Breaking news: most students are using MacBooks. A huge majority of college students, nearly three quarters of them, use or would prefer to use a Macbook, according to TechSpot. At the risk of sounding like massive contrarians, MacBooks suck. For a device that claims to do it all, the functionality of Macs is severely lacking when compared to devices that run on Windows (and many distributions of Linux).
According to an Apple device management company survey, 71 percent of college students own or prefer MacBooks. Out of the 71 percent of students who prefer MacBooks, 64 percent choose Mac for the Apple brand, 60 percent for their style, 37 percent for the suite of apps that it can run and 48 percent for durability. In this extremely biased article, we’ll explain that Windows machines can do almost everything that MacBooks can do, but better.
Users love the MacBooks’ style, but similar looking laptops can be found for a fraction of the MacBook’s absurdly high price point. For example, the HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 is a very simple looking laptop with multiple color options that can be had for as low as $450. Oh, and it also has a touchscreen. This laptop may not be in Apple’s “walled garden,” but it would work great for web browsing and word processing while costing $550 less than the newest model of the MacBook Air.
People who took the survey indicated that they love Apple’s suite of apps. As mentioned before, Apple devices exist in a “walled garden.” This is a term used to describe the way that Apple has set up their device ecosystem. All of their devices integrate with each other, and most things within the walled garden follow Apple’s mantra of “it just works,” and function without too much user intervention. But this walled garden comes at a price. Only certain apps can be loaded onto Apple devices, so some programs that are necessary for school (like ArcGIS Pro) simply won’t run on iOS devices. Additionally, hardware repairs are nearly impossible to make, as Apple has their proprietary repair manuals under lock and key. It is of note that Apple has just announced that they’re beginning to allow limited self service repairs for iPhone displays, batteries and cameras. This is a great step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen if Apple will actually expand this program to include MacBooks and other devices.
The last survey response we’ll focus on is durability. Experts on Apple devices, like Louis Rossmann, are highly critical of the durability of Apple devices. To quote Louis Rossmann (who has spearheaded the right-to-repair movement as we know it), “When it’s any other brand, you will hear people scream ‘I’m never buying X again!’ … But when it comes to Apple products, in spite of how badly they screw the customer, the customer will still continue buying them and they will defend the company that they admit screwed them.” According to a 2019 article, recent models of MacBooks have had problems that include “intermittent popping sounds” with their speakers and “ghosting issues” with their screens. These are some of the smaller issues with modern MacBooks, and they’re hardly the pinnacle of durability that the results of the Apple device management survey make them out to be.
To round out this rant, MacBooks are just not high quality machines. While their simplistic design is admittedly pretty, similar designs can be found for much cheaper. They also don’t run nearly the amount of apps that Windows machines can run, which can be detrimental to work. They also break easily and are a pain to get repaired.
Our recommendations for laptops in the same price range as the $1000 MacBook Air are the $1000 Framework Base Configuration (for its customizability and repairability), the $1000 Dell Inspiron 13 Laptop (for its low weight and great feature set) and the $1100 Dell XPS 13 (for its wealth of MacBook-like qualities). These laptops are not only comparable to the MacBook Air in terms of price and hardware, but offer a larger suite of apps and are infinitely easier to repair.
We will admit our bias: we’ve always used Windows devices and currently use a 2021 LG gram 15 (Cooper) and an upgraded 2018 Dell XPS 9570 (Vincent). We love PCs and always will, so we wrote this article as a polite denial of the fact that everyone around us uses and loves their MacBook.