Author- Vibhor Shergill (Brother of Sabhyata Shergill)

Now, this is one of those topics that has stirred the minds of even the most informed technology/gadget lovers. The more you dig into options available at any price point, the more confusion steps in.

So, today, I’ll try my best to answer this question with an unbiased mindset so as to resolve your confusion.

We'll start with the Windows PC first. After discussing what you should look for and what you should avoid while buying a Windows laptop, we'll discuss whether you should buy a Mac instead, depending upon your requirements, wherein we'll talk about what Mac does better than Windows and what are the areas where Windows shines more.

WINDOWS

So, let’s start with the basics, without further a do.
You need- This is the single most important factor that you need to cater to.
  1. Do you need a laptop for video editing or for app development or for web designing like I do or for any other purposes?
  2. Do you want a laptop that is portable and light in weight and easy to carry or you have a desk job and are in need of a larger screen real estate and are not much concerned about portability?
Having decided on the need front, let's take a look at what essential hardware you should aim for that gives you unmatched performance.

The Hardware- This is the building block of your laptop and you surely would want solid hardware that can interact with the software to give you a good performance.

For a powerful performance, I’d suggest you invest in a laptop that offers you all of these hardware components listed below, if you want to future-proof your laptop for at least 5–6 years.
  • i5 (7th gen) or an i7 processor. Choose AMD if you are more into gaming as AMD offers a better gaming experience than Intel counterparts.
  • 8 GB RAM, preferably with two slots so that it is easier for you to upgrade if the need arises in the future. Also ensure that it is the DDR4 one.
  • Cache memory. This is one of the most overlooked hardware component when comparing the specifications of two laptops. Cache serves a very VERY important purpose in determining the performance of the laptop. Cache helps to keeps your browser tabs in memory, it keeps your programs running in the background, so that you don’t have to refresh them every time you visit them after a while. 
  • A higher clocked RAM. This is something that most won't care about when buying a new laptop, in fact most won't even know that there are two types of RAM available for most laptops out there in the market. First, a lower frequency one and the other one with higher frequency and thus higher performance. For example, take these two RAMs into consideration, RAM Type 1 and RAM Type 2. You'll find out the difference in their clocking frequency. This frequency difference is all it takes to either make or break the performance of your laptop. Always go with the higher ones.
  • A dedicated graphics card. Preferably NVIDIA GeForce 940MX or above if you are keen on performing graphics intensive tasks like photo and video editing.
  • An SSD. HDD is also no bad, but if you want sheer performance, SSD will offer you an unmatched experience.
  • At least a 4 cell battery. The more the number of cells, the better is the battery performance and also lesser will be the wattage consumption.
  • Solidly built chassis. This is the most overlooked feature and hence also the area where most manufacturers cut costs. Choose laptops built by some of the popular manufacturers, i.e., Dell, Apple, HP, Asus. These brands are more focused on consumer satisfaction than on filling their own pockets.
Now let’s talk about the things which you should avoid spending your money on:
  • Pre-built MS Office- This software costs you around 6–7 thousand rupees, which unnecessarily increases the cost of the laptop. You can quickly get this software from third-party vendors from a very cheap price (I hope you know, what I mean :p).
  • Pre-built Anti-Virus Software- This again would increase the cost of your laptop. You can easily download free AVG or Avira antivirus if you need it. For day-to-day tasks, Windows Defender does the job pretty well and keeps the system less loaded, provided the definitions are regularly updated.
  • Finger-print or Face recognition unlock- Again, a very gimmicky and expensive piece of hardware which is absolutely unnecessary for most users.
Now, the obvious question in your mind would be, how do I have such a deep insight into these things. Well, to answer your question, I’d say that I have always been a technology fanatic and also am currently working as a web developer who requires one to have a highly capable laptop and this is my work experience in the tech. Industry and the extensive research that I have done over the past several months for purchasing a laptop for myself that I am writing here.

Having said that, I’d like to give you the best options you can have at various price points that are available in the market right now.

