Friday, September 18, 2009

Laptop dilemma

My Macbook Pro twitchings haven't gone away but I am in a dilemma.

First up, I am definitely going to get some sort of laptop (which could be anything from a netbook to a Macbook Pro (MBP)). That's a surety.

As previously mentioned I have considered a MBP before, but almost instantly dismissed it on the grounds of an insane price. Earlier this year I was an "Enter" key press away from buying a Samsung NC10 netbook, but for some reason pulled back. Now my dilemma is what do I really want?

The classic logic says, "What are you going to use the machine for the most?" If it's just browsing the Internet, the odd document editing and maybe some other tasks that aren't processor intensive, a netbook would do. If you're heavily into image manipulation, video editing or gaming, you need a meatier beast.

Well, my thoughts are that in the main it would be the former, but I might want to do a bit of the latter.

Therefore, I probably need something with a bit more grunt than a 10inch screen netbook running an Atom processor.

I'd prefer not to go up to a 15inch screen because then portability becomes a slight (albeit not massive) factor. I probably wouldn't use it out and about much but if I do I'd like not to have to do weights just to be able to lug the thing around.

So, the choice narrows. After hefty amounts of research, I've got a shortlist of about 4 machines. They are as follows, and it goes without saying they've all had decent enough reviews and I've researched extensively:

  • The Acer 4810T Timeline. Running Windows Vista (currently - though W7 is around the corner) it's small and light. Has a 14 inch screen and enormous battery life and a decent size HDD. But it's an Acer. Not the end of the world, and definitely a step up on it's cheaper cousins at around £600.
  • The Samsung Q320 (pictured). A 13.3 inch unit. Again running Windows, but with a much beefier processor than the Timeline, a good size HDD and consequently lower battery life - but still should get around 4 hours worth. Again around the £600 mark
  • The Macbook Pro 13 inch. It's aluminium unibody is just glorious to look at and use (in the minutes I've spent lusting over it in PC World. Runs MAC OS, an OS I'm not familiar with but which is apparently easy to learn and use. At £899 it's a massive price, especially for a unit with only a 160GB disk and 2GB ram, but performance is possibly best of the bunch despite that.
  • The standard Macbook in white polycarbonate. 13 inch screen, same ram and 160GB HDD as it's "Pro" cousin. Older kit but cheaper at around £750 - still more than either of the Windows machines.
So, what are the issues?

There's no doubt about it. £900 or thereabouts is a lot of money to pay for a computer these days, especially when I already have two desktops. The Macbook Pro is my favoured machine of the bunch, but I don't know the OS, my by desktops run Windows and I don't have any MAC software.

I included the standard Macbook in my shortlist because it's a cheaper (relatively speaking) route into Mac ownership. But the screen isn't as good, nor the trackpad, nor the battery life. If I'm going to spend as much as £750 on the standard Macbook, frankly I'd stretch to find the extra for the MBP and the extra it offers - it's just so much nicer.

The Timeline is enticing, but if I was going to get a Windows machine, I think I'd plump for the Samsung. They make pretty decent kit these days.

So it looks currently like a straight fight between the Q320 and the Macbook Pro. If I shop around, I could get the MBP for about £820 (I think) and the Q320 for about £600. Is the extra £200 or so worth it? Should I stay with Windows, a system I'm very familiar with and which is very soon being upped to Windows 7 which has had very decent reports and for which I've got all the software I need, or should I move the clean, unlcuttered lines of MAC OS, and it's sumptuously names "Snow Leopard" OS, and start shelling out on software for that when I already have the same functionality on the Windows platform?

Those netbooks look nice and shiny too.....

Ooohhh.....I don't know!!!!!!!!

No comments: