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NostalgicChills's avatar

Opinions on getting a Mac laptop?

Asked by NostalgicChills (2759 points ) September 13th, 2012

I was seriously considering getting a 13’’ Macbook Pro, since I am now laptop-less. I have done all my research and I’m pretty much set on buying one, but I’d like some last minute opinions/encouragements/objections/whatever.
Please only answer if you have personally owned one but also have other laptop brands to compare it to. Thanks Flutherers! :D

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16 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve been a DOS creature since I got my first computer in 1986. In 2008 I bought my first MacBook Pro and I can’t say enough good things about it. Four years later and I’ve never had to spend hours trying to figure out a blue screen, or why the computer isn’t booting properly etc, etc. I had to recently call Apple because my O/S is out of date and I needed to upgrade. I got an Apple agent within 10 minutes and 5 minutes later the upgrade was on its way. That would never happen with Windows lol.

I’m seriously thinking about replacing all our computers to Apple products eventually.

mazingerz88's avatar

Had Macs since 2004. Still do. You’ve done your research. Now go into the candy store and get one! Know that you are getting a great product, beautiful on the outside, powerful inside. And Steve Job’s ghost will appear to sing Hallelujah! As an avid Apple fan, I’m giddy for you.
: )

Nullo's avatar

Why (and I mean this with no criticism) do you want a Mac laptop? The look? The OS? The tech support? If you have already reached a satisfactory answer, that’s fine. As long as you have asked the question.

I’ve never owned a Mac-top, but I am somewhat familiar with the OS and I have compared specs before. I find Apple’s machines to be overpriced in terms of hardware performance. If it’s just the OS that you want, you might try making a Hackintosh.

reijinni's avatar

If you’re really thinking of a laptop try a Linux laptop from one of these places. They are a better value than a macbook and tech support is way cheaper with these.

jerv's avatar

The storage is too limited and the graphics too underwhelming for me to really like the MB lineup, though I concede that they are far better than they were in previous generations. If the 13” model were available with 256GB storage, I would consider paying $800 for it, but the hardware isn’t spectacular enough to justify the cost, and the OS can be faked with Linux using Mac4Lin or just run on a Hackintosh.

However, if you are willing to pay extra to be like everyone else, or value the illusion of simplicity, they are okay for basic computing, though the lack of storage would limit me to the sort of stuffi do on my tablet. Kind of a shame since they do have a decent CPU that is handicapped by the rest of the machine.

Qingu's avatar

DO NOT get a Macbook Pro 13”.

At least not right now. It is extremely likely that in a few months they will release a new version of the 13” Pro with a high-resolution display.

I would actually recommend the 13” Air over the Pro right now, if you’re looking at the cheapest ($1200) options. I really really like my Air and it’s held up very well over the past 2 years, even though it’s supposedly underpowered. It has a better display than the 13” Pro, and its solid-state makes it work a lot faster than the comparably priced Pro. Though depending on how you plan on using your computer, those tradeoffs might not be worth it.

More generally, having owned both Macs and Windows, I think Mac laptops are worth it. This is because, for a laptop, there is a lot more to judge than just hardware specs. The feel of the machine is very important, at least for me, since you’ll be using the trackpad and keyboard and opening and closing the lid every day for years. They also, in my experience, are way more durable and last a lot longer than comparable Windows laptops. I had a Toshiba laptop that stopped working after about a year; my old Macbook lasted 5 years and then only really stopped when I accidentally hit it too hard. (I think desktops are another matter; I could not recommend getting an iMac for the price).

I strongly disagree that the price premium for Macbooks is just about style. In fact, if you are going for an SSD-equipped machine, Apple’s prices are favorable to similar Windows laptops, at least they were the last time I looked.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu Be sure not to confuse power and durability. A one-speed bike lacks the dérailleur and all of the trouble that it introduces to your life, but it’s stuck at one speed.

Qingu's avatar

Um, what? Durability refers to the actual casing of the laptops in question. My cat knocked my Macbook Air from the bed onto the floor and it was unscratched. I throw it onto the couch, bump it into the counter, etc. In my experience, Windows laptops are much more fragile and prone to breaking.

As for power, I think the era of paying attention to clock speeds as an indicator of computer quality is long over. I would argue the most noticeable performance boost that most computer users will notice today comes from switching to SSD.

jerv's avatar

As someone who doesn’t make a habit of treating my laptop as though it were a frisbee, I have to day that my three-year-old Toshiba is holding up rather nicely. And even my buddy who has a habit of being rough on things has never accidentally broken any PC laptop. (Deliberately is another story…) If a guy who had ripped shifter levers out of his car by accident and cannot pick up an egg without it cracking can handle a laptop and you can’t, maybe the problem isn’t the laptop. Just saying.

