We touched on the MacBook vs PC Laptop debate in the introduction to this series. Here, we pick up the thread and add some clarifying details to help you in your laptop buying process.
Both sides have their sworn legion of loyalists. Each platform represents a different path to help you arrive at a solution. For many, experience will dictate which path to take. But if this is your first laptop. You have some deep thinking to do.
Overall, if you’ve worked with Apple’s tightly curated ecosystem and operating system before. You’ll find plenty to love about a new MacBook. But if you prefer a more open-source platform, and choosing from different form factors. Or you know you’ll need specialized hardware suited for specific tasks. A PC laptop will offer more options.
As you can see, each choice presents its pros and cons. As ever, “picking the right one, and not wasting your cash” depends on what you need your laptop to do. And in many ways, what you’re willing to live without as we’ll soon see. So, let’s explore each further.
MacBook vs PC Laptop
MacBooks only come in 3 product lines: the smaller MacBook and featherlight MacBook Air, which are both supreme choices if you prize portability over power. And the larger MacBook Pro models, which offer high power and capability with large screens and more parts.
Mac fans have a unique devotion to Apple products and it’s easy to see why. Apple is protective over its brand. And as such MacBooks are only built by Apple, which look and feel elegant.
You get a suite of Apple’s pre-installed, proprietary software and hardware that’s straight-forward to use. Regardless of skill level. And since it all come from the same ecosystem. There’s almost no incompatibility issues, even when you upgrade the Operating System.
And speaking of the operating system. Talk to any Mac fan and they will go on and on about how much more user-friendly the interface is right out of the box compared to a Windows system.
MacBooks are not luxurious. But over the long run, the hardware is more reliable than a typical PC laptop. Just take a look at the glass trackpad for instance. Not only is it a beautiful design. But the MultiTouch gesture controls make it a class-leader that other laptop manufacturers have tried to replicate.
And the Customer Support. As we say, a laptop is only as good as the company is willing to stand behind it. No matter the problem. Whether you call or walk your ailing MacBook into an Apple store. There’s a qualified person who knows exactly what you’re talking about to help you.
This all equates to a streamlined process that takes much of the stress out of shopping for a laptop.
With MacBooks, what you see is what you get. For a user who only needs a laptop that can edit photos and videos. This may not be a concern. But if you’re a professional, Apple won’t offer you any configuration options, “no matter how badly you want it.”
Although the proprietary software does make a MacBook easier to use, even for the novice. Playing PC games is all but out of the question. The rigid design means less freedom to customize the device. Again, whatever is available from Apple is all you get. MacBooks are only offered in the standard clamshell design, for instance.
And as we said before, it may take years before you see any significant updates to their lineup. For that reason, MacBooks usually fall behind the curve when it comes to new technology.
Apple’s “It Just Works” approach to software means you’re not getting anything special when it comes to the specs on a MacBook compared to a PC laptop. For instance, even though touchscreens have been popping up all over the place for PC laptops. You’ll be hard pressed to find a MacBook that supports this feature.
Apple’s tight grip on their manufacturing process means that a MacBook is significantly more expensive than a comparable PC laptop. As previously stated, this is mainly because the PC market is saturated with numerous competitors vying for your attention with the lowest price.
This incredibly diverse category can be produced by any company. Which translates to a wide array of form-factors, unique specs and prices. If you just need a laptop for light-duty work. You’re not locked into spending north of $1000 for a basic system.
PC laptops are not outdone by MacBooks by any means. In fact, they have their own legion of devoted fans with sobering reasons for supporting this platform.
Where Apple refreshes their MacBook lineup only if the company sees the need. Many PC laptop brands go as far as to tailor their laptops to meet specific needs, like gaming and business. The net result is that the fastest PC laptops will surpass MacBooks when it comes to power and performance.
As was touched on in the introduction. The Windows Operating System running on most PC laptops is far more open-ended than the Mac OS. Not only does it receive updates more frequently. But since Windows is the standard for software development for many education, gaming, and business-related programs. You get access to a larger selection of compatible software.
If you’ve looked at a new MacBook, you’ll notice that devices like RAM and the SSD are soldered onto the logic board. Which means that unless you’re a professional. You’ll have to take it into an Apple store to make the simplest upgrades.
Another reason you may consider a PC laptop is for the number of ports you get. More ports mean more ways you can use your system. (Here’s a list of ports you can get with a PC laptop.) You’ll need a loom of pricey dongles and adapters to get the same functionality from a MacBook.
The variety of choices available make PC laptops a wonderful thing. But it’s this very thing that will eventually make your eyes glaze over after a few hours of comparing specs. Add to this that quality and pricing can vary widely depending on the brand and model you’re considering.
But the #1 issue that often sends users running for an alternative. Is the sheer number of security issues you get with PC laptops compared to MacBooks. While Apple is closing the gap on Microsoft. The PC laptop still tips the scale in this area.
MacBooks have better displays than PC laptops. There we said it. Although more PC laptops are manufactured with Full-High Definition screens. Apple’s Retina display comes with a high DPI. Whereas PC laptop manufacturers are still wrestling with scaling issues.
Another important area where PC laptops lose the charge to MacBooks is Customer Support. Since many manufacturers come together to produce one PC laptop. When something goes wrong, isolating the culprit is… challenging to say the least.
While we’re on the subject. Microsoft’s back-end, server-infrastructure is best left for techno-wizards in the IT world who understand all the intricacies and complications of the computer system. If you’re an average user. This leaves you with no other option but to call a professional who understands all the acronyms. But while they’ tinkering away with all the settings. Your wallet is getting much lighter.
Next up in the series, we bring a new challenge to the Mac vs PC debate as we take a closer look at which Operating System you should consider when buying a laptop.
As the MacBook vs PC laptop debate rages on. Our aim is to present you with balanced picture of both to help you arrive at the best laptop decision for you. Go ahead, check the word count yourself.
Was there anything we forgot to include? We’d love to hear from you. Please add to the discussion in the comments section below.