Apple continues to release stunning, powerful laptops, like their recently announced 15-inch MacBook Air, that's ultra-thin and runs on Apple’s own efficient M2 chip. But as great as MacBooks may be, they’re still some of the most expensive laptops around, making the best MacBook alternatives, like the Dell XPS 13, extremely alluring for anyone that wants to get work done on a budget. Luckily, if you’re not too attached to macOS, there are a ton of amazing laptops that are as good, if not better, than anything Apple has to offer – and that’s with its fancy new chips.
TL;DR – The Best MacBook Alternatives at a Glance
Whether you’re a creative professional that needs the horsepower of the MacBook Pro, or just someone that needs a good laptop for office work, the best MacBook alternatives will get the job done at a much lower price or with extra features.
Dell XPS 13
The Best MacBook Alternative
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops on the market for a while now, and each year Dell makes it even better. This time around, it’s equipped with Intel 12th-generation processors, up to 32GB of RAM and it has a beautiful 1080p display, with an optional touchscreen for a little extra.
All of this makes the Dell XPS 13 an excellent substitution for the MacBook Air. It’s a thin and light Ultrabook with a nearly bezel-less display. Seriously, there is no better 13-inch laptop for sitting down and getting some browsing, writing, spreadsheets, or whatever else you need done. The best part? It starts at just $849, which makes it quite a bit cheaper than the latest MacBook Air.
HP Spectre x360
Best 2-in-1 MacBook Alternative
Sometimes, you just need a laptop that’s good for not just sitting and getting work done, but also for watching movies in bed. But, if you’re anything like me, you love spending time lying in bed covered in a bunch of blankets binge watching trash TV on Netflix. The HP Spectre x360 is perfect for that.
Hear me out. The laptop has one of the most beautiful displays I’ve ever seen on a laptop, even knocking the MacBook Pro out of the water. And, I can put it in a tent mode or stand, where you just get the screen end of the laptop. I can just poke around on the display in order to pick what to watch like on a tablet – but with a way bigger screen. You simply can’t do that on a MacBook Air. Plus, the Spectre x360 has speakers tuned by Bang and Olufssen, so you know they’re on point.
Razer Blade 16
Best MacBook Pro Alternative
The MacBook Pro is an absolute powerhouse of a laptop, especially when it’s equipped with the M2 Max. But there’s a MacBook alternative that’s even more powerful. The Razer Blade 16 has all the glitz and glamor of a MacBook Pro, but with hardware that can beat it in every race, including an Intel Core i9-13950HX, an Nvidia RTX 4090 and 32GB of RAM. If you’re looking for a great 4K laptop that can take on the MacBook Pro, you really can’t do much better.
Plus, because all of this hardware is behind a Windows 11 laptop, you can play all the best PC games with all the settings cranked up to max. The Razer Blade 16 gives you the best of both worlds as a gaming laptop and workstation. There’s nothing this thing can’t chew through, except maybe your wallet.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Best MacBook Alternative for Artists
The MacBook Pro is known for being a laptop that artists and creative professionals love, but spend a few minutes with the Microsoft Surface Studio and you’ll be left wondering why. What makes this laptop special is its hinge, which allows the display to move with more flexibly than most 2-in-1 laptops. What artists are going to love is that you can tilt the display into an digital easel , which you can then draw, sketch, and paint on with the Surface Pen to get a great angle on Photoshop or whichever app you create in.
Now, the Surface Laptop Studio is held back a bit with its dated hardware as we wait for an update to the line. It’s still equipped with an 11th-generation Intel processor and an RTX 3050 Ti, after all. But even with the older hardware, it’s still the best laptop on the market for creative pros that need pen interaction with their devices.
What Is the Best M2 Competitor?
Now that Intel has taken a big.LITTLE approach to its processors, its 12th-genration Alder Lake and its 13th-generation Raptor Lake are the best competition for Apple’s processors. Intel’s chips have the same configuration of performance and efficiency cores that once made Apple’s chips so unique.
Is Any Laptop Better Than a MacBook?
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Unfortunately the only reliable way to run macOS is to buy a MacBook, and there are a ton of people out there that love the operating system. However, if you’re not attached to macOS, there are plenty of laptops out there that are either more powerful, more affordable or both.
What is Better, Apple or Surface?
Apple MacBooks are generally better for traditional laptop tasks. However Surface Devices are great for artists, thanks to the beautiful displays and the Surface Pen. So, again, it really depends on what you’re using your device for.
Jackie Thomas is IGN's tech and buying guides editor, specializing in hardware reviews and features.