Before I start off, I admit this is a silly comparison and might not make sense to many people who might be reading this. Both the laptops have their own bracket of users who specifically demand and use either a MacBook or a Alienware. Am writing this post to help those readers who are planning to purchase either of these expensive machines and are unable to make a choice.
I personally own both these machines and use them for different purposes and for me both have their own advantages and disadvantages. I will quote the differences between both the power horses and clearly demarcate what should be your choice based on your expectation and demands.
Comparing Design and Aesthetics: This one aspect does not require much discussion as it is quiet evident on Apple taking home the prize. Apple has always been uniquely superior in hardware design for several years and the MacBook Pro is no different. The Apple MacBook is superbly designed, sleek, light weight and great looking. On the other side, Yes, Alienware is bulky and heavy but NOT ugly looking either!
The Alienware design team has put in some serious amount of work on making this power horse look awesome in spite of the fact that it is huge and heavy. The trendy colors, the metallic coloring throughout the sides, the sleek top panel, the alien branding and most importantly the lighting schema (the color of lights on the keyboard, sides, logo etc. can be tweaked and changed as per taste with the AlienFX software c’panel). I will conclude the design comparison with Apple MacBook Pro winning the race.
Productivity and Performance: I tried and tested the performance of these two laptops for a good long period. I have owned the MacBook Pro for 1.5 years and the Alienware for 6 months now and I guess this is good enough time period to judge the performance of a Laptop if regularly used. In this comparison, I am using the entry level MacBook Pro and an Entry level Alienware. I feel this is quite a fair comparison considering the entry levels of both because in most cases, the amount we invest decides the value for money we get for every purchase.
The Entry level MacBook Pro 13 Inch has a 500 GB Solid state HDD, 4 GB RAM, Intel i5 Processor, 3 Mb cache and on the contrary, the Alienware counterpart has a 750 GB HDD, 6 GB RAM, Intel i7 third generation Processor, 6 Mb cache. From the specs, almost all the aspects of configuration, the Alienware wins the deal. In ground reality, both the MacBook Pro and Alienware are great performers and work equally great.
Based on my experience, I will have to admit that the Dell Alienware is the winner in performance under heavy load. The dedicated graphic card and increased specifications does add the additional push for the Alienware when it comes to handling heavy applications and games. The Alienware is sure noisy at heavy load when compared to the silent Macbook Pro but this is only a small issue considering the fact that there is never a lag observed on the Alienware. In addition, the MacBook pro gets heated up like a hot iron at higher load, thanks to the better heat sink and improved heat dissipation vents on the Alienware.
Overall, speaking on the performance line, gone are the days when a PC was much behind a Mac. If I would have done this same review a year ago, I am sure the MacBook might have been a better performance but today (July 18th 2013) when I write this review with the Alienware capabilities, time has changed and I can say there are better performing PCs than the MacBooks.
Display, Multimedia and Audio Capabilities: The Alienware has really splendid display and is very neat and crisp but still falls behind the MacBook Pro’s retina display that stands apart from any other mean machine in the market today in my opinion. Considering the multimedia, graphics, rendering, High quality video playback etc. both these machines perform well but Alienware has the edge over the Mac. In addition, the Audio performance of the Alienware is way better than that of the MacBook Pro without doubt. Except for the display part, I would call this part as an Alienware’s win.
Interface, Ergonomics and Usability: Apple has always been the master of Interface and hardware design and I take pride to say it is still the case. Apple MacBook Pro just like any other Apple device has stunning hardware, superb interface with the latest Mac OS installed, ensures a wonderful usage experience. The Trackpad of the Alienware is good but much inferior to that of the gesture controlled MacBook trackpad.
The comfort of usage in the case of OS is again a personal choice. If you were always a windows users, Macintosh OS could get you frustrated and same is the case the other way round. Considering the ease of use, I have to quote that the Windows 8 OS has improved a lot on several aspects like unified notifications, integrated email client, device pairing etc. and is a treat to use. Accepting this fact, both the operating system cannot really be compared as this can be debated for many hours or days, closing that part as a personal choice for every individual.
Conclusion: As I quoted when I started this review that in one way a comparison between Alienware and MacBook Pro is silly because, both of them play in a different league. Mac has its own loyal user base and so does Alienware (a majority of PC based Gamers and heavy usage demanding customers). An aspect that we all should accept is if you are used to using a Mac, you might never even explore another option, its addictive and awesome simultaneously. On the flip side, if you are a PC users, some day when you have enough money you might shift on to a Mac but you will never be totally satisfied (one reason, I have a Mac and PC) because both have their own advantages.
A regular PC user for several years would find Mac unfriendly and will never be able to accept the “different policies” that a Mac has. For example, the process involved in transferring music or the fact that NTFS file system is not understood by Mac (while using a external hard drive) etc. It is true, Windows is more user friendly for a person just new to computing. I would like to conclude this comparison by clearly stating that choosing between these two awesome machines is all about understanding your requirements yourselves! So all I have to say is, Think for yourselves what you really need and what is available for each product.