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High-End 13" laptops comparo: Apple, Lenovo, Dell

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Apple's 13" MacBook has been revamped and rebranded as part of the MacBook Pro family. Currently at $1,119 after rebate, it's not only the most affordable MacBook Pro, but also one of the most affordable professional 13" laptops we've seen. Still, we wondered how it compares to its 13" counterparts from Dell and Lenovo — the fast, high-end ones with fancy cases, not the slower, plastic bargain laptops under $500. We examined each company's offerings to find out.

 
Dell Adamo
Lenovo ThinkPad X301
Apple MacBook Pro 13"
Price
$1,999
$1,595.16
$1,119
(via $50 rebate*)
Operating System
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Business
Mac OS X
Weight
4 lbs.
3.2 lbs.
4.5 lbs.
Width (at thickest)
0.65"
0.92"
0.95"
Screen
13.4" 1366x768 widescreen LCD with LED backlight
13.3" 1440x900 widescreen LCD with LED backlight
13.3" 1280x800 widescreen LCD with LED backlight
Processor
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 800MHz front side bus
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz dual-core processor with 800MHz front side bus
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz dual-core processor with 1066MHz front side bus
Memory
2GB DDR3 800MHz RAM
2GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
2GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
Hard Drive
128GB solid state drive
120GB 5400 rpm hard drive
160GB 5400 rpm hard drive
Video Card
Intel GS45 with DisplayPort
Intel GMA 4500MHD with DisplayPort/VGA
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB RAM, Mini DisplayPort
Optical Drive
None
DVD burner
dual layer DVD drive
Wireless Networking
802.11n
802.11n
802.11n
Ports
3 USB ports
(1 shared eSATA), Ethernet
3 USB ports, Ethernet
2 USB ports, FireWire, Ethernet
Rated Battery Life
5 hours
6.5 hours
7 hours
Misc.
1.3MP webcam, Bluetooth 2.1
1.3MP webcam, Bluetooth 2.1, fingerprint reader
1.3MP webcam, Bluetooth 2.1, SD card slot
*Rebate ends June 30.

Design
Aesthetically, it's hard to declare a winner amongst this trio of notebooks. The Lenovo ThinkPad X301 is the lightest model coming in at 3.2 lbs., but despite its fragile appearance it can withstand a hard fall thanks to Lenovo's roll cage technology, which like a Formula One race car, is designed to protect inner components during impact. Still, Lenovo is known for its corporate products and the X301 sticks with tradition dressed in a business-like suit of black. Dell on the other hand breaks from tradition giving its Adamo (pictured) a brushed aluminum chassis and a slender 0.65" profile. Like the 13" MacBook Pro, it's hacked from a single block of aluminum. However, unlike Apple and Lenovo, Dell lets its users choose between an etched (Pearl) or brushed (Onyx) finish.

Apple, which is know for its svelte designs, doesn't disappoint with the 13" MacBook Pro either. It features a comfortable, over-sized trackpad, backlit keyboard, edge-to-edge glass display, and a built-in dual layer DVD burner. Unfortunately, the latter puts it 0.5 lbs over the ultraportable weight limit. Nevertheless, the MacBook Pro's classic design allows it to go from the boardroom to a dorm room with ease. But based on weight and profile alone, Lenovo and Dell have an edge over Apple.
Winner: Dell & Lenovo

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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