These fast laptops compete head to head on features. You can get 2 HP laptops for the price of one Mac
Apples to apples, the HP Pavilion i7 beats the Apple MacBook Pro on features at one half the price.
Both feature Intel i7 processors and nearly identical NVIDIA gpu’s. Both share a 5.8 Windows Experience Index (out of 7.9). There is no clear overall performance winner although the HP Pavilion has the capacity to outperform the MacBook Pro. Either computer is the top of the line in performance. The HP Pavilion is a bargain at half the price.
I was intrigued by the new MacBook Pro when it came out recently. It had a very hot combination of the Intel i7 620 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M video card. That made it the fastest laptop available in March 2010. At $2,559 (US $2,499), it seemed a tad rich for my blood.
After some research, I bought an HP Pavilion laptop (model DV6 2174) Friday with virtually the same processing power for $1,199 at Future Shop. I could have bought two for the price of the MacBook Pro with some money left over.
When Apple was shipping proprietary computers with oddball CPU’s and video cards, it was hard to tell if the high prices were worth it. Now that Apple is shipping the same hardware as everyone else and it looks pretty expensive for what you get.
HP makes several similar models with only small variations in features. TigerDirect has essentially the same computer on sale for $1,497 with 6 GB of RAM. smaller 500 GB hard drive and 17.3″ screen. The Future Shop model has a 15.6″ screen, 4 GB of RAM and a 640 MB hard drive. Best Buy have another version of this computer for $1,299.
Other than a chic aluminum case on the MacBook, OS X and a slightly faster version of the same video card, the two computers will do the same work. I’ve been seen in public with a chic MacBook before and I think the social impact and boost to my self esteem was worth slightly less than $1,000. The Apple battery is supposed to last longer but I couldn’t confirm that.
Full disclosure: I have owned Apple computers for 20 years. My 2nd last laptop was a gorgeous MacBook that cost $3,600. I’ve had Apple desktops, laptops, iPods, iTouch and iPhone’s. I was an Apple dealer over 10 years ago. I even used an Newton when they came out. I’m not a Windows nor a Mac bigot but I do like to get the most for my money.
Let’s compare Apples to apples. This is not easy since Apple hides some of their specifications. The MacBook Pro uses the 620m version of the Intel i7 CPU which is slower in some situations than the HP’s Pavilion i7 720QM. Will it matter to you? Click on the technical references and make your own decision.
Both laptops achieve a Windows 7 Experience Rating of 5.9 out of 7.9 which is excellent for notebooks. Both computers will be essentially the same for Microsoft Office and surfing the web. The HP i7 might be slightly faster for video rendering as suggested in the Cinebench R10 test results.
Apple and HP ship virtually the same hard drive, memory and other components. You should check out the list of ports to make sure you have what you need.
The hard drive tests out very well. The only possible upgrade in drive performance would be to replacing it with an SSD, if you have the money. 120 GB of SSD drive can easily set you back $300. That holds true for both the Apple and HP laptops.
The HP Pavilion is black plastic. The MacBook Pro is aluminum. I’ve had both and the chic factor wears off pretty quick, like I said. The HP Envy has one of those magnesium cases that impress people.
On durability, both HP and Apple make reasonably durable computers. I’ve never broken an HP but I did crack the screen on a MacBook by leaving it in the car on a hot day. The laptop was a write off since Apple wanted more than the cost of a new computer for the replacement LCD screen.
I read the reviews and both seemed to be about the same in terms of features and performance. Extra memory will be cheaper with HP since I can buy memory from anyone. Apple wants $400 for an extra 4 GB.
It’s pretty easy to tell that Apple wants to make extra profit from the same computer. There is no justification for the extra money other than the “Apple” mystique. Of course, there a plenty of people who pay $20,000 more for for a Lexus over a Camry.