Need a PC Laptop Recommendation to Replace a MacBook Pro
February 15, 2007 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Ack! New long term contract position requires me to have a PC laptop!

I know PCs and Macs fine but largely prefer using a Mac. I'm taking this job and, thus, in order to use some of the company's proprietary software, have to buy a PC laptop. I look through cNet and everything I see looks cheap and lame compared to my MacBook Pro.

Can anyone recommend a laptop (no gaming this is business) that feels solid and maybe can give me just a little bit fo that Apple feel? I'm talking hardware here- the case, the screen, the keyboard feel- I don't need any advice on which windows version or software to get.

Probably a 13-14" screen or so, relatively light but not necessarily ultra portable. Other stuff is relative.
posted by Chuck Cheeze to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
just get Virtual PC for your Mac?

Other than that, every PC laptop I have ever owned feels more "solid" to me than a Mac, but maybe I'm not sure exactly what you mean. In general, Toshibas and Thinkpads are the best.

Dell's have gone way downhill in the last few years and the motherboard WILL fail. Compaq/HPs have always been crap.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2007

If you have a MacBook Pro, can't you run Bootcamp or Parallels to get the Windows software running on your Mac?
posted by mikeyk at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you need to use your client's software but prefer your MacBook Pro, what's wrong with Parallels or VMWare Fusion on your hardware of choice?

Or failing that, since you prefer Apple hardware, why not buy Apple hardware and use the Boot Camp utility to turn it into a PC?
posted by majick at 10:04 PM on February 15, 2007

Bootcamp - since it'll be official in 10.5 which should hit in the next few months, I'd just use the beta and reup with the 10.5 release (since the bootcamp beta expires in Sept I think).
posted by SirOmega at 10:11 PM on February 15, 2007

Hmmm you are all onto an idea there- I hadn't even thought of those options even though I know the products well. WOW it must be late.

As long as connectivity isn't an issue, one of these will surely do the trick! Thanks.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:11 PM on February 15, 2007

My first reaction was to suggest Parallels, but I also should note that if for some crazy reason you're forced to actually buy a non-Mac portable, I think the two lines that come closest to matching a MBP's build quality & elegance are the Sony Vaio and the Panasonic Toughbook.
posted by allterrainbrain at 11:07 PM on February 15, 2007

I second the recommendation for the Vaio, I have a friend who just got one and it's very solid and clean feeling like Apples.. much more so than the PC laptops that I've used.
posted by sherber at 11:35 PM on February 15, 2007

I'll join the Bootcamp choir, however if you do end up needing a different laptop I'd recommend a Fujitsu Lifebook.
posted by bangalla at 3:57 AM on February 16, 2007

I use a MacBook and since I need to work with MS Project files and truly horrendous Excel sheets i use Parallells. It works fine. Great is a little ways off but it certainly works.
posted by boogieboy at 3:58 AM on February 16, 2007

I recommend Parallels more than Bootcamp, but both will work, especially if you use Parallels AND Bootcamp, since Parallels can use your Bootcamp partition. At my company, we're rolling out Macbooks and iMacs as either Windows-only machines or Parallels-on-OS X. Myself, I've been running Parallels daily since at least last June. It's absolutely the best merger of the two OSes possible.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:27 AM on February 16, 2007

I use windows on a MacBook Pro using BootCamp. Generally speaking it's reliable, but Parallells is less so (and tends to screw up the product activation on things like Photoshop and Office). My major complaint is that the Apple windows drivers aren't that reliable. If you are using most Windows Apps, Bootcamp should be fine as long as the apps don't have specific hardware requirements.
posted by baggers at 6:08 AM on February 16, 2007

Panasonic Toughbook, no questions asked. They're rock solid machines that have some panache. And I hate PC notebooks.
posted by zpousman at 6:30 AM on February 16, 2007

I nth the Vaio if you can't use one of those suggestions upthread.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:41 AM on February 16, 2007

If you must buy a new machine, I say get a Thinkpad. Vaios are okay, and it seems that the build quality has improved (from quite bad) lately, but Sony tends to put junk that nobody wants on them. Memory Stick? Please.

To gauge build quality and lack of faddishness in hardware, design, I think ebay and ubid are good tools: look at the resale value of used or off-lease machines. Thinkpads have very high resale value.

Toughbooks are really nice machines, from what I understand, but they are very expensive.
posted by dammitjim at 9:03 AM on February 16, 2007

Un-mark that first answer. Virtual PC is a dead product.

Just run Windows under Boot Camp. At that point, it's just a PC laptop. If their IT people whine, tell them to pound sand.
posted by drstein at 2:26 PM on February 16, 2007

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