Originally £69 per week on our three year flexible lease contract this is now £64 plus VAT per week and includes a Mac Mini Server with Drobo back up plus 5 X Apple iMacs, with cabling and installation. The reduction in price is in part due to the ease of installation with the advent of Snow Leopard Server. HardSoft have been offering Leasing on IT Networks for over fifteen years predominantly around Microsoft Small Business server 2008. Last year HardSoft introduced the first Apple Mac network following the release of Snow Leopard Server from Apple. This is now a true alternative to a Microsoft network. Though more expensive on a like for like basis the true cost of ownership becomes apparent in the long term ease of use and reliability. HardSoft can include any of the Apple Macs and the Server could be an Xserve instead.
Andrew loves computers and the way the market is evolving to a 'pay as you go' model against the old methodology of CapEx spending. A background of sourcing lease financing for Start Up businesses means he is perfectly place to provide insightful commentary on computing for new businesses.
It’s a debate that’s been raging for years and will likely continue to do so. Is Apple Mac better than PC or is PC better than Apple Mac? Both sides of this debate have extremely loyal users to fight their corner, but we want to know is there ever going to be a winner?Or is it completely down to personal preference?
Market share is heavily weighted in PC’s favour but in creative industries like graphic design, Apple Mac is the usual choice of hardware and in this post, we’re exploring why:
Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite started on the Apple Mac, so naturally, they became the go-to machine for designers lured in by superior software. Since then, however, something stuck and designers have always favoured Apple Mac over PC not only for the quality but also the tradition and reputation the brand has built up over the years in the creative sphere.
Because of this brand loyalty, software companies will, more often than not, target design tools and software towards Apple Macs. Apple puts a strong focus on fonts and colours, especially between screen and print files. Apple is ‘hyper’ aware of their brand reputation and always go out of their way to maintain their signature allure as a ‘designer’s computer’ and nothing seems set to change that.
The operating system (OS) is one of the fundamental differences between Macs and PCs. Generally speaking, Apple Macs run OS X software and PCs run Windows software. Once a user becomes comfortable with a type of software and interface, they usually don’t want to change. Which is often cited as a reason why designers continue to use Macs. When Windows 8 was launched, PCs saw a dip in popularity, but they have managed to rebuild their reputation following the launch of Windows 10. An excellent salvaging operation that renewed PC user’s faith in the brand after the trainwreck that was Windows 8.
Macs are known to fall victim to substantially fewer attacks than Windows PCs. However, especially with the rise of ransomware, it must be said that no matter what your operating system or machine, using anti-virus software, is always a must for any user as hackers are constantly adapting and becoming smarter across all platforms.
Apple connects its Mac and iOS devices seamlessly, so it’s easy to share everything between devices, even to the point where you can start an email on one and finish it on another. Although you can sync your mobile devices with a Windows PC, the convenience and smart integration software present in Apple devices is a great selling point.
Quality of the Build
People working in creative industries like; Graphic designers, Architects, Artists, Editors etc… rely on a high level of accuracy to ensure the quality of their work isn’t hindered. Product reputation is a big factor in purchasing decisions. Apple typically build their Macs to the highest quality standards, paying attention to every detail in both functionality and design. The finished product is not only often elegant and stylish on the outside but on the inside as well.
There’s no denying that you can build your own PC which may be more powerful, or buy a ready-built PC with just as great a spec, but there is something about the Apple Desktop that is inherently cool and perfect for a creative office trying to project a brand message onto both its customers and employees.
In order to achieve such a slim and sleek design, Apple has compromised the possibility of custom upgrades, which can almost always be done with PC. A PC allows you to customise your machine whenever you like. Most creatives not only want but also have to have access to cutting-edge technology and keep their devices up to date. That is why our Hardsoft UK leasing service is ideal for Apple Mac users, as you can upgrade their device after 24 months like you would a mobile phone contract.
Year after year, Apple continues to rank as one of the best customer service providers amongst big brands. If you ever have a problem or query about your device, you have the comfort of knowing Apple is there online, over the telephone, or in store for support. At Hardsoft UK, along with every computer leased, you’ll receive a three-year warranty complete with over the phone technical support. So, no matter what or when there will be someone available to help you!
Overall user satisfaction is ultimately one of the defining factors when it comes to whether you will stick with a brand in the future. The price of the product needs to provide value for money for the user and it’s not often we hear of Apple Mac users regretting their purchase.
The overall verdict is that creative industries generally side with Apple Mac models. There will be exceptions to this, of course, but Apple Mac just pip PCs to the post in the creative world.
