I purchased a Dell Studio 17" for 58,000Rs. I am a big fan of Apple and I am now going to say a sacriligeous thing - Mac is ****ing expensive - atleast in India. Even before I considered the Dell laptop I went over to Apple's India store and drooled over the laptops - but the ones I wanted were all in 6 figures - over 1.2 Lakhs. The starting price of MacBook was 56,800Rs. I dropped the idea of buying an apple.
So I went over to Staples and looked around. Acer was the cheapest less than 30k. Then lenova,compaq and HPs were in the 45-55K range. Thanks to Vista having the windows performance index - I was able to quickly see how these machines perform without even checking their processor, memory information.
Only Dell had a 5.0 or higher. Dell Studio 17 registered a decent 5.0. The XPS laptops registered even higher. The rest of the pack - HPs, Acers had between 3.5 and 4.5. Also the rest had unnecessary freebies thrown in - audio system, choice to pick 2 gifts from some 10 gifts etc. Thank you very much. It was an easy decision in the end - also Dell had onsite service, whereas for the rest I had to take my laptop physically to their repair workshops.
Coming back to the decision - I feel happier in the end. I feel I got lot of bang for the buck when I compare this with the high end Apple laptop ( which is 3 times pricier ) . Here is why.
What Dell Studio 17 has :
1. 17 inch screen vs 13 inch MacBook
2. Biometric sensor ( none of the apple laptops have this yet )
3. Backlit keyboard ( available only in the 1Lakh plus MacBook Pro)
4. 3GB Ram ( macbook comes with 2GB Ram )
5. HDMI output - the day when I get a High Def TV I will pat myself for the choice I made
6. 5.1 output - dont think macs have any
7. 320GB of hard drive space vs 160GB of a MacBook
8. Memory Card reader.
9. Dell support in India.
10. Choice of colors.
What Dell Studio 17 does not have :
1. Apple OS X.
Hmm...I have vista and what a poor copy Microsoft has managed to make. I tried a freeware for expose but its not the real thing. It is jerky and ugly. I have ubuntu running on the other partition and the compiz effects are nice - but still its nowhere close to the functionality and smoothness of OS X.
2. The apple touch.
I remember the ibook I purchased in 2002 ( G3,512MB Ram,30Gig Harddrive ). When I opened it a nice fragrance greeted me - they had sprayed a perfume on the keyboard. Then they had a nice glossy book about OS X, heck even the box that came in looked beautiful. I felt I was ripped but I was happy about it :) And everything is so smoothly integrated and works as one piece - iTunes,iLife,expose - even the terminal is so well behaved.
Anyway if you are trying to decide between a Dell and a Mac - if you have enough money in your bank and your job is recession proof - go ahead and buy a Mac - its worth every paise/cent of it. However if you are in my position where I have to beg/steal/coerce someone ( in this case my wife :) ) to buy me a laptop - get a Dell. 17" is lot spacious and keep comparing it with an entry level macbook ( which costs the same ) - and you will feel 3 times good about it.
And speaking of 17" laptop reminds me of this apple commercial
In conclusion - I hope this Dell Studio 17" helps me buy a 17" MacBook Pro :)