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PC vs. Mac for Students

With Apple’s release of the $1,200 MacBook Pro last week, critics are now claiming that Cupertino may slowly be lifting the once dreaded “Apple tax” to put even more pressure on the PC market. For medical students looking to purchase a laptop, there’s no better time than now to get yourself a shiny, new MacBook Pro (even if it’ll be your first Mac).

Here’s a breakdown of why a Mac is capable of doing everything a PC can (and more) centered around frequently used tasks for college/graduate students:

Internet browsing

The default browser for Mac, Safari 4.0, trumps Internet Explorer 8 time and time again in terms of speed and security. If you’re still insistent about using Firefox, there’s a version for the Mac. Either way, Wikipedia will load faster than ever before. 馃槈

Office suite

iWork is a fantastic office suite made especially by Apple which can be purchased for any Mac; however, if you’ve grown up using Microsoft Office (as I have), you can purchase Office 2008 instead. I’m an iWork fan because of how it extends the OS X framework (you can seamlessly pull information to/from other OS X applications).

Media

Whether it’s VLC for videos or iTunes for music, there’s software available fo to playback virtually any media format. Plus, OS X includes Front Row, a handy little utility to simplify the playback of your media-centered life. Oh, and there’s always PhotoBooth to pump out those snazzy pictures using the built-in iSight webcam.

Gaming

Gaming is undoubtedly the one area where PC has and will retain a customer base. In fact, this is the only reason why I still have a Windows machine lying around. This isn’t to downplay a Mac’s graphics hardware, but simply a fact based on how many games have been written for Windows XP/Vista versus OS X. Anyways, you’re a student… what business do you have gaming in the first place!? 馃槈

Usability

This is kind of a “catch all” category for anything not covered. I had used a PC for the overwhelming majority of my life, and I can honestly say that it took me only one day to master OS X. So those medical students out there who are considering jumping on the bandwagon, but are fearful of change… purchase the laptop a week or two in advance. 馃槈 OS X is a rock solid operating system which won’t disappoint.

iLife

This deserves its own category. iLife is a collection of programs (iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, GarageBand) which drastically increase your productivity as a student. For example… file those histology slides using iPhoto so you can easily find them in the future and share them with friends.

Before finalizing your decision, be sure to check out an Apple store or reseller (ie, Best Buy) to get “hands on” examination of the MacBooks. I’ve found that there are several important things that you can’t know about a laptop unless you actually see one in person. For example, are the keyboard keys spaced out nicely, or will my hands be stiff after an hour of typing?

If you’re a college/graduate student, how would you assess the capabilities of a Mac (for your school-related work) compared to a PC?

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 One comment

  1. Once you go Mac you’ll never go back.

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