You know you need to outfit your small business with computers, but you don't know if you should go with Macs or PCs. The truth is there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The most successful entrepreneurs weigh every expenditure and carefully consider their options when making any purchase. This guide can help you clarify your technology goals and get the best fit for your small business.
Mac and PC basics
The most obvious difference between Macs and PCs is the operating system. The interfaces are visually very different. Most die-hard Mac or PC fans are primarily attached to the brand because of the general interface; however, limiting your purchasing options simply because you're used to an OS doesn't always makes sense. It is possible to switch from being a Mac user to a PC user, and vice versa.
Pros of Macs
Low maintenance: If your small business doesn't have the budget for tech support and you're uncomfortable with basic maintenance, a Mac may be a good option. Apple laptops and desktops are famously low-maintenance and not often a target for hackers.
High status: While it may be tough to admit to oneself, status and perception by others is a reason many people prefer Apple computers. If a large part of your business involves impressing clients or investors, it might be worthwhile to spring for the company's "designer" laptops.
Industry standard for design: If you employ a large percentage of designers or creative professionals, Macs are a good option to satisfy your staff. Digital graphic design really got its start on Macs, and the system still has a pretty tight grip on the artistic community. Even Photoshop was born on Macs. Because of this, many designers first learned how to design on Macs and remain fiercely loyal to them.
Luxurious design: Compared to some other laptops (even many high-end PCs), Apple computers feel and operate like luxury machines. The company is known for bright and colorful displays, responsive keyboards, and highly sensitive track pads. For many people, the sheer quality level of the aluminum unibody chassis is reason enough to buy a MacBook.
For details about the latest Mac operating system, check out the best business features of macOS High Sierra.
Cons of Macs
Expensive: All Mac products are expensive. Part of that comes from the luxury design and high-status perception. Apple doesn't make a budget option. If you are not interested in paying a minimum of $999 per laptop, a MacBook is not for you.
Very few choices: Apple is the only manufacturer of Mac products. When you shop for a MacBook or an Apple desktop, your design and configuration options are limited.
No touchscreens or hybrids: There aren't any Macs with 360-degree hinges, touchscreens or stylus capabilities. However, Apple does make a line of iPads to serve this market. If touchscreens on a laptop are important to you, it might be worth buying tablets in addition to laptops.
Office for Mac: It used to be that you could only run Microsoft Office on a PC, but now there is a Mac version of Microsoft Office. If you've never used Office before, you'll probably enjoy using Mac for Office. If you're already adept at using Microsoft Office on a PC, you'll go through an adjustment period using Office for Mac, because it's not identical to the PC version.
Pros of PCs
Varied price points: PCs crush Macs in terms of offering prices suitable to a wide range of budgets. You can purchase a very low-end PC for as little as $300 (we don't recommend that) or a ridiculous gaming monster machine for $30,000 (we don't recommend that either). The average cost of a PC is between $400 and $500, while the average cost for a Mac is $1,500, per NPD Group.
More customizable: PCs are highly customizable. Many of the well-known manufacturers (Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc.) offer many upgradable options, such as additional ports, CPUs, GPUs and plenty of accessories.
Many design options: Because so many different companies manufacture and sell PC laptops, there are lots of design options. You can purchase heavy and powerful workstation-style laptops, portable ultrabooks, hybrids that can transform from laptop to tablet, and so on.
Business standard: Outside of the design world, PCs are the general industry standard for business users. With the widespread use of PCs, your employees are likely to be familiar and comfortable with using a PC laptop at work.
For more about the latest Windows 10 operating system update, check out the best business features of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Cons of PCs
Quality varies: Because there are so many different manufacturers of PCs, the quality varies massively from machine to machine. Using buying guides on reputable sites and looking at product specifications can help you ensure you get a quality PC.
Security software: If you purchase a PC, you should also purchase some form of antivirus security software. In general, this is not a huge expense, but it is something you need.
Less stylish: PCs are getting better-looking, but there are still many manufacturers of business machines who pay little attention to aesthetics. You can find nice-looking PCs that feel like high-quality machines, but PCs aren't considered as universally stylish as Macs.
Alternatives to mainstream choices
You may want to consider something outside the PC/Mac paradigm. Chromebooks run a largely web-reliant operating system made by Google called Chrome OS. These machines tend to last longer on a charge. You can't really run traditional software on these machines, but you can run Android apps on new models. Chromebooks are inexpensive and growing in popularity. Check out our guide to learn more.
You can also purchase a PC and install Ubuntu as the operating system, which is based on Linux. That means it's an open source software OS that may be a favorite with highly technical companies, such as developers and coders. Also, this may be an especially good option for business owners who are too price-sensitive to purchase a Mac but dread using Windows 10. Few companies make machines with Ubuntu preinstalled, but you can find them from Lenovo, HP and Dell. For the more adventurous, you can install it on an existing machine yourself.