Skip to main content

The best MacBook alternatives

best MacBook alternatives
(Image credit: ESB Professional)

The best MacBook alternatives could be best for you if you love the idea of a MacBook, but would rather stick with Windows 10.

On this page you'll find laptops similar to MacBooks. Apple's MacBook devices are known for their excellent build quality, stunning displays, thin and light design and long battery lives, so it's no wonder that they are so popular - especially with creatives who are looking for sleek and powerful laptops to work on.

However, they can be expensive, and they also run macOS. It's a fine operating system, but many people much prefer using Windows instead. Also, while Windows laptops come in all shapes and sizes, and are made by various different companies, MacBooks are only made by Apple, and that can mean less choice.

So, we've put together this list of the best MacBook alternatives that take some of Apple's best ideas and give them a unique twist.

If none of these MacBook-like laptops take your fancy, and you're keen to stick with Apple, then check out our guides to the best MacBook Pro deals, best cheap MacBook Air deals and top Apple deals to save yourself some major cash.

The best MacBook alternatives

Dell XPS 15CB

(Image credit: Dell)

01. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best MacBook alternative overall

Specifications
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Amazing speakers+Beautiful display
Reasons to avoid
-GTX 1650 Ti GPU isn't the most powerful

The Dell XPS 15 is in our view the best MacBook alternative ever made. It's got the power, thanks to some of the most cutting-edge mobile components you can buy right now, and it's got the looks, with a thin and light design that will make even the biggest Apple fan take notice.

While Apple has dropped the MacBook Pro 15-inch (in favour of the larger 16-inch model), the Dell XPS 15 proves there's life in the 15-inch form factor yet. It has a screen that is bright and vibrant, and incredibly comfortable keyboard and excellent battery life. It also comes with a dedicated graphics card. While not the most powerful GPU in the world (this isn't a gaming laptop by any stretch of the imagination), it's ideal for video editors and 3D animators in particular, and it blows the integrated GPU of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch out of the water.

Asus VivoBook S15CB endorsed

(Image credit: Asus)

02. Asus VivoBook S15

The best affordable MacBook alternative

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: Intel UHD 620
RAM: 8GB / 12GB / 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Screen: 15.6” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS level wide-view technology
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colourful 15.6-inch screen+Weighs just 1.8kg
Reasons to avoid
-Merely average battery life-Only 1080p resolution

The Asus VivoBook S15 proves that you can have a MacBook alternative that offers a similar level of performance and style to Apple's finest, but for a much cheaper price tag.

Asus is one of the most respected laptop makers out there, and the VivoBook range shows that the company is able to produce excellent mid-range laptops, as well as expensive high-end devices as well. It's got a fantastic screen, an excellent keyboard, the ScreenPad touchpad, which enables extra functionality and an ErgoLift hinge that makes typing on the laptop more comfortable, while also improving airflow for a cooler-running laptop. All this, and it's almost half the price of many MacBooks, making it an ideal alternative if you're looking to save some money.

Surface Laptop 4 15-inch and 13-inchCB endorsed

(Image credit: Microsoft )

03. Surface Laptop 4

An excellent MacBook alternative from Microsoft

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5 - 7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB – 32GB
Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable keyboard+Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not enough ports-Alcantara fabric might get gross over time

Microsoft and Apple's rivalry is legendary, and it's not just about software, as Microsoft also makes some fine hardware these days as well. The new Surface Laptop 4 is a great example, combining a sleek and thin design with a stunning screen and premium build quality.

It's all the things you'd expect from a MacBook, then, and it comes with some nice additions, such as powerful 11th generation processors (or AMD if you'd prefer), and up to 32GB of RAM. It's also got a touch screen, which is great for digital creatives who want to hand draw their work - and it's something that the MacBook just doesn't offer. It's quite expensive, but with an epic 13-hour battery life and excellent performance, this is a worthy alternative to Apple's best.

