Is an apple with a bite taken out of it.
I got a Macbook Pro 15 inch about two weeks ago. I bought it at the Apple Store. Just the basic low-end model, but let me tell you there’s nothing low-end about it. It has just about everything I could have hoped for in a laptop. I was considering for the longest time of getting the 13 inch Macbook, but my dad gave me a piece of indispensable advice, “buy something you won’t regret.” I don’t regret this purchase even though it’s more I wanted to spend, but I’m doing just fine there as well.
What do I think of it? Well for starters, when purchasing it, I like that there aren’t a jillion different models to choose from with a jillion different features to customize like a Dell laptop. I’m not fancy or stylish. I don’t give two shits about different colored shells, and why does one color shell cost more than another? I hate that Dell gives all of those options from upgrading processors to deciding what color it should be. They’re banking that I’ll always add one more thing. “Oh,” I think. “It’s just another 80 bucks for the blu-ray drive and another 50 for XP Pro instead of Home and my Dell laptop is always twice the price of the barebones one. I’m also partial to the blue shell too.”
The Macbook Pro comes with everything as if someone at Apple realized, “well, it should just come with all this shit, right?” Why make the potential customer wade through menu after menu of radio buttons making decisions like Dell does? I know it lets them customize everything, but the amount of choices are so overwhelming that it turned me off to getting a Dell. Going back to the Dan Ariely TED talk about economic decision making, if there was a third option between an basic PC laptop and an Apple, it woud be Dell’s
“customize every little fiddly bit” approach, which would be the approach that would make you just want to pick the more superior one, and for me that would be Apple.
I choose it because the hardware is a synthesis of good components and user forethought. Everything you could want in a laptop is here, and it’s packaged in a sleek and sexy aluminum unibody chasis.
The big feature for me is the trackpad. It. Is. Brilliant. I don’t know if Apple has a patent, but why other companies aren’t ripping it off left and right is baffling. For one thing it’s big. Yes, it’s one giant button, but you can make it work like a two button and get your right-click context menus back — the lower right hand corner acts as the second mouse button for me. You can use gestures on it — it’s fully multi-touch. Two fingers for scrolling left, right, up, down in any app. In Safari, three finger swipes goes forward and back in your web history. Four finger swipes up and down will hide the windows on your desktop or explode them all so you can easily navigate to the right window which is useful. In iPhoto you can zoom and rotate with the right gestures. The click on the trackpad makes it feel sturdy.
The screen is bright, flush with the edges, thin, and has a high resolution. The low-end 15 in. has a beefy 250 GB harddrive (seriously, ask yourself, how many DVDs are you going to steal from Netflix before you fill up your harddrive?), a fast processor, and two NVidia processors. My machine has 2 GB of RAM. That, maybe in the future, might be something I’d want to upgrade, but 2 GB is fine for right now. I haven’t tried any games on it so I have some really high hopes when I do. I’m not expecting Crysis on ultra-high everything, but I’m expecting some 1440×900 res action with L4D. Sims 3 maybe the first game I put on this thing, but, I’m not really planning to use this machine to play a ton of games. This is a work machine. I’m going to write my novel with it, take photos with my Sony A200 dSLR and tag them in iPhoto, and God willing get around to making some Mac/iPhone apps with XCode. This machine is 5.5 lbs. with the AC adapter, which, by the way, is not a brick. There’s a web-cam, bluetooth, wireless, a 5 hour battery, cd/dvd reader/burner drive, infrared port to hook to a printer, a laptop lock port too. The stereo speakers are built into the sides. The keyboard is backlit. You have special keys with the options for volume control, ejecting discs, lighting the keyboard and adjusting screen brightness. There’s one year of warranty incase I drop it. No, I didn’t get the Applecare. I know, I’m living on the edge, but that aside, it’s the whole package. Everything Dell wants you to add to their base machine to make it awesome is in Apple’s base machine.
I know I’m fawning over this machine, but when someone does something right it should be praised as a job well done. Yes, 2000 bucks is a lot of bucks. But you get what you paid for and I think it’s worth it for the hardware and the amount of time Apple put into designing this machine to meet your needs and exceed them.
