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Best Windows Alternative to the MacBook Pro

Why the Surface Book 2 is the best alternative to the MacBook Pro

If you're the type of laptop buyer who's considering a '"pro" level machine, then you want it for more than just a name. Whether you're a creator or some other kind of professional user, you're looking for a laptop that offers more than above average. You want the best.

You want the best, so you want a Surface Book 2.

If you're looking for the best, the Surface Book 2 is where it's at. It's a unique product, not just among Windows laptops, with a number of key differentiators. The screen comes away from the base, leaving you with a slim, powerful, high-resolution Windows 10 tablet that you can draw and write on with the Surface Pen. Unless you have the dedicated GPU option (which resides in the keyboard base), you lose nothing else besides battery life by using it as a tablet.

But docked as a laptop you have everything you might need. There's a great keyboard, a sublime trackpad and ports to actually connect things to. If you're a photographer who needs a microSD card slot, you're well looked after.

Conclusion

There are so many great Windows laptops out there nowadays it can be hard to pin it down to the right one for you. In this case, if the MacBook Pro is attractive to you but you'd prefer Windows, these four are your better options. The Razer Blade is great if you'd also like to game, the XPS 15 is perfect if you want that larger display and the Surface Book 2 is the best all-rounder you can get right now.

Updated May 18, 2018: The Surface Book 2 is our new top pick as an alternative to the MacBook Pro.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

