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  • FATCamaro - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    For most comparable system it is around 5-20% which isn't steep. Reply
  • Cuhulainn - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    I'm 5'9" and weigh 168 lbs. This is in the normal weight range for body mass index.

    If I gained 20% more weight, I'd weigh 200 lbs and would be considered obese.

    Just sayin'.
    Reply
  • th3pwn3r - Saturday, November 20, 2010 - link

    What in the world does BMI have to do with anything? Not to mention BMI is a failed investment that they won't let die. If you're judged as being obese just because you're a certain weight/height ratio it's stupid. Most body builders and fitness athletes are classified as obese through BMI. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Well, here's steep for the MacBook Pro 15:

    - 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 (i5-520M or i5-450M?)
    - 4GB (2x2GB) RAM
    - 320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
    - SuperDrive
    - NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 256MB Graphics
    - 15.4" Glossy 1440x900
    - Secure Digital (SD) Card Slot
    - iSight Webcam, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
    - 802.11n AirPort Extreme
    - Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, 5.6 lb
    Total price: $1707 online, $1800 from Apple.

    I get more than that in every area with an XPS L501x, with a price of just $1000. Heck, we can toss out the Dell Precision M4500 as another comparison, which is really quite expensive since it's a mobile workstation:

    Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
    Core i5-520M (2.40GHz)
    3 Year Basic Limited Warranty and 3 Year Next Business Day On-Site Service
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M 1GB
    2x2GB DDR3-1333MHz
    15.6" HD+ (1600 x 900) Anti-Glare LED Display with Premium Panel Guarantee
    320GB 7200rpm Hard Drive
    8X DVD+/-RW
    6-cell (60Wh) Lithium Ion Battery
    Dell Wireless 1501 802.11b/g/n Half Mini Card
    Dell Wireless 375 Bluetooth Module
    Integrated webcam with microphone
    Internal English Backlit Keyboard
    Total price: $1750 (though granted that's with the current sale Dell is doing--which they do all the time)

    There's no question NVIDIA charges more for Quadro 880M vs. GT 330M, though they're basically the same chip. Many of the other areas are a wash as well, but the upgraded LCD should be good (hopefully as good as the MacBook, but without testing I don't know). And of course, we're comparing 3-year warranty with on-site service to the standard 1-year Apple store warranty. This is about as close as the comparison gets.

    For consumer oriented offerings, the Dell XPS and HP Envy 14 cost about half of the MacBook Pro 15 while delivering similar features. Yes, you can complain about the XPS aesthetics, but they do manage to deliver a lot for the price. So you're looking at Dell on the one hand making the XPS 15 with all the features that Apple MBP 15 has but worse aesthetics and a price of $1000. On the other, you can't actually find anything else with a decent LCD and build quality unless you move into business laptops (which not surprisingly carry a price premium), and even then Apple is priced higher for what you get.

    I suppose the real question is to define "steep". 5% markup on Apple relative to Windows laptops if you include a student discount perhaps, but for average buyers the markup is at least 20%, and I'd qualify that as pretty steep considering the cutthroat nature of the computer industry.
    Reply
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Point taken. The XPS L501x is a winner vs the 15" MBP for value. Reply
  • MeesterNid - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Right, but if we really are talking mobile here then you have to consider the battery power and the weight of the machines. I'm not sure about the Dell, but the MBP is a fairly portable (not too heavy) device that gives you a fair amount of battery-powered computing time. Reply
  • awaken688 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    You are comparing the chips inside which is very important. But what about weight and battery.

    I'm still waiting to see a true side by side with the price comparison.

    I still think the Apple 15 is overpriced, but some people value certain things much higher than others such a true portability (weight and battery).

    Separate topic:

    Long term battery test. I have 3 friends that just bought Apple laptops last year (2 MBP 15", 1 vanilla MacBook). Both are their batteries killed my PC laptop at the start. Now all 3 of their batteries can't even make it through a 1 hour meeting/class unplugged while using it.
    Reply
  • bah12 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Well certainly the 20% buys you some weight/battery life (hell 20% better get you something), but then subtract from those gains the hassle of OSX or Bootcamp, and the small gain is not worth it IMO. Its strictly a matter of personal opinion of course.

    Also all batteries degrade over time, as your experience shows Apple is not immune to this either. So replacement part cost should be a concern, and I'm sure you will see that Apple tax sneak it's way back in there too.
    Reply
  • awaken688 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I can't comment on OSX. Most people that use Macs enjoy OS-X. I know Anand and company does. I still don't understand why someone besides the Sony Vaio Z can't produce a similar quality (speed, battery, weight, screen, usability) to a MacBook Pro. Yes I know it will be just as expensive, but we really don't even have a choice.

