Want a good Windows laptop with great hardware? Don't count out a Mac

BeSweeet

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Apr 2, 2009
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I've recently moved away from the Apple ecosystem. For example, I sold my iPhone 6+ and got a Galaxy S7 and have been extremely happy. On the laptop front, I sold my mid-2012 MacBook Air and tried the HP ENVY x360 (13-y013cl), HP Spectre x360 (13-w023dx), ASUS Q324UA and Dell Inspiron 7000 (I7378-4314GRY). All but the Dell are more than a grand, so you'd expect that they have quality components like keyboards and trackpads, right? Wrong. I actually went through 5 (FIVE!) Spectre x360's to try and get one with a good trackpad, and only one was usable (but it had USB-C issues...).

From a relative, I temporarily acquired an early-2015 MacBook Pro (retina) that has an i5-5257U CPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB PCI-E SSD. I wiped the SSD of all partitions and only installed a UEFI copy of Windows 10 onto it. As expected, everything works perfectly, and is really a great experience. Keyboard, screen, trackpad... All great here.

Even better, Windows 10 boots faster than even a clean copy of macOS. Here's a video:

So despite the high prices, Macs do make for excellent Windows-only machines, and may be worth the extra costs to some people (like me). If only they had touchscreens...

(I do have the Lenovo Yoga 720 on my radar for April, but if that falls short, a MacBook it is [again].)
 
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keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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Win 8 & Win 10 boot quicker as they go into an extended hibernate mode, rather than shutting down normally like W7 does. Sometimes causes issues with updates not applying/black screens on startup that can only be resolved by static power drain or repair install.

As you have an SSD so the boot up time won't really be affected, it may be best to disable this so you won't encounter any hiccups in future. You can disable this by pressing CMD + R, powercfg.cpl, then select choose what the power button does along the left hand side. Click the UAC logo to change settings that are currently unavailable, scroll down and uncheck the option for Fast Startup/Disable Fast Startup.

Win 10 still may boot quicker than macOS though, even with this disabled. :p

You're absolutely right about Macs -- if I moved to the Windows ecosystem, I'd still buy a Mac to run it.
 
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BeSweeet

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 2, 2009
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Win 8 & Win 10 boot quicker as they go into an extended hibernate mode, rather than shutting down normally like W7 does. Sometimes causes issues with updates not applying/black screens on startup that can only be resolved by static power drain or repair install.

As you have an SSD so the boot up time won't really be affected, it may be best to disable this so you won't encounter any hiccups in future. You can disable this by pressing CMD + R, powercfg.cpl, then select choose what the power button does along the left hand side. Click the UAC logo to change settings that are currently unavailable, scroll down and uncheck the option for Fast Startup/Disable Fast Startup.

Win 10 still may boot quicker than macOS though, even with this disabled. :p

You're absolutely right about Macs -- if I moved to the Windows ecosystem, I'd still buy a Mac to run it.
I've left fast boot enabled on all my W10 PCs and have never once had an update or boot issue. For all the machines I used, it makes a noticeable difference - even on SSDs - when it's on.

Next step: Install Trackpad++ to get 3 & 4-finger gestures in W10.
 

Pakaku

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Aug 29, 2009
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Sorry, but as of their new style of keyboards they're installing in the Macbooks lately, they're no longer worth suggesting for dedicated Windows machines as far as I'm concerned. I think the ones before the change are still great, and there's the whole thing about Apple being very good about their refurbishing, but never the new ones.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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Boston
I've always had nagging little annoyances with windows on mac hardware, so if possible I get a PC to run windows. It does work, don't get me wrong but just little things seem to not work as well.

For instance, I have an iMac and an Apple Cinema display, well, I cannot use the ACD in windows, at least the way I want too. It won't let me extend the desktop with a second monitor because it doesn't recognize the ACD, and this happened after loading the Apple bootcamp drivers. I've also had had wifi driver issues on my MBP.
 

BeSweeet

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I wonder if the external display issues have something to do with a hybrid MBR installation of Windows 10 versus a proper UEFI installation (only possible without Boot Camp Assistant and is harder to do unless you dedicate a whole drive to Windows like I did). I'm tempted to take my rMBP to a local Apple Store to see if my setup works on their display ACDs.
 

burgman

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Sep 24, 2013
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I just purchased a Lenovo Yoga 910, the screen makes my 2016 tMBP look pretty bland, it's worth a look.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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So despite the high prices, Macs do make for excellent Windows-only machines, and may be worth the extra costs to some people (like me). If only they had touchscreens...
I think if you're intent on running windows, you're better off with a PC then a Mac. I mentioned some of the annoyances earlier but from a pure economical perspective it makes more sense to buy a PC. You generally can get more computer for your dollar on a PC then a Mac and many of the makers have taken a page from Apple and have designed some really nice machines.
 

