Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Macbook Pro: The Pros and Cons

As promised, here is a list of pros and cons I considered when deciding to buy a Macbook Pro. As I said yesterday, its important to bear in mind a couple of key points.
  1. This is a "want purchase", not a "need". I didn't need a laptop. I wanted one. It's part gift, part self purchase on the back of a big birthday, so an opportunity for self indulgence.
  2. I was in the fortunate position of money not being an issue - well providing I didn't go topside of £1,000 anyway
When people list pros and cons, they usually start with the pros, but because I'm me, I'm going to start with the cons.

  • I don't have any Macs
  • I've never used a Mac
  • All my PC's are Windows based
  • I haven't got any Mac software (unless you count a couple of Mac magazine cover disks as I bought the mags in the interest of research)
  • All my experience is Windows based (unless you want to go back to my Atari days - hey, they were very "Mac like"!)
  • Macs are expensive
  • Even the expensive entry level Macbook/Macbook Pro aren't very well specified compared to what you'd get spending the same money on a Windows laptop
  • All my Windows PC's/eternal hard drives are NTFS formatted, and my research showed Macs can't natively write to an NTFS volume.

  • In the computer world, the Macbook Pro is drop dead gorgeous. I appreciate beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but take a look in any PC World or Comet or Curry's etc, and there are banks of "samey" black plastic laptops, and then there are the Macs. I also appreciate looks do not a computer make, but the aluminium unibody on the MBP is a rock solid bit of engineering. No creaks here matey.
  • Still on the hardware, simple things like a mag-safe power adapter that will pull off if the kids or cat trip over the power lead. Genius.
  • I can learn Mac OS. I like computers. I spend a lot of time with them (sad). Everyone I know who has one and most of the the websites who have an opinion, say Mac OS is easier and more intuitive than Windows. Using the Apple command key & C for copy for example is hardly harder than CTRL+C on a PC and isn't going to bog me down.
  • Being like for like under specced against a similar priced Windows laptop - is it really an issue? Only 160GB hard drive - I have a 500GB external drive and will probably also get a portable external drive, so not an issue. Only 2 USB ports. Not a problem, and if it is, I've got a 1-4 USB laptop extender somewhere. Only 2GB RAM? Should be fine for my needs
  • Apple make the MBP. They also make a lot of software to run on their machines. Generally, flawlessly. Unlike Microsoft - see my pearlier post about how I had to resort to the command line in Win 7 to get Micosoft's own Live Messenger to work!
  • Everyone I know personally, or virtually, who's made the move says once I go to a Mac, I'll never want to go back
  • You get 7 hours of life out of a MBP. Yes you can get 8 or more from an Acer Timeline, but it's not as powerful, hasn't got an optical drive and will probably fall to bits inside a year (stands back - waits for response from Acer users...)
  • It's quiet (generally). I have a real thing about noisy PC's and noisy laptops. My older desktop box fan kicks in quite frequently and sounds like 747 taking off. I'm sure most laptops aren't so bad, and it's not a BIG reason for choosing a MBP over anything lese but....
  • The multi-gesture trackpad is awesome. Having played with a MBP on and off for a few weeks every time I've been into a shop selling one (quite a lot!)I don't think I'd ever need a mouse on it.
  • There's loads of free software if you know where to look.
  • I can get round the NTFS write problem using one of several solutions. Paragon's NTFS for Mac isa paid solution, alternatively there's NTFS3G which is free
  • If I really want to I can run Windows on the Mac via Bootcamp, where you boot into either Windows or Mac OS, or virtually within the Mac OS environment using something like Parallels
  • I have an iPhone. Hopefully I'll get iCal and my Address book working flawlessly together and can ditch my clunky and horrible Outlook 2003 install on my desktop.
  • The screen is gorgeous. OK it's glossy and some don't like that, but it's so vibrant
So there we are. Not an exhaustive list by any means, but one that on balance gives me enough solutions to potential concerns to say - "what the hell....if I don't do it now, I never will".

I was never going to be using whichever laptop I bought as my main powerhouse PC. That was never the intention. I wanted it for me. To be able to sit downstairs in the conservatory or lounge instead of up in the study and do stuff. To be able to watch movies on if we're away somewhere. To have fun.

OK, it might mean that in effect that I have a very expensive netbook, but that's not the point. If I'd have "needed" a netbook, I'd have bought one. If I'd have "needed" a worktype and purely functional laptop I'd have bought one. But I didn't.

So I got a Macbook Pro.

No comments: