Last week I was asked a question by a friend who is a Mac virgin.
“I’m sick of PC’s. Should I get a new MacBook Pro with a separate display or an iMac?”
Now there’s a question without an easy answer. And it just became more difficult with the launch of the new 27 inch Apple display, which offers the same amount of screen space as a 27 inch iMac. From my own perspective, I’m gonna have to make the same decision pretty soon, so let me give it a shot.
The MacBook Pro (I’m lumping the MacBook and MacBook Pro together since they have grown so close over the past year, they are practically hitched) is a phenomenal laptop. Comparing it to an iMac side by side, the MacBook Pro is obviously slower in terms of processing power, offers less storage and less graphics power, but on the other hand is upgradeable and has portability. So the question that has to be asked is, how much are you willing to pay to be able to move your computer system between locations?
And these are the two things that will factor most in your decision. Portability and cost. For me, I like to be portable. I take my MacBook wherever I go (along with iPad and iPhone). But with new software like LogMeIn where you can access your home computer remotely, is it worth having two systems, an iMac at home and a MacBook on the road. I think that the short answer, depending on your costs, is ‘no’. Let me illustrate:
For $1500, you can get a decent MacBook Pro or an iMac.
For $2500, you can get a decent MacBook Pro with a 27 inch display or a beast of an iMac with change to spare.
For $3500, you can get a MacBook Pro and an iMac. Or you can get a Mac Pro with 27 inch display.
- It should be noted that I am using prices from MacMall as they are much cheaper (normally around $200) than buying from Apple directly. You can use the link on the right to go over there and have a look.
With the launch of the 27 inch display, the best bet really is the MacBook Pro with separate display (around $2500) with bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse/Trackpad. The reasoning behind this is that Macs are so much more efficient that they let on. Even a low processor speed MacBook can comfortably cope with running multiple programs in OSX with very little slowdown. Unless you are constantly going to be running applications that require high amount of processor crunching, this is the way to go. It’s great for everyday use, you can hook it up to the gorgeous 27 inch display, and has the portability when required. There is essentially no reason to drop an extra grand or so and get the MacBook and iMac together, or even a Mac Pro.
So there you go. A badly written, rambling thought process on buying a new Mac. Many buyers will go through the same thing. But here’s my two-cents on making it easy. Portability and Cost.
In that order.