@Qingu Given how few laptops come with decent hard drives, you are correct about SSDs, and I cannot wait until they are truly competitive in $/GB, but that is still at least a couple more years. As someone who cannot use a drive under 256GB, and feels external drives defeat the purpose of a laptop, I’m stuck with slower mechanical drives :(

rojo's avatar

I liked my macpro. Only two problems, quickly ran out of memory with all the photos and music and the mousepad gave out last year. I am using a usbmouse with it until it irritates me enough to pay to have it fixed. Have had both apple and windows based. I though the apple products were more seamlessly integrated with each other. On the con side, I got tired of being bombarded with “suggestions” on what else I might want to purchase.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Go for it. I’ve been using exclusively (personal and most professional) Mac since OS X and have no complaints. However as @Quingu said, don’t go for the 13” MBP, at least not yet. They’re likely to be refreshing the line soon so I’d try to hold out until the next release. I’m using a Retina MBP now and it’s pretty to say the least. Definitely worth waiting for if the added cost isn’t a factor, you might also see some boosts or price cuts in non-retina models too.

rooeytoo's avatar

I migrated to Mac in 1998 and have never regretted it. I like the performance, service, reliability and yes the look as well. I tend not to buy the most expensive product nor the cheapest and Apple fits in that slot. I have a MacBook Pro with 2.9GHz Intel Core 17, 8 GB of Memory and capacity of 750 gig. It is fast as a speeding bullet with huge photoshop or illustrator files and sudoku too!

Aqua's avatar

I got my 13” MacBook Pro back in 2010, and it’s been great so far. One of the reasons I got it was because of the trackpad handwriting feature for Chinese character input. That alone has saved me hours and hours of time. Instead of looking up characters I don’t recognize in a dictionary, I can just draw them on the trackpad. Maybe there are PC laptops now with that feature, but this was only comp I knew of with that capability in 2010.

I had a problem with the hard drive last summer, but I took it in to an Apple store and they ran diagnostics and fixed it for me for free (thankfully, it didn’t need to be replaced). Overall, I’ve had great experiences with their customer service (even outside the warranty period), and my computer does everything I need it to. I grew up with Macs in my house, so I may be a little biased. I did have a PC laptop for a few years, but now that I have a Mac again, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I would check here before you buy any Apple products.

In 2010 my 5th iPod Classic stopped working for some reason. It was 5–6 years old by this point, way beyond the life of the warranty. I called up Apple, talked to a customer service rep, and I was informed that the iPod was defective and that if I sent it in, Apple would send me a new refurbished one free of charge. Apple paid for the shipping both ways, by the way, and my 5th gen iPod looks almost brand new to this day. That’s customer service.

jerv's avatar

As always, it really boils down to what you want from your computer.

If you want good, clean, simple design, Apple does have style… though since Apple is so popular, it kind of makes you blend in; ubiquity is bland. I tend to favor a more industrial look, so Apple doesn’t suit my tastes there.

If you want good performance, well, Macs are adequate in processing, but somewhat deficient in graphics compared to a PC of equivalent cost, and are not upgradable. That point right there is what kills Macs for me, but for those to whom it doesn’t matter, well, it doesn’t matter.

If you want customer service, then you should buy everything from Apple. There is no denying that this is one area where nobody can compete with Apple. As someone who has never needed customer service, I don’t find this to be a selling point, but others may. The customer support is the only thing I can see justifying the prices they want.

If you want reliability, last I checked Apple was 4th in Laptop reliability. That is why I went Toshiba.

If you want gaming, then Apple loses big time. While a few of them have GPUs comparable to a mid-range video card, there is no MB, MB Pro, or iMac that can even hold a candle to a PC that could be built for less than half the price. As a gamer, this is a HUGE strike against them in my book, but a non-issue for many people.

If you want value, then you first have to figure out what the thing is really worth to you. Most of the things that many Apple fans use to justify the high prices are things I would not pay for, either because they are not important to me, or because I have the knowledge of how/where to make/get something that will do the same thing for less/free. For instance, the resistance to viruses is because OS X is basically Linux under the hood. The OS X interface? the aforementioned Mac4Lin will get you that.

I believe that @Aqua is correct with the statement, ”... my computer does everything I need it to.” That is the most important consideration. For me, a Mac makes no sense, especially not if I am the one paying for it. It doesn’t suit my tastes, or meet my needs. Your mileage may vary.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@jerv
Well personally, I have owned different laptops/computer almost all my life and they have ALWAYS let me down in some way. So what I’m looking for in a Mac is something that does not catch viruses easily, something that is fairly reliable in terms of having constant access to programs I need for school (pages/word/etc) something that is small enough to carry around, and something that will not completely fall apart like my last Dell did.
I’m so excited now ^U^
Thanks everyone for your answers!

jerv's avatar

@NostalgicChills To date, I’ve only ever had two viruses in >30 years, and one of them was on a Mac back in the days of System 6. Dell ranks near the bottom of the list of PC makers for a number of reasons, so I’m not surprised you had issues.

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