Dear Tech Guide For Travel,
I’m debating on getting a Mac instead of a Windows machine for my next big trip and was wondering, is there a major advantage (or disadvantage) to doing so?
This is one of the most common tech questions I get in my inbox and the Mac versus Windows debate is a old and resilient one. There are differences, certainly, and the biggest point of discussion is which is better? First of all it depends on the equipment you’re talking about. I’m assuming you’re talking about laptops of course but if you’re looking for tablets here are some of my favorites in the 9 and 7-inch varieties. As for laptops, there is no best travel laptop, so let’s stick to the travel basics.
What Software Are You Already Running?
Depending on whether or not you’ve already got a Mac (and are just considering a switch to a Windows laptop) you’ll need to consider the cost of updating all of your paid software. Mac programs can’t run on Windows machines and visa-versa so if you’ve got any expensive programs (e.g. Adobe Photoshop) for Windows, you’ll have to buy another copy for your Mac. [Although there are ways to run Windows programs on Mac I won’t get into those here.]
So purchasing a bunch of new programs you already own might give your travel budget cramps, depending on how tight it is.
Macs Are More Expensive Silicon Gram For Silicon Gram
Apple designs all of its devices with specific hardware so that its software (like iOS or OS X) can be as compatible as possible with all of the parts it’s controlling. While that provides you with a general degree of increased reliability over a Windows machine, it also means you pay more for Apple products on the whole. That also means that Mac components are generally harder to find and more expensive than those of PC laptops since stores tend to stock what people use (roughly 85% of the world uses PC).
Finding parts for a Macbook may be more difficult if you’re on an extended trip or heading to remote parts of the world (unlike Chicago) but you know what you’re getting at purchase. There’s a much broader selection of PC laptops which can make shopping for one daunting. (Here are the best travel laptops of 2012 to help you out.) Repairs may also be easier as more shops will have PC components and experience – additionally you probably don’t want an amateur jostling around in the guts of your shiny Macbook.
For Most Trips The Advantages Lay In Your Preferences
Generally speaking, you buy a Mac because you enjoy its features and like what Apple’s operating systems have to offer. For travel however the advantages aren’t pronounced and for most trips there’s no real advantage to getting a Mac over a Windows laptop. On extended trips to remote parts of the world however, you might find a replacement part a bit harder to find if that reliable Mac does ever decide to have a breakdown.