Should I Purchase a Mac?

Hi,

I have been given $1800 of budget to purchase a computer for my personal use. I am contemplating if I should consider purchasing a Mac. I have never bought or used one before, so I have no personal experience of using one.

My use of the computer is going to be purely for normal day-to-day use, e.g., using MS Office applications, browsing, occasional streaming. I do not expect to do any heavy graphical or hardware intensive jobs. Few things:

  • The purchase needs to be made in next 2-3 months. So I have a bit of time on hand.
  • I am allowed to add money to this to purchase say a more expensive computer, but will be reimbursed for $1800 only
  • Any money I do not use will need to be returned, hence I would like to purchase something close to the budget amount
  • I have only used Windows laptops in the past
  • I am also thinking of Microsoft Surface, which I have not had experience with previously.

Any suggestion and recommendations would be helpful.

Poll Options

  • 27
    Go for Mac, it will change your life
  • 61
    Stick to Windows.
  • 2
    Microsoft Surface
  • 5
    Blow on a holiday to NZ, and do not look back

Comments

  •  

    Are you after a laptop, an all-in-one or a separate computer and screen arrangement?

    •  

      Laptop

  • +4 votes

    I have only used Windows laptops in the past
    I am contemplating if I should consider puschasing a Mac. I have never bought or used one before, so I have no personal experience of using one.

    So the question is, what is the driver for the change? Is it because they are seen as 'hip and cool' and all the cool kids have them?

    Each to their own, but I do find it interesting that you want to drop nearly $2k onto a complete/ecosystem that you have never used before.

    I would suggest you find your closest Apple Store or a store that sells Apple products and has them on display to play with. Spend a good 30 mins playing with the Mac, switching between apps so you have a general feel of the OS and see if this is right for you.

    If the store is JB for example, then spin around and have a look at the MS Surfaces etc.

    •  

      The driver for change is that I have always wanted to use one. However it has always been out of my budget, until now when I have been provided the funding to purchase a computer.

      I will have a look - thanks for the suggestion.

      • -1 vote

        The transition is funny - bit of a non event, almost wondering what the fuss is about. Then you realise it’s less ‘in your face’ (than w10) and it simply just works. Best of all, it’s just as fast in 5 years time

        • -1 vote

          Best of all, it’s just as fast in 5 years time

          This.

          I'm coming up to 4 years on making the change, I bought the bottom end bog standard MacBook Pro after my Windows laptop decided to do an update that took two days and left me with basically no computer while I was looking for work. It still works the same as it did the day I bought it and if I want to upgrade, I can at least get a decent amount for it.

  • +1 vote

    Thing is that you really don't need to spend anywhere near $1800 to get a very good and light laptop with excellent battery life, that will meet all your requirements.

    Personally I am a big fan of the Asus range in the $1000-$1500 range. If you did want to spend more, you could look in to the Dell XPS line or as you say, Surface.

    I have also toyed with the idea of a Mac in the past, but just never quite made the leap. The M1 processors mean my next purchase, whenever that might be, may well have me reconsidering a switch to Mac once again.

  • +6 votes

    I have worked in IT&telco all my life, and am comfortable with windows, Mac or Linux as a desktop.
    I've used a macbook as my personal computer since 2015, and will likely buy another. Stuff works with less fuss, because the OS and hardware are better integrated. Security is easier, fewer software incompatibilities.
    The command line is available if you need to do something more intense.

    The downside is poorer support for legacy software (if you need to run a driver for an old windows device or similar), poor game support. Online trouble shooting can be difficult because there is a lot of noise from clueless users saying "that happened to me, try upgrading to the new model" for a software issue.

    It's a good platform for just using the computer to do stuff. I'd recommend to non-technical users, if they don't play computer games.

    • +2 votes

      I second this.
      The other reason to go for a Mac is that they typically have better hardware. The displays aren't mirror-shiny and actually good for using outdoors, their keyboards (not Butterfly) are great, their touchpad is industry best, and the sturdy aluminium unibody is great.

      So if you're on a tight budget, a good condition rMBP 13in (2015) or a rMBP 15in (2015) are great options if you can get them for cheap. These ones have the good keyboards and ports. The M1 MacBook is good, but I shy away from calling them great. We've seen lots of flash sales/discounts for them which is unusual, so they aren't a rip-off as they normally would be. So I'm definitely a fan of Macs (within context).

