With so many machines available today, choosing a PC has become a far more difficult task than it ever was. Once upon a time, computers were all pretty much the same and deciding between them might have been based more on cosmetic features than technological capabilities. Not so in the 21st Century.
While the tech press has mused for ages that ‘in one/two/three years, you’ll only need a smartphone’, in actual fact, traditional PC sales have remained steady (308.6 million annual sales worldwide). What’s more, nearly half of IT professionals say they plan to replace old desktops like-for-like. As such, to consign the desktop to the recycle bin is excessively premature – especially with the likes of Apple, HP and Lenovo producing ‘all-in-one’ desktops. The big issue, then, is knowing what to go for: a desktop PC or a desktop Mac?
We thought we’d examine some of the biggest deciding factors, to help you make a choice that best suits your needs.
If your perception of a desktop PC is that of a bulky tower and a spaghetti junction of cables, think again. Many manufacturers have started offering ‘all-in-one’ desktops – where the entire workings are integrated into the monitor, providing a brilliant space-saving solution.
The Apple iMac 27” Retina 5K is one such gorgeous example, which comes complete with wireless mouse and keyboard – so if space is at a premium, or even if it isn’t, you’ll have more room with these new iMacs.
Should you require a slightly larger keyboard, the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 93z might be your preferred option.
If you can’t get your head around the fact that the entire computer is contained within the monitor, you could always opt for a traditional monitor-and-tower setup. Even these have reduced in size and won’t assume all the leg room under your desk. The Fujitsu Celsius W530 Mini Tower measures just 39.5 cm in height and 42cm in depth, while the HP ProDesk 490 G2 Micro Tower measures just under 36cm x 36cm. It’s worth bearing in mind that using a tower means that you’re more easily (and affordably) able to upgrade the PC, without having to replace the entire kit.
It’s something that Apple executives have said they they’ll never do: create a touchscreen desktop. You might argue that Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, knows his target market when he said: “We don’t think it’s the right interface…Mac is sort of a sit-down experience”. Given our Mac survey identified that a third (and the largest proportion) of Mac desktop users were creatives/designers, this is probably true – that kind of work isn’t something that can be done at length on, say, an iPhone.
However, if a touchscreen is something you’re looking for, then there are a couple of options available. The Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 93z, with its full HD touch screen, is highly rated, as is the HP EliteOne 800 with its ‘10-point capacitive touchscreen’. At a time when most of us are used to swiping on our hand-held gadgets, these might be your preferred option.
When it comes to design, Apple typically has the edge. The recognisable, sleek, silver styling extends to the streamlined keyboard and mouse, and the whole set up simply looks the part. In the Apple Mac survey we ran earlier this year, design was listed the second most popular reason for choosing a Mac product (22.58 per cent).
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and HP has produced its own attractive all-in-one desktop, the HP ProOne 400 G1 – Core i3, proving that it’s not just Apple that’s taking aesthetics seriously now.
Ultimately, the decision between Mac and PC may come down to what you will be using your desktop for. Given that all-in-ones usually feature bigger screens, your graphic designers and media editors are probably more likely to want an iMac – as are those who may wish to watch lots of videos and films. Apple’s software is also highly praised by those in creative industries, and it was the biggest reason why people in our poll chose an Apple product in the first place.
If you’re a die-hard gamer then a PC (probably a Windows PC) is the way to go. PCs offer far greater opportunity for customisation – you can boost the spec more easily and reasonably than with an Apple, adding memory or a better graphics card so that it can cope with demanding games.
For work, well, the choice is yours.
What do you want? To create a professional looking workspace that impresses clients? Tech that fits in your tiny office and doesn’t leaving you tangled in cables? Then your iMac is the way to go. If you want something with greater power and a wider variety of software, then a PC might be better suited to your needs. It’s worth knowing that Macs can run Windows, if it helps?
Hopefully, the above will help you make a desktop decision between Macs and PCs, but if not, speak with one of our friendly experts on 0207 111 1643 – they’ll be happy to advise you on the best options.