looked at the mx11 but it is also C2D and just a little too small (and quite ugly, but it has a backlit keyboard).

    so can anyone recommend a sub $1000 (€900) quality laptop in the 12-14" range? (or show me objective reviews of the MBP13 that might make me feel less bad if i bought it). it should last 3-4 years. in another thread i mentioned a studio15 .... but then remembered i really think it would be too big to actually use on my lap.

    I would like an i5/7 processor. +/- 4gb RAM. LED panel (IPS if at all possible), decent build. +6 hours of battery. dedicated graphics. HDD size is not that important, in the future when my wallet allows i might want an intel X25 SSD anyway.

    thanks for any advice in this!
  2. firsttimemac macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2010
    Asus U30 series
    right now with i3
    soon with the BTO option of i5 /i7
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    HP Pavilion dv3-2390eo

    13.3" LED 1366x768
    Core i3 330M 2.13GHz
    4GB DDR2
    ATI 4550 512MB

    980€ here in Finland (we have 22% VAT so a lot cheaper from other countries)
  4. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    mmm the U30 has a decent keyboard with spacey apple like keys, the dutch model will have an i5 it appears, with a 12 hour battery life (or so they claim), it is €999 here it seems. that is a *little* above my budget but maybe i can find it somewhat cheaper online. it does seem like a viable alternative. thanks a lot! i will look into the specs and some reviews if i can find them...
  5. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
  6. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
  7. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    nothing special. family video and photo editing. browsing the web. word processing. maybe some basic web design. casual games. watching videos when i am on vacation. some chatting and downloading.

    probably the MBP13 would be just fne for any of this specs wise .. but i have this ugly knot in my stomach when paying €1149 for a C2D machine. and i would like it to last 3-4 years, at that time the C2D would be 7 years old ... probably not able to run 3D stuff, CS6 or whatever is current by then. i really cant afford buying the 2011 i5 MBP13 refresh as well.....

    i do prefer the build quality and battery life time of the MBP over the plastic quad core i7 windows machines though.

  8. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Please stay away from the Pavillion!
    One of my best friends has one and she have had it in to repair 3-4 times already and it's not a year old yet.

    My mother has a HP compaq and it's extremely poor too, lot's of issues, bad battery life and she's had the logic board die on her once.

    Try the sub 1k PCs around and you'll notice they might have good specs, but feel like they are made of cardboard..

    Good PCs does also cost quite a bit, like the Dell Latitude series.
    A Latitude E4300 has a 2.53 C2D and Intel 4500 graphics (which is a lot slower than the 320M) costs €1200, and it only gives you a 160GB HD as standard and a 3 cell battery...
  9. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    Unfortunately, I am afraid you don't have many laptops which can compete with the fit and finish of Apple. The 13' Apple is not great but it is the cheapest version of OSX in aluminum...So if you like OSX and you WANT OSX, then the only option for you (considering your budget) is the 13.

    If not, have a look at the refurb might get lucky...

    Or...just buy the Asus as someone already mentioned in the thread...It is a good machine and apparently, they are more reliable than Apple...Yes the machine might not be pretty...yes it does not have OSX...but it is priced reasonably....

    The last option (and this applies if you already have a computer you can manage with) is to simply wait. I am doing the same :p
    I am pretty sure Apple can't continue to sell the 13 with the C2D...they will have to use Arrandale sooner or later...

    all the best...
  10. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    well i have an old p4 desktop running fedora Which isnt very mobile and a 9" asus eee Which is kinda too small and reeeaaalllyyy slow. so i had my eye on the plastic mb in november but even then wanted something better so decided to sit it out until the spring mbp 13". now that it is here it would suck to wait until q1 2011 on my eee.
  11. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    Check the following well regarded models:

    DELL Vostro 3400, HP Envy, ASUS U30JC-A1
  12. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    Add Dell 3300 to the list too..
    HP Envy 13 is expensive...and plus I don't trust HP's support.
    Dell's pro support (available on their business line and their XPS models) is quite decent actually...

    Since you can't wait and you want Arrandale goodness under 1000, this effectively rules out MBP 13...

    Check out the alternative models...just don't go looking for MBP's style, thinness and battery; cause you won't find any :mad:. Appreciate them for what they offer-->good specs and choice of ports. BUT...make sure you check out the display on these machines...usually you might need to upgrade from the default option being offered.
  13. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    hi thanks for all the pointers. i was looking at Dell laptops as well but so far the only thing that came close seemed to be a studio15 ... and i think it might be too big for be, it also seems a little plastic in the screenshots so I don't know about build quality.

    i had a Dell precision once which was pretty decent and rugged. It was around 75 kilograms though.

    Perhaps i forgot to mention that on a Apple Macbook alone i can get a 20% discount, which would bring the MBP13 down to around €900 and within the budget.

    It is the price i wanted, the size i want, the build is A+. it is as "cheap" as a lot of windows machine in the same category. The only think making me hesitate and uneasy about even considering it is that 2007 C2D. Were it an i5 i would have pressed the "order" button in a heartbeat.

  14. MikeyMike01 macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2010
    With a little time and research, OSX will run on almost any modern Intel computer.

    Me too.

    Now, I'll probably never buy an Apple product, ever.
  15. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    that is a nice discount! How r u getting that?

    Well...I have walked the same path you are walking right now...I was thinking of making a switch to the Windows world...but I did not find any machine (at any price point - I have a 2500USD budget) as usable and desirable as the MBP! The Vaio Z is the closest contender and I do not like it's build quality! And not to forget, I am not a fan of Windows 7.

