insert_linkAre Macs Worth It, or Are They Overpriced?
It is a fact that there is a sizeable portion of people who avoid Apple Macs like they’re a plague. Some even avoid Apple products altogether. Today’s focal question is: do these people genuinely have a point? Are Macs worth it?
Let’s find out.
Several people I know laugh at the mere possibility of buying a Mac computer, as they believe Windows is superior. And, to clarify, this is for all circumstances—as if Macs are of no significance.
Indeed, they maintain quite a closed-mind when it comes to comparing technological brands; it’s called denial.
Ignoring that, though, let us first establish a starting point for our investigation. Our initial impression of the Mac.
The myth I find being thrown around rather thoughtlessly is the notion that Macs are overpriced. Moreover, many perceive Macs as being all about the aesthetics, coupled with an incapable operating system and incapable hardware.
With that in mind, let me tell you this right here and now: there’s more behind the mythological curtains of Apple Mac devices!
Perhaps Macs are worth it—for you.
But exactly how much material can we scrape up from behind the scenes? As a 100% PC user, I’ll be your fairly balanced detective for as long as you read this article…
insert_linkMeet Our Contestants for Today
It’s enough to ask, “Are Macs worth it?” but without comparable competitors, the question is meaningless.
So, allow me to introduce two competing types of PC systems: a pre-built computer and a custom-built computer.
Both of these types of devices have different markets, thus, hopefully, we’ll be able to paint a clearer picture:
- People who prefer to build their own computer will generally be more computer-savvy. In addition, those demanding maximum performance and value for their money will gravitate towards this side of the river.
- People who buy pre-built, branded computers include the less computer-savvy. Additionally, this route provides the most ease and simplicity for plenty of buyers.
Keeping these options in mind will help you understand where Macs truly reside in the market. Also, I hope that by the end of this online dosage, you will have decided whether Macs are worth it for you.
Also check out: Laptop or Desktop for Programming: Which is The Best?
After all, there is no such thing as the best operating system or the best computer.
insert_link1. Just Give Me the Specs!
One of the first things a lot of people will likely jump to is the specifications of the devices. This is simply because the components affect performance—and this makes sense.
However, I wouldn’t get your hopes up with Apple’s selection of hardware components.
While it’s not entirely terrible, they don’t do the best job of offering up-to-date, top-of-the-range components.
For example, the current MacBook Air series is still awaiting a much-needed refresh. Just look at it; despite the many years gone by, the MacBook Air is holding on to the ancient 5th generation of Intel processors.
On top of that, access to high-end performance (on a budget) is—to be brutally honest—non-existent.
To exemplify, take their 5K 27-inch iMac. The range of processors is decent, meanwhile, the graphics side of things are equally acceptable.
What everybody is complaining about, though, affecting our question, “Are Macs worth it?”, is:
Looking at the base model, you’ll be expecting to spend £1,749 for an Intel 3.4GHz (up to 3.8), quad-core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage, and a Radeon Pro 570. Considering these metrics alone, you could definitely build a more powerful computer for cheaper.
Hence the reason many ignorant people see this and laugh at Apple for selling overpriced products. There’s more to the price-tag, however.
insert_link2. Potentially Overlooked Features and Components in Macs
insert_linkThe Exceptional Display
[caption id="attachment_1832" align="alignleft" width="487"] That was how I acted when I saw the ASUS MX27AQ[/caption]
To begin this section off, let’s put our attention on the displays of Mac devices.
Apple sells some of the best displays you can get, albeit this depends on the specific device you choose. Their so-called Retina displays utilise densely-packed pixels, an outstanding colour gamut and accuracy, along with stellar surface-treatment to create an incredible image.
It’s really no surprise that Macs are popular amongst photographers, video-editors, and creatives alike. It’s really no surprise that people love the visuals of Mac devices.
This image quality is a substantial part of what makes most Apple devices frighten your bank account. In order to verify this, just try to find a monitor online of equal magnificence.
The only competing monitor I know of is the official Apple-endorsed LG Ultrafine 5K monitor, designed exclusively for Macs. Despite being a non-Apple brand, don’t expect any uplifting prices; this monitor goes for just over £400 less than the iMac we talked about earlier.
