The MacBook Pro M3 debate: "As an always PC person, I have always been envious of the build quality and engineering of Macs BUT..."

MacBook Pro Should I buy art
(Image credit: Future)

Last week I laid out the problem I'd come to as a Mac user; I had decided to buy an M3 MacBook Pro and nearly did it, right up until I was confronted with Apple's confusing and apparently greedy pricing structure which was pushing me toward spending $4,000 for what felt, to me, like the equivalent of a $2,000 computer. I didn't feel like all of that could be blamed on inflation so I decided to keep my money in my pocket and even investigate all the best laptops for video editing, including PCs.

Certainly, I feel the joy I used to experience in buying a new computer of my own every half-decade has been supplanted by a feeling of fear and dread at making a hideous expensive mistake, and voicing that made me feel far from alone.

That's 7 different choices (and quite a variety of prices) at 14-inches, plus two color options... (Image credit: Future)

One respondent told me that they'd thought of switching to Mac a number of times: "As an always PC person, I have always been universally been envious of the obvious build quality and engineering of Macs and the fact they are always pretty!" Fair enough – that's probably what drew me to Macs in the early 2000s. He wasn't tempted, however: "Although I will pay for quality, I won't have my eyeballs ripped out nor will I compromise a lot on my ability to do what I want on it or with it. Memory is where Apple has always generated the margin on their products. I can't see that changing imminently."

I think he's right. I'm old enough to remember when it was possible to buy a MacBook and then put the memory you wanted in yourself for rather less than Apple charged, but the last model that allowed for that was the intel-powered Mid 2012 MacBook Pro (which was available in 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch). They also had an 8x "SuperDrive" DVD drive and FireWire 800 ports.

Ports and an SD card slot make the MacBook Pro more appealing. (Image credit: Future)

Another told me how they still used a 2013 Mac Pro – the cylinder (or trash can, depending on your perspective). They told me they had "64GB memory and a 2TB SSD, connected to 32TB of RAID 5 storage" – sounds plentiful for "Photo manipulation using Lightroom Classic, Photoshop and 6 other photo processing tools along with Painter." He said that: "Adobe is pushing me to get a new Mac by implementing features that do not work well on Intel chips." I sympathise (though I struggle to see why Adobe, who charge a subscription, would do this).

His tip, though, did make sense – he'll be looking at the Mac Mini instead of a new Mac Studio; I should look at the MacBook Air. Sadly, of course, I want the sockets including the SD port without a dangling accessory, but it was wise counsel. But otherwise this seems very sound advice. Not that the next respondent agreed...

Some people can just walk right on by! (Image credit: Future)

Another reader – who accused me of making my title a bit 'baity' (though in my defence it was absolutely how I felt) told me: "I have used Macs and PCs since the latter part of the ‘80s. Since the modern era of the Mac, OS X, to the present, there has been no question as to which platform I’d rather use. I don’t consider myself a “fanboy”, just a pragmatic user who has worked in IT since the mid-eighties."

That seems reasonable – though I'm in my mid-40s and have also used both platforms (and others too – any RISC OS fans out there?). Still, he continued: "I find it difficult to believe someone would consider leaving a platform for petty reasons."

Petty? I disagree – My point was that Apple's options are designed to encourage you to buy above your needs through fear of missing out. That isn't petty. 

He said: "That would be analogous to leaving your Tesla for a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle because there are too many choices to make with a Tesla."

Interesting point. I do have a bit of beef with Teslas – I like an instrument cluster in front of me, not off to the side, and I like some more physical controls. I much prefer the Jaguar I-Pace. All the more odd because I did like Apple's touch bar which is not exactly a well-loved – and now discarded – piece of laptop design that's very analogous to the Tesla's touchscreen centre control panel.

Anyway, back to the correspondent, who finished with a flourish: "As one who was once an avid PC user who built my own PCs because of the choices it offered me, I became disillusioned with PCs primarily because of the poor operating system choices. Windows is an all-out failure; I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Though Windows has made strides over the years, it’s still a poor choice for an OS, especially given its MS-DOS roots. Failing to shed its single-user, insecure DOS roots has caused users infinite nightmares. Linux is a good OS, but it doesn’t support the software that a photographer and videographer needs. That is why I switched to the Mac in the early 2000s.

I believe if you were to switch to a PC/Windows platform, you’d soon be writing an article about why you were returning to the Mac."

He might have a point. I'm off to look at the Apple Store and the Samsung store right now... 

Check our guide to the best laptops for photo editing and the best budget laptops to see how many Apple manage to get on that list!

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook