Speed Mac

September 5th, 2013

Why should I choose a mac over my current Lenovo ThinkPad?

I have a Lenovo T61 ThinkPad, and I'm about to start law school in the fall. I have been told that Macs are much more stable, which is what I'm looking for. Why should I choose a mac over my current computer and what features of a Mac make it so?

There is no right answer to this question. The answer really is "what is right for me?" Since you're going to be a law student, it might not be all that clear.

Windows systems:
-Most widely used, so you're almost guaranteed to find the applications you need. For example, if your courses require you to use any custom software, it's most likely only written for Windows machines.
-Ease of use: you already know how to use it, so there is no learning curve
-Viruses and other malware: almost all malware is designed for Windows systems. Some malware masquerades as anti-virus software, making it difficult to distiguish between the two if you are a new user. Solution: spend $60 on a well-known anti-virus product like Kapersky, Symantec, or ESET.
-Moderately reliable and moderate speed: Windows systems are more likely to crash than Mac systems; windows takes more resources (RAM) to run and is slower.
-Super-user factor: Windows has many options and ways to customize it. Users can change almost anything they want about the system.
-Price: can be half the price for a system with similar hardware to a Mac.

Macintosh OS X systems:
-Reliability and speed: Mac OS usually requires a restart whenever there is an update, as opposed to the daily restart typically required for Windows. Mac OS programs run faster and freeze & crash less often.
-Limited compatibility: Mac OS features many of the same applications as are offered on Windows, but often look and print differently. This may be an issue if you need to write and submit documents electronically if they have tables and graphics.
-User experience: Mac OS is designed for user simplicity. It is easy to use. It is also very difficult to change some settings. For example, changing the theme involves using the command line to type commands. The system is designed to not overwhelm the user with options.
-Price: can be twice as expensive as a comparable Windows PC with similar hardware. BUT you will get far better performance with the hardware in a stock Macbook than with a stock Lenovo at half the price of a Macbook.
-"Just works" factor: it really does "just work." You can take it out of the box, fill in your information, and it will start working and get you on the internet. No need to go through wizard after wizard to install or use something. You will, however, have to learn a new system. You already know how to use Windows.
-Security: Mac OS is designed to protect the user from malware. Programs that make changes to the system require you to authenticate them first. It is what Windows UAC should be. Not much malware is written for Mac OS.

Bottom Line:
You mentioned stability in your question; Mac OS is more stable than Windows. But if your courses require you to use custom software, you may be out of luck if it isn't written for Mac OS.

To keep using your Thinkpad is free; to buy a Mac is $1100-1800 (after tax). To learn how to use Mac OS might take a few hours that you might not want to spend. Your Thinkpad can run faster if you upgrade the RAM.

Basically, unless your Thinkpad is crashing and causing you to lose work, I would recommend you keep it. If you have a thousand bucks burning a hole in your pocket, and want to have a laptop with a glowing apple sign on it, then buy a Mac. I love my Mac, but I bought it only because I was replacing a four-year-old laptop that was crashing all the time.

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