Saturday, 18 July 2009

To Mac or not to Mac...

So, here I am at the beginning of a new life, starting from scratch with all sorts of things to buy.

Obviously, I have to make the most important decision of my life about one of the basic staples of my life.

I don't know about the broadband connection to the new flat so I'm going to have to rent some internet time until I can get it sorted.

I'm thinking Vodafone... but I'm also thinking of investing in a laptop.

Blinded by science at PC World, with hundreds of netbooks and laptops to bemuse me, I call upon my trusty readers to give me guidance.

It's like that whole Betamax vs VHS dilemma all over again.

To stay with the Windows system, with which I am familiar or to pay the extra money and take advantage of improved reliability by getting a Mac?

I don't play games... well, apart from Scrabble on Facebook... I want to be able to watch iplayer and c4 on demand. Obviously, I need to be able to access my blog and comment on other people's. I send/receive less than 50 emails per day (if you don't count all those notifications from Facebook and Blogger, if you do, then it will be somewhat more). I upload photos from my phone now and again and fiddle around with them a bit in photobucket for HNTs and download about ten images per week for Mute Monday. I'd quite like to have the facility to watch dvds but it's not the end of the world if I don't. If I didn't get a stand-alone PC, then I would need to be able to write letters now and again (usually I use Word).

From my status question on Facebook, I suspect that I am about to open up a whole can of worms because so many people have such strong opinions, but tell me what your experience is telling you...?


Supercock said...

personally I am PC all the way. Cost is way lower across the board. Hardware, accessories and software.

Ms. Inconspicuous said...

I have a Mac and love it, but I was a reluctant convert. It does take some getting used to, but I wouldn't go back to PC for a laptop. (Once the adjustment has taken place, the Mac *is* much more intuitive.)Desktop, perhaps, but not a laptop.

Brian said...

If you do decide to go with a Mac make sure you pay the $99 for the guru sessions for a year. Macs go about some things in a different way than windows so there is a learning curve. The guru sessions allow you to have an hour a week with one of the mac gurus on anything you like and they take you through it. Has to be at an apple store though so hope one is convenient to you.

I however am using the release candidate of windows 7 and highly recommend it if you are happy with Windows. Wait for that full release. It will do everything you want, inc playing dvds. (by the way, how come you can't play dvds on your current set up?). For the equivalent money you would spend on a Mac you could get a very snazzy pc.

Madame DeFarge said...

Got to be a Mac. I spent years on a PC, but now use a MacBookPro. Yes, there's pros and cons (including the big cost difference), but I find the Mac far easier to use. iPhoto is great, use OpenOffice instead of MS Office (you can save as docs too) and generally it's just fab.

Helga Hansen said...

Well, I am going to throw a small spanner in the works, and tell you about my set-up. I have a laptop, which came pre-installed with Windows XP. However, I am not a big fan of Windows, and so I partitioned my laptop, and installed Linux instead. I still have access to Windows, only because my smartphone and my MP3 player only work on Windows, and that's about it!

I use GIMP when I want to fiddle with photos, and use Firefox as my Internet browser. Using Linux has meant I don't have to worry about viruses, and I haven't had to shell out on an anti-virus package. Linux uses OpenOffice, but you can save your docs/spreadsheets to be Windows Office compatible.

I don't use mine to watch DVDs, but I could, as it does have the drive installed.

However, if you are not familiar with Linux, and you won't have someone to help you, then I would suggest perhaps not using it.

B over at B for Blog owns a Mac... both laptop and desktop, I think!

Hedley said...

I changed to Mac about two years ago. I bought a Mini-Mac on Ebay for under £300.00, used my existing keyboard, mouse, monitor. Upgraded the memory and DVD drive, not difficult. I used a new laptop with Vista the other week and could not believe how slow it was. It is true that you might have to pay for some software, like Office, but other than that I wouldn't swap my Mac for all the tea in China! And, if your looking for a laptop then a Mac Book Pro is, simply, the best.

B said...

^^^ I do have both, I'm a mac slut.

I have a macbook pro that's about 2 years old and an older (but still intel) iMac for when I need the big screen (hardly ever, but can't bear to part with it). I would never ever ever consider a PC.

Yes, they are expensive, but the initial shell out is all you do. I have never bought virus protection... the scare mongerers say that as macs get more popular then the threat is bigger, so you are supposed to.

I don't have a mac because it is 'pretty' or 'cool'. I have a mac because it is trouble free, wholly reliable and a joy to use. I don't believe switching over is that much of a headache, I converted my MiL who is less than techy minded and she's never looked back.

I'm always about if you need to pick my brain about anything.

Tom Allen said...

I'm with Helga. I bought a refurbished Dell Latitude from the Dell site (comes with a warranty and everything) It came with XP Pro, and I installed Linux on half the drive. Now I can switch back and forth as needed, although I'm finding that there's very little that I need to switch for.

If you have a Gmail/Google account and internet access, then you can compose letters, etc., in Google Docs. You can use OpenOffice if you need something more full featured -- both are free. In fact, I'm using Google Docs more and more instead of creating Word docs and putting them on a thumb drive.

I have nothing against Macs to use. However, if you're thinking about money in the future, consider that many PC shops won't repair a Mac, and you might have to send it in to a Mac store (if you can find one locally). The long term repair and maintenance costs might make this a bad choice if you're going to be on a tight budget.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Mac's would be lovely, but if you'll be on a limited budget it has to be a PC/laptop. Not just because of the initial costs but on going maintenance, extra equipment etc is available easily and cheaply unlike a mac. Also with a window's based system any available teenager can usually fix it for you.
If you're going for the dongle option to access the internet rather than a modem/router then make sure you test the signal in your flat before committing. Don't rely on the signal coverage websites etc. Also for that kind of setup (or some of the cheaper fixed packages) you'll be on a strict data limit which will count all those endless emails facebook send out. Good luck with it all,
BG x

nitebyrd said...

Never had a Mac and I'm too set in my ways to change. I'm a PC!

Ro said...

Watching that collection of ads was like being bludgeoned around the head with a rubber hammer :-)

I can't imagine switching to Apple - despite what the ads say, there's less choice for hardware and software than with PCs, quite apart from the up-front cost difference.

In truth, I'm with Helga and Tom, a recent convert to Linux. I'm quite sure Linux would do everything you need just as easily as a Mac or Windows machine would. On the other hand, it's not such a finished product and still needs more fiddling around which is only fine if you're a geek like me or have easy access to a geek like me ...

Ms Scarlett said...

I have a Mac laptop, but work on Windows box at work. I prefer my Mac, but they are a bit pricier to buy. But when you factor in the endless updates for things like virus protection (something you don't need to worry about with a Mac) the price gets a little more even...

Anonymous said...

Get an iPhone or an HTC Magic on Voda. I do everything on mine. Worry about a pc or Mac later when you've settled in and know your budget.

Or get a netbook.