My Sunday newspaper had five advertising inserts pushing Windows Vista on PCs. Prices? Dirt cheap.
Cheaper than Macs. So, no flame war, please. Here’s a Sunday list of what’s cheaper in the PC world when compared to a Mac.
If you don’t live in a major metropolitan area you may not be blessed with the number of choices when shopping for a Windows Vista PC. Competition often reduces prices and PC stores are competitive.
Not so with the Mac. Apple’s stores usually sell at or near the suggested retail price, and so do stores that sell Macs. A free cheapie printer is about as much a discount as you’ll get on any new Mac.
My Sunday morning newspaper had no less than five advertising inserts selling Windows Vista on new PCs. Frankly, some of the prices were remarkable. Remarkably low.
I don’t want to get into that whole Mac vs. Windows PC Pricing Debate™ and prices for PCs may not be the same where you live. Still, if price means anything, it’s easy to see why people stick with PCs.
Wherever possible, I’ll keep the product comparisons somewhat similar, Mac vs. Windows PC. The intent isn’t to show which box is cheaper (Windows PCs always win the “cheaper” debate), but to compare.
The most colorful of the Sunday ad inserts came from Best Buy. Their distinctive yellow and blue ad and store motif was plastered all over the multi-page insert.
Best Buy sells everything from PCs to dishwashers and microwaves to CDs and DVDs and TVs. If you need some expert PC or Mac help (they sell Macs in some stores), don’t look here.
An eMachines Intel Celeron D and Windows Home Basic was available for $379 with half a gig of RAM, 120 gig hard drive, a 17-inch flat panel display, and a color printer.
Apple wisely chooses not to compete in that arena. Best Buy did have a 17-inch Intel Core 2 Duo HP PC for $1259, a few hundred less than a nearly comparable iMac.
The red and white motif retailer that sells anything that needs an electrical outlet had an Everex laptop for $470, but as with all the extra cheapie PCs, sported an older, slower Intel mobile processor.
Notebooks quickly ran from sub-$500 to nearly $2,000 for some Sony models. Ditto for desktops. The cheapest had Windows Vista Home Basic, the pricier models carried Home Premium.
In most cases, the mid-range Windows Vista PCs carried larger hard drives than comparably equipped iMacs.
Office Depot & Office Max
Both of these stores offer rows of cheapie PCs for home and small business, but no Macs. Their Sunday ad inserts were more varied than Circuit City, Best Buy, or CompUSA with some HP machines sporting AMD processors.
For example, Office Depot carried an HP for less than $700. That included a gig of RAM, a 300 gig hard drive, CD/DVD burner, a 19-inch display, Windows Vista Home Premium, a memory card reader, and that AMD dual core CPU.
The least expensive was another version of the eMachines package for $350. The most expensive PC in the ad was a $1,300 HP notebook with a 15-inch display, 120 gig hard drive, two gigs RAM, Lightscribe for CDs/DVDs, Windows Home Premium, and built-in WiFi.
OfficeMax was pushing a Compaq desktop for $580 which included an Intel Pentium D with half a gig of RAM, 160 gig hard drive, and Windows Vista Home Basic. None of the stores with less expensive products sold the higher priced versions of Windows Vista installed on a PC.
The PC retailer giant was pushing a $600 Acer notebook with an Intel Pentium Dual Core inside. Intel has so many chip models running in PCs that it’s hard to know which is which. Cheaper isn’t better.
CompUSA also carries Toshiba and Sony notebooks, which are more comparably priced to Apple’s MacBooks and MacBook Pro, feature for feature.
An HP Media Center PC was advertised at $1,199 and included a TV tuner and remote along with two gigs of RAM, a 500 gig hard drive, a CD/DVD burner which supports dual layer burning, WiFi, Core 2 Duo inside, a 17-inch display, and Windows Vista Home Premium.
A compable iMac goes for just under $1,700. Is it any wonder that PCs sell in such big numbers when compared to the Mac? Not a single ad mentioned anything that Windows Vista did other than burn CDs or DVDs.
There was no mention of Vista’s new apps for movies, photos, disk burning, and so on. Interestingly, there were few ads in the newspaper inserts for virus, spyware, and malware protection, perhaps because much of it doesn’t run well on Vista. Yet.
This isn’t an Apples to apples comparison, but when it comes to price, Windows PCs still come in much lower than any comparable Mac. I deliberately avoided checking the Dell web site, partly because their pricing seems to fluctuate by the hour.
How do Macs compare to PC discount prices where you live? Higher? Lower? How do they compare feature for feature? Share you experience and knowledge in the Comments section below.