You’re also paying for quality peripherals with a Mac, such as the satisfying keyboard and pointing device.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to buy an iMac, do not choose the Magic Mouse, no matter how appealing it may be. Instead, consider the Magic Trackpad, which does not suffer from the same fatal ergonomic flaws.
Trust me, the Magic Mouse is a nightmare to handle, since the priority is evidently appearance and touch-gestures. By contrast, Apple’s trackpads are known to be exceptional—the superior trackpad that could probably replace your mouse. (I—personally—have never used an Apple trackpad, though.)
Want a sturdy mouse for productivity? Look no further: Best Mouse for Programming 2018
Mountains-worth of work goes into making all the hardware that comes with a Mac—and that’s where the value is at! Even though they may have critical flaws, it’s not like they don’t have value.
In addition, the Touch Bar with Touch ID is yet another selling-point making Apple stand out. Their Touch ID, especially, is probably the most convenient, most secure, and fastest biometric authentication around for people like you.
Finally, Thunderbolt is heavily used across Apple devices for rapid data transfer and more fun stuff. I’m sure.
So, are Macs worth it? Well, we’re certainly getting closer to the concept of “good value”.
insert_link3. Durability and Reliability
Leading on from the previous point, Macs offer excellent build quality, utilising durable, great-quality materials.
Therefore, as long as you don’t treat your device too harshly, it should hold up quite well. Not to mention, you will feel the satisfaction of the sturdy aluminium unibody design.
This indisputably contributes to a very special user experience—very special indeed. As a bonus, Apple devices can be resold, at higher prices, for longer because of how they hold their value.
But it’s not exclusively the hardware that makes Macs reliable. macOS is an immensely well-refined, stable operating system when compared to its competitors.
To demonstrate, you can expect everything to just work in macOS—at least to a greater extent than Windows. You will probably face a lot more problems using Windows than Mac, and, again, you’re paying for this.
So, are Macs worth it for the reliability? Potentially, as a good deal of work has gone into their OS and build. This then leads us on to the next point:
insert_link4. Ease and Intuitiveness—It Just Works
A vast plethora of users lean towards the Mac platform since, from the beginning, it’s been designed to be intuitive. As a matter of fact, the application dock is a remarkably old feature, aimed to be easy to use.
Now that we’re thinking of it, it becomes clear that Apple Macs represent simplicity. This, of course, is a critical factor for a range of people.
These people may not just be the less techno-savvy, but also people who want to spend more time doing useful stuff, and less time fixing their computer.
A key example, when compared to Windows, is drivers. With Windows, you have to mess around installing (and keeping up-to-date) scores of drivers.
Conversely, macOS could not care less about demanding drivers from you!
insert_linkSeamless Integration with the Apple Ecosystem
What’s more, Apple’s closed ecosystem actually gives them an advantage in the space of continuity.
I can’t speak much of this, in all honesty, but the continued experience between iOS and macOS is on-point.
Glancing at Apple’s webpage, I see support for a universal clipboard, auto-unlock, SMS from your Mac, Handoff and more. Handoff—worth elaborating on—enables you to pick up work on another device. Assuming you’re working in a supported application, this should feel super-intuitive.
With utmost confidence, I can say non-Apple devices come nowhere close to the same tight communication between mobile and desktop.
But that’s not all! Like recognising an old friend, Macs automatically detect your Magic peripherals; it’s magic.
insert_link5. The Hardware Is Tightly Controlled and Optimised
Whereas with Windows, you can use basically any hardware out of the sky, macOS is a bit more hardware-stingy.
In other words, the brands and components they decide to use in their Macs are deliberately selected. Rather, optimised.
macOS is optimised for this limited range of hardware accordingly. Perhaps this is what makes it work so well—as Apple doesn’t need to cater to every component on the market.
Likewise, they can produce software and firmware updates quickly and effectively in the event of a bug. On the contrary, other pre-built devices do not receive equal care and attention.
This contributes to the intuitive experiences that we’ve talked about under the previous heading.
Blazing past the fools, Apple Macs offer consistency—because consistency is key.
Moreover, Apple selects their components for power efficiency. Hence, Macs tend to consume less power than the competition.
insert_link5. Service and Support
We’re seeing a trend here: Apple doesn’t attempt to capitalise on sheer performance per unit of your favourite currency. Instead, what I’m seeing is a focus on everything else that works to produce a great user experience.
