A laptop with a great screen, lots of memory and a fast processor shouldn't cost $1,300. Or $900, the cheapest laptop you can get from Apple.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years
Back to school? Save money -- skip the Mac
August 10, 2014
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard
Some of my Apple friends told me I was a traitor when I wrote last year that I couldn't recommend Mac laptops any longer because they're too expensive.
I've been called worse. But let me set the record straight.
I've owned Macs since 2002. That's 12 years. I worked with Macs at the office for a lot longer than that. They're wonderful computers. Those who can afford them are lucky.
But I'm not made of money and I'll bet you're not either. A laptop with a great screen, lots of memory and a fast processor shouldn't cost $1,300. Or $900, the cheapest laptop you can get from Apple.
Not when you can buy a PC laptop for half that. Or one-third.
Apple's laptops cost more for a very simple reason. It's not, as some people assume, because Apple uses better parts or has higher manufacturing costs. It's because Apple knows it can charge more. People who want a status symbol -- BMW, anyone? -- will pay more for it.
BMWs are nice. I owned two of them. Are they worth twice as much -- maybe three times as much -- as a Kia?
As cars, no. As status symbols? They're worth whatever you want to pay to impress your neighbors.
All computers use the same parts. They're made in the same kind of factories. In some cases, they're even made in the SAME factories.
So forget status when you're buying a back-to-school laptop this year. Get a Windows laptop. But -- and this is such an important "but" that I could write it on a billboard -- get it with Windows 7. Not Windows 8. Every expert I know agrees that Windows 8 is a disaster. Windows 7 is superb.
If you can't get it with Windows 7, put Windows 7 on it as soon as you can.
That's all. All laptops are put together the same basic way, and you're not likely to find a clunker even among the ones that sell for no more than the cost of Apple's extended warranty. Just skip Windows 8.
And save a lot.