Apple has “Unleashed” the MacBook Pro 2021 in an all-new 14-inch and 16-inch models starting at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. The new MacBook Pros arrive with a flat-edge design; this replaces the curves to bring the MacBook Pro in the design language similar to the iPhone 13 launched in September.
A striking change on the MacBook Pro display is the presence of a notch. While the redesign of the laptop was on the cards; there was no information regarding this surprising notch inclusion, which makes the MacBook Pro just identical to the recent iPhones. The display is further beefed up on the MacBook Pro with mini-LED panel boasting 120Hz refresh rate, thanks to the ProMotion technology.
These laptops on the inside are powered with the state-of-the-art M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The refreshed in-house processors are the biggest takeaways from the new MacBook Pros. These come with a greater core count and enhanced graphics performance. The ports on the MacBook Pro through the years have been a letdown, which Apple has taken note of and has included more variety of ports this time. It now comes with an HDMI, Thunderbolt 4, SD card slot and supports MagSafe charging.
Arguably, with the given features, the MacBook Pro 14-inch is perhaps the best handy laptop on the market right now but the $2,000 tag – it starts at – is not for everyone to digest. If you’re in the market for the best option for browsing, productivity and some gaming, there are many Windows laptops you can explore.
When choosing the best laptop from the others, a good blend of portability, power and efficiency is a must. But in addition to these, the price is also a point of contention for many users. Comprising a blend of it all, below are some laptops with better value than MacBook Pro 2021 that should suit creators, business users and students demanding power from their machines.
Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13 is a direct competitor to the MacBook Pro 2021. It comes in 13-inch and 15-inch models with near bezel-less InfinityEdge LCD touchscreen and an attractive design. Powered by Intel’s latest and greatest Core-i3, i5, and i7 processors, the XPS 13 arrives with 8GB to 32GB of RAM and offers a selection of SSD storage – starting at 256GB capacity.
Intel Iris Xe Graphics drives the display which comes in InfinityEdge OLED option as well – offering richer colors and better contrast – but for a $300 premium from the standard model. The very durable Dell XPS 13 features CNC machined aluminum chassis with choice of either carbon fiber or frost-finish palm rest. The laptop’s battery life stretches over 10 hours and for the ones who are more interested in a convertible, XPS 13 2-in-1 is also a great pick.
Dell XPS 13 comes in different configurations for you to choose from. That means you can select according to the choice of hardware and specs your routine may demand starting at around $1,000. Most interestingly, all configurations of the laptop arrive with the same keyboard, speakers, ports and touchpad, which ensure your choice comes down to the memory, storage and processor and you get your preference without overspending.
ASUS ZenBook 13
The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 is one of the lightest and most portable OLED laptops on the market starting at $799.99. The exceptionally thin device is finished in glossy gray metal chassis and is powered by the choice of Intel 11th generation processors. The 13.3-inch OLED 1920 x 1080 Full HD panel has limited 400 nits of brightness, but it’s powered by Intel Iris Xe Graphics. The display features only 2.9mm bezel and the ASUS laptop tips the scale at 2.45 pounds.
With stellar performance from 11th gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor paired with up to 16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD; the Asus ZenBook 13 is an outstanding blend of maximum performance in a lightweight design. The newly designed keyboard – from the previous ZenBook 13 – features a large trackpad and thanks to an ErgoLift hinge, can be raised up slightly for comfortable typing angle when the screen is opened.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 lasts for up to 13 hours on a single charge and comes with a 65W adaptor in the box. It can connect with up to three external displays using HDMI and two Thunderbolt 4 ports and also features microSD card reader and ASUS’s USB-C charging system.
Razer Book 13
Razor laptops are prominently known for their gaming skills; but the Razer Book 13 with configuration options for ones who want to engage in multitasking, is a high-performance device to look for in comparison to the MacBook Pro. The 13.4-inch display of the Razor Book 13 features an extremely thin bezel and supports a tall 16:10 aspect ratio. The display is offered in Full HD+ or Ultra HD+ options with touch support. Beginning at $1,199.99, this Razor laptop is cut out from a single piece aluminum and offered in white anodized finish.
The ultra-productivity laptop is powered by a choice of 11th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and starts at 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD storage. Users can pick from up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB SSD storage.
The Razor Book 13 arrives with enough connection options including HDMI 2.0, two Thunderbolt 4, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For connectivity, like every productivity laptop, you get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support and according to Razor it features two booming speakers and has a glass touchpad.
HP Spectre x360 14
HP Spectre x360 14 is a capable MacBook Pro competitor, more so because it even weighs heavy on the Dell XPS, a few performance tests indicate. One of the best 2-in-1 laptops right now, the HP Spectre x360 14 arrives in a durable body with a premium appearance. Its 13.5-inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio is designed to increase user productivity.
The users can choose either between the base 1920 x 1280 IPS display or upgrade to the 3000 x 2000 OLED display for more colors and contrast. Spectre x360 14 is not just premium in appearance, it is a pleasurable productivity laptop whose guts are powered by 11th generation Intel core i5 or i7 processors and integrated Iris Xe Graphics. The laptop comes with at least 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which can be customized to preference.
Available in Nightfall Black and Natural Silver hues, the convertible laptop is slightly on the larger side yet it feels premium in the hand. It offers about 10 hours of battery backup and is provided with a stylus that attaches magnetically to the side of the laptop and lets you get creative when the Spectre is used as a tablet. Starting at $1,150, the HP Spectre x360 14 has enough ports, comfortable trackpad and keyboard, and delivers exceptional audio.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Presenting the HP Spectre x360 14 a serious competition in the convertible domain and giving the expensive MacBook Pro a run for its money; Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio arrives as a versatile performance machine that flips into studio or tablet form factor to be used with a Surface Pen. The interesting two-tiered design of the laptop makes it slightly thinker than most Surface devices, while it’s the tilting display that renders the laptop a little flimsy but gives us different ways to position the screen.
You get a smooth hepatic trackpad that’s exceptional to use. Its feedback intensity can be configured from settings. The keyboard however on the Surface Laptop Studio is similar to other Surface laptops, while the 14.4-inch, 120Hz PixelSense flow touchscreen sets it in the league of its own. The 3:2 aspect ratio display supports 10-point multi-touch and Dolby Vision but it lacks an anti-glare layer.
Ideal for business use, creative work and a lot of media consumption, the Surface Laptop Studio runs Windows 11 out of the box, which gives it very integrated experience. The laptop in its base configuration comprises Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD and starts at $1,599.99; it also comes in high-end Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD configuration.