BeSweeet

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I think if you're intent on running windows, you're better off with a PC then a Mac. I mentioned some of the annoyances earlier but from a pure economical perspective it makes more sense to buy a PC. You generally can get more computer for your dollar on a PC then a Mac and many of the makers have taken a page from Apple and have designed some really nice machines.
Of course, Windows PCs are more economical, but you're always going to have compromises (as I mentioned in my OP with hardware quality). My example with an early-2015 rMBP has zero issues. Everything is absolutely perfect. And that level of notebook perfection is something I'm willing to pay for because none (literally) of the non-Apple alternatives come so close.
 

burgman

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Sep 24, 2013
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Of course, Windows PCs are more economical, but you're always going to have compromises (as I mentioned in my OP with hardware quality). My example with an early-2015 rMBP has zero issues. Everything is absolutely perfect. And that level of notebook perfection is something I'm willing to pay for because none (literally) of the non-Apple alternatives come so close.
The marketplace seems to disagree especially on new MacBook models. Windows 10 software and hardware has undergone a seismic shift in the past year. It's great to have choices, enjoy your machine.
 

BeSweeet

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The marketplace seems to disagree especially on new MacBook models. Windows 10 software and hardware has undergone a seismic shift in the past year. It's great to have choices, enjoy your machine.
I'll agree to disagree. I really tried to give PC laptops a chance, but there's just nothing out there that I think competes with the MacBook as far as build quality goes. Even the very expensive Surface Book has an incredibly wobbly display and a questionable trackpad.
 

BayouTiger

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Jul 24, 2008
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I'll agree to disagree. I really tried to give PC laptops a chance, but there's just nothing out there that I think competes with the MacBook as far as build quality goes. Even the very expensive Surface Book has an incredibly wobbly display and a questionable trackpad.
Of course each of the PC laptops listed are the ones typically sold through the big box. I too have been looking for a decent PC laptop and find nothing locally except the Microsoft Surface machines that come close to the quality of the Macs.

Of course there are much better PC's out there, but you need to look at the Thinkpad T or X Series, or other such higher end PC's. I've also found the Razer machines to be very solid. All of these are priced in Apple territory though.
 

BeSweeet

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From what I read (and experienced briefly at Microsoft stores), Razers don't have good trackpads, which would be enough to drive me nuts. The fingerprint-loving black finish and large screen bezels don't do it for me unfortunately. The Thinkpads are probably great, but the designs are lacking. Hopefully the Yoga 720 works out. Otherwise it may just be too early for me to get into PC laptops. Like you said, some get into Apple pricing to where it may just be best to get a MacBook and put Windows on it.
 

theluggage

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Jul 29, 2011
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Dell has a decent one, the SurfaceBook has a good one, but others do seem quite inferior for some reason.
...because the SurfaceBook and the Dell XPS13 are the ones being marketed head-on at Mac users (and, in the case of the SB and the better, UHD-screened XPS models, sold at Apple-like premium prices)?

Even the SB trackpad & keyboard - probably the best I've seen on a PC - aren't quite up to 2015 MacBook Pro grade... although I fear that the 2016 MBP trackpad has been made too big.
 

BeSweeet

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Yeah, that's my thinking, I'm not sure why they made is so large.
My wild guess is that they may turn the entire trackpad into a high-accuracy drawing pad or an integrated touchscreen, eventually leading to the MacBook's regular display being touch-enabled.
 

itguy06

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Mar 8, 2006
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I'll agree to disagree. I really tried to give PC laptops a chance, but there's just nothing out there that I think competes with the MacBook as far as build quality goes. Even the very expensive Surface Book has an incredibly wobbly display and a questionable trackpad.
Try the 2017 Spectre x360. I've got the 15" model with the 4k screen and it is built very well and every bit as good as my previous Mac's. It even fell off a TV tray onto the wood floor without an issue (long story - dog knocked it off). Yes the trackpad is not as good as a Mac but it's close enough. The 4k screen is gorgeous, the touchscreen makes a compelling case, and the pen is awesome. The 2-in-1 design, while it does make compromises is immensely useful.

My only "issue" is that it's black (ash whatever they call it) and it shows the dust like crazy. But it's a sweet looking laptop.

I tried Windows on the Mac but the placement of Control and Alt on the Mac keyboard (they are wrong for Windows users) made me crazy.
 
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BeSweeet

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Try the 2017 Spectre x360. I've got the 15" model with the 4k screen and it is built very well and every bit as good as my previous Mac's. It even fell off a TV tray onto the wood floor without an issue (long story - dog knocked it off). Yes the trackpad is not as good as a Mac but it's close enough.
15" laptops are a too big for me. The five 13" Spectre x360's I've gone through have scarred me for life to where I don't think I can ever use HP again.
 

itguy06

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Mar 8, 2006
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15" laptops are a too big for me. The five 13" Spectre x360's I've gone through have scarred me for life to where I don't think I can ever use HP again.
Going through 5 is a little crazy. I think the 2017 has been revised a bit compared to the prior models. And QC on all sides (Mac and Windows) has not been great as of late. Many issues reported with the new Macbooks as well.
 

BeSweeet

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San Antonio, TX
Going through 5 is a little crazy. I think the 2017 has been revised a bit compared to the prior models. And QC on all sides (Mac and Windows) has not been great as of late. Many issues reported with the new Macbooks as well.
The five I tried were the late-2016 Kaby Lake models. The 13" early-2017 model looks identical in and out but has a pen-supported digitizer and active stylus, but I do wonder if the trackpads have been updated. My assumption is no :/.
 
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