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

(Image credit: HP)

04. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

The best MacBook Pro alternative

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED FHD, 400 nits – 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED 4K UHD HDR-400 550 nits
Storage: up to 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Comfortable keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-USB-C ports on only one side

If you want a serious rival to the MacBook Pro 13-inch, which offers high performance in a sleek 13-inch body, then the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is a great choice. This laptop is designed primarily for business use - like the MacBook Pro - and is thin and light enough to carry around with you all day, with a long lasting battery life and a gorgeous 4K screen that exceeds the Retina display of the MacBook Pro.

It also boasts cutting-edge Intel 11th generation processors, bags of RAM and plenty of speedy SSD storage. Even better, it's a 2-in-1 device, which means not only can you use it as a laptop, you can fold the screen backwards, turning it into a tablet-like device. Unlike MacBooks, it has a touchscreen that works brilliantly with the included stylus. This is a laptop that simply oozes class.

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

05. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

The best MacBook Air alternative

Specifications
CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Stunning design+Gorgeous 16:10 display
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The MacBook Air is a thin and light 13-inch laptop that's as stylish as it is a great performer, and that's why the Dell XPS 13 is in our view an excellent alternative. Like the MacBook Air, it's sleek and stylish, with an excellent 13-inch screen. It's actually more compact that the Air, thanks to a thinner design and slimmer bezels around the screen, which makes it even more portable.

The latest model comes with 11th generation Intel processors and up to 32GB RAM, so it easily competes with the MacBook Air, and in some cases surpasses it, and its battery life is also now better than ever. It's expensive, with some models far outpacing the MacBook Air, but if you want a brilliant thin and light 13-inch laptop, and the MacBook Air doesn't do it for you, then get the Dell XPS 13.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

(Image credit: Asus)

06. Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502

Stylish and powerful

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti – RTX 2070 Super
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 anti-glare display, 60Hz – 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS, 144Hz
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Good gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Apple doesn't make gaming laptops, but if it did, we reckon it would be a hell of a lot like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502. Asus' Zephyrus line of laptops have redefined what you can expect from a gaming laptop. Before they bust on the scene, gaming laptops were big, heavy and ugly. But devices like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502 show you can have slim and light designs that can still play the latest games.

Even if you're not a gamer, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502 is a great choice for creatives - the dedicated graphics and powerful components makes it ideal for video editing and 3D animation in particular, and it's all wrapped up in a stunning device that you'd be happy to take out in a studio or office - not something you could say about many other gaming laptops.

HP Spectre x360 (2021)

(Image credit: HP)

07. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

A great 2-in-1 MacBook alternative

Specifications
CPU: 11th-gen Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 – Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080) OLED touch – 13.3-inch diagonal, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED touch
Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD – 2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Fans can get noisy-Expensive

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) is yet another stylish and sleek laptop from a company that can really challenge Apple when it comes to class. Packed with 11th generation Intel processors, loads of RAM and SSD storage, plus an excellent battery life, this is a 13-inch laptop that will let you do your creative work on no matter where you are.

It's also a 2-in-1 laptop, which gives it a flexibility that MacBooks simply lack. If you want a laptop for writing on during the day, then a tablet to play games and watch movies on later on, this could be for you. The build quality and performance is top-notch, but the price is undeniably high. If you have the budget, then this is a fine MacBook alternative.

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Google)

08. Google Pixelbook Go

A Chromebook MacBook alternative

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD – 13.3-inch 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display
Storage: 64GB – 256GB
Reasons to buy
+Excellent keyboard+1080p webcam
Reasons to avoid
-No biometric login

You may not consider Chromebooks to be MacBook alternatives, as they are usually low-powered budget devices, but the Google Pixelbook Go proves they can rival Apple's laptops when it comes to build quality and style. It's got one of the best keyboards we've used on a laptop - far better than the keyboard found on older MacBooks - and a battery life that far outperforms any MacBook.

While Chrome OS, the operating system the Pixelbook Go uses, isn't as fully-featured as macOS, most apps now have versions that you can use on a Chromebook. You're also able to run Android apps, giving you access to a huge range of creative apps. Best of all, while the Pixelbook Go is a premium Chromebook, it's still quite a bit cheaper than a MacBook, making it a great choice for anyone who's on a budget.

Related articles: 

Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.