PC vs. Mac – Laptops for Developers

Lions on Rock.

Which laptop should you use as a developer? The short answer that I currently am at is Mac.

Differences I’ve Noticed When Switching from PC to Mac

The Good

Mac has some outstanding features over Windows. Here are those that I’ve noticed.

Faster Processing

The MacBook Pro with the M1 chip seemed to have a much faster processing time when using the Local WordPress program that I needed for work. This program creates a local WordPress server on your computer, and we were using a huge website so it was incredibly slow on my other laptops.

Battery Life

The battery life is far longer. Even the latest new windows laptop that I bought only had a battery life of around 2 or 3 hours. The MacBook Pro lasts for 10 hours or more (they claim 18 hours). While this can be useful if you find yourself somewhere without power, for me it’s a convenience that really doesn’t get needed often. Whenever I’m using a laptop there’s almost always an outlet nearby.

SSH from Terminal

You can SSH from the terminal using Mac. In Windows, you must install PuTTY, and in my experience PuTTY is a bit clunky (though maybe it would be a lot easier for me now after having more experience using SSH into servers). It’s nice to be able to just go to your terminal and type ssh root@123.456.789 and maybe some other details.

Integration with iPhone

If you have an iPhone, the Mac can integrate with it in some cool ways. One that I recently discovered is keyboard shortcuts on your iPhone, where you can set a short code to type out a longer phrase like an email or something. Also, Mac can read your text messages, link to certain apps that you’re using currently on the iPhone, and you can do stuff like AirDrop. Pretty cool!

Bluetooth!

The Mac can connect with Bluetooth to devices, which means wireless connectivity to compatible mice and keyboards without a receiver that needs to take up a port on the laptop.

Better Security

I’ve heard that it is harder to hack into Macs than PCs, and that most viruses are designed for PC. Maybe this means that you don’t need the same antivirus that you were using on that PC, so that could be a bit of an ongoing cost saver.

The Bad

It’s More Expensive

The Mac was several hundred dollars more expensive for similar tech specs to a comparable Windows, and with a smaller screen (though a much higher quality screen!). It can be worth it to pay more for speed especially, when you’re on the computer all day long, but if your computer gets stolen or broken it’s a more expensive fix as well.

If You’re a PC User, You May Have to Buy Some New Devices

My external keyboard was not compatible with my Mac, so I bought a new one. That was $100 right there! But now I have a nice wireless one, and most people don’t buy a $100 keyboard (it’s for ergonomics, it’s not a mechanical keyboard lol).

The Ugly

Can’t Use my Hard Drive Files from PC on Mac

I use a Seagate external hard drive, but the formatting between Mac and PC is different. It seems that this means I have to reformat the drive to use it on Mac, which means deleting all of the data I already have on it, or buying a new drive to use for the Mac. Not great!

No USB Ports (or basically any other ports)!

The MacBook Pro only comes with two USBC ports, and an AUX port (thank God!). This means buying some adapters along with your Mac. This can add an extra $20 – $100+ depending on your needs.

Summary

Mac is great in many ways. I don’t like paying more for things, but I do it on the idea that it’s going to save or earn me more money in the long run. Hopefully that is true about my Mac!

Lions on Rock image by Jeremy Avery on Unsplash