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Eight Reasons Your Next Computer Should Be a PC

By Harry McCracken
April 27, 2009 12:00 PM ET

PC World - Let's just say it: For the vast majority of computer shoppers, buying a Windows PC doesn't quite qualify as a decision. Around nine out of ten computers run one version of Windows or another, making it the world's default option in operating systems. It's opting for something else, like a Mac, that always represents a conscious choice.

Which is not to say that there aren't plenty of real reasons to select a computer that runs Windows, even after you've investigated all your options. As a confirmed platform agnostic whose home is overrun with both Windows machines and Macs, I find myself recommending Windows machines to about half my friends and acquaintances who seek computer-shopping advice, and Macs to the other half. So I was happy when PC World asked me to write this article and a companion piece about the virtues of Macs--and I had plenty to say in both instances.

Here's my list of the eight most compelling reasons to buy a computer whose operating system hails from Redmond. I've ranked them in order of importance as I see it. But as always with anything relating to technology, your priorities are almost certainly at least somewhat different than mine.

1. Variety is the spice of computing.

You can buy a portable Windows computer that weighs a pound and slips in your pocket. Or one with a spectacular 18.4-inch display that stretches the definition of "portable." Some Windows computers are lean and mean; others are loaded with features. There are ones for hardcore gamers, for fashionistas, and for people who hate to type. In short, you can almost certainly find a Windows PC aimed at you--and usually a bunch of them competing for your dollars. By contrast, Apple has a grand total of nine different Mac models, none of which cater to specialized audiences.

2. The cost of admission is lower.

From the spin in recent Microsoft marketing, you'd think that Windows computers are inherently thrifty, and that Mac fans pay a punitive "Apple Tax." Not true--the priciest Windows boxes will put a bigger dent in your credit-card bill than comparable Macs. What is entirely accurate--and valuable--is that the Windows world offers plenty of PCs at every price point, including the low ones that Apple ignores as a matter of principle. The cheapest Mac laptop, for instance, costs $999; BestBuy.com offers 78 Windows notebooks that cost less than that.

3. Windows PCs have worthwhile features that Macs don't.

Apple has popularized more important hardware innovations than any other company, from the mouse to Wi-Fi. At the moment, though, it steers clear of multiple useful features that its Windows-based rivals have embraced. With Windows systems, for instance, built-in memory-card readers are standard, and HDMI connectors for easy HDTV hookups are becoming so. Wireless broadband, built-in TV tuners, and Blu-ray are all reasonably affordable options. In Macland, you can get some of those features only through third-party add-ons. And others you simply must do without.

Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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