“Most of us know someone who knows more about computers than we do, so it's understandable we'd put a lot of credence on the computer choices they have made. If they use a particular brand of computer and operating system, then we can't go far wrong than to simply follow their lead...
The first primary choice you should make when looking to buy a computer, before even which brand to choose, is which computer platform to choose.
Most brands of PC will be pre-configured as a Windows PC. And there are many valid (or maybe not quite so valid) reasons why an individual may consider this the best option for them. However, there are alternatives. Any PC can be reconfiguring to run Linux instead for instance.
Or of course, there's a Macintosh.
So why wouldn't your friend be using a Mac?
- Maybe your friend is a serious computer 'tinkerer' whom something about a Mac is just a little too cuddly and friendly for his liking Maybe a Mac's cuddly friendliness is just what you need.
- Maybe your friend is a serious gamer who needs Windows on 'gamer class' PC hardware Maybe you're a grown up whom games are of lesser importance to.
- Maybe your friend is on a tight budget who needs the biggest 'bang for the buck' hardware at the expence of all else Maybe you're in a better position to buy a more 'premium' product.
- Maybe your friend has never tried a Mac at all, or just perfers to stick to what they're used to Maybe you'd adapt to, and find benefit in a Mac that they never found.
- Maybe your friend simply prefers Windows Maybe you'd simply prefer OS X.
- Maybe one of the other reasons in this site really are of major, overriding importance to them Maybe for you, the negatives are non-issues which the positives easily override.
See also reason 5
Free technical support
There is however a secondary consideration when choosing a computer platform...
From time to time, you may find it beneficial to have someone to hand to asist with the operation of your new PC. Maybe you've got a problem with it. Or maybe you just need someone to guide you through doing something you've never used it for before.
Okay, there's the manufacturer's technical support (which can greatly vary in quality), but isn't it so much more comforting to know you have an abliging friend within summoning distance? I'm sure they'd be only too happy to continually jump to your assistance at the snap of your fingers every time you mess something up...
But still, if this friend is proficient in the same platform as you have, then you're sorted! But what if you've got a Mac, and what your friend knows about Macs could be written on the back of a postage stamp? You're on your own... right?
Ease of use
Mac OS is traditionally designed to be intuitive for those who may not be quite so computer savvy, with the complexities unobtrusive. As such, perhaps problems and questions will be less likely to arise than you might fear. Or perhaps simpler to solve unassisted. And with one of the many available manuals at your side, maybe you can leave your knowledgeable friend in peace.
All in theory of course. And all very subjective.
See reason 13
And furthermore, if you still have issues, in today's connected world, internet forums are full to the brim with computer experts with brains the size of planets, who are only too eager to show off their expertise well above and beyond what your friend probably knows.
So in summary...
...there are obvious benefits to choosing the same computer platform as your knowledgable friend uses. However, whatever your friend's rationalisation is for deciding a Windows based PC is their best option, none of it is necessarily of the same level of relevance to you. Analyse their reasons. Maybe what a Mac offers would simply suit you better than it would they. One man's meat is another man's poison.
Page content last updated 2 September 2009