In light of my earlier post about using my MacBook Air primarily for running Windows 7, it was somewhat ironic to learn that Microsoft Canada has a page suggesting that we consider whether we would rather “Surf the web or surf Hawaii.” The premise is that they are comparing Macs and PCs saying that since a PC of similar specs is so much cheaper than a Mac, one should seriously consider buying the PC and use the different co go on a nice Hawaiian vacation. But is a PC that much cheaper when you do a real – ahem – apples to Apple comparison?
They have an extensive chart comparing various computers to each of Apple’s offerings. There is also a contest for you to try and win by liking their page and then you have to “Do the Math.” It allows you to select a particular Mac computer. I have a MacBook Air, so let’s see how much I could have saved if I had purchased a similarly specced PC. Microsoft offers up the HP Pavilion dm3 or the Samsung 900 X3A.
I chose the Samsung because I can assure you that the dm3, while it may be a very nice notebook, is absolutely no MacBook Air. The Samsung 9 Series notebooks do look appealing. This model is $900 compared to the MacBook Air starting at over $1300. I could save over $400 with this choice. The question we have and cannot answer till we see a Samsung 9 Series PC is how good are the keyboard and touchpad? Also, will the battery hold out as long as they say? My MacBook Air gets around six hours running Windows and nearly that long on Mac OS X. Will the promised 7 hour battery life compete with that?
As for the HP Pavilion dm3, the promised price on the Facebook page cannot include an SSD. They quote it being under $700 but with an SSD the lowest price is over $800. Add an OS install disc, something Apple gives you automatically, Bluetooth, and Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements since the built-in photo and video editing in Windows is nowhere near as good as iLife on the Mac, and that puts you over $1,100. The savings is only a couple hundred dollars. We aren’t sure you could do a Hawaiian vacation even if you stowed away on a fishing boat from San Diego and didn’t get caught till you arrived in Honolulu. With the MacBook Air you get a far better keyboard and trackpad and the computer is so much thinner and a little lighter than the dm3.
While we get the point Microsoft is making and think it is a good one, we also think that Apple’s notebooks are just a lot better than the options they are providing. You don’t get the versatility of being able to run both Windows and OS X when you buy one of these PCs. You will pay more, but we say you get what you pay for. If you don’t want a premium notebook and care nothing about OS X, then a high-quality Windows notebook is a great choice.