You've seen that ad, right? Lauren, supposedly just an average person pulled from Craig's List, is very comfortable and relaxed on-camera. That might be because she's coincidentally an actress, but we'll pretend Microsoft didn't know that. With her sporty clothing and her black Volkswagen convertible, she seems like a pretty cool chick, but in the ad she says "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person". Gosh, she sounds a bit disappointed.. and she should be.
As so many other sites have pointed out, the cheap PC she ended up with doesn't even begin to compare to a MacBook. That's OK - Lauren seems interested in price rather than anything else. The only specification she seems to care about is having a 17" screen - why, we are not told. Perhaps she doesn't care about performance: she bought a 2GB model. Maybe she's planning on bumping that up with cheaper after market memory? We don't know
That Volkswagen convertible is hardly the cheapest new car she could have bought - I wonder why she picked that over a Smart at just over half the cost of that VW? Maybe she thought about more than just being a convertible?
Some things Lauren should have thought about before she bought that PC:
Software needs: What's this computer going to be used for? If it's only for email and browsing, a Linux notebook would have been even cheaper. If it's for photos and movies, the Mac is plainly a better choice. Maybe it's some Microsoft only software you need, Lauren? If so, you still could have bought the Mac, because it can run Windows under VMware or Parallels - the Microsoft OS can't run OS X in a VM.
Battery life: If she's planning to use this away from a wall outlet, battery life would seem to be important. The Macbook Pro claims a 8 hour battery life, the HP she bought claims 2.5 hours. Is that important? Only Lauren knows.
That Mac battery also claims to be able to be recharged 1,000 times.. batteries do cost money, Lauren.
Display:: 17" isn't the whole story. The MacBook Pro can do 1920 by 1200, the HP Pavilion only does 1440 x 900 - oops!
Durability: The HP is a cheap plastic case. The MacBook Pro: unibody aluminum. Guess which one is more rugged?
Viruses and malware: Lauren, I hope you know that you WILL get this crap on your PC. Maybe you'll be able to fix it yourself, maybe you won't, but it will cost you either time or money. It could cost you a lot more if a key logger steals your credit card or bank information. Your chance of anything like that on a Mac today is so close to zero it isn't even worth mentioning.
Yes, Microsoft Fanboy in the back, I know it isn't zero. I know that there are recently published exploits. The chance of Lauren having any problems with a Mac is still very, very low.
OS Annoyance: Did you get Vista with that PC, Lauren? Pardon my evil grin, but a lot of people really hate that OS because it can get pretty annoying about security. Of course you can shut that off so it won't mutter at all when that piece of malware takes over.. Mac user escalation checks are much less intrusive.
I'm sorry you didn't think about these things, Lauren. Yes, a Mac costs more, but so did that Volkswagen. Probably those boots did too..
I bet if you really thought about it you would have either decided to up the budget, settle for a smaller screen or just buy an iMac if you really don't need a notebook. Overall, you'd be better off.
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