Last week photographer and video blogger Manny Ortiz posted a video explaining the five most important reasons he settled on a Dell XPS 15 laptop instead of a MacBook Pro for his latest portable photo and video editing workhorse.
Ortiz is not a Mac basher. He emphasizes that he has used both macOS and Windows for years, likes both appreciating their respective strengths and weaknesses, and that his choice of the Dell machine over a MacBook Pro mainly boiled down to the five issues he outlines in the video rather than any anti-Mac bias. Indeed, he recorded the video sitting in front of his 27-inch iMac. However, he says because he does most of his image editing work on the road, his main workhorse is a laptop capable of editing 4K video.
Ortiz’a number one reason for choosing the Dell machine was simply its price — nearly $1,000 less than a similar specification Mac, not counting the cost of an assortment of dongles you’ll likely need to adapt the MacBook Pro’s four USB-C ports to more currently useful interface connections. He says that if he was a die-hard Mac user, he could likely find reasons to justify coughing up the extra grand for the MacBook Pro, but with no strong OS preference, he simply couldn’t reconcile the higher cost, and price was a huge factor in his decision.
The ports issue was the number two reason persuading Ortiz to go with the Dell. Apple has gone whole hog with USB-C — arguably a half-decade or so prematurely. The Dell XPS 15 on the other hand has a conveniently eclectic assortment of ports, and also a SDCard slot which he considers essential for photographers and videographers but which Apple unfortunately dropped from the current generation MacBook Pro. The XPS also has Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and two standard USB ports — “all the ports I need as a photographer and videographer,” Ortiz observes, and having the connectivity you need built-in certainly beats the whiz out of having to purchase a tangle of expensive and easily misplaced or forgotten dongles.
His reason number three for choosing the Dell machine over a MacBook Pro was the latter’s lack of upgradability. With both the RAM and the storage drive hard-soldered to the logic board, you’re stuck with the configuration your Mac ships with at purchase, since both, while both can be upgraded in the XPS 15.
Fourth, and perhaps most controversial is the unavailability of a touchscreen in the MacBook Pro. Apple continues to doggedly reject touchscreen support in its notebooks, while most high-end Windows PC laptops and even some lower-priced models feature touch these days. Ortiz acknowledges that some laptop users are not touchscreen fans, but says he got hooked on touch using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and he now loves using it and doesn’t think he would ever want a laptop without it.
I’m living without it, but would like to have it, not that I see myself ever becoming a heavy user of touch on a clamshell laptop, for the same reason I don’t often use an external keyboard with my iPad. The ergonomics of reaching over the keyboard to manipulate a vertically oriented touchscreen are horrible. However it would be handy and useful at times to have touch capability, and I remain underwhelmed by Apple’s Touch Bar substitute. Those who don’t like touch in a laptop don’t have to use it, but a laptop costing nearly $3,000 should provide users with the option.
Apple’s stubbornness on this issue is surely costing them some notebook sales, but the cost and allocation of development resources of adding touch support to the macOS probably has something to do with it. Windows wins out here with their single OS for both laptops and tablets as opposed to Apple’s parallel macOS/iOS strategy.
Ortiz’s fifth reason is the Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics processor Dell puts in the XPS 15 which he says smoothly handles editing 4K video from all of his cameras in Adobe Premiere. “The rendering times are really, really impressive,” he observes, and “this just kind of sealed the deal for me.”
Overall Ortiz says he’s been really pleased with the Dell XPS 15, although he notes that over many years of using both platforms, for the most part he’s had fewer problems with his Macs than with his Windows PCs, which are also more prone to virus infections. The thing he has missed most in choosing a PC laptop instead of a MacBook Pro is the Mac’s support for Final Cut Pro, but doesn’t see that as enough reason to pay $1,000 more. He says that if you have the money and want to stay in the macOS ecosystem, you won’t go wrong with the MacBook Pro, but if you choose the XPS 15 you won’t be disappointed.
Computer users have different priorities, tastes, and budgets, and Ortiz is correct that there are no wrong answers here. Personally, I’ve opted for a MacBook Air for the near to mid-term future while I wait to see how the universe unfolds over the next couple of years or so. I find Apple’s current MacBook and MacBook Pro offerings, less than compelling, and some of the Windows PC laptop hardware these days quite enticing, but I would be starting pretty much from square one withmacPOS Windows, and then there are the malware and statistical reliability issues, and personally I do strongly prefer the macOS to Windows.
However, Manny Ortiz presents a compelling and entirely reasonable case for choosing a Windows PC over a Mac for the stuff he does with computers, and his five points are well worth considering even for consummate Mac fans contemplating their next laptop upgrade.