      I still think you should focus on a Windows10 Pro laptop though. It's just easier.
      Just go over your dealbreakers first (touchscreen? HDMI port? eGPU support?) this will help narrow things down a lot. Then focus on which laptops are reviewed/praised the highest. Afterwards, I would go and try to get some hands on with them (JB Hifi, Harvey Norman, etc etc) just so you can feel the weight, materials, the display's reflectivity, the keyboard's springiness, the touchpads accuracy, etc etc). And once you're set and made you decision, try to find the best price for that online or try to price match it… that way you can get the most laptop for your dollar.

      If the laptop is slightly above your budget (eg $2100 not $1800) then I say, still go for it. You will later regret not getting it otherwise. And a laptop is meant to be kept for a long time (4-8 years) so you can easily justify that extra spending (eg $300 over six years, is only $50 extra per year, small amount for a big improvement to your daily activity).

      •  

        I have to strongly agree with the comment about going over budget. I’ve bought a couple of products over the years that we’re “good enough”, esp for the money, and I’ve regretted it each time. If your budget is strict, well fair enough, but if you can get the machine you’d really like for a few hundred dollars of your own money, then I wouldn’t hesitate - you’ll be living with your decision for several years (longer, if you choose a Mac)

  • +2 votes

    I reckon you should go for a M1 MacBook Pro. From apple education store they can be had for $1749 https://www.apple.com/au-hed/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro/13-inc... which is close to your budget and can accommodate for accessories like a power cable extension https://www.apple.com/au-hed/shop/product/MK122X/A/power-ada... and a case. Also Apple does not check wether you are a student or not if you order. I have done it last year. I switched from windows to Mac last year and never looked back, while windows is obviously better for gaming and some other things IMO Mac is better for productivity as it has a fluid interface that is easy to get used to. M1 MacBook Pro is more powerful than most laptops of its price range.

    • -1 vote

      THIS, close thread

  • +2 votes

    Do you get to keep it or do you have to return it? Apple products have much better resale value if you want to sell it in the future.

  •  

    may be this, you can sell the GPU if you want (you need another small card though as CPU is F)

  • +1 vote

    There is a mixture of Mac hate and Windows familiarity that means you’ll never get a favourable result for the Mac in a poll. Most voters simply won’t have used one (or had a desire to use one).

    If you can put up with just 2 USB-C ports and nothing else, the current M1 Macs are a no brainer right now. Insane levels of performance and battery life (think 15+ hours), great build quality and the experience of using a Mac trackpad is unlike anything you’ll come across on a Windows laptop.

    Microsoft Office is a familiar experience unless you need to use MS Project or MS Visio, in which case you’re out of luck with a Mac.

    • -1 vote

      but something hip and cool kids something ecosystem

      I mean, apart from the blistering speed and amazing battery life and having a real OS and having a real *nix shell and a real filesystem and still being able to run Office what are your drivers for change /s

      •  

        Ah yes, Windows is famous for its false filesystem! Always getting in the way of people browsing the internet and using office!

  • +1 vote

    We crossed the floor and went Mac when we retired. V. Happy with the decision. The machines just work and are less cluttered than w10. Our media server is running WHS 2011 (!) and I occasionally need to think "how do I do this again?". You havent mentioned the driver for crossing the floor. If your work PC (?) is still windows I would considered keeping the same for home. Reluctantly.

  •  

    Will you have to give it back to the company when you leave? You don't want to waste your money paying extra if that's the case (unless you get your extra back).

    •  

      I get to keep it.

  •  

    M1 Macbook Air

  •  

    Not sure what your line of work is and if you’ll need any specialist applications, but I like my ms surface laptop. Maybe clarify with you employer if this $ figure includes any software you might need.

  • +1 vote

    If you buy a windows pc, will you regret not buying a mac?

  • +2 votes

    M1 is 2-3 years ahead in engineering for power draw and efficiency.
    I'd grab one that is 10-15% off officeworks and pricematch at a retail Apple Store

  •  

    Do you have an iPhone? Continuity is nice with iPhone & Mac and I find it convenient to have photos and videos synced automatically.

    • +1 vote

      You can essentially get the same features on windows if you have Samsung phone

  • +1 vote

    The theory of buying a Mac being that it'll be worth more at resale time?
    In that case I'd only consider buying a M1 mac, as the Intel macs are likely to dip in resale. This would preclude you from dual booting Windows (at least until MS release an ARM version).