    Maybe Jared knows of one.

    - 15"
    - 1680x1050 Quality Matte Screen (no I don't want 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. I have a 1920x1200 Dell Precision Mobile Workstation now and that resolution is just too intense for that screen IMO)
    - Core i5/i7
    - 4GB+ Ram
    - Decent GPU (I don't care about games. That is what consoles and desktops are for)
    - Under 6 lbs.
    - Less than 1" thick (although 1.1" is alright)
    - Battery life under light surfing over 5 hours

    I know this is a MacBook Pro basically, but is there anything out there that is like this other than Apple's offering?
    Reply
  • 8steve8 - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Anandtech is not entirely different, but the whole geeky media is over-obsessed with gpu performance on laptops. Very few people rely on a portable laptop for demanding 3d games, and the core i5/i3/i7 gpu is fine for non-cutting edge games like warcraft 3, and playing any sort of compressed video.

    Stressing gpu performance in the media forces the mfgrs to create laptops with discrete graphics, which means wasted volume, weight and energy.

    case in point, even the new lenovo U260 seems to have allocated space for a gpu, in its 0.7" thick frame, and partially because of this, it can only fit a 29Whr battery.
    http://shop.lenovo.com/gbweb/gb/en/learn/products/...
    ^ ^ you will see discrete graphics is an option... amazingly stupid trade-off on an ultra-portable.

    apple stubbornly sticking to nvidia for GPU, at the cost of several years of cpu progress is not even worth a second of debate, especially on an 11" machine.

    I'm not hating on anandtech, just the whole industry, reviews shape future designs, and as we are seeing now, even with good-enough-for-non-gamers igp performance, laptops of all sizes are being outfitted with discrete options. Stupid.
    Reply
  • Cuhulainn - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Though I agree with your subject, I'd disagree with the rest. If what you say were true, you'd see high quality LCD options on every laptop, and no glossy plastic enclosures. Manufacturers will continue to make what they believe meets the needs of the market, regardless of what review sites say. Sure, they have some influence, but it's not as though their hands are tied because of these review sites.

    I like to have the option, especially with Optimus and the like negating power concerns. If volume and weight are concerns, there are still plenty of options without discrete GPUs.

    Relax.
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    this.

    And most casual gamers play on console anyway and not pc.

    I would easly pic a i3 IGP + mate 16:10 screen over a discrete one with useless a glossy 16:9 screen.
    But for that you need to pay the 500$ "business fee", meaning less power for a 150% price tag.
    Reply
  • BrooksT - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Could you guys *be* less professional?

    How about "if you're willing to pay a premium for design and build quality, and accept somewhat lower performance", etc.

    Calling it an "Apple tax" is as silly as talking about the "Intel tax" if you opt for a super-premium CPU. Governments impose taxes; companies offer competing value propositions.

    And then you get the whole implication that you don't get anything for a tax, which takes us into the political realm.

    Please, guys, grow up a bit and take Anandtech in the direction of actual journalism. It's a premium, a tradeoff, a sign of different priorities, a trap for the unwary even, but it is most certainly not a "tax" by any remotely sane definition of the word.
    Reply
  • max347 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    This comment is ridiculous.

    Obviously someone is getting too old for technology. "actual journalism" is found in newspapers....which my 50 year old dad doesn't even read anymore.

    "Apple tax" is a common, well-known piece of jargon. Perfectly acceptable considering the audience and medium.

    If you want PC language with oldtyme verbiage and stiffly written articles, read a newspaper. I think the way these articles are presented is just fine.

    Aslo though, you could start up your own tech review site, and see how that turns out. I am betting if you take the "actual journalism" route you outline, you will have every stickler and wise guy tearing apart every little mistake in an article. Presented the way they are here, readers can more comfortably approach the writers, and have more of a discussion-style look at the product in question. This is why companies send them things to review- they get feedback. With a stringent fact-article approach, I don't think you would see this level of interaction.
    Reply
  • JonBird - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I totally agree. It was an uncharacteristically low brow comment from a site that I think of as being in the top tier of tech journalism. Aanand must not have edited this article because he would never discredit his site by using this type of non-descriptive fanboy meme. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I'll just say this: I specifically asked Anand to look over the MacBook page and make any comments/edits he saw necessary. What you didn't offend him, and he uses a MacBook Pro 15 all the time. Even he will admit that you pay a significant price premium for what amounts to build quality and aesthetics, and that is the "Apple tax" so often referred to. It's such a well-known term that you can even Google definitions, and get stuff like this:
    http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=Ap...
    Reply
  • Osamede - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Whatever you want to cal it - "Apple tax" is really a polite way of putting it. If someone wanted to be more provocative they could even call it an "Apple cult fee". And Even the marketing term for this: "brand premium" is itself a euphemism for commanding a price over and beyond the intrinsic value of the product when separated from the brand loyalty.

