What’s best for me, an Apple Mac, Chromebook or Windows PC?

What’s best for me, an Apple Mac, Chromebook or Windows PC?

Computing has changed radically in recent years with laptop sales far outstripping those of desktop models. Their internal parts are also far more standardized, with key price points met by different types of the same processor, and varying levels of memory or storage. 

One age-old question that remains is should I get an Apple Mac or a Windows 10 PC? The question is more relevant as the Apple brand has moved on from a designer niche to global appeal thanks to design innovation and the popularity of iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. 

The world of Windows-powered PCs, on the other hand, has recovered from the dismal designs of Windows Vista, Windows 8 and early Windows 10 operating systems into a more appealing package with Office and cloud services. Entering the race as a relatively recent arrival Chromebooks are a third way, offering the power of the cloud and Google services across a growing range of notebooks. 

Windows or Mac?

Ultimately, you can do all the same tasks on a Windows 10 or Apple Mac PC, but if you already have other Apple devices, a Mac might be the way to go as they sync data and services better. Even so, a Windows 10 PC will work well with any smartphone and other devices, but Chromebooks are more limited in their choice of applications, so there are tradeoffs to make depending on your budget. 

Notebook or Desktop?

You can still buy traditional desktop PCs, but their size, noise and general ugliness have limited them to gamers and power users. More compact options like mini-PCs or the Mac Mini are available if you have a screen to connect them to. 

Flatscreen all-in-ones like the Apple iMac are more appealing if you work from home or have a comfortable home office environment to work in. Note that Apple Macs can run Windows 10 operating systems using an app called Boot Camp. 

For everyone else, laptops are more practical, thanks to their portability and the lower-power processors in modern units that give them longer battery life and mean the casing does not heat up. 

Model 

Specification

Price 

Notes

Acer Aspire TC-390


Ryzen 5 8GB RAM 1TB Storage

£479

The latest Ryzen 5 processor is blinding fast yet low-cost

Apple Mac Mini 2020


M1 8GB RAM 

256GB Storage

£699

Apple’s M1 processor is amazingly fast, but Apple ramps up the price for more storage

Apple iMac 2020 21.5in Retina


4K screen i5 processor 8GB RAM 256GB Storage

£1499

A beautiful screen but the processor and storage are underpowered for the money, and higher-spec versions cost top-tier prices. 

ASUS Vivo V222 21.5in


i3 processor, 8GB RAM 1TB storage HD screen All-in-One PC

£499

Less power and screen resolution than the Apple iMac, but perfect for typical use cases. 


If the idea of being fixed to a desk, or having wires trailing around the room isn’t for you, then a notebook solves those problems with excellent portability, so you can work at college, the coffee shop, home or on the train. 

What’s the best notebook for me?

Notebooks come in three basic classes; budget, mid-range and high-specification. Budget models start from £180 typically and are fine for basic tasks such as office work, web browsing, social media and playing music. 

Mid-range notebooks come in at around £300-700 and provide better quality keyboards, screens, casing and more processor power for some light gaming, HD media playback, and more intensive tasks. 

Premium notebooks cost upwards of £800 and are often desktop-class components crammed into a notebook case for gaming, high-end work like video editing and other tasks. Apple MacBooks come in at the higher end, but you are paying from premium performance and design. 

Model

Specification

Price

Notes

ASUS C223 11.6in Chromebook


Celeron processor 

4GB RAM 32GB storage

£199

Only a 1366 x 768-pixel screen, but otherwise enough for basic tasks. 

ASUS VivoBook 15


15.6-inch screen Ryzen 5 processor

8GB RAM 256GB Storage

£499

The latest Ryzen processors make even mid-range notebooks incredibly fast

Apple MacBook Air 2020 13


13-inch screen 

M1 processor

8GB RAM 

256GB storage

£999

You pay a lot for Apple power and design, but this is a beautiful light and highly powerful fanless, silent, notebook

Apple MacBook Pro 2020


13-inch screen 

M1 processor 

8GB RAM 

512GB storage

£1,499

With a more powerful processor and storage, this one of the fastest computers available. 


There are many more models with varying specifications, but the rule with any PC purchase is to buy the most powerful processor you can afford. It is easy to upgrade storage through SD cards or external hard drives, but you are stuck with the processor until your next notebook purchase. 


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