I started this article looking for Windows-based laptops that could compete with a fully-loaded 14-inch Apple MacBook Pro and I couldn’t find any. I won’t sugarcoat this: there’s no laptop, powered by Microsoft’s operating system, that combines a small 14-inch chassis, a processor that has 16 cores, a powerful GPU, 128GB RAM and an 8TB SSD. If anyone finds one, let me know. Yes, the latest Apple MacBook Pro is expensive at almost $7,000 but then, at least you can buy it if you want to.
Should you look for a Windows 11 laptop, models like the Razer 14 (2023) will offer less CPU cores, laughable amounts of memory and comparatively much smaller SSD. The one advantage that these laptops used to have was a reasonably powerful GPU, in the case of the Razer 14 (2023), an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070.
But even then, Apple is coming dangerously close to matching them; for example, our review of the MacBook Pro 14 (late 2023, M3 Max) shows that the 40-core GPU is within 10% of the RTX 4070 on at least one benchmark.
While deploying all this GPU grunt eats battery life, remember that this is a laptop that weighs a bit more than three pounds (1.7Kg) and has a 72.4WHr battery and don’t even get me started on the 1,000 nits display that has almost three times the pixel count of your high-end Windows laptop.
14-inch MacBook Pro is a better buy than the 16-inch
For all intents and purposes, the 14-inch MacBook Pro seems to be the sweet spot and if you neither need a bigger display nor more battery life, then it’s the perfect alternative to the bigger, more expensive and heavier 16-inch MacBook Pro.
I compile a list of laptops with 128GB of RAM and these are what professionals usually aspire for when using complex software for anything from rendering, 3D modeling, video editing to GIS and CAE/CAM/BIM. These are what we call, mobile workstations, and Apple just overtook a bunch of competitors with the most compelling 128GB laptop ever made.
There’s two things that will give the Windows camp some hope; competition always brings forth innovation and lower prices and Apple can’t match the depth of after sales support that the likes of Lenovo, Dell or HP can offer.
To illustrate this point, Lenovo sells the ThinkPad P16 Gen 2, which is its most powerful mobile workstation ever, fully loaded for just under $5,400 at the time of writing, that's $2,800 less than the equivalent Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch. You not only get 128GB RAM but also a 4K display and a dedicated Nvidia mobile GPU, its most powerful ever, the RTX 5000 Ada Generation with 16GB GDDR6 memory.
Add Premier Support Plus for an extra $400 and you can get up to five year support with next business day repair, accidental and extended battery warranty. Only snag is that it is a 16-inch model that weighs almost twice the MacBook Pro 14. Ouch.
So there you have it: Apple simply has no competition in Windows land when it comes to 14-inch MacBook Pro; however, the MacBook Pro 16 faces tougher rivals especially if you don’t mind a lower battery life and a bit more heft.
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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.