    In your case, the discount is good and its up to you to make a choice. Trade-offs with the current 13 include lack of the iCore processors and discrete graphics. Advantages are - long lasting battery, good build quality, excellent OS and not to forget, desirable as ever!

    But wait...if you are spending a grand and buying a machine you are not entirely convinced with (the 13 MBP), why not spend 1500 and buy a machine you are convinced with (the 15 MBP)? In the long run (assuming you keep your machine for 5 years...say), the extra 500 (or 8 bucks a month) is not much.

    It is a tough decision :D !
  16. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    I have a relative who is a teacher and gets a 19% discount at his school, he's willing to buy me a MBP since he is not going to himself. :)

    you know what the worst part is? i am actually secretly considering doing just that. But it is 2" too big. I initially started out last fall looking for a windows laptop to replace my Dell Precision. I then thought to get a late 2009 plastic white MB for €720 with the discount. I even ordered it back then, but something went wrong with my order and it got lost ... long story short in februari i still didn't get it (it was in a combined order with 27" iMacs that were delayed because of the faulty screens).

    They said they'd deliver it around march, but i told them to fold it up in two an stick it where the sun doesnt shine and decided to wait for the MBP13 as a replacement at €900 with discount.

    if i go for the 15" now (and i do love the seamless graphical optimus switching thingy they pulled) i am upping my budget again to €1349 for the base model with discount. which is nearly twice what i planned to spend.

    or just wait for the 2011 refresh and be disappointed again because the gods at apple decided to put in an i3 and then i will be wanting a sandy bridge :)

    so .... sigh.
  17. ipsg macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2009
    Just go with the base model mbp 13
    It's more than enough for all your needs
    spec is not everything
    after all you won't notice much difference when browsing or editing with imovie, be it a c2d or i5 cpu
  18. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    LOL!!! yup..that is probably gonna happen anyway!!
    So...if I were you...I would end this geeky dilemma and make a decision quick so that I can get on to solve the real life problem I was intending to solve with the new laptop! I mean...this 'problem' of choosing the laptop should not in itself take too much of our time....

    A cheesy analogy would be : 1) Choose the weapon which suits you the most (13/15 MBP/Dell/HP) 2) Practice with the weapon (Accept/Learn strengths/weaknesses of your new machine) 3) Onto battle (Start solving real life problems )!!!
    Like I said...cheesy :eek: but the sooner you get into step 2 and 3, the better it is for you!

    I have walked this path before and I decided to solve my current problems with my existing laptop....and guess works just fine! I need a new battery though...:)

    With this post...I need to get back to step 3 of my life...
  19. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    I think i am going to put the Envy14 on my shortlist too now, after reading the press announcement it seems to resolve a lot of issues i had with the Envy13. From the looks of it it could be a serious contender, but i guess i will wait until the first real world reviews for it come in.

    It probably won't fit in my pre-purchased 13" Crumpler MBP13 sleeve though :-(

    the asus U30JC seems to be getting so-so reviews so it is going down on my shortlist, while the MBP15 for some reason is creeping up instead of the MBP13.
  20. swish2351 macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    A MacBook, who cares about specs? Macs are better
  21. Leaffallgreek macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2010
    Mb Ftw ...

    swish2351 has summed it up and I ll probably just beat a dead horse on this forum .

    There might be some other good laptop , but the experience would still proove them to be noisier , and hotter than MBP, and with less toughtfull features ( trackpad, display build, buildin audio and cam )

    And their shiny spec often result in straight desktop copies that might not offer optimized implementation for laptop.

    Light and easy maintenance on macs are also an "ice on the cake" that you most likely wont find elsewhere. This can make or break your productivity more than some additional "up to par spec" you might found elsewhere.

    I also wish apple product where more affordable , but for the reasons above the deal is still attractive for me now,
    Dont let the spec dilemma bother you too much , 2010 MB or MBP have strong performances for nowaday uses and are hard to match devices in term of toughtfullness,
    Thoses qualities will remain valuable for more than a few years if you need them to( i got a 2010 MPB).

    I ll stop here because i made enough free publicity for apple product, but that cant be helped from me...
  22. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    i agree with you that OSX != Win7 and that it will prbably run smoother (and without mcAfee) then windows would. I am also 100% that the MBP15 would be more then sufficient for me (with core iX and dedicated GPU) so that is why i am considering it as an alternative now.

    I just don't know yet how to break it to my wife that the €1150 premium we were going to pay for the MBP over the Asus is now all of the sudden €1800 because of the MBP15 :D

    So apart from letting that soak in with her i am also still looking at in-budget-alternatives......
  23. stefan1975 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
  24. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    Have you looked at Thinkpad Edge?

    Or are the specs not high enough.

    I think they make good laptops.
  25. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Wow ... you're cheating yourself out of a brand new 13" MBP because you're a "spec chaser".

    What do you do that the 13" MBP wouldn't handle?

    Future proofing?-Look back at the last 5 years are realize there's no such thing.

    Sony Z? - LOL, people really need to try a Sony Z for a week, and a 13" MBP for a week before any of their comments are credible.

    HP Envy? - Doesn't the two letters "HP" go hand in hand with low quality and high failure rate?

    My recommendation, you've got 14 days on a 13" MBP. Try it, don't read or listen to all the crap about it being C2D ... under powered ... blah blah blah.

    You won't find a notebook with a better screen and YES I am saying the chincy cheap low resolution screen on the 13" MBP's looks better than the hi res Sony screen - how can that be? The MBP colors are brighter, more vivid, text clear and sharp. Seen a HP Envy, Dell or Lenovo screen recently? No where close to MBP's screens.

    From one who's tried them all, not just read reviews and spec's in the 13" class the MBP is very hard to beat.

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