Need Advice to Purchase Office Laptop: Mac or PC ?

I need your advices to help a good friend of mine replacing her very aging 5 years old HP laptop.

1. What is your budget?

1500 – 1750 CAD $

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Minimum 15”

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Not a dominant factor

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

She moves the laptop mostly around her own house; but brings it to the job occasionally. Is there a way to get best of both worlds?

5. How much battery life do you need?

Not a dominant factor either

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

She doesn’t game, ever, at all. Not even Solitaire. She thinks WoW mostly involve shooting fire balls and dating Unicorns

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

She’s a teacher in a College of Nursing. She deals mostly with PDF, Excel, Word and PowerPoints with sound and pictures, and also uses database for research and teacher oriented software like Prezi

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

Since she’s storing mostly Jpegs and Word doc, I would say this is not a dominant factor. I was thinking about suggesting her a SSD for extra performance since she doesn’t need a huge HDD

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

Nowhere specifics; wherever will good deals are to be found

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

These are the key factor: reliability and longevity. She needs 5 years minimum of performance and problem-free.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

Not a dominant factor. A basic optical would do

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

No specific brands. I’m facing the Mac vs PC dilemma in trying to suggest the perfect laptop: the former having a better OS, more stylish and usually stronger case, as the later has better hardware for cheaper but a lot of pre-installed crap.

However, after all, they’re all Chinese Junk Certified.

Hence, my first thought was suggesting her this MacBook Pro at her College Coop (1700$) :

She would however have to buy Mac Office for an extra 99$. Compatibility is a big issue here: all her old stuff in MS Office from her previous laptop has to run flawlessly.

Or suggesting something like a Lenovo ThinkPad W530, with an SSD and MS Office (around 1600$ with their boxing week sale.

You’re advices are most welcome.

13. What country do you live in?

8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about need advice purchase office laptop
  1. Anyone ?
  2. PC. While I prefer ultrabooks right now, any cheaper laptop is more than enough. No need to buy her an expensive Macbook. I suggest you check Anandtech's Holiday 2012 Ultrabook and Ultraportable Guide. Keep in mind though, cheaper laptops is more than enough
  3. If software compatibility is a major issue, you've answered your own question.
  4. Thanks, I was looking at reviews as well, like this :

    still pretty hard to judge reliability, and which's the "best for your buck".
  5. Best answer
    If she wants a problem free laptop that is durable to last 5 years. Then I generally recommend a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop of some sort. In general, they are pretty reliable, my 2003 ThinkPad T40 still works (but is under powered for today's apps) and I never had to call tech support. Since ThinkPads are business oriented laptop customer service is separate from the typical "rabble" of consumer oriented laptops and should be better than average.

    The T series comes to mind. It is this series that IBM has originally developed as basically the most durable and reliable business laptop. Lenovo has since expanded the product line. Since she is looking for at least 15" then the T530 would be a likely candidate. I recommend getting it with the 1600x900 or 1920x1080 ($200 upgrade from 1600x900) screen for better multitasking purposes. 4GB of RAM should be enough, an additional 4GB can be added for $80 though.

    ThinkPads are not trendy eye-catchers. If she is looking for a stylish laptop to impress others, then look elsewhere. If she is looking for a sturdy laptop that can can withstand a 30MPH impact and still function properly enough to salvage data off the hard drive then the ThinkPad T series it is. Some may say a 30MPH impact will improve it's otherwise bland appearance. There's also the business oriented tech support in case there are issues. I paid for a 5 year extended warranty (3 years was standard) and I never had to call tech support. Nowadays a 1 year warranty is standard across the board so if she wants to be covered for more than 1 year, then she needs to purchase and extended warranty plan; 5 years max.
  6. It moslty depends on what her place of work uses and supports.

    At some places, mac support is like pulling teeth.

    Furthurmore, the primary reason to buy a Mac should be it's OS. If she cannot live without Mac OS, then the choice is clear. If she can live without MacOS, then PCs will be cheaper, have better hardware specs for thet price, and will last longer with less troubles.

    Apple laptops are decidedly average in their durability and RMA rate now. The "higher-quality" concept is something that went the way of the dodo a long time ago when they started focusing on making it pretty as the highest priority.

    At my last place of work, Apple laptops topped every other laptop manufacturer combined for number of laptops which needed show-stopping repairs/replacement in 2012. This is especially sad as we had less than 10% Mac laptops!

    I'd place Apple in the same bin as Dell now as that's pretty much where their quality is.

    Apple laptops have trouble managing their heat... they all run hot and reach Intel's throttle temps fairly quickly. If you think she will never reach that, think again. MBP retina's reach 110 degrees Celcius after 10 minutes of playing a video. No, that's not benchmarking or gaming or running a heat testing program. Just a video and the only thing running.

    I cannot recommend a mac for anyone other than someone who absolutely needs Mac OS above all things.
  7. Best answer selected by FFM.
  8. Thank you for your inputs, Jaguar and Kernal. Selected the best anwser between you two by flipping a coin.
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