Mac/PC/Chromebook — Which One is Best for Small Business?I get asked a lot about Mac vs Windows... I tried to just find a simple article just to share, but no luck. So here's my attempt to help.
Note: This is for a non-techie, non-gamer person. Just for a small business person with an iPad, iPhone who might want to do creative things for her business (and uses Wix for a web site so needs more than a tablet.) And it’s NOT trying to start a Mac/PC flame war… just trying to help normal folks who have this question. If you KNOW which you want to buy and might get mad about what I say— you don’t need to read this, right?? 😉
Buying Advice From Your Friendly Geeky Photographer
My MacBook Pro lappy has kept HuthPhoto going on the road for years… and we use PCs too, as well as lots of mobile tech.
The Mac vs. PC choice isn’t as critical as in the past since so much of what we do is online. We have more universal software, and our mobile tech are really our go-to devices for the simple work.
For laptop choices, here are some quick ways to think about the options:
Windows PC is good for giving you the cheapest deals & options.
Mac is good if you like using all their devices and don’t mind paying a bit more to get quality & ease of use.
Chromebook is a newer idea for super-cheap uses… just like an iPad, but it can do online things more like a computer.
My advice for a non-techie small business with simple computer needs:
If you just can’t put $$ in, try a Chromebook from somewhere you can return it, if it doesn’t work out.
A cheap PC could work OK… I just worry that a non-techie user will get frustrated doing the upkeep, and will spend what they think they saved on the purchase at the ‘Geek Squad’ getting help.
Personally, I’d invest the extra $300 in a refurbished Mac that over the next years you’ll use for photo tweaking, video clips, ad design, etc. Thinking long-term and for the creative uses small business people end up doing, Macs are great. Just save up a few months and go for the upgrade.
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Chromebook: Cheapest option just to get the basics done
To just check email, surf the web and edit a web site, a Chromebook might be the best choice.
cheap and has a feature that if you totally screw things up like get a virus, you can do an easy complete reset
- cheaply made, not powerful, to do most things on it you need to be connected to the internet
- this isn’t an investment in a great computer to do other things with in the future… it’s just a glorified iPad with a keyboard
PC/Windows: Save $300 but may be more frustrating?
You can get sales and save 10-20% BUT that’s not counting things like virus software, paying for software that Mac includes for free, etc. Here’s an article on Mac PC cost analysis in Computerworld.
- cheap options are available
- lots of choices on features
- can get something at Costco, etc
- they do make high-end ones similar to Mac features and you can save maybe 10%
- check out this pro PC article in Tech Advisor
- Microsoft charges for things Apple includes for free… like Microsoft Word (Mac’s version is free).
- For the average non-tech user, a PC may be more frustrating to keep up to date, fix weird problems, etc. Our Windows PC, we find it MUCH harder to figure out issues.
- Microsoft is VERY corporate… so they want to make sure you’re not using their stuff on too many computers, or there’s a limited time they’ll let you upgrade— Apple gives it to you for free to use however you want.
Mac: It’s an investment
Mac hardware and software and iPhone and iPad all work really well together.
Since Apple makes it all, there’s some really nifty bonuses to using a Mac. My phone knows what web sites I was just on in my computer, all of my passwords, photos, mail, etc are shared between all devices, etc.
We get a super long life out of a Macs, because they always have top-end hardware, build quality, and they do new things first… My main photo iMac is 6 years old & I don’t plan on upgrading for a while.
- Apple includes lots of full featured software for free like their ‘office’ software, photo and video apps are great and free, etc.
- Macs are the closest to ‘it just works’ with little tech knowledge
- Macs are always top quality and in my experience more reliable over years of hard use.
- Apple is #1 in customer satisfaction. I’ve read about the total cost of ownership over the life of a computer being better… and we just love going to the Apple Store.
- buying a better computer is an investment so someday you can do more with it— lots of photo editing, video clips, designing stuff, etc (you could also do this on a decent Windows PC too… but not on Chromebook)
- less chance of viruses (any computer can get one though, and the only real defense is a smart user)
- You pay a little bit more up front, just like you pay more for a Lexus than a Toyota. Don’t let people tell you Macs are WAY overpriced, that’s not true when comparing everything.
- Apple doesn’t want you to tinker with a Mac, so there’s little upgrade options down the line
So, yes… I like Macs, based on lots of experience with helping people on their computers… but I totally think it’s fine if you are techie enough or have help and choose to buy a PC— and many people could do 90% of everything on an iPad or get a Chromebook… these are great days with LOTS of options.
I hope that helps anyone with the same questions my client had. And here’s another great resource if you love podcasts like I do.
Leo Laporte the Tech Guy is SO informative in a non-geeky way about tech issues like the best cameras, phones, computer problems and weekly tech news. Check his shows out and here’s his main ‘Tech Guy’ podcast on iTunes.