When you read the title, I bet you think I’m an Apple hater – a Windows user who doesn’t understand the unique way that Macs work. Or, perhaps, that I simply can’t afford one so I carry a bitterness for anything and everything Apple. These are common assumptions made by Apple users when confronted by seemingly angry Windows keyboard warriors online.
I can honestly say that any of those assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. I used to only buy Apple computers, love the way they’re designed and built and still believe that macOS is a far superior operating system to Windows, which has pretty much always been the case. So now you’re probably wondering, why on Earth did I move to Windows?
To cut a slightly longer story short, I used to always upgrade the RAM and HDDs in my Mac notebooks as soon as they arrived. Once Apple began soldering in the RAM and over time it became harder and harder to do home upgrades, I moved over to a Windows desktop where I could change any component myself. Overall, I was becoming frustrated with the way Apple was telling me how to interact and use the hardware it manufactures when I owned the device itself.
Why Windows works for me
I recently bought a new notebook because my old one was no longer up to the tasks I needed it for at seven years old. This was a process that spanned several weeks of research and I even looked at the MacBook Pro 14-inch, but I saved myself a small fortune with a comparably powerful Lenovo Legion Slim 5 14. What’s more, it has a fantastic wide gamut OLED screen for photo and video editing, along with an Nvidia 40-series GPU.
I have to confess that the RAM in my Legion Slim 5 is soldered in. Why Lenovo (the best Lenovo laptops) has gone down this route is beyond belief because the upgrade was peanuts compared to Apple's RAM prices – so it’s not about profit. However, I opted for the maximum 32GB of DDR 5 6400MHz RAM, so this should keep me going for a while. But I can add a second M.2 SSD if I want to, and clone and change the upgraded 1TB M.2 drive the notebook came with, if and when I want to. My desire to tinker is, in part, catered for.
I appreciate that Apple Unified RAM works slightly differently to RAM in PCs because of how and where it’s attached to the motherboard, and that Apple claims their computers can match the performance of comparable Windows computers with twice as much RAM. But does this even matter? I for one don’t care as long as I can achieve the performance I need with double the amount of RAM in a PC, especially when it’s so inexpensive compared to Apple’s RAM upgrade prices.
I paid £1431 For the Legion, and the nearest equivalent MacBook Pro 14, assuming 16GB of RAM is the equivalent of the 32GB I chose, would have cost me $2600 /£2099, so a saving of $840 / £668 for what I would consider to be a more versatile option. As I say, I do prefer macOS, but I also don’t mind Windows and PCs are comparably well-suited to creative work these days, unlike 20 years or so ago when things were different. Coincidentally, both notebooks also benchmark with similar results, so the lower cost of the Legion is a true saving in every sense.
I guess it comes down to preference and what you’re willing to pay. Of course, a low-end $375 / £300 Windows notebook will be next to useless and plagued with performance issues, but spend around $1,890 / £1500 and things are significantly different. So, for me, a mid-range Windows gaming notebook provides all of the power I need for photo and video editing and more, it’s a well-built device and saved me a ton of cash in the process. Which is why, I wouldn’t touch a MacBook Pro with a bargepole.
See where the rest of the DCW team rank things in the best photo-editing laptops guide.