An author’s take: PC vs. Mac 1

I finally took the plunge and bought a refurbished 11.6″ MacBook Air this past week. I still own and love my HP Envy PC. I have the best of both worlds now. So I thought I would post about the pros and cons of each and how I arrived at the Mac purchase that I did.

I got a MacBook Air (Apple MacBook Air 11.6″ Core i5 1.6 GHz 4GB) from for $449.95, with free shipping. This computer was originally built in 2015, with a Yosemite OS (Operating System). New, a Mac could cost $1200 and up.

Online, there are a lot of refurbished MacBook Airs priced anywhere from $300 to $700. I went with this site because they had good reviews and seemed to have a good warranty program. I bought a warranty for about $40 to cover three years. The purchase is refundable within 90 days.

I have a bigger PC screen at 13” which has been good for any graphic work and drafting. But I wanted the MacBook Air so that I could travel with a smaller and lighter computer, and be able to format my books on Mac-only Vellum.

Once, before a trip, I bought a smaller Chrome Book at Walmart for about $200, but I couldn’t get Microsoft Office on it so I returned it.

A few years ago, I bought my HP Envy for roughly $700. It has 8GB of memory, functions as both a tablet and laptop, and cool silver-color keys. A couple of letters are already fading a bit on the keyboard as I have pounded on them over the years. But I love this PC. I’m comfortable typing fast on it, and it has been great for graphic design and photo editing. I also love how it has numerous portals and an SD card reader.

Here are my takeaways from the experience of owning a PC forever and finally getting a Mac.

1.I was already familiar with the Mac browser through my iPad Mini, so there was no learning curve there of the interface. Since I am used to a touch-screen PC, I’ve had to curb the impulse to touch the screen and move things around on the Mac.

2.The MacBook Air at 11.6 inch (and a pound) is really light and small but still has a nice keyboard touch to it. I am looking forward to traveling with it overseas and plopping it inconspicuously into a sleeve and into my backpack.

3.Now that I know what I know, I would still have done what I did. Buy a PC with a bigger screen and a smaller MacBook Air for travel and Vellum. I haven’t used Vellum yet, but my author friends swear by how easy it is.

4.A basic Mac does not have Microsoft Office on it. You have to specifically install Word for Mac. From my PC purchase, I had bought a 5-PC/Mac / 5 Tablets subscription to Microsoft Office. We had already used up 4 subscriptions. I used the final subscription yesterday on my MacBook Air, which now has Office. It’s important for me to have Word so I can trade documents with betas or my editor.

5.Mac has Pages, its equivalent software to Word. I have used Pages on my tablet. I found it clunky to use and save. Plus some of the formatting got lost when I tried to import to my PC via email (too many steps).

6.But to be able to download Office, I needed a higher Mac OS (Operating System). Unlike PCs, where you have to buy an upgrade to the next operating system, Macs have free upgrades. The refurbished MacBook Air came with Yosemite. I upgraded a couple of steps up to Mojave. Just waited a half hour for the download at the library while I read.

7.The reason I went with Mojave is because a) the system is the most current one and b) Vellum can run on Mojave (or High Sierra, too, I believe).

8.The OS names for Mac were confusing. Why couldn’t they just name the OS alphabetically, like hurricanes, I asked on a service call. But a rep patiently explained to me that their OS (Sierra, El Capitan, Mojave) are named after California mountains. Points for creativity.

9.At first I couldn’t log in to do the uploads on my iCloud account. An Apple rep, and eventually her boss, patiently helped me until I could successfully do so. For free. I was afraid I would get the short shrift by owning refurbished, but they treated me well.

Bottom line is, if you don’t care about the screen size and memory, going with a refurbished, smaller 11.6” MacBook Air may be a great option for you. Or you can do like me and wait until you have more money, get a mid-level PC, format your books for free on Draft 2 Digital and enjoy several years of great use.

YOUR TURN: PC or Mac…which one do you use and why? Are you wishing to make a switch from PC to Mac or vice versa?

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One thought on “An author’s take: PC vs. Mac

  • G.B. Miller

    Good review. I plan on switching to a Mac for regular use and keep my Win7 for witting and packing away my XP that I was using for the same purpose. I don’t like Win10 at all, which is the main reason why I’m switching.

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