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I'd Rather Buy a Samsung Rip Off of a MacBook Than an Actual MacBook

Samsung's Notebook 7 and Notebook 7 Force are clearly copying Apple's MacBooks. Good!

by Emanuel Maiberg
Jun 3 2019, 4:19pm

Image: Samsung

Today, Samsung announced the Notebook 7 and Notebook 7 Force, two new laptops the company is pitching as "elegant devices built to do what you want." It's a simple, compelling pitch, and one I've used before when I told my parents, or anyone else who has the budget and is not very computer savvy, to buy an Apple laptop.

If you glance at the new Notebooks quickly you might mistake them for MacBooks before the blue fingerprint sensor (and the numpad in the case of the Notebook 7 Force) make you do a double-take. As The Verge noted, Samsung's new laptops seem to be "obviously and intensely inspired" by Apple's laptops.

The Apple-focused website 9-to-5-Mac runs down the similarities in more detail:

"There’s the same ‘solid metal’ construction, with the same bevelled cut-out to make it easy to lift the lid. The chiclet keyboard style with white backlight keycaps on black keys is set into the same bevelled recess – and even has a similar typeface. There’s a Touch ID– sorry, fingerprint sensor on the keyboard. And there’s the same large trackpad."

And to this I say: Good. Please rip off Apple's laptops as much as possible, because the company still has great industrial design, but there's no way I'm buying another one of its laptops in 2019.

To this day, I take an 11-inch MacBook Air with me when I travel. It's light, durable, has two (!) USB ports, enough power to do my job, and a pretty good keyboard, as far as laptop keyboards go. Since 2011, Apple's laptops have only gotten lighter, but have dumped older USB ports in favor of the new USB-C (the MacBook only has one, which is also used for charging), and its new butterfly keyboard design is so terrible that it’s rendering laptops useless and has prompted Apple to apologize. As for durability, after two years of use, my wife took her 2015 MacBook out of her bag to find it warped around the corner, making its headphone jack unusable.

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Image: Emanuel Maiberg

I would always rather use a Windows PC, and when I'm at home or in the office, I can build a beefy tower, hide the ugly thing under my desk, and use it happily without looking at it again until it needs an upgrade. But elegance, as Samsung calls it, does matter when it comes to laptops. As much as I love the audacity of powerful gamer laptops, they're too heavy and ugly to be a practical replacement for a MacBook.

But it shouldn't be that hard for a competitor to offer a MacBook replacement. Like most laptop users, I'm not asking for much. I need something moderately powerful, light, sturdy, and that doesn't scream "gamer" in glowing RGB lights. A good trackpad and keyboard would also be nice.

Essentially, I want the basic value proposition of Apple's industrial design, minus all of the things that has made the latest MacBooks and MacBook Pros so disappointing, so I would sooner get a Notebook 7 than the latest MacBook.