The NUC has the same quad core Intel i5-8259U, with double the RAM and double the SSD size at approximately a quarter of the price of MacBook Pro. If you don't have an existing screen, you can buy a good Dell HiDPI screen for ~500 Euros.
The Linux NUC feels much faster than the MacBook Pro, probably because of faster syscalls on Linux, and generally better optimizations in Linux. But for me the killer feature is NixOS. NixOS has a steep learning curve, but with atomic updates/rollbacks, declarative system configuration, and the ability to have virtualenvs with any package, it is hard to go back to a system that does not have these features. (I use Nix on macOS, but it is more of a gateway drug than the whole experience.)
Of course, there are some sharp edges, Bluetooth headset (including Airpods) support is better on macOS, you can't beat Microsoft Office for Office compatibility (duh), and Skype works better on macOS.
Recently I purchased an HP Envy with and AMD chip for $550 USD and got myself used to sway + i3statusbar-rust. Everything is simple, can be backed up using git and I use at most 300mb of ram after boot. Computer startup is less than 10 seconds and shutdown is less than 3.
I think this is the third time I feel this way about computers. First one was when someone told me about Apache and Linux in 2000, second when I discovered postgis + geodjango in 2007.
I use Kubuntu, since I've been using KDE for 15 years. I use 5% of the configuration options — just by looking, you'd think it was a default install — but I really miss that 5% if I'm on a Mac or Windows.
Freedom to choose good components, a fanless case, and a functional OS like NixOS.
If I need a laptop for a meeting or to travel, I can either use "my" 5-year-old one, or the spare new one. Or the conference room desktop, which has a real keyboard and mouse.
Cloud apps like Google Docs, Hangouts, Slack etc.. were supposed to make the OS less important. It's too bad we're not there yet.
* your documents cannot leave your company network,
* you need features not supported by gdocs,
* you need to work offline,
* you need 100% compatibility for produced files,
* (fill in your favorites)
Lack of MS Office (non-365) availability for Linux is quite a barrier to Linux adoption in more places.