I recently bought an 15" MacBook Pro w/ Retina (with student discount and no sales tax) for $2300. Considering I got a pair of Beats headphones too which I plan on selling, I figure my total cost was $2200 for this machine.

What is a Windows-based laptop which is comparable to this? The easy-to-measure things:

  • 15" Retina-quality screen (better than 1900x1200 resolution)
  • 512GB SSD (or higher)
  • 16GB RAM (or higher)
  • Dedicated graphics card that is comparable/better
  • Comparable battery life (rMBP estimate is 9 hours with normal use)
  • Roughly same weight or less (4.5 pounds)

I am also wanting the following, less easy to measure things (or less important things):

  • Similar build quality, the aluminum case is nice (I do not like plastic cases generally)
  • Trackpad quality that is comparable
  • Backlit keyboard

Ideally the pricepoint is less than $2200 for educational pricing.

  • Think about Lenovo mentioned in my answer: hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com/a/426/54 Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:08
  • 1
    I think you will struggle to get the same build quality, and it will be hard to assess unless you try the alternative yourself. Why not just install Bootcamp and use it as a Windows machine? Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 18:42
  • 1
    For what it's worth, I have never seen a Windows machine with a trackpad that's anywhere close to a MacBook trackpad. I've made a point of trying out all the high-end machines at Walmart, Best Buy, Staples, etc. Some of them have comparable build quality, but never anything close to a comparable trackpad.
    – user1
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 23:45
  • I don't get what's so special about the MBP touchpad. Maybe I'm just too used to a Synaptics touchpad, but it doesn't feel too different to me, aside from, perhaps, the Force Touch, which I doubt you can use with Windows anyway.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 2:49
  • @Alpha3031 I was very skeptical as a PC user for 19 years, but after a week on a MacBook I grew to love the Mac touchpad, its size, and its nice gestures. When I switch back to a Synaptics-style touchpad, the awkward crisscrossing of my thumb under my palm to push the right-click button reminds me of the hand pain I used to suffer constantly, yet I can't seem to break the habit even when I try to configure it to work similar to the Mac touchpad. Also the Mac touchpad just seems to work more reliably. I just wish Mac OS would treat home, end, etc., correctly.
    – rob
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 5:39

3 Answers 3


Disclaimer: I do not own the following product.

I have found the Dell XPS Ultrabook (Amazon link) that looks like it would fit your needs.

It has a 15.6" touchscreen with a resolution of 3200x1800 pixels. It has a 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM with 2GB GDDR5 RAM dedicated to the Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics card. Its battery is rated to last around 11 hours. The laptop weighs in at around 4 pounds. Since this is an Ultrabook, the build quality is going to be top of the line. The keyboard is also backlit. The cost of this device retails at $2,250 on Newegg and $2,300 on Amazon. Currently, you can get it at $2,138 on Newegg and $1,815 on Amazon. (All prices USD).

Since I do not own the device, I do not know some of the details about this device. While the battery is rated at 11 hours of use, a reviewer on Amazon said they were lucky to get 3 hours out of it. I also do not know if the body of the laptop is metal or plastic. The color is Silver Anodized Aluminum, but that doesn't tell you much. I also do not know how the trackpad compares to your MacBook.

  • I do want to note that with such a high resolution on such a small screen that everything on the screen will be much smaller than you expect. Notice the title bars in this picture from dell.
    – Cfinley
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:12
  • That's essentially quad HD which "shrinks" any UI that isn't made to scale up when needed. It'll shrink things like command prompt and Notepad++. The picture you linked is Photoshop which has an up-scaling option for quad HD.
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 15:49

Asus UX501 is a solid 15" laptop that can be compared with Macbook Pro retina 15".



Front Facing


  • 15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 px resolution, IGZO IPS, touchscreen
  • Intel Haswell Core i7-4720HQ CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 16 GB DDR3 (8 GB soldered, 1 x 8 GB DIMM)
  • 512 GB PCIe SSD (M.2 PCIe 80 mm)

I'm not sure about the trackpad quality, but it does come with an aluminium case and backlit keyboard.

The Zenbook UX501 is available in the US for $1499.


I recommend a 15" Macbook pro w/retina!

It has all of the specs you desire because it is exactly the same hardware. Apple hardware is completely capable of running Windows and using bootcamp you can install and boot directly into it. There is a cost to this, because you will need install media of Windows 8 or later and a corresponding license to complete the windows install. This is probably a trivial cost though, as when I was in school, I recall MS practically giving away windows licenses (and in some cases just charging a few dollars for the installation media).

I don't suggest this as a joke. The build quality, battery life, and trackpad are going to be hard to rival and if you don't need fancy extras like a touchscreen the hardware you already have is a great option for running Windows.

I realize a Macbook Pro isn't sold as a "windows laptop", and might not exactly fit your request, but the only difference in that regard is that the laptop is not bundled with a pre-installed, licensed, copy of windows.

  • 4
    This answer seems completely legitimate to me - I'm not sure why there are downvotes on it. MacBooks run Windows better than most laptops designed to run Windows in my experience, so this would seem to be a solid recommendation.
    – user1
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 0:38
  • @Undo I guess I'd like it to be obvious I already know about that particular machine since I own that particular machine. I will edit the question to clarify but this answer seems pretty pointless for me. Not to mention battery life will be much worse.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 2:59

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