52 Comments
  • I say there is no alternative for MacBook pro because no windows laptops are that bad.
  • I was thinking the same thing
  • Eh... There are some... About as much as there were bad Macs though
  • Another article that doesnt do a real comparison.....Why didn't you guys use the Asus Zenbook?? That's the only laptop that really compares dimension wise and form and look and feel of a macbook??
  • This article is about a replacement for a Macbook Pro, not a Macbook.  The Zenbook is more similar in features and size to the Macbook.
  • Apple's new Macbook Pro is not even a replacement for their own Macbook Pro.  A "Pro" machine for me doesn't mean slim tiny small screen laptop, but huge 17" with huge HDD and top of the line GPU, the thing that is like an inch think and weighs 10 lbs and lasts about an hour on battery because it's actually using it's power to the fullest. The last Macbook Pro that qualifies as a "pro" machine was the 17" Macbook Pro that disappeared in 2012.
  • Even the top of the line gaming notebooks last 3+ hours on battery now and there are several that are less than an inch thick.  I agree with the 17" part though.
  • Coz I like girls with cats... duh...
  • "If you want a pro laptop and you don't want Apple..." Shouldn't even consider an Apple laptop if wanting "Pro" features.
  • im not a mac fan and yeh i dont feel this years kline is any good, i think its a lazy apple refresh that isnt a refresh but if you bought the macbook pro from the last few years it is a very capable machine.  personally i dont use or like mac os but when your frend uses all the gestures on track pad and is able to move around alot quicker than a windows 10 laptop, when they have a ssd thats just faster than my old desktop ssd, you know their doing something right, hell he even edits with no issues and the whole render automatic feature in final cut is awsome, plse premiere bring it to desktop then i wouldnt say that that mac pro is bad.  Actually it was very good.  Probelm is that apple just screwed over their own customerbase (like microsft with xboxone alwaysonline and removal of 'free onedrive' space,  Yeh if you own a iphone then you cant conect it to the mac book pro unless you buy a dongle, hell your gona need alot of dongles at this stage.  Its a huge slap in the face and theyve restriced ram and even the gpus are serverly underpowered.  But thats the latest macbook pros and not the ones from say 2014.  Still i prefer windows envoirnemnt but i hope that microsft wont try and screw me over anymore.  ive left mobile because of app issue and i dont use edge because my new tabs cant open up to a page i choose like my home page.  im also debating if i want to invest in one drive as groove on the android phone doesnt read my sd card in my s7 edge and groove on ipad simply doesnt exist unless you use the mobile phone version and look at it sideways.  Thats right some apps like grove really suck on android and ipad which i believe will hurt their onedrive business a little..  It reall all depends on if micrsoft can sort out certain issues i have.  For me ill buy a surface tablet, a mobile windows 10 phone and ill even want to buy a book but first i need all the things i mentioned corrected and i need apps back that left, that includes gestures beta from 8.1 which doesnt even work in windows 10 and ofc skype fully working with all the features that i used to use before moicrsoft changed and removed them.  lets see if microsft can achieve something they havent done in the 4-5 years ive been closely following them, thats make software and features alot faster.
  • Too bad it's unavailable in Belgium... Would love to have one although my Surface Pro 3 is still awesome.
  • Wow, it surprises me a lot ! Is it possible for you to go to the French stores maybe ?
  • probably but here in Belgium we have azerty keyboards... likely one of the reasons we don't have it here... :(
  • in holland the surface book is coming out in 2017. (according to windows nederland on Facebook)
  • yes, I've read that announcement from the NL Microsoft account on Twitter... The BE Twitter account had no information...
  • Maybe they ship to Belgium. :)
  • I read the headline and knew that the Surface Book would be the "best overall"
  • Of course.....why wouldn't they? They have such a dim narrow view of choices....
  • Always Surface. Like there is no other laptop, choice
  • Thank you Windows Central for including the Surface Book. It seeems like all the tech media sites (and even their readers) have forgotten about it. They always mention the XPS 15, and then say things like "but you either get battery life, or high resolution screen". Or the XPS 13", but the battery is not good enough. Well with the Surface Book, you get it all and then some. Actually, you get it all and then a lot more: tablet, pen, 16h battery life, performance, great trackpad, unmatched screen,...
  • But Windows Central have been promoting the Surface Book and Pro for quite a long time now.
  • he's referring to other tech sites not ever mentioning surface book
  • I thought it was cool when it was first announced, and played with it in the stores. But after that I didn't even look at it anymore because it was way too expensive for me. Maybe that's the case with other people as well? Unless money isn't an issue, most people are probably fine with the cheaper (and still very good) options out there. I've actually never seen anybody with a Surface book before. Lots of Surface Pros though.
  • Why would anyone be attracted to an overpriced, underpowered, 2 generation behind piece of fruit?  Oh yeah, because apple is so cool.
  • Remarkable how nothing has topped the Surface Book in any of these articles. Y'all couldn't find single device that out classes the Surface Book for any of the articles? Not one?
  • Hmmm HP has a pretty good selection as well. And the $5k Razer Blade Pro has the GTX 1080
  • Considering what you get for the price I think that the Razer Blade is unbelievable and cannot be matched by Microsoft or Dell. A Razer Blade for $2300 gets you: 16GB Ram, 512GB SSD, QHD Screen, 7th Gen I7 Processor, 1060 Nvidia, USB 3, Thunderbolt, etc. I mean outside of needing to detach the screen the Razer gets you much more for the less money than a Surface Book and equally good design and build quality.
  • Is that one compatible with the razor core?
  • Not sure but why would you even need it when the laptop has a 1060 already in it?
  • Literally any other laptop would be better!! lol I was watching a coworker use a crapple computer. He plugged in a USB drive and just stared at the screen waiting for something to popup on the desktop. Is there no popup notification for that?!?!
