Apple contender: MacBook Pro (13-inch $1,199)
Alternative: Lenovo ThinkPad X Series (12.5-inch $799)
Apple tacked the introduction of its 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display onto the end of its iPad Mini presentation, which tells you about as much as you need to know about where the company thinks Macs fit in these days.
If iPads are doubling the sales and revenue of Mac laptops and Apple is pouring much of its efforts into its tablets and smartphones, what's the point of paying a premium for a Mac if its security is no longer uncrackable and integration is its only draw? Dell (DELL) and HP (HPQ - Get Report) may be hurting, but Lenovo just signed a sponsorship and supply deal with the NFL and wants folks to take a chance on its Windows-based laptops.
Decide loved the company's older 11.6-inch models and rated them second only to MacBook products among laptops. Its nearly 16-inch models are monsters by today's 13-to-15-inch standards, but Decide's given them an 88 out of 100.The business community gives a whole lot of love to Lenovo models such as the X1 Carbon and X230 ultrabooks for their rugged style, keyboard setups that put the MacBook Air to shame and the familiar trackpad and trackpoint bump the folks in blue shirts love so well. Their goal was to slim down, compete with new MacBooks on price and give their users a familiar experience the Macs still can't match. While the ThinkPads may win the race with MacBooks to laptop extinction, they're pulling in as many mourners as possible along the way.
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