If you’re considering a new laptop, you definitely should do your homework. Don’t make an impulse purchase. Both the Sony and Apple laptops have more assets than liabilities. However, to truly compare these two different models, you must have a cursory understanding of the differences between the Mac and Windows operating systems, and what the pros and cons of each platform are, particularly as they relate to your particular situation. As of late 2009, Sony models start at about $720, while the lowest priced MacBook is nearly $1,000.
1. Spend some time researching the specific attributes of each model. Specs and prices change often, so last month’s information is probably no longer valid. Both Sony and Apple laptops are considered top-tier by tech pundits and consumers, and you’ll get the same basic functionality (wireless capability, a high-resolution display and the ability to go online and send/receive email) from both.
2. Create a budget. In addition to buying the computer itself, you’ll need some extras, including software, a computer bag and any peripherals you might require. In some instances, you may be able to uninstall applications from a previous computer and use them on your new computer. In many situations, either machine could meet your needs and the price tag may be the determining factor.
3. Perform some hands-on work on both models if possible. Laptops can often be tested in a retail setting, whether it’s a computer store or a big box retailer. Check with friends or coworkers; if someone you know has one of these models, you might be able to try it out before committing to one. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the display, keyboard and input device, though both models allow you to attach an external mouse, keyboard and larger display.
4. Plan how you are going to use the computer. Software most users rely on (Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Quicken) is available in both Windows and Mac versions, so look ahead to see if you’re going to use any software that is platform-specific. A general rule is that Windows computers are better suited for gaming, business and specialized applications, and that more software programs are available for Windows computers. However, graphic artists and those who edit audio or video are more comfortable using a Mac. Another plus for Macs is that they’re largely immune to viruses.
5. Use a spreadsheet to compare the specs of both machines side-by-side if you’re still on the fence. The important numbers are the hard-drive capacity, RAM, processor speed and battery life. However, a similar speed processor on the two different laptops doesn’t always equal the same speed; both sides claim distinct advantages in their particular processor, so it’s up to you to decide if these numbers are important enough to sway you to one side or the other.