Scoring many a goal in one shot of the bullet, Apple is saying their Macs are worth it, providing unparalleled customer service.
To demonstrate, you can get service online, over the phone, as well as at one of the plentiful Apple Stores. Apple will probably ensure your experience is smooth and seamless.
However, Apple Macs only come with 90-days of telephone technical support (better than none) alongside a mere 1-year limited warranty. That being said, this can be extended to 3 years of warranty through the purchase of the pricy AppleCare Protection Plan.
As long as this warranty period prevails, your repair—if covered—should be free of charge. Otherwise, your only option is to pay the price.
Sometimes, though, the ability to repair the computer is enough to make Macs worth it for a lot of people.
Apple doesn’t just support the hardware of old devices, but they also support the software.
To exemplify, Apple has made it free to upgrade to the latest version of macOS. Additionally, old devices could still benefit from the latest and greatest macOS Mojave.
Combined with the durability—as we’ve discussed earlier—this factor gives Mac devices a lengthy lifespan of good usage.
insert_link6. Your Privacy and Security
As you may know, I’m not keen on Windows 10 stealing all of my data, hence my extra privacy measures.
Secure your online privacy (Windows & Mac): Complete Privacy Guide: How to Protect Your Data
Fortunately, Apple has taken a user-privacy-conscious stance with regards to macOS. This is because macOS collects sensitive data to a much lesser extent than Windows 10.
In fact, it leverages differential privacy in order to obfuscate your data, increasing anonymity.
Also, while not invulnerable, macOS has the clear security advantage over Windows 10. This is especially so with all these fancy Apple biological authentication techniques and whatnots.
insert_link8. Straightforward Buying Experience
Relating to that section on ease, Apple makes it super-straightforward when buying their products; Their online configurator is by no stretch of the sheep superior in its sheer simplicity. So, you won’t be spending hours upon hours doing endless chunks of research into buying Macs.
Not to mention, their product line is comprehensive and concise, presenting clear categories for the various use-cases.
The key here is, evidently, clarity and a lack of options, because when you introduce a range of limitless options, life becomes so much harder. For you see, one must do extra research comparing the multitude of options for the one boasting the best value.
This is why I prefer custom-built computers—as it’s easier to compare the individual components.
This is also why I mentioned the buying experience in one of seven points here.
What else was limited in its range? 7 Things I Liked About Windows 10 Mobile (Before it Died)
Of course, it is in Apple’s best interest to make you say yes to today’s “Are Macs worth it?” question.
insert_link9. It’s All About You (The User Experience)
From the prior 8 points, I can safely conclude that Apple’s prime focus is on user satisfaction. That’s it! That’s the secret to a successful business, whereas neglecting your customers only builds a tainted business profile.
With that in mind, ring up the mother of your friend’s dog-walker’s optician. Subsequently, ask them whether they’re satisfied with their 1936 PowerBook Profesh!
While we’re at it, we might as well point out the included Mac-only software, such as Photos for macOS. I hear Apple has been crushing the market for brilliant photo albums—and I wouldn’t be surprised:
Apple cares about you—not you as a whole, but you individually.
Our conversations should be about you and your future, not about what trousers you’re wearing.
Oh, and finally, macOS is exceptionally talented at retaining its performance, like Linux. But not like Windows, which can definitely benefit from a periodic clean-up.
insert_linkWhen Macs Are Not for You
Are Macs worth it? Well, the above nine points may have influenced your decision. Nevertheless, Macs are certainly not for everything.
insert_link1. If You Just Want High-End Hardware and Performance
If you want to exploit the mad performance of AMD’s Threadripper 2 processors, get out. Even though you can have access to Xeon processors in Macs, the optionality isn’t there.
Indeed, we’ve talked about how less is more, but what’s on the shelf just might not be for you.
Therefore, if all you want with your money is the most performance you can get, Macs aren’t worth it. For a budget of £1000, Macs are not worth it, since you can get much better performance with a PC. (Especially with a custom-built PC.)
Moreover, Macs are for people for whom money is not a terrible object (or performance is irrelevant). Rather, it is for those who are willing to pay for the satisfying experience of a Mac computer.
