Apple MacBooks and Macs are unquestionably nice material, but they are also closely related to macOS, an operating system that is not for everyone. And if you want to play Fortnite or run computer aided design programs? And now that Apple is moving on own M1 chips, if you want to run Linux, your only option is PC hardware.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of great Windows and Linux alternatives to the most popular Mac models. Of low end to the prosumer platforms 32 bestial hearts. Switching to PCs means you’ll be able to pick up the latest and greatest computers at a wide range of prices from any number of manufacturers, without having to light prayer candles at a dedicated Steve Wozniak shrine.
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Alternatives to MacBook Air
Specifications to look for: Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
Apple’s most portable laptop is one of our favorites. The new MacBook Air (9/10, recommend WIRED) features Apple’s M1 chip, and it’s fast, with exceptional battery life. The Air ($ 999 +) is defined by its form factor; it sacrifices power and ports to stay slim and light.
Fortunately for PC enthusiasts, there are plenty of Air’s competitors. The top of the list is without a doubt the Dell XPS 13 (9/10, recommend WIRED). It shares the Air’s light and slim design, solid construction, and all-metal shell. The XPS 13’s extremely thin bezels mean the screen is larger than what you get in the air, and if you go for the 4K display, it’s also considerably sharper.
Microsoft Surface 3 laptop (13 inch) for $ 1,400: The Surface Laptop 3 (7/10, recommend WIRED) is a solid replacement for the MacBook Air. You get an eye-catching design, a great display, and the only trackpad that lives up to what the Air offers. The downside is the price. For similar specs, you pay a premium for Surface hardware. But then, maybe that makes it even more Mac-like.
Acer Swift 5 (14 inches) for $ 984: The Swift 5 is incredibly thin and light, and it manages to have more ports than the Air, so you won’t have to carry around a bunch of dongles and hubs just to upload photos from your SD card. It fares well in terms of performance for the money, and it beats the Air in terms of battery life.
Alternatives to the 13-inch MacBook Pro
Specifications to look for: Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD