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One of our users was having difficulties with their mac and using some web software.  I decided to go peruse the landscape and see how much of a premium people were paying for their macs.  I priced out a Dell and a Mac from their websites.  I tried to get them as close to the same configuration, from a hardware standpoint, as I could.  I found the following:

Apple Macbook Pro



Dell XPS 17


There are several important differences in the hardware:

  1. The mac doesn’t have a blueray player, but the dell does.
  2. The mac has a slightly slower processor.
  3. The mac claims to have a better battery, but doesn’t list the specifics, so there’s no way to tell.
  4. The mac doesn’t list the video card stats, so there’s no way to tell how comparable they are, but they’re probably close.
  5. The mac doesn’t come with any additional software.  No iWorks, iPhoto, etc.  They were left to their default of None, so arguably, the Dell is more functional out of the box.
  6. Other than changing the hardware specs to be close, all other configuration options were left at their default.

So riddle me this, Batman:  Why do people buy Macs?  I have several dev buddies that own them, but I can’t justify the cost.  First, most of them load bootcamp and/or parallels at extra cost to run windows 7 and windows apps.  The hardware isn’t as good.  The price is almost twice as expensive.

How do you justify the premium price?

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Posted on Thursday, February 3, 2011 4:52 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: The Mac Tax

# re: The Mac Tax
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As a Mac owner I have to say, i buy Macs because I enjoy the Mac OS. I grew tired of living life in Windows all day every day. But other than that, I don't know why people pay the premium. I have had as many troubles with my macs as I have any dell so quality is still an issue and the specs are always outdated.
Left by Jeff Julian on Feb 03, 2011 6:28 PM

# re: The Mac Tax
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I priced out a Lenova a little while ago and it was actually quite comparable to the Mac price. I guess it just depends who you buy from. I just can't buy Dell laptops anymore. I have had way too many problems with quality.
Left by Shaun on Feb 03, 2011 7:05 PM

# re: The Mac Tax
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Interesting comparison, too bad you didn't get your facts correct. You claim that specifics are missing from Apple's website about the battery and graphics card when they are in fact listed. Apple has a whole page dedicated to explaining the battery plus has additional information on the tech specs page. You are also incorrect on the included software. The iLife suite is standard in every Mac. While you list iPhoto as not included it is there along with iWeb, iMovie and Garage Band. You also did not take tech support and build quality into account where Dell gets bested. While you are correct that the Dell is cheaper while having better specs most of your arguments are simply false.
Left by Really! on Feb 04, 2011 5:00 AM

# re: The Mac Tax
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I admit, I did get some of my facts incorrect and did miss some of the specs that apple had available, but not on their customize screen.

The battery is a 77.5 watt hour battery compared to the 92 watt hour battery on the dell.

The battery on a mac requires you to take it in to a service tech to get it replaced, unlike the dell.

The video card is an NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor with 256MB compared to 435M with 1 gigabyte on the Dell.

You are correct, iLife is included on the mac, but its negated by the Windows Live stuff included on the dell. I know iLife is more usable, but they do provide the same functionality.

So, most of my arguments are NOT false, they're all substantiated. You're telling me that you're willing to pay $1,500 for a magnetic power supply, unibody case, and tech support?

Before you flame, you should make sure you're not going to look like a moron. I welcome feedback, but please at least take the time to substantiate your claims.
Left by Robert may on Feb 05, 2011 9:37 AM

# re: The Mac Tax
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First off never buy ram or hard drive from Apple, they have always been high. Both are easy to upgrade and way cheaper on newegg or tigerdirect.

The build quality of Apple is second to none. My experance with Dell laptops has not been very good at all from both personal and seeing them in my work enviroment. Where as Dell's Desktops I do not mind having as they tend to be very good.

Apple's OS is amazing. Windows 7 really took a note from Apple and NEXT's GUI.

What you get is a UNIX 03 certified OS and me being a Linux/Freebsd user was kind of a cool. Since I was a BSD and already, I was familar with the ports system, And able to get my Free/GNU software on.

I was able to use all the software I love to use and still be able to watch Netflix or use Office things that I cant do on Linux or BSD :(

Those are some of the reasons I bought a Macbook.
Left by PacManLives on Feb 10, 2011 6:14 AM

# re: The Mac Tax
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Android Hidden Camera Detector apps for free. So have these installed now
Left by Ahmed on Sep 23, 2017 2:09 PM

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