What's Better for Me? A Mac or a PC?
This is likely the tech version of the “Coke v. Pepsi” debate, with loyalists lining up behind their chosen brands, but the decision to make between purchasing a Mac (iOS) v. a PC (Windows OS) can be made more objectively. For anyone who is either willing to try something different, or hasn’t developed a serious loyalty to either system, there are a number of factors to consider to help you make the decision, and perhaps the answer you arrive at based on your needs will surprise you.
PCs used to be good at some things, and Macs at another. But now the line isn't quite so defined based on how people plan on using their device.
As with any question we get that starts with “What should I get for....?” we respond with a question of our own: How are you going to use this laptop or desktop? There are some things Macs do very well, others that PCs are better suited for. Some of the key functions people cite most often are:
The first two experts cite as being solidly in the PC world, “hands-down.” The other, graphic design, has held a longstanding relationship with Mac OS, and with good reason. The Adobe Suite of software was born on a Mac because it offered full color. However, over time there’s been little difference in performance shown on whether you operate Photoshop, Illustrator or other Adobe products on a PC.
As many as three years ago, the tech industry noted “Adobe has gone on record via their Adobe Hardware Performance Whitepaper to point out that the performance of their software comes down to specs, not operating system.” So it’s not the device, it’s the specs that comprise the device, but it’s tough to overcome loyalty and tradition.
Before you feel we’re leaning one way versus the other, we will add this: If you are a designer that already has other Mac devices, the integration between your devices (iPhone, iPads) should take some precedence. They simply work better together, and make your own workflow processes run more efficiently.
So beyond the practicalities, what are your preferences? Are you someone who wants a little latitude in changing after the purchase? Is the overall feel and design something that makes you happy? We’ve tallied a list of those specs and features, and encourage you to think about where you fall.
Budget: If you need something now and your only concern is what the cost is now, PCs will always provide a better choice on your pocketbook. If you are someone who is always looking ahead, and plans on trading up within 2-3 years, Macs have a far higher resale value.
Ease of purchase: by this, we mean how user-friendly do you need the purchase process to be? Even a seasoned computer user may be overwhelmed by the variety of choices, price points and brands available. While it’s nice to have a selection, it can leave the buyer unsure if it was a good deal. Macs, on the other hand are offered only through Apple, yet they are pretty much plug-and-play. (I timed my last MacBook purchase at seven minutes, and another seven to open it up and start working.)
Customizability: If you are someone who likes choices, and prefers to upgrade what you have rather than attempting to resell your aging device for a new one, you’ll likely prefer PCs. Basically Microsoft can be in any of dozens of brands sold and in varying degrees of power that can be improved easily by adding or switching out components (processors, RAM) within the device. Macs don’t have nearly as much flexibility - or even accessibility to change these.
Repairs and Maintenance: If your concern is to get it done cheaply, buy a PC; if you want it done easily, buy a Mac. PCs, because they have so many manufacturers, have the greater availability of repair resources. However, if you feel it’s a repair that you shouldn’t be paying for, the various vendors for the peripherals inside your PC may start to pass the buck amongst themselves, leaving you with the bill. Macs have one vendor, and especially if you’ve purchased AppleCare, they fix your device quickly. If you don’t have coverage, you’ll feel the pinch in your pocketbook, but will still be back on the road with your Mac in a fairly short time.
Other considerations: Mac devices as they upgrade tend to buck convention and use entirely new ports, like USB-C ports that mean HDMI or SD cards will need an adapter, of course at an additional cost. However, Macs still also buck viruses in contrast to their PC counterparts, and users enjoy a relatively virus-free experience.
Still not sure where you would score the highest? We found this short quiz that can help sway your decision. If you’re still on the fence, it’s smart to not invest your entire month’s salary to go all-in no matter how you end up deciding. Even smarter, if you want to experiment on a quality device, seek out a reputable reseller that might even allow your budget to have both a Mac and a PC to make the comparison fair.