Top 10 gadgets for Apple haters
From desktops to laptops, phones to tablets, here are some alternatives to Apple products.
Mon, Jul 16 2012 at 11:41 AM
BETTER THAN THE IPHONE: The Samsing Galaxy S III. The phone weighs less than an iPhone 4S and has a Siri-equivalent. (Photo: Sham Hardy/Flickr
Maybe you’re annoyed that they’re no longer the underdog. Or maybe you prefer the openness of Android and Windows to Apple’s walled garden. Or maybe you despise that people line up around the block to be the first to get new iPhones. Maybe you just hate fruit. Whatever the reason, you just don’t like Apple. Well, guess what? There are great alternatives to every product Apple makes, many of which are simply better. Here are our top 10 picks.
Best iPhone 4S alternative: Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung's sequel runs circles around the iPhone 4S when it comes to features. You can tap two S IIIs together to beam photos and videos, keep the screen on with just your eyes and use all sorts of cool gestures. Plus, the S III has a pretty smart Siri alternative built in with S Voice. Samsung crams all of this and a much larger 4.8-inch HD screen into a device that weighs less than the iPhone.
Best iPad alternative: Google Nexus 7
Not keen on spending $500 for a tablet? Get your hands on the Nexus 7, which delivers a premium design and Google's excellent Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software for $300 less. Unlike the iPad, this 7-inch slate easily slips in a breast pocket or purse, and it offers easy access to Google's ever-expanding selection of Play Store content, including magazines, movies and TV shows. You can also search with your voice (a la Siri) and type by speaking—even in offline mode.
Best MacBook Air alternative: ASUS Zenbook Prime
The best Ultrabook yet, the Zenbook Prime has a full HD screen that's not only sharper than the Air (1920 x 1080 versus 1400 x 900 pixels) but offers richer colors and contrast. This ultraportable also boasts a revamped keyboard for more comfortable typing, fast Ivy Bridge performance and a better port selection. Not bad at all for $50 less than the Air.
Best iPod nano alternative: MotoActv
What the heck justifies Motorola charging $77 more for the MotoActv than the iPod nano? This combination watch and music player kicks the nano’s butt when it comes to fitness. The device offers built-in GPS for tracking running, cycling, golf and more. The MotoActv also syncs with a training portal so you can keep tabs on your progress and learns what songs push you the most to create a high-performance playlist.
Best MacBook Pro with Retina Display alternative: Samsung Series 7 Chronos
No, nothing beats the dazzling Retina Display on Apple's new powerhouse, but not everyone has $2,200 to blow on a notebook. The 17-inch Samsung Series 7 Chronos ($1,499) packs a full HD matte screen along with a lot more storage than the MacBook Pro (1 TB versus 256 GB). The sleek aluminum Series 7 also packs a quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics. You don't have to give up a DVD drive, either.
Best Apple TV alternative: Roku 2 XD
This one is an easy call. Roku simply offers a lot more content options than Apple TV, including Amazon, Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as HBO Go and EPIX (through participating providers). In fact, Roku has more than 500 channels, delivering more live sports (MLB, UFC, NBA, NHL, MLS), more music (Pandora, MOG, Rdio) and more news (WSJ Live, CNBC, Fox, NBC). The Roku 2 XD also costs $20 less than Apple TV. The $99 Roku 2 XS model adds an enhanced-motion remote for games and USB and Ethernet ports.
Best MacBook Pro 13-inch alternative: HP Envy 14 Spectre
The HP Envy 14 Spectre almost looks like a dead ringer for the 13-inch MacBook Pro on the inside, from its black backlit keyboard to its large glass touchpad. But that glass treatment actually extends to the sliver palm rest and black lid, which makes this $1,399 Ultrabook scratch-resistant. And, unlike the $1,199 MacBook Pro, this machine features enhanced Beats Audio and a sharper Radiance HD screen (1600 x 900 pixels versus 1280 x 800). The Spectre is also lighter than the Pro (4 pounds versus 4.5 pounds), though you’ll have to be willing to forego a DVD drive.
Best iPod touch alternative: Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2
Want all the functionality of an Android phone without the monthly data fees? The $199 Galaxy Player 4.2 is your best bet. It features a larger screen than the iPod touch (4.2 inches versus 3.5 inches), and better sound, thanks to a combination of front-facing speakers and SoundAlive technology. This device also comes with dual cameras and fun games such as “FIFA 12” and “Need for Speed Hot Pursuit.” We just wish the Galaxy Player 4.2 ran Ice Cream Sandwich instead of the older Gingerbread OS.
Best Airport Extreme alternative: Buffalo AirStation AC1300/N900 Router
Not only does this $179 Buffalo router have Apple beat by having a name that’s four times as long, it’s the first with 802.11ac. This next-generation technology trumps the 802.11n radio inside the Airport Extreme by supporting blazing transfer speeds up to 1.3 Gbps in the 5-GHz spectrum and a still-sizzling 450 Mbps at 2.4 GHz. In our full review we also appreciated the quick setup.
Best iMac alternative: Dell XPS One 27
Finally, there’s a Windows PC that challenges the iMac for all-in-one supremacy. The XPS One 27 sports a beautiful design with a quad HD display (2,560 x 1,400 pixels) along with awesome sound, courtesy of Waves MaxxAudio 4. Intel’s latest Core i7 CPU, Nvidia Kepler graphics and a 32GB mSATA SSD team up to provide amazing performance. Plus, unlike the iMac, the XPS One 27 features an antenna jack for HDTV broadcasts and HDMI input for connecting your set-top box of choice.
Photos: Motorola; Amazon; Dell
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