MacBook vs Windows-Based Laptop | Which is Best for You?

Over the past few years, computers have gone through many changes. The age of the desktop is quickly coming to an end, and laptops are becoming more popular than ever before. Today, you have almost unlimited options when it comes to purchasing a new laptop. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you’ve probably heard about the famous MacBooks. Apple has a large share of the laptop market, but there are other brands that have made remarkable improvements in their hardware.

In this article, I will be comparing MacBooks and Windows-based laptops so that you can decide which platform is best for you. The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. There are some important pros and cons as well as differences between Mac and Windows that you need to take into consideration before making a decision. Let me elaborate further…

Why Do Tech Companies Use Macs?
Why Do Tech Companies Use Macs?

What’s the difference between MacBooks and Windows laptops?

Windows laptops are cheaper than Macs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a better value. The two platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the biggest difference between them is software. MacOS is designed to be easy to use and intuitive, while Windows is made for power users.

If you are in a rush and don’t have time to read the whole post, be sure to check out the following pros and cons lists:

MacBooks

Pros

  • Slim and elegant design.
  • Extremely fast operating system.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Don’t use much electricity.
  • Apple’s closed ecosystem offers high security.
  • An excellent option for creative and business use.

Cons

  • Poor option for gaming in terms of performance unless your game supports Apple Metal.
  • Very expensive compared to alternatives.
  • Compatibility issues with some applications and games.
  • Limited design options.

Windows-based Laptops

Pros

  • Value for money options.
  • A wide variety of laptops.
  • Perfect for all types of gamers.
  • Many different designs are available.
  • High compatibility with every application except for MacBook exclusives.
  • Affordable laptops which are perfect for casual users.

Cons

  • Worse security than macOS.
  • Inferior customer support.
  • Windows are relatively slower.
  • Higher power consumption.

Pricing

Apple’s MacBooks are expensive compared to Windows laptops. If you’ve ever shopped for a new laptop, then you know that MacBooks are in a class of their own. The biggest reason why these laptops cost so much is because of Apple’s strict quality control standards. The company only uses premium materials such as aluminum and glass in their laptops, which cost more than plastic found in most budget PCs.

While the average price tag for a Windows laptop hovers around $1,000, Apple’s MacBook Air (“entry-level”) starts at $999. The newest MacBook Pro can set you back by up to $4499. In all honesty, I would be fine with their pricing if we got an equal performance boost but unfortunately, we don’t.

In general, if you want to pay less than $1,000 for a laptop, then you’ll need to look at Windows-based laptops instead. The truth is that no one purchases Apple laptops for their low price—if anything, the premium price that many people pay for their Macbooks is a sign of prestige.

Hardware & Performance

Both MacBooks and Windows laptops have their pros and cons when it comes to performance. It really depends on what you’re using your computer for. The latter tend to be better for more intensive tasks, like gaming. They also have more options for upgrading RAM and storage space than Macbooks do.

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Have in mind that the Mac OS is more efficient than Windows, which means that it uses less memory to do the same thing. As a rule of thumb, 8GB of MacBook RAM is equal to 16GB of a Windows laptop.

Macbooks are generally better for creative, college, and business use. They have excellent displays and are much friendlier to use if you’re a graphic designer or video editor. However, they aren’t as good for things like gaming because they lack the horsepower of a high-end Windows laptop as well as compatibility with most AAA titles. More on gaming is down below!

Gaming

MacBooks are not the best option for gaming

MacBooks are not known for their gaming capabilities. In comparison to an equal windows laptop, the overall performance of the machine is less than ideal for gaming unless your title supports “Apple Metal”. In addition, most AAA games are not optimized to run on a MacBook.

What is Apple Metal?

Apple Metal is a graphics framework that gives your app direct access to the GPU. It allows you to maximize your app’s performance in certain scenarios, such as rendering complex 3D environments, processing large datasets, and more. In other words, it allows games to run more smoothly, and at higher framerates.

So, wanna know what the best part is? You’ll be able to use Metal without needing a separate graphics card—it integrates seamlessly into your current MacBook model, making it easy to use right out of the box. Think of it as an OpenGL alternative.

The biggest negative and what essentially doesn’t allow MacBooks to surpass their Windows counterparts is the fact that only a tiny percentage of game developers support Metal and there is no real incentive for other companies to support Apple Silicon.

However, if you are one of those gamers that only play 4 game titles and all 4 of them happen to utilize Metal, then purchasing a MacBook is not a bad idea as you will achieve equal or even better performance.

Take a look at the graph below to see the massive difference between OpenGL and Metal:

Benchmark with Apple Metal ON
Benchmark with Apple Metal OFF

Unfortunately, MacBooks are not optimized enough to run OpenGL efficiently. By the way, these are the benchmarks of the MacBook Pro M1. Imagine paying $4,500 for a gaming laptop and not being able to play any proper AAA title at 4K 60FPS resolution.

Operating System & Security

As I previously mentioned, this is the biggest difference between MacBooks and everybody else. The macOS is an efficient, extremely fast operating system that is easy to learn and intuitive to use. It is kept relevant with constant updates, and the UI is modern and smooth. A bonus is that it is safer to use than Windows, as hackers will target MacOS less often. It has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, so it’s only natural that it’s more secure than Windows. The OS has been built around a UNIX architecture, which allows for greater levels of control over one’s data than you can get with Windows.