    A good example of this is the new Macbook Air products. Basically you have in the 11" version what is little more than an Acer 1810 encased in a shiny aluminum package with a few ounces shaven off and the price doubled. The main real value in there is the better screen and that alone cannont explain Apple's blatant price gouging on 2-3 year old CULV products.

    So I would say, let them call it what they will. Apple is definitely charging more than what the products are intrinsically worth.
    Reply
  • Spazweasel - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    "Intrinsic worth" is subjective.

    If you add up the cost of components, you don't get to call that "intrinsic worth", because assembly isn't free. Neither is design and engineering. Many people assign no value to this, and that's just plain wrong. Apple spends more on engineering and design than most other companies, and you pay your share of it. Apple's not the "R&D and manufacturing welfare company", nor is Dell or HP or Lenovo or Asus or any other laptop maker.

    You also get OS/X with your MacBook, and that's not free either (and please, no BS about "it's FreeBSD/Mach", that's a tiny part of the operating system as a whole). If you choose to throw away the OS and run something else on it, fine, but you're going to pay your amortized part of OS/X's development anyway.

    Look, if you don't value where the "extra" money is going, fine, DON'T BUY IT. You're saying "if I, and only I, don't value it, it has no value to anyone and should therefore be free".
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Respectfully, Apple's reported profit margins border on the offensive.

    You would LIKE to justify the increased cost based on all the things you listed, but judging by Apple's current liquidity I'm gonna go ahead and say these things have already been paid for. The rest is just gouging the consumer.
    Reply
  • misaki - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    I believe you guys have the model number wrong for the 2nd asus netbook, 1015pn-mu17 doesn't exist. Your link goes to 1015ped-mu17 which has the n455.

    1015pem is the n550 counterpart with integrated intel gpu that has 2 versions. MU17 is cheaper by leaving out bluetooth 3.0 and has a smaller battery than PU17.

    (I happened to be looking at netbooks recently)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Fixed, thanks. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    For those who are lucky enough to purchase one, 3820TG with 5650m is the undisputed king of ultraportables...Zero contest when talking about the ~$800 price range. Reply
  • satyr451 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    100% agree! I looked around at a pile of laptops and that system (Acer TimelineX 3820TG) is nothing short of amazing for the price. I just got it a few days ago and I'm all around impressed with it. It looks nice, has great battery life, feels solid and the specs on it are great. Also, I don't mind the keyboard at all. Reply
  • mschira - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    There is one model missing from the list: the Sony Vaio z-series.

    The light gaming powerhouse!
    Having a GT 330 and up to i7 CPUs, a high definition screen in a 1.4 kilo 13" package is simply amazing.
    And it not more expensive than similarly speced MacBook Pro 15".

    If you recommend the apples, you have to consider the Sony, too.
    Worse I hear Anand complaining that all the notebooks are alike that there is no model standing out.
    How does the z-series not stand out?
    Cheers
    M.
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Anandtech didn't overlook the Z, but they noticed it stood out mostly in the wrong way: price. At $1700-2000 it even makes Apples look like a bargain.

    It's a nice machine but an overpriced niche product. If Sony dropped some of the bleeding-edge specs and released it at $1000-1200 they might not just be a bit-player in the notebook market.
    Reply
  • mschira - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    But claiming that the Sony Z-series is overpriced it simply wrong.
    Yes they start at a whooping 1800, but then they come with a 128Gb SSD and with fast i5-460, 4 Gb of ram.

    Try it yourself, for 1800 you get a Macbook pro 13 with an SSD but a slower CPU.

    Yes the Z-series is expesive, but that's because the ONLY come with SSD.
    And a fast one!