  •  

    Windows all my life. Now own a Macbook Pro. I am not looking back.

  •  

    Get MS Surface or M1 MacBook. Don't consider anything else.

    I'd say it comes down to what phone you have. If you have an iPhone get a Mac for sure. The integration between them is awesome. If you have Android then there is slightly better compatibility with Windows.

    If you have any money left over buy a USB-C/Thunderbolt docking station. Working at a laptop long term isn't fun and you'll wan't to hook it up to a big screen.

  •  

    The Mac does currently have the best CPU in the ultrabook range and it is fast and very efficient meaning little heat and long battery life. Also the build quality of Mac laptops is essentially best in class. Support is good too.

    In my opinion the limitations are software - windows has better multi-tasking features, much better windows management, better default file browser, and broader software compatibility. Also, Office on Mac does not have all the features of Office on Windows. If you are an office power user you will be disappointed. However the OS is stable without the driver issues common in windows. Note that you will have to buy a few apps on Mac OS just to have feature parity with windows e.g. window snapping, NTFS windows file system write support for external drives, customisable trackpad gestures, better alt-tab apps switching etc. There seem to be fewer freeware apps for MacOS than windows

    If you want to prioritise performance and battery life and only have basic software needs, get the Mac. If you want to prioritise software capability get a windows machine. Windows also if you want touch and pen support. Also windows with a Samsung Phone has great integration. For windows i would go for a surface laptop 4 with the extended warranty plan.

    You can also buy the Mac from the Apple store, use it for 14 days and if you don't like just return it. You can do the same with a Surface laptop form the MS store but the return period is a generous 60 days.

    I have both an M1 Mac and Surface Book 3. If I could only keep one machine it would be the Surface due to better software support, and pen and touch capability. I wish the Surface had the same performance as the M1 though and the same driver stability

  • +3 votes

    As someone who owns, uses and sells both, I lean more towards Windows for most things, as it's far more flexible and easy to use. I built my own 'Mac' using an AMD Ryzen7 Processor, and it's dual-boot.

    On Geekbench it rates up there with i9 and Xeon processors on Single-Core. However, the M1 processor blows these away.

    The only downfall with an M1 Processor, is that the Ram and SSD drive is soldered onto the same board as the Processor.
    Therefore it has no upgrade path, in terms of Ram and internal storage, so make sure you allow extra in your budget to compensate for this.$1850 will buy you an 8GB/512GB M1 MB Air, however they only last week were 10% off. $2100 for a CTO 16/512 M1.

    This is also similar in terms of the Surface, except it at least has a Micro SD card slot (Mine has a 256GB 'surveillance' card). I tend to use my surface more than my iPad.

    The main reason for me using 2 iPads, a Macbook Air, MB Pro, plus my 'Ryzentosh', all of which I use for music. I have been using C-Lab/Logic Pro for 30 years (Atari ST days), and there are so many options out there for Logic Pro which is MacOS only now:( , plus I use addons like Mainstage and Onsong (again McOS/IOS only). However, I generally find IOS and MacOS quite frustrating at times, and is like comparing imperial measurements (Apple) to Metric (Windows). Ubar is Essential as a Program for MacOS. Helps make the Interface look like Windows. :)

    I would lean towards a Surface in your position, especially one with a detachable Keyboard.

    •  

      Also, is it advantageous to have a touch screen or Pen?

  • +1 vote

    I decided to change from Windows to the M1 Macbook Air and cannot make head nor tail of the system. There seems to be very few of my apps available. I think I will test out the re-sale value very shortly.

    •  

      What apps did you use that aren't on Mac? Apart from games there's not many I miss. 95% of my time is spent in Google Chrome anyway…

      •  

        One of the apps which I just tried with Google Chrome is Libby which I use for reading library books. It is only available for Iphone and Ipad. I also tried to use a Garmin app to update my GPS and no Mac app. The new system is hard enough for me but not getting apps is so frustrating. I got the Macbook instead of a new pc. I fail to see how it is worth it. Thanks for your interest

        •  

          I’m using Garmin Express on my Mac to do the same. Get it from Garmin (rather than Apple)

  •  

    The M1 Apple computers may have problems with software and drivers. My capture card does not work with M1, only Intel.