Macs compete with Dell in Quinnipiac laptop purchase program

Macs gain steam with freshmen

By on September 6, 2011

The usual Dell-domination on Quinnipiac’s campus has been challenged this semester. During Information Technology Desk STARS’ routine rounds to help new students connect to the university’s wireless network, the STARS kept tally and are under the impression that the majority of incoming students who participated in the laptop purchase program chose MacBooks over Dell Latitudes.

“Over the past couple of years, Dell has slowly been losing its customers at Quinnipiac,” said Jake Lavranchuk, a technical analyst at QU’s tech desk. “The Quinnipiac University Technology Center has grown to accommodate the needs of the students and can now help students who do not own Dells, to a certain extent.”

This was the first year MacBooks were offered as an alternative to Dells in the laptop purchase program. The IT department does not have specific numbers declaring which brand came out on top in the program because students buy directly from Apple or Dell, Director of Client Services Richard Brownell said.

“What’s important to us is that students’ data is protected and that they have access to the services they need,” Brownell said. “What’s not important to us is the device they use. Macs are here. They are a fact of life and we want to focus on helping the students.”

Over the last decade, the computing world has changed drastically, resulting in thousands of devices that can access Quinnipiac’s network and all of which could potentially have problems. The Help Desk wants to accommodate every student, no matter the computer they own.

“I just got the first Mac I’ve ever used. I love it so far and I chose it because I heard a lot more positive things about it than the Dell,” freshman Sean Quinn said.

Junior Avani Patel chose Mac over Dell as an incoming freshman even though the Help Desk wasn’t supporting them at the time.

“After doing some research on Macs and talking with people who have them, it sounded like it was going to be smoother, faster, and have less viruses,” Patel said. “I have less problems with my Mac than the people I know who bought Dells do.”

Although the MacBook was the more popular choice this year, the Dell model has many more perks on this campus, Chief Information & Technology Officer Fred Tarca said.

“The most optimal support is still with Dell because we have so much more versatility because of our ability to image the machine,” Tarca said.

The Dell Latitude has been offered since the program’s inception 10 years ago. They are chosen because systems are in place that allow a copy of one computer’s hard drive to be applied to many other hard drives very quickly. This returns the laptop to a tested and approved configuration, a process called “re-imaging.”

Students who purchase Dells are also offered accidental damage protection, and Computrace, which recovers a lost or stolen computer. Neither of these guarantees are available if students purchase a MacBook through the school.

With both computers, students receive a three-year warranty. The AppleCare Protection Plan comes with the purchase of a MacBook.

“I am really happy with my decision to buy Dell as an incoming freshman,” says junior Sarah Rauth. “I honestly haven’t had any problems with it.”

The debate over which is the better buy ultimately comes down to personal preference: the Dell Latitude costs $1,199, while a 13-inch MacBook Pro costs $1,532, according to their respective websites. Microsoft sells its operating systems to various computer companies, allowing a broad distribution for its operating systems. This includes Dell as well as many other brand names such as Hewlett-Packard and Sony. Mac designed its operating system for its own hardware.

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About Catherine Boudreau

Arts & Life Editor
Email: artslife@quchronicle.com
Year: 2013
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: East Berkshire, Vt.