Budget laptops

For Indian citizens:- Best Choice 1and Best Choice 2
For USA citizens:- The Best Choice
For UK citizens:- Best Choice 1 and Best Choice 2
For Canadian citizens:- Best Choice 1Best Choice 2 and Best Choice 3

Programming and average user's laptops

For Indian citizens:-Best Choice 1 and Best Choice 2
For USA citizens:- The Best Choice
For UK citizens:- Best Choice 1Best Choice 2 and Best Choice 3
For Canadian citizens:- Best Choice 1Best Choice 2 and Best Choice 3

Long battery life and budget gaming laptops

For Indian citizens:-Best Choice 1 and Best Choice 2
For USA citizens:- The Best Choice
For UK citizens:- Best Choice 1 and Best Choice 2 
For Canadian citizens:- Best Choice 1Best Choice 2 and Best Choice 3

Power user and business laptops

For Indian citizens:-My Laptop and Best Choice 2
For USA citizens:- The Best Choice
For UK citizens:- Best Choice 1 and Best Choice 2
For Canadian citizens:- Best Choice 1Best Choice 2 and Best Choice 3


Now, let's talk about Mac.



See, both the major operating systems i.e. Windows and Mac are world class and are the most stable OSs in the market currently, but they both have their own virtues and vices.

So before I dig further, I’d like you to ponder upon these questions in your mind:
  • Do you work in an environment where all the gadgets are of the brand Apple, i.e. do you work or live in an environment where you make extensive use of iPhone, iPad, Apple TV?
  • Are you a person who invests most of his time on computer in doing activities like video and photo editing, OR are you the one who spends most of his time on Word file or PDF file creation and occasional PPTs or any other task of similar CPU or GPU load?
  • Are you the one who likes to tinker around with your computer and customize it as per your needs? OR Are you the one who want something that is well designed by the manufacturers themselves so that you don’t have to tweak with it much and focus on just getting the job done?
I hope you have answered the above questions in your mind. Now, I would like to have your attention

Do you work in an environment where all the gadgets are of the brand Apple i.e. do you work or live in an environment where you make extensive use of iPhone, iPad, Apple TV ?

If you answered YES to the above question, then my dear friend, go for a Mac without having a second thought in your mind. Really, Apple environment will make your productivity increase manifold times. I say this because Apple OS have a feature that allows you to pick up what you left on one Apple device in the same state in an another Apple device. This feature has to be turned ON on all devices and its name is Handoff.

The Ultimate Guide To Buying A New Laptop (Windows And Mac)
(Image of the Handoff functionality offered in Apple devices)

Are you a person who invests most of his time on computer in doing activities like video and photo editing, or are you the one who spends most of his time on Word file or PDF file creation and occasional PPTs or any other task of similar CPU or GPU load?

If you answered YES to the first part of the above question then the MacBook Pro should be your buying choice hands down as Macbooks have one of the best hardware and software integration which is needed to run graphic as well as processor intensive programs like video and photo editors. BUT if you resonated more with the second part of the question then you’ll do just fine with an i5 processor Windows PC and thereby saving several hundred bucks which you can invest in buying a Porsche (if you don’t already have one). *Just Kidding* :)


Are you the one who likes to tinker around with your computer and customize it as per your needs? OR Are you the one who want something that is well designed by the manufacturers themselves so that you don’t have to tweak with it much and focus on just getting the job done?

Now, answer to this question will probably most influence your buying decision. So if you replied in positive to the first half of the question, go get a Windows PC without wasting much time. I say this because Windows is known for its customizability and ease of use. AND if you are more towards the second side of the spectrum where your main motive is getting the task at hand done, pick up a Mac without a second thought. Believe me, it’s REALLY THAT GOOD!

Having spent 5 years in the tech. industry and having designed webpages for both Windows and Mac, I have formed a pretty good view of which product in the market is worth your time and money and which is not.

Having stated that, I would like to zero down on just two MacBooks that offer the most bang for the buck, here they are:-

MacBook- 

For Indian citizens:- Apple MacBook 1and Apple MacBook 2
For USA citizens:- Apple MacBook 
For UK citizens:- Apple MacBook
For Canadian citizens:- Apple MacBook

If you are in the market for rather an iMac, then this is the only product that is actually worth your money, according to my experience:-

For Indian citizens:- Apple iMac
For USA citizens:- Apple iMac
For UK citizens:- Apple iMac
For Canadian citizens:- Apple iMac

I hope I could save you some money and have helped you in making an informed decision.