A Laptop Advisor editor confesses their thoughts on the available operating systems—and why she switched.
It's quickly becoming the new paper or plastic. The new boxers or briefs. It's the new question without a right or wrong answer that everyone is asking―Apple or Windows?
I grew up in a PC household, but right after college, I made the switch to Apple (much to the dismay of my father, who threatened to disown me. Don't worry, he was kidding…I think). And while after having both, I can answer the Apple or Windows question personally, I still believe that there isn't a "right" answer to the Apple-Windows debate. Like the type of bag you prefer to carry your groceries in or the type of underwear that you favorite―it's a personal preference. But, after using both types of laptops, I can share the perks (and downfalls) of both.
Before starting college, I knew I needed a laptop. I debated then making the transition to a Mac, but picked up a PC instead for several reasons. College is expensive, and so are MacBooks, which was my primary reason for not converting right then. Plus, I know several computer people that could help me troubleshoot computer issues―if that computer wasn't a Mac.
Seventy-five percent of the time, if I'm using the computer, I'm writing. And, let's face, computers don't really have to be all that special for writing. My laptop had a keyboard plus a word processor, plus it could keep up with my typing speed, and I didn't really need much more then that, especially when it meant doubling the price tag. I've used Microsoft Word on both operating systems and find it is a little more user friendly on a PC.
I was, however, an unfortunate victim of Vista. The new (at the time) Microsoft operating system, when I bought my computer, was too new. In too much of a rush to get it out into the market, Vista was released before all the bugs were worked out. I was continually installing software updates to work out the issues. Several programs (and even the printer) that I had used with the desktop I had before simply wouldn't function on Vista. Some of them I could make compatible by installing yet another soft are update, others just never were compatible.
My PC lasted me through college--but not any longer. Sure, four years is a pretty decent life for a computer, but I would be lying if I said my first laptop aged gracefully. At about age two, the battery quit, and I couldn't use it for more than five minutes unless it was plugged in. At about age three, I noticed a significant reduction in its speed, which eventually became its death sentence (okay, so it didn't die, but has been retired into a sad little nook in the closet).
So what prompted my switch? I no longer needed a laptop mainly for writing--I also needed software for layout and photo editing. And just like Microsoft Word is not the same on a Mac, Adobe Photoshop and InDesign are just different on a PC. Sure, you can do the same things, but I found the Apple compatible version easier to work with. Plus, I was still holding on to a Vista-induced grudge against Windows. Honestly, I didn't even consider any Windows laptop, just debated the MacBook Air and Pro, finally settling on the Pro.
I was happy with my MacBook right away (when I first started my other laptop, the screen would flicker, something a brand new laptop shouldn't be doing). I had used Macs at work for years, so there wasn't that uncomfortable adjustment period to the new system and new keyboard commands. I love the simplicity of the Mac system and haven't yet had any compatibility issues (I've only downloaded an update once, and it wasn't because I was having issues with the computer).
I find the OS X operating system simple to use, I love having all my frequently used applications right at the bottom of the screen, plus keyboard commands to quickly find whatever else I'm looking for. The MacBook isn't too bulky, yet holds up pretty well, even after some accidental mishandling inside my computer bag.
So how do they compare? If I only needed my computer for the basic household tasks like social networking and online bill pay, I would have stuck with my PC, mainly for cost reasons. I'm not a big computer gamer, but I've heard that PCs are the definite winner in that category as well. There's also a learning curve that comes with switching to a Mac, so it's not the best choice for the technologically challenged either. But for layout and photo editing, I'd purchase my MacBook again ten times over. I haven't had any of the issues I had with the Windows operating system and I simply just like the way the Mac operating system works.
So what's your preference, Apple or Windows?