Laptop buying guide: PC or Mac?
A question as old as computing itself is should I get a Mac or a PC? Apple even turned that question into a successful series of “Get a Mac” advertisements for many years, comparing Macs versus PCs using actors John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac. There are many pros and cons for both Macs and PCs and we will go through all of them, listing the MacBook’s pros and cons and PC laptop pros and cons.
Anthony Hill, Head of Technology at Geeks2U is asked this question often and has an easy way to clarify if you should get a Mac or a PC – “if you’re into gaming and plan to use your laptop to predominately play games on, a PC laptop is the best way to go”. This is due to the vast array of PC laptops available with powerful GPUs and the fact most games aren’t even available on the Mac.
However, Anthony recommends a Mac if “basic video editing and music production is your thing” because “out of the box, the Mac comes with superior creative software such as Garage Band and iMovie and excellent advanced tools like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro”.
If you’re thinking about a MacBook, here are some pros and cons of Apple’s popular laptop:
Pro: MacBooks, even the cheapest ones, all have excellent displays. They’re factory calibrated, have excellent viewing angles and are “Retina” quality (Apple’s marketing term for high resolution). The similar quality of display on a PC laptop are often available on only high-end laptops that cost way more than Apple’s.
Pro: Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad owners will enjoy a Mac more with iCloud and a familiar design language. Airdrop will “just work” between devices. Apple Pay configured on your phone will show up on your Mac when making a purchase. iMessage will work between devices, as will FaceTime. Living in the Apple ecosystem is a nice place to be.
Con: The much maligned “butterfly” key mechanism on Apple’s current laptop range has been a sore spot for many Apple devotees. While the innovation allows for a slim chassis, people describe using the keyboard like typing on a glass iPad screen and the thin key mechanism is suspectable to failing with any kind of debris ingress like dust, sand or crumbs, requiring repair.
Con: Whatever you plug in to a MacBook will need to be USB-C, as that’s the only ports Apple has included on the MacBook range. If you plan on using anything not USB-C enabled, you’ll need an adaptor, or a dongle to convert the plug. It’s not unusual for many MacBook owners to have a little kit bag full of adapters to plug into projectors (HDMI, VGA) and mini USB hub to insert flash drives and other peripherals.
If you’re thinking about a PC laptop, here are some pros and cons of going with Windows:
Pro: There’s so much choice when it comes to buying a PC laptop. Want something cheap and cheerful to surf the web on? There’s plenty of sub-$500 PCs that’ll do the job. Need a powerful mobile rig to game on the go? The fastest mobile GPUs from Nvidia are only in PC laptops. There’s a PC laptop to suit everyone, at every price point.
Pro: Apple is notorious for using proprietary parts (even screws) and making their devices difficult to open. While there are ways for third party repairers to fix a MacBook, it’s never as quick and cheap as a PC laptop that uses industry standard interchangeable parts that are easy to replace.
Con: One thing Apple excels at is the trackpad and for some reason PC manufacturers just can’t match it. Even on the highest end PC laptops, the trackpads are small and don’t have the same amount of glide, tactile feedback or accuracy as Apple’s most basic trackpad on an entry level MacBook.
Con: Windows can be a bit of a mess sometimes. There are multiple places to change settings, Microsoft has loaded the stock Windows 10 install with bloatware apps and there’s a plethora of tracking and data collection services enabled by default. Apple however keeps macOS lean and doesn’t collect any data on you unless you opt-in to doing so.
Either choice you make, Anthony Hill from Geeks2U says that “there is a misconception out there that Macs don’t get viruses, but that’s not the case. There are viruses and malware specifically targeting the Mac nowadays, so make sure you’ve got anti-virus software on both PC and Mac” – don’t buy your next computer on what is “safer”, but rather what meets your needs. If you require purchasing decision help, Geeks2U is more than happy to assist!