"Apple MacBook vs. Microsoft Windows
Now on to your college kid. It's true that Apple's MacBooks are expensive. The cheapest MacBook Air with a 13-inch screen is at least $999 from Apple. And that device hasn't had a significant upgrade since March 2015. Earlier this year, Apple did give the base model 8GB of RAM as a standard option. But on the chance an update could be coming soon for this line, buying it now could be risky. That said, the next MacBook in the lineup starts at $1,299.
By contrast, you can get a Mac-like experience from a less-expensive Windows laptop, like the Dell XPS 13, which starts at $799. There's also the Razer Blade Stealth for $899. And Microsoft right now is offering lots of good deals on the Surface Pro 4, which doubles as a tablet. You can get one for $799.
Still, none of these devices are as well built as a MacBook. Ackerman said he's confident a MacBook will last you four to five years without really falling apart.
"I'm not sure I'd say that for even premium-priced Windows laptops," he said. "Macs have that OS/hardware synergy, so the touchpad gestures are unmatched, and you get great little features like hitting the spacebar to preview any file."
Buying a laptop, last-minute holiday shopper? We can help - CNET
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