Will reviewers refuse to compare Wintel laptops to Apple Silicon?

The New York Times’ product recommendation service Wirecutter has drawn growing criticism about how laptops are reviewed. Technology / Apple Blog fireball daring They first complained that they are “institutionally charging the price over the quality”.
This makes it so confusing that the recommended “best laptop” — not the best Windows laptop, but the best laptop, a full stop — is the $1340 Dell XPS 13 but is slower and has more battery life (and has lower resolution. display) of their “best Mac laptop,” the $1,000 MacBook Air.

Technically, the Dell product won in a category titled “For Most People: Best Ultrabook” (and Wikipedia notes that an ultrabook is, after all, “a marketing term created by Intel and a brand.” But that leads blogger Jack Wellborn to a question Bigger: Why exactly are reviewers refusing to compare Wintel laptops to Apple MacBooks?

Is it because reviewers don’t think they can compare x86 and ARM laptops to some degree? It seems easy to me. Are they afraid that displaying MacBooks that outperform Wintel laptops will make the impression that they are in an Apple bag? I don’t see why. The facts are facts, and many people need or want to buy a Windows laptop regardless. I can’t help but wonder if, in the minds of many reviewers, MacBooks they were PCs have long been using Intel, and so they stopped being computers once Apple switched to using their own silicon.

Saturday fireball daring They responded with their own assessment. Reviewers in ostensibly neutral publications fear repeating the stark truth about x86 vs. Apple silicon – that Apple silicon easily wins in both performances. And the Efficiency – it will not be popular with a large segment of its audience. Apple Silicon is a very annoying fact for many computer enthusiasts who don’t like Macs, so they’ve gone into denial…”Both bloggers cite as an example this review of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2, which really begins with a criticism of the device’s outdated processor, under-lit keyboard, small set of ports, and low-res touchscreen. But he eventually concludes that “Microsoft gets most of the important stuff here, and there’s no laptop in this price range that doesn’t come with some kind of trade-off….” A crime of omission – or is the key phrase “in this price range”? (which goes back to fireball daringThe original complaint about “price temptation over quality.”) Are Apple’s new silicone laptops sometimes left out of comparisons because they are more expensive?

In an update, Wellborn acknowledges that this alleged disapproval of the comparison actually predates Apple’s launch of its own M1 chip. But he argues that it’s more important now than ever to start making those comparisons:

It’s a choice between a hot, noisy and/or slow Windows laptop and a cool, silent, and fast MacBook. Most buyers do not know that this option exists now, and it is the job of the reviewer to educate them. Excluding MacBooks from consideration is doing a great disservice to these buyers.

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