MacBooks are vastly overrated in my opinion and as you pointed out...insanely expensive.
My sister has one. Very pleased with it. Until she came over and saw my Mac Mini hooked up to the 22" two year old monitor I used for my Sony PC. Its not just that MacBooks are higher than PC notebooks, they are higher than just buying the guts (a Mac Mini) and hooking it up to whatever you have around. Was plug and play for me. Didn't have to install keyboard, mouse or monitor software, not even my DSL software, to go from the PC to a Mac.
Retired neighbors are looking at notebooks for their first computer. Guess everyone told them that is what they had to have. Trying to tell them paying a premium (usually) and straining their eyes isn't worth sitting on the couch with their computer.