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Mac Vs. PC: Which Should You Bring to College?

One of the more important decisions you might make during your college years is which laptop computer to use for school and your studies. Should you choose a Mac? How about a PC?

mac versus pc college computer laptop

Mac vs. PC

There are a few long-standing stereotypes that tend to fuel the Mac vs. PC debate. Macs are less vulnerable to viruses. PCs are more widely compatible with software and hardware. Macs are better for graphics, audio and video editing. PCs are less expensive. Macs are prettier. But how do you know which one will actually be better for college?

Technical Support

The first and most important question you need to ask is: Which computer will be better-supported on my campus? Most computing help desks are able to offer at least some technical support to both Macs and PCs. You'll want to check your on the type of computer help your school will have available.

Compatibility

Second, you may find it easier to share files and information with your cohort if you're using the same platform. We're not talking about music here, but being able to remotely log in to your classmates' computers can be helpful for sharing documents and collaborating on projects. However, as more and more programs move to the Web-based cloud, where you can share between any type of Internet-ready computer, this is becoming a less important consideration.

Macs have long suffered from the notion that many major applications don't run on them. In fact, as Macs have grown in popularity, software developers have stepped up their efforts to ensure that their applications work on every platform. This includes such useful programs as Microsoft Office (including Outlook) and Adobe Creative Suite. However, there is one program that only runs on Macs - Final Cut Pro, one of the world's most popular video editing applications. So if you're entering an art or journalism program, you may be better off with a computer that can run Final Cut.

Cost

Of course, one thing that all college students have to worry about is cost. From tuition to books to room and board, college is expensive, and most students need to save money anywhere they can.

This is one area in which PCs win, hands down. The Apple MacBook is priced at $1,299, while the 11-inch MacBook Air is $899. With an education discount, the MacBook Air is $849. On the other hand, the best PC laptop choice will depend on what you'd like to use it for. However, they are much more affordable. If you can find a good deal, a Dell laptop can be bought for as little as $179. A majority of their laptops can be purchased in the range of $200-$400.

Repairing a Mac is also likely to be more expensive, unless your school's hardware shop is Mac-certified. On the other hand, if they're only Mac-certified, then you may save money in the long run with a Mac because you'll be able to get many repair services for free.

Other Considerations

But what about viruses? Aren't PCs much more vulnerable to them? Yes, but only because there are more Windows viruses out there. No matter what kind of computer you have, it's important to install antivirus software, keep it updated and be careful to avoid accidentally downloading malware or spyware. Check with your school's help desk to find out if they offer free antivirus software to students as well as tips on protecting your PC or Mac.

Ok, but what about design? Aren't Macs prettier and easier to use? Most people do prefer the aesthetic of Apple computers, but only you can decide if that's an important consideration. And Macs do tend to be more user-friendly, but if you've been using a PC your whole life then you will do just fine with Windows in college.

Computers aren't the only electronics that you'll need for school. Don't miss these gadgets that will make your college life easier.