In the Market for a PC? This Is the Best Windows Laptop You Can Buy Right Now

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Even though the broader PC market is in an accelerating decline, with unit shipments falling 14% last quarter, there's still plenty of consumers out there looking to purchase a PC.

To that end, Soluto has put together a purchasing guide for those in the market for a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Windows laptop. Soluto offers PC monitoring and management software services, which is geared toward IT professionals. The company has access to a massive database of analytics regarding real-world PC performance.

In measuring performance, Soluto aggregates data regarding occurrences like application crashes, the infamous blue screens of death, boot times, and background processes, among others. The goal is to represent real-world performance over the long term, whereas most review sites experience a product for only a limited period of time and rely on benchmarking software that doesn't realistically capture everyday conditions.

Soluto has put together a Top 10 list of the best-performing Windows laptops, and the winner is ... a Mac.




Starting Price

Soluto Score



MacBook Pro 13-inch, mid-2012





Aspire E1-571










Vostro 3560





Aspire V3-771





MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina





Inspiron 14z





Latitude E5530





Vostro 3460





Thinkpad X1 Carbon



Source: Soluto. Lower score means better performance.
*Windows license cost not included.

That's right, archrival Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) builds the laptop that earned the best performance scores under Soluto's methodology. Specifically, the most recent 13-inch MacBook Pro ranked No. 1. That performance comes at a price, though, as the MacBook costs nearly three times the No. 2 contender, Acer's Aspire E1-571, and that's before including the cost of a Windows license that's sold separately.

MacBook Pro family. Source: Apple.

Dell (UNKNOWN: DELL.DL  ) fared well on average, too, grabbing half of the top 10 spots with various models priced between around $500 and $1,000. Notably, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) didn't make the cut, even though HP is the top PC vendor in the world by volume. HP CEO Meg Whitman has been trying to focus the company's turnaround efforts in part on higher quality product design, and the rankings suggest that HP may be falling short of this goal.

To be clear, Apple has some inherent advantages. Specifically, Windows installations on a Mac via Boot Camp (which takes some extra effort) are "clean," in that they're stock versions of Microsoft's flagship platform. In comparison, OEMs such as Dell and Acer tend to load up their versions of Windows with unnecessary software additions. This bloatware creates a drag on performance, and Soluto believes Windows OEMs should take this as a lesson against the widespread habit.

Apple prides itself on making the best computers, even if that means making the best Windows laptop.

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Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 11:07 PM, Jmers wrote:

    Are you guys drinking the kool-aid? if the best thing you can reference is anything made by apple, something is wrong.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 6:36 AM, singaporenick wrote:

    What a bizarre and uneducated comment.

    Anyone who has used both systems knows that Apple is far superior in

    almost every way.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 8:20 AM, nanarchy wrote:

    What a dumb comparison. It takes some rather average low end laptops and some of the expensive mobility machines and then compares them for performance against the apple models designed for performance. Only an idiot would follow that guide. pardon the pun but this is an apples and oranges hardware comparison.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 10:57 AM, speechisntfree wrote:

    and no one says a thing about Acer..... number 2 at 1/3rd the price.....

    and for the record..... I've owned nothing but Acer laptops for years..... and would own nothing else.....

    and any benchmark tests you'd like to look at against comparably configured products will show you why.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:05 AM, GameBot wrote:

    This is one of the DUMBEST stories to come out of this site in a while.

    Lets get one thing clear. The apple machine lacks a basic function and is thus excluded from any reasonable list.

    The people who believe a good non touch windows 8 machine beats a good touch one, are just plain dumb or lying to themselves.

    There is a reason the good touch based windows 8 laptops are all back ordered at least a month for the last couple of months.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:18 AM, demodave wrote:

    There's nothing surprising about this. Macs a better made units. I have a friend who does tech support for a large international semiconductor manufacturing company. They are transitioning their Windows operations to Macs. I was surprise to hear this because companies of that size (20k+ employees) tend to run lean/cheap, but he confirmed that he meant what he said. Yes, they are more expensive up front, but they are less expensive to maintain. Obviously that has value.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 12:08 PM, Sarentack wrote:

    in the market for a new PC?

    Then the dumb writer talks about Laptops.

    PCs are not Laptops you fu%#%#% joke.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 1:15 PM, eldernorm wrote:

    WOW, you can tell that mylove4life45 is a real troll.

    Nothing Apple should exist, cause its---- ??? evil, not samsung, costs money... ???

    Try some facts,

    ifixit survey over thousands of units. iPhones are 3x more reliable that samsung and 10x than Motorola.

    Apple customer satisfaction is over 95% on everything they make.

    To all, this article is focused on running windows 8. As purchased from the store. Not cobbled up, not cleaned up, but as an average person would bring it home.

    Apple runs Windows very well and with no malware, no tons of freebie almost programe, it just runs clean.

    Just saying here.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 2:07 PM, wiser1nofool wrote:

    Wow, the Apple cult zombies are out in force today. There is life beyond Apple, get one!

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 2:57 PM, BaltiCuse wrote:

    I am not going to bash apple or Microsoft on this one, but Soluto for performing a very unscientific and arbitrary test that is completely flawed, and the Motley Fool for reporting on it..

    a) The rating scale and weighting they used is completely arbitrary and I am sure with little efforts you could adjust the scoring so any one machine could look better or worse.

    b) Why are they included background processes at all? That makes no sense, especially when you look at they reasoning. Not only do their reasons have zero backing for how they are scored, but they duplicate another value already used in the test. The perfect example -- they claim that more processes = more crashes. Well they are already measuring crashes so how does that make sense? Plus who knows what processes are causing the crashes? If you weren't measuring crashes, using processes to estimate would be at least somewhat reasonable, but since you have a trove of data on crashes and are measuring based on that -- then including running processes is at best duplicative and skewing the numbers. The fact that the Acer has more processes running yet a lower incidents of crashes is a perfect example. Interestingly enough, that is the 1 metric that probably put the Apple machine ahead of the Acer. Coincidence? Which leads me to my last point -- They were comparing Apple's running a cleanly installed version of Windows vs. machines running Windows AND all the OEM installed bloatware.... That alone skews the whole test.. I would be curious to see this test run correctly -- minus the background process information and with clean installs of windows running on all the devices... Then we can talk

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 9:17 PM, opticash wrote:

    @Balticuse: You're making too much sense. That's not allowed here on MF.

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