Wirecutter’s exclusion of MacBooks from a category that is
effectively “best laptop” is the latest bit of evidence in a
recent trend I’ve noticed wherein reviewers have inexplicably
stopped comparing Wintel laptops to Apple’s MacBooks. Compare
ArsTechnica’s review of the Surface Laptop Go 2 from this
month to their review of the Surface Book 2 from 2017. The
current review only includes other Wintel laptops in benchmarks
whereas the one from 2017 included that year’s MacBook.
If memory serves, including Macs in PC hardware comparisons was
more or less the norm just a few years ago. I can’t fathom why
some reviewers have recently stopped doing so. Is it that
reviewers don’t think they could fairly compare x86 and ARM
laptops? It seems easy enough to me. Are they afraid that
constantly showing MacBooks outperforming Wintel laptops will give
the impression that they are in the bag for Apple? I don’t see
why. Facts are facts, and a lot of people need or want to buy a
Windows laptop regardless.
I can’t help but wonder if, in the minds of many reviewers,
MacBooks were PCs so long as they used Intel, and therefore they
stopped being PCs once Apple switched to using their own silicon.
I feel quite certain Wellborn had it right the first time: reviewers at ostensibly neutral publications are afraid that reiterating the plain truth about x86 vs. Apple silicon — that Apple silicon wins handily in both performance and efficiency — is not going to be popular with a large segment of their audience. Apple silicon is a profoundly inconvenient truth for many computer enthusiasts who do not like Macs, so they’ve gone into denial, like Fox News cultists and climate change. It’s that simple. There’s no other explanation for omitting MacBooks from comparisons like Ars Technica’s.