Apple has made major internal upgrades to the 2018 MacBook Pro but Windows 10 laptops still have an edge on three key metrics.
The 2018 MacBook Pros get Intel’s 8th gen quad-core processors (13-inch MBP) and 8th gen six-core processors (15-inch MBP). There are other improvements too, like an improved butterfly keyboard. The high-end MBPs get the Touch Bar OLED display strip with fingerprint ID and software-configurable function keys. The MBP also boasts the best displays in the business and unparalleled build quality.
But as good as the new MBPs are, the Windows camp — led by Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Microsoft — has some decided advantages.
Here are three upsides that standout:
Face and fingerprint ID: Windows biometric ID is a major jump on the MBP. In my experience, Windows 10 facial recognition is so fast that it consistently beats* the Face ID on an iPhone X. Also: a laptop is more suited for facial recognition than a smartphone because of the way it is situated at startup (facing you directly).
As biometric ID backup, a fingerprint sensor is perfect. It’s there if you’re not facing the infrared camera/sensor.
Touch Display with 360-hinge: in addition to the traditional laptop mode, you can use the touch display on a Windows laptop as the primary interface. A laptop with a 360-degree hinge and touch display offers more versatility for touch too.
True tablet-laptop hybrid: The Windows camp also offers the only real laptop-tablet hybrid: the Microsoft’s Surface with a detachable trackpad-equipped keyboard. The most recent manifestation is the 1.15-pound Surface Go. The cheapest and one the best Surface products to date.
Summary: the best Windows 1o laptops are a tech tour de force:
Case in point: the HP EliteBook X360 1020 (G2) is the most versatile, well-balanced laptop I’ve ever used. It’s light at 2.5 pounds, sports a 700-nit, 12.5-inch touch display with a fast 120-Hz refresh rate and a 360-degree hinge, comes equipped with both face ID and a fingerprint sensor, boasts a surprisingly-good keyboard for such a compact laptop, and has amazing sound and speaker system to boot. The latter is especially impressive because it’s such a small design (the speaker system even beats the bigger 13-inch MBP’s great speakers).
Ditto on the 2018 Dell XPS 13: This compact design squeezes a stunning UHD (3,840-by-2,160) display into a 12-inch-class chassis, has both face ID and a fingerprint sensor (the latter integrated into the power button), and uses glass-fiber material to keep the weight down.
*My experience comparing the Face ID on the Windows 10 laptops I use and my iPhone X.