Here at Hardsoft UK we offer rent, hire, and leasing for a range of Apple Mac and PC models. We’re a one-stop shop for all of your IT leasing needs. The beauty of it is that you can be at the forefront of the IT industry with the latest models when taking advantage of our leasing service. Perfect for both start-ups and well-established business.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is now available in 15″ and it costs the same to lease as the MacBook Pro 15″ – but which one is best?
With the Surface Book 2 Microsoft are clearly setting their sights on creative professionals who would usually go for the MacBook Pro. The Surface Book has the high-res display, long battery life and high-end graphics performance that designers, animators, and video editors long for. You can detach the touchscreen and draw on it using the Surface Pen and Dial, and Microsoft has packed in some higher-end components, including 8th Gen Core processors and Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics.
Traditionally Apple have been seen as the prestige item but this is starting to change – however, in our opinion if Apple were to bring out a faster MacBook Pro then this trend could start to back track. There are differences in terms of performance and power etc, which we’ll look at shortly, but some general things to consider when you’re weighing up these two notebooks are; the MacBook Pro can run windows as well as the Apple OS, the residual resale value of the MacBook Pro is also around 20% whereas the old version of the Surface Book has only 5% of it’s original value. Another thing to consider is that if your MacBook Pro were to develop a problem you can obtain a loan machine and be up and running quickly due to the Apple iCloud ecosystem.
The Surface Book 2 on the other hand has 4 times the power of the original Surface Book, an impressive battery life and up to 1TB of storage with 16GB of RAM. It also have more than 5 times the graphics performance of the original Surface Book. You can use the Microsoft Surface Pen and Dial with the Surface Book 2 to create and design and with the USB-C port so you can charge devices, transfer files, and display video from a single connector. The main difference is, of course, the ability to use the Surface Book 2 in three ways – as a laptop, tablet, and studio.
The Surface Book 2 looks just like it’s former self and the latest MacBook Pro remains the same, and while the Surface Book 2 is attractive to anyone who might want to move from laptop to tablet without having both, this does come at the cost of some portability. The MacBook Pro is thinner than the Surface Book 2 – 0.6 inches rather than 0.9 inches – and it’s also lighter by 0.2 pounds.
When it comes to displays the Surface Book 2 features an amazingly high-res screen in the 15″ version at 3240 x 2160 – the 13″ is pretty amazing too at 3000 x 2000. In comparison, the MacBook Pro, runs at 2800 x 1800 on the 15″ (and 2560 x 1600 on the 13″). The 15″ MacBook is brighter, but the 15″ Surface Book is slightly more vivid, and it detaches to become a tablet!
Both of them offer strong performance in terms of power, but graphically the Surface Book 2 is more powerful. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with its Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD achieved a score of 15,293 on Geekbench 4, while the 15-inch Surface Book 2’s Core i7-8650U CPU with 16B of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD was slower, achieving a score of 12,505 on Geekbench 4. When it comes to graphics, the Surface Book 2 is stronger, with a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. The MacBook Pro’s Radeon 560 GPU works well but the Surface Book 2 deals with more graphic heavy applications and games with ease.
Microsoft have added a USB Type-C port to the Surface Book 2, but unfortunately it’s not a Thunderbolt 3 port, which allows for higher speed connections. However, it does have two USB Tyoe-A ports and a SD memory reader, which the MacBook Pro doesn’t.
The battery life of both the MacBook Pro and the Surface Book 2 is top-notch but whilst Apple say the Macbook 15″ has around 10 hours of battery life, Microsoft say their Surface Book 2 has up to 17 hours of video playback battery life. That’s almost a whole working day of difference.
Whether you choose the MacBook Pro or decide the Surface Book 2 is for you, don’t forget that leasing either with a HardSoft lease will cost you exactly the same amount per week, so you can’t lose! To find out more about our leasing options get in touch with our sales team on email@example.com or call 020 7111 1643.
Have some free training on us! Need to get into the nitty-gritty of software such as Cinema 4D, Revit or Adobe CS?
If you’re a creative or developer, you’ll know that there are several software packages that you need have under your belt in order to stay ahead of the game. With this in mind HardSoft have teamed up with Academy Class training in order to help you out with free training on certain** new top-end Apple Mac computers.
Academy Class is a training provider for creatives and developers in the UK who are offering HardSoft customers free training on a range of 17 of their online courses, covering 9 software packages – all you have to do is log in using a rebate code and you have £238.00 worth of online training available at your fingertips.