It also comes with a number of built-in security features that help protect your data. For example, macOS includes FileVault encryption software by default, so you can encrypt all the files on your computer automatically when setting up a new device. This means that even if someone steals your laptop or hard drive they won’t be able to access any of your sensitive data without knowing your password!

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Windows is also a great operating system, don’t get me wrong but it isn’t as safe as MacOS. You are more likely to be targeted with viruses and trojans because of the sheer number of people that use the operating system. Although Windows 10 does a great job with Windows Defender, sometimes malware does still slip through the firewall. Another downside of Windows is that many computers (mostly the pre-built ones) come with bloatware installed, which can be hard to get rid of. The updates also tend to be glitchy at times which can cause all sorts of problems. This can be frustrating for some people who prefer a Windows environment over MacOS.

Battery life

MacBook laptops typically have a longer battery life than Windows laptops, mainly because of their lower power consumption and the limited number of applications running in the background of the operating system. But, this is not always the case. When you’re making your purchase, it’s important to look at your usage habits and consider how much time you spend on your laptop. If you’re planning on using it all day long at work or school, then a MacBook will probably be more suitable for you.

For gaming, an Apple laptop can offer substantially better battery life when running at its maximum, but that’s mainly related to its power consumption and lower performance, which we’ll analyze later in this article. Some Windows laptops can actually last longer than MacBooks. For example, the Dell Latitude 9510 is known to have the longest battery life ever (2 work days).

Design

MacBooks and Windows laptops are designed with different philosophies in mind.

Macs are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, with a minimalist aesthetic and an emphasis on simplicity. They are made from a variety of materials, but their bodies are generally aluminum or white polycarbonate. They also tend to feature a large trackpad and no touch screen. What strikes me the most about Apple is the lack of RGB and gaming laptops. If you compare their high-end model with Alienware‘s one, you will immediately notice the difference in terms of appearance.

Windows-based laptops, on the other hand, tend to be more utilitarian in their design and come in many different sizes and shapes(mainly because there are so many different brands to choose from). They have a more rugged look and feel that makes them more durable than Macs, which are often fragile. They also vary in weight and thickness depending on the size of the screens they have. They can range from small portable models to large (almost)desktop replacements with high-resolution displays, and let’s not forget the gaming-specific ones with many different designs to choose from.

At last, the most popular Windows-based laptop design is the 2-in-1. This design allows users to convert their laptops into tablets. The keyboard can be removed or folded around behind the screen. These types of devices usually have USB ports and an SD card slot on the side of the device so that users can easily plug in external devices such as flash drives and external hard drives, or transfer photos from cameras or camcorders onto their computer’s hard drive. Sadly, Apple does not give us such an option so we either have to get a MacBook or an iPad.

Power consumption

power consumption between MacBook and Windows laptop during benchmark

Macs have a reputation for being energy-efficient, but to get a better idea of how they stack up against other devices, we need to look at how much power they use. It’s important to note that the power consumption of a laptop varies based on what it’s doing and what applications are open. If you’re just browsing the web with no other applications open, you can expect your energy usage to be lower than if you’re running multiple applications at once.

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If you want to get a sense of how much electricity your MacBook consumes compared to a Windows Laptop, take a look at a comparison made by CreatedTech.

So, when comparing 2 high-end computers, the power consumption is about 3 times lower in favor of the MacBook. However, this result is far from conclusive since the majority of the power consumption comes from the GPU and the RTX 3080 is known to use a lot of power to operate. For mid-range laptops, the gap is much smaller.

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that, as I previously mentioned, this Windows machine can achieve about twice the framerates per second while gaming so it’s only reasonable to consume more electricity.

Applications & Compatibility

When it comes to the user experience and compatibility with apps, both macOS and Windows offer basically the same thing: a customizable interface, access to all major web browsers, productivity suites, and creative applications. So either operating system will likely get the job done for everyday web surfing, email, and basic office work.

Nevertheless, one of the biggest issues with MacBooks is that they don’t have a large library of niche software available on them, unlike Windows-based laptops. This means that if there’s something specific you need to do, it might not be possible on a MacBook. Gaming falls into that category as well and as I have already mentioned, very few games are fully compatible with Apple laptops.

At last, there are a few differences between the two platforms that could be important depending on what you plan on using your laptop for. For example, if you’re a music producer or photographer/videographer who uses Final Cut Pro or Pixelmator respectively then you’ll probably want an Apple laptop because those programs aren’t available on Windows machines (though there are similar alternatives).

Customer Support

Apple customer support is really the best among all other brands in the tech industry. It’s one of the most competitive aspects of their product, so they will provide you with the best service. There is no other way to say this. Other brands like Samsung or Dell have pretty decent customer support but Apple is just straight up better. That comes as no surprise considering the price that you pay for any Apple product.

Conclusion

To summarize, the battle between Macs and PCs is one that has been going on for years. So, which is best for you, a MacBook or a Windows-based laptop? Well, it depends on what your needs are. If pricing isn’t a concern and user experience, portability and convenience are of the utmost importance to you then a MacBook from Apple might be the better choice for you.

On the other hand, if you are on a budget or in need of a gaming laptop, then a Windows machine might be what the doctor ordered. It’s up to you to determine which one will work best for your individual needs and whichever one you choose, I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed. Let me know in the comments if you have further questions. I’ll see you at the next one!

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