Should You Buy an iMac or a MacBook?

At LockerGnome.net, Solidsafety2 writes:

I am looking at buying an iMac or a MacBook Pro with Retina display, but I don’t know which to get. I know that Chris has an older iMac and he likes the new one, and he also has a MacBook Pro with Retina display. My friend has an iMac and really likes it, but I don’t know what would be the best one for me. I’d like either an iMac or MacBook that does OK in video editing and is pretty fast, so which one should I get?

Should You Buy an iMac or a MacBook?The big difference between these two devices is portability. The new iMac shares much of the same specs with the current MacBook Pro line, and is quite capable of handling pretty much anything the average user would throw at it. The current MacBook Pro line is pushed to video production professionals as a portable studio and I use it as a regular video editing machine.

If portability is important to you, then the MacBook would be the way to go. Whether you go with the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with or without Retina, the battery life and basic performance level is quite good. Apple went a long way to improve the performance of the current generation MacBook Air.

The new iMac is quick and capable. You can pick it up for about the same as you would an equivalent MacBook Pro, though you do get the advantage of the Fusion drive, which combines fast performance with decent storage capacity out of the box. Unless you’re paying top dollar, the capacity you’ll get with the MacBook Pro with Retina is nothing to write home about. You really should consider getting an SSD in anything you buy these days anyway, since the performance increase is extremely noticeable in most cases I’ve seen.

There is a problem with the first generation MacBook Pro with Retina that you should be aware of. There’s a problem with dropped frames at Retina resolutions. You have to work around the native resolution in order to mitigate this performance drop. As much as you might enjoy the great screen and ability to make the most of Final Cut Pro, the downside here might outweigh the advantage. You may be better served with a regular MacBook Pro if portability is key and the Retina display itself isn’t the primary selling point for you.

Either of these systems will perform very well. The answer you’re looking for comes down to your need for portability. The MacBook Pro with Retina gives you this, and with excellent battery life. The iMac will deliver a bit more bang for your buck when it comes down to specs and storage capacity.

Image: Wikimedia

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.