You can become the expert that you need to be with the right training and we’d love to help you start your journey into expertise. The Academy Class training courses get a large number of positive reviews from their attendees, such as “I had never used AutoCAD before and the classes got me through the exam first time. Very good introduction to what was a daunting challenge for me.”, “The two day Premiere Pro Yellow Belt class gave me exactly the knowledge I needed. The Tutor, Dom, had excellent knowledge of the product.”, and “The trainer was very good at explaining an overview of the course and the class moved at a good pace. Mark’s understanding of printing helped a great deal”.
The wide range of courses and levels available to you, means that there is always going to be a course that will help improve your knowledge and skills. Academy Class offer three levels of training: Beginner ‘Yellow Belt‘, Intermediate ‘Green Belt‘, and Advanced ‘Black Belt‘, so you can choose which level is most appropriate for your needs. You can also choose the way in which you want to learn. You can either attend a class at one of the training centres in London, Manchester, Leeds, or Glasgow, or you can attend a virtual real-time class without leaving home or the office in a small online training group, or receive one-to-one training.
Courses are certified so you can show your potential clients you have the knowledge and skills to do a great job for them. Adobe certification is great for digital media professionals and educators alike, while Autodesk certification is perfect for every great designer.
Courses covered in this offer are:
Adobe Photoshop – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Adobe Illustrator – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Cinema 4D – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe User Experience
Adobe Premiere Pro – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe After Effects – 101 Yellow Belt
Autodesk AutoCAD – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Autodesk Revit Architecture – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
** Offer for free on-line training applies for new orders from 27/2/18 to 31/3/18 on all Apple iMac Pro, all Mac Pro, and iMac 27″ with i7-4.2GHz only.
iMac Pro fever fails to hurt the iMac’s Value The iMac Pro, after a long wait, is finally here… and it’s impressive. But let’s start at the beginning;
An Apple product that needs no introduction the iMac, which for the rarest of moment’s finds itself caught in the shadow of another product.
Coming in at 27″ The top-spec iMac can include: 64GB RAM, a 2TB SSD AMD Radeon 580 graphics an 8GB video memory and a quad-core Intel i7 Kaby Lake processor running at 4.2GHz or Turbo Boost of 4.5GHz. Pretty good right?
Standing at a mighty 27″ tall in bold but beautiful ‘Space Grey’ Apple have certainly pulled out all the stops and produced something not just beautiful, but also powerful. Inside the iMac Pro as standard: An 8-Core Intel Xeon processor which, once turbo, is capable of producing blistering 4.5GHZ processing speeds! 1TB of SSD Memory and 32GB of RAM all brought together by cutting edge Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 (High Bandwidth) memory. Of course, this is all customisable… The top spec includes; an 18 core processor, 128GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD Memory making this new ‘Pro’ incarnation of the iMac, I say this proudly, this is the best Apple spec ever possible and if nothing else the Pro is certainly deserving of the hype. But is it worth the price tag?
The critical question here is: Have Apple created a product for you or for themselves? The Pro showcases beautifully what Apple can do and its nothing short of a technological battleship! Being able to handle all but the impossible with ease. Even previously unapproachable tasks like rendering and editing 8k media live, it can effortlessly accomplish.
But do you NEED that? To put it into perspective; A full spec iMac Pro with 128GB of RAM and it’s 18 core processor you could run any AAA title game, optimally, 15 times simultaneously… Unless you fall into the ever so slim niches of live film editing, niche designers or perhaps NASA scientists? Who can put the iMac Pro to good use, much of the Pro is inevitably left un-used and, really, unwarranted? Even when attempting the most ‘intensive’ tasks like editing and creating there is too much there. Let alone the day to day, bread and butter work that plagues most of us.
So where is the value currently? Have no fear GeekBench has spoken! The iMac manages to hold it’s own. Not in the traditional specification department within which it usually excels, now that the iMac Pro is here. But in bang for your buck the classic iMac still absolutely screams value. Holding a current GeekBench score of 19,000 versus the iMac Pro’s impressive 41,000 may not look fantastic until you look at the money…
With a HardSoft lease @ only £21.40 a week you get a hell of a machine in the iMac, able to handle all your day to day needs as well as heavy tasks, the iMac truly confirms why Apple is king when it comes to creative. Handling editing software with a simplicity and effortlessness unmatched by any PC device, and not only that, the iMac does it beautifully.
Starting at £42 you will get the 8 – Core iMac Pro with a score of 30,000, whilst beautiful it holds far less than double the score for very nearly double the money of the classic iMac. The Pro is impressive and I seriously recommend you checking it out so you can see exactly how far the iMac range has come. But I suppose the point of all this is, even though it’s good, it’s probably too good.
Apple has certainly shown off with the iMac Pro, but in terms of suitability, it appears the iMac still has some time to reign supreme before the world catches up.