I will highlight the practical points that you should think of before buying a laptop and determine what is the best laptop for young professionals.
In this increasingly global and fast-paced world, no young professional would be caught without a laptop. The question of what is the best laptop has spawned a seemingly religious debate. On one side, you have Apple cultists singing the hymns of praise for their dear prophet Steve Jobs. They are full of zeal, fervour, and Starbucks.
On the other hand, you have Windows. They eschewed any notion of happiness long ago in the name of all that is economical, but hey at least it works.
What Do Young Professionals Really Need?
A laptop is a computer for mobile use, a computer for the young professionals on the go. Does this mean you should get the best laptop available?
No. If anything, stay clear of the best laptops unless you have mounds and mounds of money to burn.
If you are only doing simple things on your laptop, you should stop what you are doing and think, do I really need a computer this awesome?
The most intensive task you will likely be doing on your laptop is watching cat videos. So unless your plan is to watch a thousand cat videos in HD (I will question your sanity), there’s not much point in getting the best laptop on the market. You could get a desktop computer that is more powerful for half the price. The purpose of a laptop is for it to be mobile, rather difficult when you are lugging around a behemoth. When your work requires you to travel and you absolutely, positively, without a doubt need the laptop to do more computer-intensive tasks, only then should you break down and get the more powerful laptop.
Not All Laptops Are Created Equal
Everyone wants the best laptop for the cheapest price. So the next question is which brands are the most reliable?
Myth: Apple Laptops Are More Reliable Than PCs.
One of the most common myths is the failure rate of Apple laptops is much less than PC laptops. This is far from the case as Apple is in the middle of the pack shown in a study done by Squaretrade on Laptop Malfunction Rates , a warranty provider for computers. The manufacturers with the lowest failure rates (ASUS, Toshiba, Sony and Apple) are ones that make premium laptops. With the exception of Lenovo, the manufacturers with the higher failure rates are ones that make budget laptops.
Myth: Apple Laptops Cost More.
The other myth is that Apple laptops are more expensive than comparable premium laptops. While the average Apple laptop is approximately twice as much as the average PC laptop, this is an unfair comparison as the quality of hardware in an average Apple laptop will be superior than that of an average PC laptop. Now an Apple laptop will still be more expensive than a PC laptop with similar hardware but the Apple laptop will not be more expensive by much.
The more expensive cost of a Mac can be offset by the extras that come with Apple laptops. Software suites like iWork or iLife come with all Apple computers pre-installed. Getting similar software on a Windows laptop would cost upwards of a few hundred dollars. On top of that, Macs do not need to be installed with an anti-virus software as they are not the primary target of viruses and other malicious software. All these little extras more than make up for the higher price of a Mac.
Macs are sexy, plain and simple. Sure aesthetics is subjective, but nothing on the market even compares to their sleek, clean, minimalistic design. It’s beautiful. No one puts the amount of effort into the design of their products in the tech world as Apple and it shows. Every detail is accounted for in the design process. Nothing is left up to chance. The bundling of OS X, its intuitive and simple operating system, only with Apple computers was done on purpose. They are two parts of an ensemble that compliment each other.
Should You Pay More for a Better Laptop?
The question now lies whether paying extra for a pretty laptop matters to you. A young professional should care about paying more for a better looking laptop as they will be working on it fairly often. It’s more fun to work on a computer that is engaging than one that is bland and boring.
There is also the added (albeit petty) bonus of Macs being a symbol of status. When you pull your Mac out, people around you will take note. Macs have the perceived notion that its owner is wealthy and is knowledgeable about the latest trends. Now I am not trying to say you should go out and get a Mac to impress people. The products you own should not dictate who you are as a person. What I am saying is that your Macbook is a great conversation starter or it could impress a potential employer. Seriously, people are impressed by what might be perceived as trivial matters, like red socks or firm handshakes, and the Mac could provide that extra oomph.
Mac Culture Shock
Buying a Mac changes some people, often for the worst. Well maybe I am being a bit melodramatic. People do define themselves based upon the products they own and Mac culture is probably the worst expression of pretentiousness outside of polo and equestrian circles.
Your laptop is nothing more than a tool. It does not make you a better person or some vanguard of the elite. Nothing has changed except for a dent on your credit card.
Time is important to the young professional. Every minute that their laptop is in repair is more time wasted that could be done sealing that busy deal or writing that report that could turn around the company. As mentioned earlier, Macs have less viruses and malicious software targeting it than PCs. While you can get antivirus and antispyware software cheaply for PCs, you still have to remain vigilant against threats, and be on the lookout for suspicious software and websites. Macs also are bundled right out of the box with most of the software that young professionals need (notable exception is Microsoft Office). This means no extra time wasting looking for software or drivers (although Windows 7 has made serious strides in eliminating the driver problem). Lastly, Macs are intuitive and simple to use meaning no time wasted troubleshooting or figuring out how to run a program. The combination for Macs of lower hardware failure rate, lack of threats, and ease of use means you will be spending more time being productive and less time wasting tinkering with it.
The operating system of Macs does not require anti-virus software to be installed as it is less likely to be the target of malicious threats. Most viruses are designed for Windows computers in mind due to Windows’ large market share (almost 90% of the personal computer market). Malicious software designed for Windows cannot affect a Mac as it cannot run on the operating system that Macs use. I realize the ‘no one bothers to attack Mac’ argument is flawed. Even if in the future Macs do dominant the market, the operating system is safer from external threats than Windows due to it being based off the UNIX operating system.
This article was not meant for individuals who are technologically savvy and know computers like the back of their hand. This article was meant for young professionals who like most people don’t care about what is going on inside their laptop. They just want it to work. So I believe it is evident who the winner is in this case: the Mac.
Macs are slightly more expensive than the average PC with comparable parts and its failure rate is low to medium compared to other laptop brands. The Mac though makes up for it with its fantastic pre-installed software suite, lack of external threats, and its ease of use. Even after reading this article, you still want to buy a PC there are some options I can recommend. ASUS laptops are worth the value you put into them; they will last long and they look good. I also recommend Lenovo ThinkPad computers as they are excellent business computers that will last just as long or even longer than a Mac for much less. If you want a further breakdown of Macs and their equivalent PC counterparts, Microsoft offers a great resource.
Note on Laptop Warranties
While this is an afterthought an important consideration for all potential laptop buyers is the warranty. All laptop manufacturers will come with at least a one year warranty and even for some PC manufacturers (ASUS and Toshiba) come with 2 and 3 year warranties for some of their lines of laptops. The average failure rate after 3 years is 30% for a laptop and usually by then your laptop has diminished in value greatly. After that time, you are better off getting a new laptop. While I think in most cases a warranty is unneeded, if you are going to get one, don’t spend more than 25% of the value of your laptop on one.