For many newcomers or people switching to newer hardware this questions arises: “portable or stationary?” Author Michael Hülskötter explores the topic.

“The complete exclusion of a stationary computer doesn’t apply to me anymore. Nowadays I’m think that ‘the right setup’ is the most important thing. This has to do with my way of working and it led me to buy an iMac with a big display. It also provides the power of an Intel i5 2,7 GHz and 8GB of RAM. On the other hand I still use my MacBook Pro when away on business to record my video blog.”

Just comparing raw power, both types of computers are pretty much equal. In the entry level devices the differences are very small. The entry level MacBook Pro 13 inch comes with a 2,7 GHz processor and 8GB of RAM, a 128GB flash storage and has an Intel Iris Graphics 6100 chip built in.

Nearly identical entry level prices 

Compared to that, the entry level iMac has the following specifications: Intel Core i5 processor with 1,4 GHz, 8GB of RAM, 500GB hard disk and an Intel HD Graphics 5000 chip built in. Where both computers differ a little in specs, they don’t differ much in price. The MacBook Pro 13″ model costs 1.299$ whereas the iMac 21.5″ model costs 1.099$. But if you want a slightly bigger Apple notebook with a bigger display this leaves you witht he MacBoop Pro 15″ and that starts at 1.999$. But it is also a powerhouse with much higher performance.

That brings up the question, why you must pay such a big price difference if you want to call a notebook with a bigger display your own. Well, the flexible use of the MacBook Pro is probably the main reason for this. You can carry a laptop everywhere and have all programs and apps with you at any time. It doesn’t matter if it’s mobile video recording and editing or transferring fotos from your camery to a photo editing software. You can also surf the internet via WiFi or iPhone hotspots – the portable Macs are just so much more flexible.

But there are also reasons for the stationary computer. One of them is definetely the bigger display of the iMac. The bigger and more powerful model has a display size of 27 inch. In contrast, the MacBook Pro tops out at 15 inch. Especially for creatives, such as designers or photographers every inch counts to view and edit those photos on a bigger screen. On the other hand you can also hook up a big screen to the mobile MacBook Pro through a Thunderbold port.

iMacs for the creatives, MacBooks for the digital nomads

For this species the iMac also comes with high definition graphics chip which is optimized for HD video production and replay. Compared to the MacBook (Pro) the iMac also offers a bigger hard disk for the mutimedia fans. All data is loaded exceptionally fast and it has a lot of space for big photo and video files. If you upgrade to an SSD or Fusion drive it will be even faster.

When it comes to upgrading, modern Apple computers can only be enhanced with a lot of effort and skill. With the latest models like the MacBook Air it isn’t possible at all to change componemnts because the hardware is soldered to the mainboard. But the iMac already offers 4 USB 3.0 ports whereas the MacBook Pro 13″ only offers 2. The iMac also has 2 Thunderbold ports and a SD card slot and the MacBook Pro 13″ only has one Thunderbold port and an SD card slot. With those ports you can connect external hard disks, displays or SD cards with your computer.

The conclusion of Michael Hülskötter

“The price-performance ration is n most cases better with the iMac compared to the MacBook Pro. The bigger screen, more power in the higher segments and bigger hard disks speak in favour of the stationary Apple computer. But you can’t carry an iMac with you and it always need a desk. So for digital normads the only option is the MacBook.

This article is based on a blog article of author Michael Hülskötter. You can read the full article (in German) at