Even so, Macs can suffer greatly from thermal-throttling—especially in high-end models—due to an inadequate cooling system. Consequently, you won’t be able to take 100% advantage of that nifty i9 in your new MacBook Pro.
When you’re paying for something you can’t even use, it’s not worth your money at all!
insert_link2. If You Want Well-Supported Upgradability and Customisation
[caption id="attachment_2852" align="alignleft" width="300"] When there's too much choice for you to handle.[/caption]
As a trade-off for the slim, aluminium unibody designs used by Macs, customisation is sacrificed. So, you’d have to hope the Mac you buy on the day will last you plenty of years without upgrades; because you can’t upgrade it.
This is another reason why custom-built PCs are inexpensive in the long term: you can retain old components that work optimally whilst upgrading obsolete components such as a graphics card.
On the other hand, buying an entirely new computer means you still get to use your old one. Then, in that sense, you do get what you’re paying for by keeping alive old components.
Save money, save hardware: How to Use Your Old Laptop as a Second Monitor (5 Ways)
That being said, I’m sure you could sell old computer components on the web, or, if necessary, the dark web.
insert_link3. When the Software You Want Is Not Available on macOS
Good point, small point—not everything you may need will be on the Mac. Granted, the situation is nothing like Windows vs Linux, however, you might be missing that odd application.
Nonetheless, there are sort-of workarounds like Boot Camp and virtual machines.
insert_linkLike to Play the Video Gamz? Consider Going Somewhere Else
This goes without saying, though, I’ll say it anyway: a rich gaming experience for Big Joe is not present on the Mac, so, stick with Windows—for now. You probably wouldn’t want to risk gaming 5K 60fs^-1 at maximum detail anyway, since your Mac will most likely melt.
With that said, I think there are plenty of games that you can play to a reasonable standard on a Mac. But, for the gamer community as a whole, Macs are not worth it.
insert_link4. If Money Is an Object, and Frugality Is Key
If you’re like me, saving every penny is a necessity. Meanwhile, you need a decent, functional computer for the limited amount of money you have. Also, performance is paramount.
When you’re on a budget—and you have absolutely no money for a Mac—a PC is your only option. If you’re on a slightly enlarged budget, demanding the best performance in that budget, self-built computers are the way to go.
Hence why I chose the latter of the above two.
[caption id="attachment_3110" align="aligncenter" width="594"] This is my desktop computer. It's admittedly not the most elegant, yet it boasts reasonable performance and great performance-value for what I spent at the time. The cardboard (free) increases its value, too.[/caption]
In spite of this, I’m not saying Macs aren’t worth it.
insert_linkFinally, Value for Your Money: Are Macs Worth It?
As with anything, the value of something to you drastically depends.
Are Macs worth it? Are they worth that massive price-tag?
Thinking about it logically, Macs do offer respectable value in exchange for your money. That is to say, you really do get the hardware, features, and experience that you pay for.
Sometimes people are horrendously materialistic, such that they forget about the experiences.
On the other hand, Apple would charge a wider profit margin than most for their premium products. After all, where else do you find anything else like a Mac? If you want the Mac experience, you have no choice but to pay Apple your soul.
In my opinion, it is always worth the extra for a more expensive, more premium product. Simply because, the cheaper, budget devices are invariably horrible to use, hence feel like a waste of money.
How paradoxical—the cheaper products being a waste of money…
Is dual-booting two operating systems worth it? Why I Abandoned Dual Boot and Finally Gained Back Freedom
insert_linkBrand Itself Doesn’t Matter, It’s the Delivery
In conclusion, PC vs Mac doesn’t matter in the end.
The question, “Are Macs worth it?” is not objective, it’s subjective (completely up to you).
As we’re here, the war between Radeon Technologies and Nvidia, or AMD and Intel, is utterly fiddlesticks; by contrast, we should be focusing on the product and service, and how it applies to you.
Mac attracts creatives because Mac works best for them. That doesn’t mean it will work best for you, though.
In the end, you’ve got to evaluate the product, service, and experienced offered in order to determine something’s value for you.
With that all said, what do you think—are Macs worth it? I am officially opening the gates to your feedback.
I care about you. I can count. Trust me, I'm the professional (?)