Product Type: Apple laptops
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Seriously, don't touch my Mac.
Apple MacBook MB403B/A
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Apple MacBook MB403B/A
Date: 29/07/12, updated on 31/07/12 (76 review reads)
Advantages: Design, Speed, Reliability, Durability, Security, VALUE
Disadvantages: Space, Battery, Exclusive OS
My college was the place of change in operating system for me, as a graphic designer on a related course, the whole department was fully furnished with Macintosh computers and one memorable room with brand spanking new top of the line iMacs. At first, the many apples were intimidating with their arctic white, glossy shine and backwards way of functioning. The first thing standing out was the change of sides, from the dektop items to the open applications and web-tabs, the 'X' for close, square for maximize and underline for minimize moved from right to left and replaced with traffic lights. Look down and you realise you're missing something, the infamous 'right click' on the mouse, now I had to hold the command button. Looking back, the switch from the default windows operating system was smooth, with no real problems at all - no crashes or viruses, just slowly learning the ropes. The reasons why the department relied on Macs was that they were industry standard for design jobs - because Macs run programs faster, more reliably and generally better than that of the Windows equivalent. Its clear that the 2 years of experience using them, made a big impact... In this review, I won't be going into detail about processors, RAM or any other inner workings of the MacBook as they can be long lists and are easily found elsewhere.
The Operating System
With Apple and systems Tiger/Lion/SnowLeopard, you get a far sleeker, manageable system that can be almost exactly the same as other filing systems, so you could have a load of folders (which can be colour coded!) use Alias' (Shortcuts) or include applications - which it does so well that the latest versions of Vista followed suit - having all or selected, hidden, static or magnified application icons present at the bottom of the screen. The first thing you'll notice is how fast the thing boots, its ridiculous when you think about all those times you had to watch for the windows logo and loading bar or 'wait for messenger to load up' after you've logged in. Since the MacBook's rise in popularity, numerous apps and browsers have since started making their products for Mac users, so you can still download your preferred web browsers and well known programs. I can say wholeheartedly that I have never had a serious problem with this Mac, touch wood. No viruses, internal errors, faults or failures of any kind. Sure the Airport (Network connection) has its moments but all that comes down to other variables (modem, router, ISP etc). Like with all computers, applications will have the odd 'unexpected quit' or freeze (lookout for the dreaded spinning beach-ball) but the aftermath is far less damaging compared to other OS', no underlying problems or reinstall/rebooting necessary. Which brings me onto the almighty 'Force Quit', should you encounter a frozen application, simply click on the apple logo, select it and watch your problem solve itself in seconds - Ever used Windows 'Task Manager'? Its like that but it actually works! As for security, I literally don't buy into all that '6 month protection' software rubbish you see on tv paired with new laptops, I just don't click on adverts, visit porn sites or do anything stupid that's expected of me.. so yeah, no viruses as of yet ;)
Its a pristine white bit of genius with a 13' screen that'll make you want to keep it clean and to some extent fingerprint-less. You get a built in camera for web-chats and average quality photos, a magnetised AC plug which is very handy as it is far less likely to break or conceive problems compared to other models, a built-in disc drive capable of reading/burning at 24X speed, 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, firewire port, minidisplay port and both headphone and microphone inputs. I've owned mine for well over 3 years and it has remained practically shipshape, with only very small pieces of trim casing coming loose (After seeing a friends, this is clearly a design flaw, albeit a little one). The 160GB space is a tad disappointing as there are several other laptops with over 320GB.. but perhaps I'm just nitpicking because it has the same storage as my iPod :) - boasting over. The keys and touchpad are prone to wear and end up with shiny surfaces (mainly the most well used keys). You can check the health of your battery (which I prefer to keep plugged in as with all batteries, depletes faster over time, starting around 5 hours and ending up about half that) thanks to a small button with LED lights. Underneath you'll also find a locking mechanism to keep the battery pack secure. Despite a fairly mediocre battery life, it can still be used when travelling for necessary tasks and the odd bit of entertainment. Its nice to have a tray-less disc drive too, as other types are so ungraceful and rickety, prone to faults. Instead you get a simple disc in/out slot with a button to eject. Instead of tinkering with the insides of your Macbook, you can find most of your curiosities in one utility folder, or even on the keyboard with both volume and brightness controls as buttons.
This is where most people are turned off. Apple's price-tags are astronomical compared to alternatives on the market, however those cheap substitutes just don't compare (a good example here is the use of the operating system - No other manufacturer can use it - where as with Windows... you've got bucket-loads of brands.. Samsung, Sony, Packard Bell, HP, Dell & Toshiba to name a few (the last 2 being dreadful). So you can expect to find this particular model of MacBook for just under the four digit mark - a big investment which can be a bit lighter on the pursestrings for students with a 10% discount. Or better yet, find a manufacturer refurbished one for a third of the price!
Dispelling some Rumors
"Macs have no right click" - It's true that many macs, particularly the laptops, have no defined right click option, but instead rely on the pressing of the command button on the keyboard. However, should you be using a mouse, you'll find that it is only the official products of Apple that disregard the second click, as many others include the right click. As for the laptops and their touchpads, it's even easier: simply place 2 fingers on the touchpad instead of one, and click away, sorted.
"Macs can't play video games" - Again, a truth down to the fact that many games are released/published by rival company Microsoft but also because the majority of game developers, create their products with tools equivalent to that of Windows systems. Consequently, there are many programs out there... and as such, one could indeed run a game, program or even the OS of Windows on a Mac if one were so inclined... This though is best left down to those with the know how as it may have questionable drawbacks, software-wise and legally.
"Macs are for media students" - While they do excel in the more entertaining careers, they can be just as exponential as their competitors. As I've mentioned, the design applications are not all for film and music-making - the Adobe programs for example include Dreamweaver for creating websites, Photoshop for editing and creating images, Flash for putting together animations.. then there's InDesign & Illustrator. Theres no doubt that PCs are better suited to the grey dull sludge office work with Microsofts own programs excel and word but thats just it - They're made by Microsoft.
"Macs don't get viruses" - Wrong, they do. Just nowhere near as many as windows. The more popular the Macintosh computers become, the more prevalent related viruses and malware will become. Frankly, viruses can run riot on a PC because there is so much under the hood that users no next to little about whereas with a mac its far more... organised.
"Macs don't have _ _ _ _" - You may hear several rumors about Macs, such as they don't have fans or harddrives. Nonsense, they have both, its simply because A) the fans are discreet (usually) and B) the HD doesn't get cluttered with crap. The phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover' applies here... except with apples :P but then again so does 'anything you can do I can do better'... wait that's not a phrase.. its a song... best end it there :S
Summary: You get what you pay for - and what you get is next to Perfection.
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