MacBook Pro vs. the PC competition

Mac or PC? The war rages on. We've thrown the most recent 13-inch MacBook Pro and the closest PC to a Mac we've seen, the Dell Studio XPS 13, into the ring for an all-out brawl.

For years, the Mac vs. PC debate has been fuelled mostly by subjective ranting; the platforms and the components were so different that it was impossible to compare fundamental characteristics such as performance.

Macs have been on Intel processors for some time now though, making analysing Mac versus PC hardware a bit more like comparing (ahem) apples to apples. Not to mention more and more PC vendors are copying Apple's style and features in order to stay competitive. Things are more alike than they've ever been.

To that end, we're pitting the MacBook Pro 13-inch against the closest PC competitor we've seen to date — the Dell Studio XPS 13. Although the MacBooks are due for a Core i5/i7 refresh any moment now, we just couldn't pass up hardware this close. Both models feature a Core 2 Duo P8700 at 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, a GeForce 9400M, 1280x800 resolution screens, backlit keyboards and multi-touch touchpads. They both feature 802.11n and Bluetooth, and cram in a DVD writer. Batteries are close too, with the Dell being rated at 56-Watt hours and the MacBook at 58.

There are differences though — the MacBook is lighter, coming in at a featherweight 2.04kg compared to the Studio XPS' welterweight 2.20kg, and the Dell comes with a 500GB hard drive compared to the MacBook's 250GB.

We've compared them not only on performance and battery life but on characteristics such as design, features and price. All to answer one fundamental question: if you have a PC and a Mac with near identical components, which laptop reigns supreme?

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