Want the best Windows experience? Get a Mac.
That's the advice being dished out by Soluto, a provider of cloud-based PC management and support services. The company revealed in a report that the 13-inch MacBook Pro, released during the mid-2012 refresh, is the best-performing Windows laptop. Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina model also ranked high, placing sixth on the company's list.
"The MacBook Pro is the most expensive PC among the top three, but if you're looking for top reliability—the data is clear. MacBook Pro is the best Windows PC on the market," said the report.
Since Apple switched to Intel processors, "dual-boot" scenarios became a popular way of running Windows software—in fact, the entire Windows OS—on Mac hardware. Apple's Boot Camp utility makes it relatively simple for developers and enthusiasts to boot into Windows, enabling them to benefit from both software ecosystems using a single device.
Soluto's study indicates that selecting Mac for Windows-based workloads has other advantages.
The company chose a sample of 150,000 "in-the-field" laptops managed by its platform. The analysis took place between Jan. 1, 2013, and April 1, 2013. In total, Soluto observed 224,144 crashes, 250,791 hangs and 84,251 instances of Microsoft's show-stopping blue screen of death (BSoD). The report also includes more than 1.3 million boot-ups.
For its rankings, the company used a points system based on application crashes, nonresponsive events and BSoDs per week, along with the number of processes running in the background and boot times. Upon tallying up the points, the 13-inch MacBook Pro took the top spot with a score of 1.05 (the lower the better), followed closely by Acer's Aspire E1-571 with a score of 1.12.
Soluto credits the Mac's stellar reliability on its lack of bundled software, a tactic that Windows PC makers may want to copy, according to the company. "A main factor in this machine's metrics is the fact that every Windows installation on it is clean. With PC manufacturers loading so much crapware on new laptops, this is a bit of an unfair competition," stated the report.
The MacBook Pro also won kudos for its "solid build" and a track-pad that is "unparalleled by any PC." But there are downsides. "First—there's more work to do (buy windows, set-up Boot Camp, install Windows, etc). Also, the keyboard is not optimized for Windows (e.g., no Del key), and there may be driver issues," warned Soluto.
Apple's laptop beat the competition with an average of 0.88 crashes, 1.06 application hangs and 0.01 BSoDs per week. Each MacBook Pro ran 60 background processes and booted up in 151 seconds, on average.
Rounding out the top five laptops are the Acer Aspire E1-571, Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook, the Dell Vostro 3560 and the Acer Aspire V3-771. The company noted that while Acer generally produces stable laptops, the Aspire E1-571's good scores came as a surprise, given its sub-$500, entry level status.
And that makes the Aspire E1-571 a good bargain. "You could buy almost three of those for the price of one MacBook Pro [13.3-inch], so this is a superb option for budget-minded businesses who like big laptops [15.6-inch]," said Soluto.