    Now I hear Anand tell us all the time we WANT SSDs in our laptops.
    M.
    Reply
  • mschira - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    P.S. and whe you max them out the Sony Z series is 2800, but that's with a 8GB ram 256 SSD, i7-640 an Nvidia GT335 and a highdef screen.
    The mac 15' clocks in at a whooping 3500$ if you try to match this.
    M.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Comparing with the MacBook isn't doing your argument any favors, as we've already established that they're fleecing the customer. Two 64GB SSDs will run about $220 at Newegg (and they'd actually be higher performance models than what Sony uses in all likelihood). Plus putting SSDs in RAID0 is stupid unless you're using models with excellent resiliency and garbage collection; I think Sony is using Samsung SSDs, which have neither feature.

    So start at a basic 13.3" laptop size. Acer gives you that in the 3820T for around $700. Now upgrade the keyboard to something decent with backlighting; that will cost around $50 tops. Put in Optimus 330M for around $100. Make a slick carbon fiber chassis for $100. Upgrade to dual SSDs for $150 (subtracting the standard HDD cost). Fingerprint reader and Bluetooth for $75. Upgrade the CPU to the i5-460M for $100. Toss in a good 900p LCD for $200 (being generous here). Add all of that up and we're looking at a base cost of around $1475, and I figure the above prices already account for the R&D department. So, your "Sony VAIO Z tax" looks to be around 22% -- just like Apple's MacBook tax I guess.

    Is it an awesome laptop? By most accounts yes, though now I'd like to see the 420M in there instead of the 330M. But like the MacBook, you need to understand that you're paying significantly more for the "Sony experience". And honestly, dual HDD bays in a 13.1" chassis seems more like a case of proving you CAN do something as opposed to doing something people are clamoring for. I'd rather have a single 128GB SSD with good TRIM support than RAID0 64GB SSDs--or a single 256GB SSD with TRIM instead of RAID0 128GB SSDs. Or a bigger battery, or better cooling, or whatever. Again, not that the VAIO Z is bad, but it's almost an exercise in excess.
    Reply
  • mschira - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Well if only there was 13" laptop with a Gt330. Or any other decent GPU for that matter. Of course I would not say no to an even better GPU (is the 420 better that the 330?).

    Or any real light 13" with a fast CPU for that matter - heck ANY notebook under 2k with a decent GPU - (maybe the alienware, but 11" is too small).

    Nobody said the Sony Zs are cheap, but not more so than MacBook, and everybody seems to thinks it's kinda O.K. for them.
    (Evil_Sheep even suggested the Sony prices make Mac look like a bargin - not so. Mac's are in fact more expensive, while weighting more).

    Not sure what sort of SSD Sony is using, but I don't think they have really hard drive Bays in a 13" casing. They offer up to 4 SSDs in RAID and they sure don't have 4 bays.
    In fact I would prefer a standard drive bay myself, so I can get a decent Sandforce SSD in case the factory build in models fail.
    M.
    Reply
  • narayanagame - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    what non sense are you talking...
    there is no competition for vaio z for its specs at that price..
    i understand sony premium but vaio z is completely reasonable and i am being modest here.
    whatever laptop u consider wont match vaio z with its specs for 3lb weight..

    vaio z is marvelous.
    look, u think 1800$ is premium price and in my country vaio z starts at 2200$ and i still feel its good enough.
    in real there is no laptop that has as good specs as vaio z at its weight for that price.compare it with whatever you like nothing ll match atleast till CES 2011
    now dont compare with macbook's,they are underpowered with shiny looking casing.
    the main thing that goes for apple is good screen and battery life and aesthetics and for these they charge easily 40% extra.

    if you think properly battery ability ll wear off within 1 and half yr and you wont be able to replace yourself.
    Reply
  • DBissett - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    This model doesn't come up on Dell's website. How about a CURRENT model number? Reply
  • nirolf - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    It's the XPS 15. I too had this problem, as even searching their website for "L501x" returned inconclusive results. Maybe a correction could be made in the article. Reply
  • plewis00 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    This is partly Dell's fault - you'll find their machines with names like 'new Studio 17' but the actual model number will be Studio 1745, etc.

    If you search for XPS 15 on the net, you inevitably end up with websites misnaming and listing the XPS M1530 15" notebook computer which was a 2008 model (albeit a very nice looking one! And, in my opinion, better looking than the new 2010 XPS 15).
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    -Interesting that only Dell and Asus got top PC recommendations. Actually I respect that: most websites have a manufactured diversity of brands in their recommended lists, probably to appease their advertisers. But also maybe it reflects that Anandtech seems to review a lot of Asus's and Dells. Where are the HP's, Lenovo's and Sony's?

    -I noticed you co-recommended the Asus U30Jc and U35Jc after you fairly slagged the U35 in your review and said the U30 was the preferred choice. Is this a subtle change of heart?