I was looking into netbooks before this. I figured maybe an Asus EEE or Acer Aspire One. Asus and Acer release a new netbook every other week and the features are still shitty. I thought, I’d just use it for writing, email, blogging, and writing my novel. But, it’s never like that. I’ll want to network it, play some games, watch video on it (i.e. Hulu, Crunchyroll), maybe edit pictures and stuff. You can’t type on one of those netbooks to save your life. I know I’ve tried. You want to load Windows XP or OS X instead of Linux? It’ll eat your solid state harddrive for breakfast and then where will your one hundred, 10 megapixel photographs of your family go? You can’t fit them on a netbook. Get an SDHC card you say. Suit yourself, I say. Get a 160 GB version of the same netbook, but why bother, why not get a notebook and have a full keyboard and some more features? So you think, maybe I’ll get a Dell. You’ll add all the things you want and realize, it’s about as much as a 13 inch Macbook. Why not just get the Macbook and you’ll get everything I mentioned above but in a smaller package? If you stopped there, you were where I was a month ago in my thought process, and your only other option is to step up to 15 inches. At 17 inches for a laptop screen…you’d might as well buy a desktop and get a 24-30 inch monitor.
OS X is excellent so far. It’s not hard to learn, but, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I adapt to things easily. I get scared then I get over it and embrace it and move on. I’ve always been that way and I relish the challenge. Much of OS X reminds me of Ubuntu Linux. In fact, Mac OS X is what Ubuntu wants to be except everything on OS X is solid and refined. OS X has the nice things about Ubuntu. It loads fast on start up. It’s, in fact, Unix under the hood so your not missing much. Networking is easy. Apple’s done some things to make navigating around your machine easier. For instance, Spotlight. Where’s Photoshop? I just type it into Spotlight and there it is. I can hit ‘space’ while highlighting a file and the preview will open it up and do it in a jiffy. The Dock is nice just to get to apps I use a lot. Ubuntu has the Avant Window Navigator thing which is their dock, but here’s the beginning and end of it: It doesn’t work.
As far as iLife goes iTunes and iPhoto are the only iTools I really use. I don’t have a video camera to edit swanky, hipster movies. I don’t have musical inclinations. So much of the wonderment that is iLife is beyond me. The Flickr integration in iPhoto is cool, plus it’s fast. For some reason Ubuntu and Windows are slow at showing images, but the Mac excells at it. I bought iWorks which is Apple’s Office software. I could have gone with OpenOffice but I monkeyed with that on Ubuntu and Windows. On Ubuntu it’s slow as fuck. It also has graphical glitches. Pages is Word for the Mac. It too is fast.
So, what’s wrong with it?
I’m a PC. All my software is in PC. So I’d need to find Mac equivalents, that’s not an issue though.
I’m a bit fearful of my Mac too. I’ve seen a lot of blog posts of people’s Macintoshes catching on fire or having the magnetic power cord spontaneously burst into flame. I don’t know if that’s because people can’t take care of their shit or if Apple manufactures their power cords with C4. I’ve heard of the AC adapter plastic cracking and failing to work. I really don’t want any randomly battery explosions or fires on my apartment so I won’t be leaving my Mac on 24 hours.
I have some issue with the keyboard as well. There’s no actual delete key. The backspace key is named “delete,” but there’s now way for you to delete characters ahead of your cursor. There’s no home key, no page up, page down, end, home, etc. I hope there’s a Mac alternative but I don’t know them and if they’re non-obvious they I won’t be using them and unfortunately, just deal.
I can’t find much else to fault right now. I overcame all the obstacles it threw at me.
So yes, I highly recommend the Macbook Pro. I think even on a hardware standpoint, its got the best deal of everything out there. One of the tipping points that pushed me towards the Macbook was the NVidia 9400M processor. The Pro has much more powerful NVidia mobile processors, but the 9400M is supposed to handle decoding 1080p video and doing all sorts of superior looking 3D graphics, and recently the 9400M was redubbed the Ion and paired with the Intel Atom processor making for a super-compact and very capable computer. At least on paper. In the coming months we should see more the NVidia Ion. There’s already the Acer AspireRevo nettop box which could be a great home theater PC, but it’s a pile. And I’m sad for this.
I’m not sure if I’d want to run Windows. Maybe emulated with Parallels or VirtualBox, but I’ll hold off for now. Windows is still my OS of choice to get shit done, but the OS X is coming up second. Ubuntu…sorry, it’s a pile too. For that, I’m also quite sad.