Consumer Reports has beaten the hornets’ nest, releasing its own opinions on the Mac vs. PC debate in its latest consumer computer survey. In the survey, the research firm overwhelming gave Macs better scores than PCs. However, it also noted that the Macs cost three to four times the price of a PC. The results, interestingly, play into both companies' current advertising campaigns.
The publication purchased most of its computers at Best Buy. Its top picks were all Apples -- with MacBooks holding the top spot in the lightweight, 14-inch, 16-inch, and 17-inch categories. In the lightweight category, the MacBook Air took top honors, scoring 60/100, with HP's dv3-1075us in second with 55/100. The HP system, though, was priced at $850 USD, while the MacBook Air retailed at $2,300 USD.
The 17" MacBook Pro also sat atop its category with a mark of 80/100. Next up was the Dell Studio S17-162B, which received 64/100. The Dell laptop cost $750, while the MacBook Pro retailed for $2,800. In the 14- to 15-inch category, the MacBook Pro again took top honors with 75/100. The runner ups were the Toshiba Satellite M305-S4910 and the Asus X83Vm-x2, which received 64/100. The 14" MacBook Pro cost $2,000 USD, while the Windows PCs in the category ranged from $450 to $850 USD.
Overall, Consumer Reports say that Macs are superior to PCs in quality, customer support, and innovation, but the publication complains that they are overpriced.
The study certainly was a bit questionable in that it failed to compare pricier, high performance Windows systems like Gateway's gaming laptops (available at some Best Buy locations), Toshiba's X305, Alienware, or Voodoo laptops. In its defense, though, most of the systems are not available at large brick-and-mortar retailers.
However, the quality advantage held by Macs based on factors like battery life and form-factor may not be enough for Apple to outcompete Windows-box OEMs. Mac sales, during the recession economy have fallen, while PC sales have held steady thanks to low-priced offerings like netbooks which continue to post growth.