PC or Mac?

Friends and family are always asking for our opinion about which is better - a Windows-based PC or an Apple Mac. There's a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is: you get what you pay for. If you're still undecided, read on...


PCs are cheaper

We've used PCs since Windows 95 came out, and we'll most likely be using them for many years to come. The main reason is that they're cheaper. Our computers take a real hammering at work and don't last that long.

We're currently using custom-built desktop computers from PC Specialist running Windows 7. They have 26 inch screens, quad-core processors, 8GB of RAM and solid state hard drives (a box of chips instead of a spinning magnetic disk). In December 2012 that spec costs about £800 and the equivalent Mac is about £1500. We don't expect these computers to last more than three years before we replace them, so we'd be spending a lot extra to run Apple computers instead.

A good spec for a laptop would be a 15 inch screen, 2.5 GHz processor, 4-6GB RAM and a 500GB Hard disk. A Samsung laptop running Windows 7 is around £575 but for the equivalent Macbook Pro it's £1499 - almost three times as much! Laptops don't tend to last as long as desktop computers because the smaller components aren't as durable.

The other reason we use Windows is that most of our clients also use Windows, so it's easier to test websites, but this is definitely changing as Apple get more market share.

Macs are nicer

Macs are undeniably more beautiful to look at, and most people find them easier to use and more intuitive. Apple owners certainly tend to be more loyal, whereas you're more likely to hear a Windows user swearing at their computer - especially if they're using Windows 8!

It's true that Windows is cumbersome, more susceptible to viruses and requires a reasonable amount of technical knowledge to run properly. As any Apple owner will tell you, Macs just work - they never ask you complicated questions, get viruses or break.

Actually, that last one isn't quite true; when they go wrong they really go wrong. If your PC breaks there are many companies who can fix them and the spare parts are cheap. You should only get your Mac fixed by approved Apple Service Centre, and it can be expensive. For this reason alone, we wouldn't recommend ever buying a second hand Mac, we've heard horror stories of people getting what seemed like a bargain, and then forking out the same again when it soon broke.

At the end of the day, it's entirely up to you. Apple make beautiful products and if you've got the cash and love their style then go for it. It's like buying a Mercedes instead of a Mazda - you get what you pay for.