Programming + Design

I'm a Mac User Again! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brett Brewer   
Wednesday, 01 September 2010
NOTE: After writing this article, a family emergency forced me to leave town on short notice and I had to cancel the order as I couldn't receive the laptop. I then tried to get the laptop at the Tucson Apple store before leaving town and suffice it to say, I'm not a Mac user again after all. I'll be writing a followup article on the laptop saga and why I may end up with a Dell XPS Studio laptop or another custom Clevo after all.
I waited and waited for a company other than Apple to come out with a powerful laptop with a 17" 1920x1200 screen that could get 8-10hrs of run time on a battery. After over a year of waiting, I'm still relatively certain that within a few months we will see such a computer from Asus or one of the other high-end manufacturers, but today I could officially wait no longer. As of 2:30pm MST, I am once again the owner of another overpriced Apple computer - a shiny new 17" MacBook Pro.
Everyone knows Macs are overpriced. You pay literally twice as much as you would for similar specs from competitors -- that is until you factor in screen resolution and battery life. The only reason I paid $1500 more for a Mac than for similar hardware from another company was for the 8hr battery life and the 1920x1200 screen resolution. If it weren't for that, this computer wouldn't even be worth half of what I just had to pay. I really wanted a Quad core, which is available from most of the competition, but Apple seems to think that a dual core i7 processor is "state of the art" so that's what I'm stuck with. I opted to upgrade the puny and slow 500GB 5400rmp hard drive to a 7200rpm version for $50, and maxxed out the RAM at 8GB, but for $3000, it's still a somewhat disappointing configuration. The specs available from other manufacturers at this price point are way better. Still, if you don't want to have to find an electrical outlet every 2hrs and you need a REAL high resolution screen and powerful processor, it's the best laptop on the market. If you're just a gamer that can stay near an electrical outlet most of the time, you're better off with any number of other cheaper, more powerful fact I had a really hard time not buying one of thost Asus gaming laptops with the 12hr battery life , but I can't work on a screen that small. 
For some reason, none of the other manufacturers seem to understand that some people still need to do more on their laptop than watch a DVD or play games. Asus offers a powerful gaming laptop that can get 10hrs of battery life and theoretically has the horsepower to do all my work, but the screen resolutions top out at between 1366x768 and 1920x1080 on 15" widescreens.  Sorry, but I'm already sacraficing a 2nd monitor to work on a I need a REAL high resolution screen, not what passes for high resolution in the 1080p HDTV world. I'm looking at you Acer,Asus,HP,Compaq, Lenovo and Dell! Lenovo offers an interesting option of a 2nd smaller monitor that slides out from the main 17" screen on one of their high end models , but it suffers from the 2hr battery life that plagues the entire high-end laptop market -- except for Apple's 17" MacBook Pro. So, despite the somewhat dated specs on the Apple machine as a whole, the battery life and screen resolution still made it the clear winner for my needs. 
Of course, I couldn't order my new laptop off the Apple web site today because their store was broken in all the major browsers -- which is just one of many reasons I stopped using the MacOS back in 2000 -- I was sick of things from Apple not working right. I'm sure they are running their dysfunctional web site on OSX servers, and they probably test their pages on Safari, so it was no surprise to me that I had to call them to order over the phone today when their web site refused to work in Chrome, Firefox3 and IE8. Even after haggling with the salesman to see if I could get a "returning mac user" discount, I could only get $100 off the retail price. Pretty lame for a company that's supposedly trying to get people to switch platforms. But as long as the other PC manufacturers don't step up and give power users a real alternative, I guess apple can charge whatever it wants for its hardware. Anyway, I can't wait for it to arrive so I can install Windows XP on it!
Last Updated ( Monday, 13 September 2010 )
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