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After becoming increasingly frustrated with his MacBook SÉAMUS BELLAMY decided to move to a PC. Here’s what happened
After nearly 20 years as a Mac user, I’m switching to a Windows PC. Despair drove me to switch from a Mac to a PC. I’ve used Apple computers since college, starting with a Apple Mac Classic II in a computer lab. It had a low-resolution monochrome display. And a floppy drive. Soon I bought a used PowerBook 100. From then on, I was committed,
steadily working my way through PowerBooks, iBooks, MacBooks, a MacBook Air and MacBook Pros.
Fast-forward to now: I’ve come to rely heavily on Apple-exclusive software that syncs data with my iPad Pro, iPhone SE and my current computer – a 13in 2015 MacBook Pro Retina with 8GB of RAM, a 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and a 512GB SSD. My 400-film and 11,000-media collection lives in iTunes.
My problem with Apple is the lack of polish I’ve been seeing in the software over the past few years (don’t get me started on the state of iTunes), and the amount of trouble I’ve had personally with the hardware since investing over £2,000 for my current laptop. My workflow has been plagued by graphical glitches, slowdowns, and occasional refusal on the part of my ports to recognize external storage media. At times, my MacBook Pro has outright refused to boot. I couldn’t get it to format an SD card if my life depended on it. Reinstalling macOS has done nothing to sort out these issues, nor has restoring my system from a Time Machine backup.
Having paid extra for AppleCare, I’ve taken in my MacBook Pro several times to be serviced. A few months ago, an Apple tech replaced the entire bottom half of my computer with a new one – it cost less than hunting down an issue with the laptop’s logic board, I was told. And yet, the thing still refuses to fulfil Apple’s promise of ‘it just works.’
The experience has left me frustrated enough to be willing to step into the unknown and see how the other side lives. It’s a sentiment echoed by a lot of people online of late, amid concerns that Apple, as a
company, has lost its way. It once catered to creatives – hardcore power users in film and music production, desktop publishing, and other artistic endeavours. They valued the company’s hardware for its performance and ease of use. But the last update to the company’s iconic Mac Pro desktop was years ago. Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop line saw years of underwhelming incremental updates before being given a serious overhaul a few months ago.
If the feedback from professional reviewers and everyday users like you are to be believed, however, the release of Apple’s latest laptops have done more to aggravate consumers than excite them in the way the company was once known for. Having done away with all ports save one for headphones and a few holes for Thunderbolt 3/DisplayPort 1.2 and USB-C connections, owners of Apple’s latest have been forced to invest in a forest of dongles so they can continue to use their trusty peripherals. Also, the processing power of these new portable rigs is underwhelming when compared to similarly priced Windows 10 hardware, which is salt rubbed into an already raw wound for many Apple aficionados. It’s time to switch.
Easing into Windows via Bootcamp
Most Macs come with Boot Camp Assistant – a program designed to help you turn your Apple computer into a machine that can dual-boot into Windows. A copy of Windows 10 Home costs £120 (or downloaded and used for free with limited options,) so using the OS with Boot Camp is a great way to see what Microsoft has to offer before you invest in a PC.
Unfortunately, my beef with Apple includes several unresolved hardware issues. As such, I wanted a fresh start with a new computer.
The Surface Book can be my PC and my tablet
My PC needs are demanding. I travel constantly, so I have to have a laptop. As a journalist, my world revolves around typing, web research, and editing photos or video. Some of my work takes me into challenging environments, so solid build quality is important. I also miss gaming on my PS4 console, something I had to give up for my nomadic lifestyle.
With all of this in mind, I decided to take the plunge with a Microsoft Surface Book. There are good
reasons why it’s considered the pinnacle of Windows laptops. It has a high-resolution 13.3in display, a tough magnesium case, 512GB of storage (necessary for when I can’t access the cloud,) an Intel Core i7 mobile processor, 16GB of RAM, and a discrete graphics card that’s awesome for gaming. It also has a detachable display that I can use as a tablet. Icing on the cake: I can use Microsoft’s Surface Pen (the counterpart to Apple’s Pencil for its iPads) for noodling with Adobe Lightroom.
It’s a configuration that costs a lot of money, but it does exactly what I need it to do, and it replaces several different devices – my iPad, my dearly departed gaming console, and my MacBook Pro.
This might be more computer than you need, or maybe you want something with even more processing power. I can’t shop for you, but as a recent Apple escapee, I can give you some basic advice on what to consider before dropping any cash on new hardware.
Define your needs and wants
Finding a computer which, at the very least, can cut the same mustard as your current Mac is an absolute must. Let’s start with the basics: What do you currently use your Apple computer for? What would like your new Windows computer to do? Adding the items from your wish-list that you can afford makes the transition from one platform to the other more attractive.
If you’re an artist or deal with a ton of PDFs, perhaps a touch display or one that will work with a Wacom pen, is the way to go. Do you want your new computer to function as a tablet for reading in bed? There’s no
shortage of touch-enabled Windows laptops that fold in half or come apart so you can use them as a tablet. Or skip this feature and stick with your iPad, but it must be said, having touch and pen capabilities on a fullfledged PC is something notably missing from macOS that you might welcome in Windows.
You’ll want to consider the downside of any of the features that you want, too. Laptops with touchsensitive displays typically demand more battery power than traditional models, for instance.
The CPU is the heart of the matter
As Mac users, we had little choice about which CPU our computer used. For years, it’s been nothing but
Microsoft Surface Pro