Are Apple's MacBooks the best laptops on the market? That might be a somewhat subjective label, but at least according to Consumer Reports, Apple dominates the competition. All Things Digital has the scoop on the rankings, which are unfortunately hidden behind a pay-wall on the Consumer Reports website.
Reportedly, Apple came out on top in every single notebook category. The $999 MacBook Air was the best 11" laptop; the base MacBook, MacBook Air, and three MacBook Pros made up the top five spots in the 13" category; and variants of the MacBook Pro took the top three spots in the 15-16" rankings and the top two spots in the 17-18" rankings. Consumer Reports assigns numerical scores to the machines it reviews and uses those scores to rank them.
I haven't looked into Consumer Ratings' methodology too much, but frankly, I'm not surprised about the rankings. To this day, I've yet to come across a PC notebook with a touchpad anywhere near as good as Apple's multi-touch glass touchpad, which debuted in late 2008. Apple's unibody aluminum enclosures feel remarkably tough, as well—more so than even the chassis of aluminum-clad PC notebooks like the HP Envy series. Also, for what it's worth, Mac OS X's window management and multi-desktop capabilities make it awfully comfortable to use on a small display. Apple's clearly doing something right by combining great hardware design with good software.