  • My Asus Zenbook Pro is awesome.
  • im my eyes there is no alternative to macbook pro just like there is no alternative to surface book each of them offer something special and different
  • now thaT MAC HAS LOAST ITS MOJO WITH THE LAPTOP INDUSTRY ITS TIME FOR WINDOWS TO BE APRICIATED.  iM ACTUALLY CONTEMPLATING A WINDOWS LAPTOP JUST BECAUSE OF THE TOUCH SCREEN AND IM SOMEONE WHO DOESNT LIKE THE WHOLE TRACK PAD LAPTOP ENVOINMENT.  tRUTHFULLY IF I CAN NAVIGAME ON SCREEN AND THEN USE THE TRACK PAD AS A CLICKER THEN I THINK ITS POSSIBLE FOR ME TO MAKE THAT TRANSITION.  eXITING TIME BUT STILL I NEED A GREAT WINDOWS MOBILE PHONE BEFORE I BUY INTO THE WINDOWS MARKET AND WHEN APPS ARE IN THE TERRIBLE STATE THEY ARE IM VERY HESITENT.  I NEED PAYPAL, MYFITNESSAPL APPS including mapmy fitness, netflix needs a cast option. I also need something equal or here maps and maps from microsft isnt there for me.  I want google apps now too as i actually dont mind adverts if it means f=getinmg the origional app and i loved metro tube and tube cast but i need origional app now.  Games need to catch up and lastly im shoping in every shop with android pay now, something my lumia 930 still cant do so no way can i change mobile without that option already up and runing on phone and in them same shops.  Still i can dream of a windows return.
  • id love a surface book but untill developers embrass universal apps i dont see much point in investing in windows 10.  I love the live tiles and new  cough, before anaversery update.  But truth is developers that i want are leaving the app stores in windows,  paypal, mtfitnesspal, here maps and gestures are all examples of apps no lonfger suporting the windows store, and gestures is a microsft app lol.  And no building mute into touch is not the same as fantastic speakerphone coming on when pulled away from your face like my 930 on 8.1 used to be able to do. lol.  Still  sort out apps and ill buy a surfacebook hapily even at the high cost. i want to be on the cutting edge, talking to my lights, my radio, ordering food, music andything through voice comand, i also want to pay in all the shops by wireless mobile pay, strangly i am with alexa, google.  Im mnot willing to wait 2 years anymore, 3 years was enough waiting.  Plse micrsoft speed up.
  • ps: how many hours can you use the above laptops before they run out of battery.  Batterylife is somehting i look for now in a portable device, it was one of the factores that lead me to switch to a s7 edge and a desision i have not regreted, apart from maybe the os lol.  i miss cortana and live tiles and even the windows 10 os alot (not hamburger menu)  But i have all the apps i need and even on extreme usage i aften get a day and normal use sees 2 days with about 30% left.  STill like windows 10 i have found androids hamburger menu to be horrible, then again i still believe windows 8.1 mobile was the best mobile os.  But thats just me.
  • My vote for best mobile is is webOS!
  • It sounds as if Richard thinks that MacBooks are the best the way the title is written!!
  • Apple is the new dongle company, took them real 'courage'
  • So I have many devices including the ones that are discussed here and I have the new HP Elite Book with the new m7 Intel processor, it's a touch screen with the infrared 3D camera for Windows Hello and it is built better than the MacBook Air. I have them both and the HP is like a jewel with performance that matches its look and style. It runs all the modern Apps and Win10 works perfect. I upgraded my Mac this weekend to Sierra and frankly I feel the mac is old news and needs a major refresh. There are a lot of great alternative out there and yes I have the Microsoft Surface Book and that is a winner in my opinion as well!  
  • Surface book starts at 1500€ and Dell xps at 1250€ and these are the base models... Am I the only one to see that something went bad ?
  • Vaio Z Flip is my best overall pick.
  • What about th HP ENVY line. The envy 13" out specs everything except the surface book. I personally own an Envy 15" i7 and it's a beast. By far my favorite laptop I have ever owned and you can have it configured exactly how you want it at a pretty good price.
  • I wish the Surface team made an ACTUAL laptop. All metal body. 15.6", 2k, "bezel-less", oled display. 10 series nvidia GPU (whichever one can fit in a laptop thats less than 2cm closed). As well as possessing the general Surface aesthetic; and advanced cameras/sensors for Windows Hello and eye tracking software. The Surfacebook is just...too weird. (floppy hinge when touching screen, and a tablet thats just too big when detached.
  • You can't beat MacBook pro when it comes to dongles.
  • I expected one word in this article... "Everything".
  • Good to see an article with PC alternatives, however...the options really aren't what I would call pro grade machines. The Surface Book is woefully under specced for the price. Ports, memory, upgrade ability etc are all missing. To get one that is even close to what I would need as a professional designer you are talking more than £2,200. For that, you should be looking at workstation grade machines like the HP Zbook Studio. Of course this sacrifices the pen option, but you get a much better machine all round with sensible port options.  Basically, anything less than an i7, 8-16GB of high speed RAM, independent graphics card (1TB or more) and AT LEAST a 512GB hard drive (why oh why do manufacturers keep offering 128 and 256) is of no use to a pro user. The ability to upgrade is also important, post purchase. I recently posted an article on choosing a laptop for designers: http://hupagency.com/best-laptop-for-designers/  As an agency, we have always been both PC and Mac users, and I personally have always used PC. My main concern is that both the product designers and reviewers do not seem to properly consider day-to-day use. If it doesn't have the basic functions you need as a user then it simply doesn't work as an option - no matter how beautiful the chassis is!
  • Microsoft Surface Book is a good machine but the price is a bit too dear.
  • Totally agree, pro machines is not about getting the PC so small it fits in a pocket, but to actually have horse power and upgradability and a huge screen.  I don't really care about battery life on a pro machine, they're usually used at the office on a desk plugged in. The battery is basically a UPS.
  • Let's see, anything that isn't way over priced and something that doesn't have fixed old tech inside. Maybe the lint out of your belly button. ;-)
  • Just curious.
  • I don't know any Windows laptop that doesn't have basic ports on it.
  • I would say that the Yoga 910 is up there too