What Should I Get?

Many times a friend will ask: Should I get a PC or an Apple? How about a Chromebook or an iPad? Is an iPhone better than an Android?

My answer will always begin with a few questions of my own: What do you want to do? What have you had in the past? What do you plan to do with it?

If you plan to just read email and look at Facebook, the answer will be different than if you want to create Word documents and edit photos or videos. Also, many of us have always had a Windows computer, but we may not need one any longer. So when it’s time to replace that computer, consider what you plan to use it for.

Do you need a mobile device and, if so, do you need cellular service? If mobility is key, then that will narrow the field and make the decision a little easier.

What follows is my opinion and the way I make recommendations when I’m asked: What should I get?

Mobile Phone: If your decision is price-driven, then Android phones can be less expensive. They are somewhat more likely to have security issues than an Apple phone, especially if not kept up to date. An Apple iPhone will be a little more secure and simpler to use, but it will likely be more expensive.

Laptop: If you’re just going to surf the web, read email, do your banking, look at Facebook, etc., get a Chromebook. A Chromebook has the mobility of a Windows or Apple laptop, but is significantly less expensive and significantly more secure. Here’s a test—if you can do everything you need using a Chrome browser, you do not need anything other than a Chromebook. If you want a big monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you can get a Chromebox and use them instead of a laptop form-factor. And a Chromebox is even more budget-friendly.

PC: If you need all the computing power of a PC, there are a few options. However, make sure you need it before spending the money and potentially dealing with either security issues or time tinkering with it. If you still want a PC, consider Apple. They are more expensive than Windows PCs, but are significantly easier to use and maintain. There’s a learning curve when moving from Windows to Apple, but it’s easier than you might think and there are plenty of resources available to help you.

So what do I have?

Funny thing, I violate some of my own recommendations. I have multiple Windows computers. I do heavy-duty writing and need to interact with others that use Microsoft products. I have an Apple iPhone because I want a secure and dependable mobile phone that’s easy to update. I have an iPad because it blends seamlessly with my iPhone and has essentially the same interface. I don’t own a Chromebook or an Apple PC. But after all, how many computers does one guy need?

Maybe I’m not the best guy to answer that question.

Jarren Ringle is a member of SourcePoint and a volunteer instructor. He teaches various technology classes throughout the year. Jarren also volunteers at the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. With many years of project management experience in various technology fields, he enjoys helping others with technology.