    -The alternative recommendation in that category was the Toshiba Portege R700 but I don't think it makes sense to consider them as competitors since they aren't really in the same market. The R700 is in the "Macbook Air" category (funny how Apple has a way of creating its own market space): ultra-light and ultra-portable with power limitations, ideal as a 2nd computer for someone who wants more than a netbook, or as a primary computer for an undemanding user. The U30/35 on the other hand are clearly in the Macbook 13 space: a full-powered notebook that is still very portable. This is the so-called "thin and light" category, though I wish someone would come up with a name that is less awkward and ambiguous.

    -There is a workstation recommendation...nothing wrong with that except it seems a bit unnecessary since there are only 3 self-described competitors in that space (HP, Dell, and Lenovo) and you can't go wrong with any of them. And the number of people looking for workstation recommendations are probably quite small (as you mentioned) since IT depts often procure them, and in addition few need those capabilities in the first place.

    -No DTR/17" multimedia recommendation? Seems like an important category.

    Not to be overly critical. I like the picks and it's a good overview generally.
    Reply
  • Powerlurker - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    HP is widely regarded as pretty much the bottom of the barrel reliabilitywise. Reply
  • Dug - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I think the MSi GX640 or 660 series should be at the top for gaming.
    It is fairly lightweight compared to others and has an ATi 5870 or 5850.
    I personally like the 640 because of the 1680x1050 resolution and i5 processor.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Having tested the GX640, the keyboard is one of the worst I've personally encountered... almost to the point where I'd prefer the Acer keyboard. It just feels all around horrible when you consider the cost of the laptop, and it should be trivial to change it out, since just about anything would be an improvement. I can't comment personally on the GX660 or GX740 though, so perhaps they're better. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I love Lenovo ThinkPads... it's going to be a tough sell to get me to buy a different brand when I upgrade. I can't believe none even made it as a runner up or alternative. My R61 is great... has the power and memory run several virtual machines for my studies, can do media encoding and light gaming and barely gets warm to the touch while staying quiet. AND it gets 4-5 hours of battery life on the battery that came with it in Feb. of '08. Reply
  • MrMist - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I think the Asus 1018P with the N550 CPU is an interesting ultraportable, and it would be interesting to see it compared with the other alternatives here. Reply
  • erwos - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    You do realize that the 1015PN does not have Optimus out of the box, right Jared? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    If you read the text, you'll see we mention this. It's a Windows 7 Starter issue, which is completely lame and another reason for that OS to not even exist. Reply
  • deeyo - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    When HP has coupons floating around, the dm4 is a great alternative to the UJ30. Lighter with a 6-cell battery, and has the option of getting a 9-cell.

    And everyone hates the touchpad, but since i've practiced tap-to-click, it doesn't bother me anymore
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Do people seriously consider 13.3" laptops ultraportables?

    They're too big for my needs and I usually think you need to hit 12.1" or below to fit that category.
    Everything below 13.3 isn't a netbook. Netbooks are netbooks because they're the size of ultraportables but are weak.
    Reply
  • narayanagame - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    not really.
    13inch laptops are the right size to consider as ultra portables.
    anything smaller than that you ll need to sacrifice either power or ergonomics or battery life.

    13inch is right size to do any kind of intense work while carry everywhere daily.
    Reply
  • TareX - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I know for a fact that my next lappie will be the Envy 14... unless I decide to get the beefier Envy 15.... Or if an Envy 16 is announced. Reply
  • Visual - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I think if you're at all interested in portability, you're going to love tablet convertibles. The HP tm2 is a nice example for those, and worth mention in the ultraportable section. Maybe even worth a separate review. Reply
  • koolh - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    hey guys. any comments on the lenovo ultraportables? i'm referring to the thinkpad x201. i know thinkpads are generally more expensive, but i love lenovo's reliability and customer service. do the recommended laptops above really beat thinkpads in more areas than just price.

    thanks
    Reply
  • deject - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I'm wondering how well the Acer Aspire TimelineX series stacks up against the Asus U30Jc/U35Jc. On Amazon, they have the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-7459 for about $680, $70 less than the U35Jc, while their spec sheets seem rather close together. I have not seen too many reviews of the TimelineX series though, so I don't know how they stack up in terms of build quality, design, etc. Reply
  • Josh7289 - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    The ASUS 1015PED-MU17 has a worse processor than the ASUS 1015PN-PU17, so it's not just that latter machine minus the NG-ION. Reply
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