* Prices may differ from that shown
I've owned a lot of computers in my days, both PC and Mac. Never had a had a computer that had been dropped so many times as this one. Thanks to its smooth, durable and sleek aluminum body my Macbook Pro has survived a lot. This computer is extremely fast, even though it is 3 years old. The Core 2 Duo processor is bookin'. I use my Macbook Pro for photo, video and audio editing and producing. It does all of that with ease. It runs iMovie, iPhoto, Garageband, Final Cut Pro, Aperture, and Soundtrack Pro. It has a 250GB hard drive with plenty of space to store HD movies, music and photos. It's screen is beautiful it's 1280 x 800 and looks gorgeous, vibrant colors and clarity. This Mac has been the best computer I've ever owned lasting 3 years and counting, now it's probably extremely cheap and worth the money.
Four years ago I hung up my PC hat. Coming from an IBM family, I had been a PC user since the year dot but I grew increasingly frustrated with reliability issues - hence I purchased an iMac. I am now a convert and the Macbook Pro is the latest addition to my arsenal.
This is a beautifully crafted piece of kit and the milled aluminium body has a real sense of solidity. This is a tough laptop and I have confidence that it will last a long time indeed. The only criticism I have is that the edges are quite sharp and can dig into your palms with extended use. However, this can be overcome by adjusting your posture. From an operational point of view, Apple have produced a flawless product to my mind. I never have any issues with crashes and the integrated software is superb and very intuitive to use. My wife hated our PCs and found them clunky to use - not so with the Macbook.
My home network uses an Apple Airport Extreme to cover our wireless needs and the Macbook was a doddle to set up on this. Again, everything just works - no fuss.
In short, I have no hesitation in recommending a Macbook Pro. They are a little expensive initially but when you consider the large suite of software that is pre-installed and the fantastic reliability, the cost seems very reasonable indeed. Also, the battery life is incredible compared to the competition.
I have got a Mac Book Pro for my university work and also my development work, I have had it now for over a week and can not recommend it more strongly. As a Computer Science student the choice of computer was key and the Mac family is a popular choice among my Uni friends.
When you purchase a Mac you are buying the fact that the hardware and the operating system are built by the same company and therefore are built with each other in mind and complement each other completely. A example of this would be the trackpad mouse and the gestures in the operating system that mean that after a bit of getting use to it, you are a lot more productive with you being able to do things on the mac with your fingers moving.
Unlike many other laptops that I have had in the past, the advertised battery life on the mac seems very realistic in every day life, its a nice change to not have to find a plug everywhere I go to. I also really like the monitor its very bright and easy to sue and doesn't strain my eyes as much as my past ones.
In conclusion I would recommend a mac laptop to most people but you should make sure all the software required for your needs is available for mac. It can take some getting use to going from windows to mac os x but once you have got use to it, If you are like me you will find it strange going back to windows.
One word: Amazing!
I've always been slightly envious of Mac owners in the past, wishing I had enough money to afford one for myself. I've found that over the past 5 years, I've been buying a laptop every year! I sat and thought to myself, in the long-term over the next 5 years, I can carry on buying cheap, unreliable laptops, or I can invest in a decent, good quality laptop, and actually end up saving money, even though the initial investment is a lot more!
Fortunately I am a student and Apple offers great student discounts of 15%, so I managed to get mine for about £900, including 3 years warranty which is a great deal!
As is always the case with Apple products, it came in immaculate, classy packaging, and I got a real buzz from opening up the box and seeing my new, shiny mac waiting for me! It was so simple to start up, I was up and going within 5 minutes, with no annoying software preinstalled, etc.
Now onto the laptop itself, this processor is extremely fast! The fastest laptop I've ever used. It's never crashed, never frozen, I've never had to shut it down improperly either, and I don't even need virus software because it has such a secure operating system.
The aluminium body is very strong and robust. I've actually dropped the laptop several times and absolutely no damage has been done to the case or the laptop. Another great feature is the magnetic charging cord. So many times I've tripped over the charging wire and it's caused my laptop to fall on the floor, damaging both it, and my feet! With this, any pull to the wire causes it to pull the wire out, leaving the laptop where it is.
The fan can get noisy at times I've I am lying in bed with it resting on my legs, and also if I'm running lots of programs at once, but if I leave it to rest for several minutes then it soon quietens back down again!
The light up keyboard is another good feature too. It's so nice to be able to see the keys in the dark and be able to type as normal! By having the keyboard built into the macbook body it keeps the laptop much cleaner and prevents crumbs and dust entering the inside of the laptop. The keys are also of a very high quality, they feel smooth, and it's a really nice feeling to type with them
The trackpad is very nice, it took a while to get the hang of not having any buttons and being able to use different finger swipes to do different things, but it really is ingenious in the way it works, and it's so much more sensitive than any other trackpad I've used before.
I couldn't imagine every using another laptop, and I know that this laptop will keep going for years and years. A great investment, I'm so happy with my decision to buy this and would encourage EVERYONE to do the same!
*Also submitted to Ciao under the same username*
Im not going to pretend I know everything about this laptop because i don't, I also have no idea what the technical terms are so please bear with me.
I ended up getting this macbook pro whilst half way through my second year at uni (7 months ago) as my old windows laptop completely died on me and to be honest, yes, maybe it could have been fixed, but it was old and I was bored of it so decided to get something different.
When I got this 13" Macbook pro, I was already familiar with the layouts etc as my parents have a mac computer and I had used them at uni for design etc, the layout is easy to understand, but i am still learning new things that it does every day.
I decided to go for the 2.53GHz version rather than the lower down version as I was told it would run faster and I cant be doing with slow computers. I also went for the 4GB Ram, for the same reasons, its better.
I had the choice between the 13",15" an 17" macbook, although smaller, i thought the 13" looked better, something to do with the keyboards being the same size and looking a bit out of place on a 15" and 17" model. It is the perfect size, easy to carry round and not heavy. It also cost less which was also a plus.
One of the main things I like about the macbook pro is the keyboard, each key is separate from the rest and set in an aluminium metal, which looks stylish, each key also has a backlight so you can use the macbook in the dark and still see.
The battery life is also really good! I can go up to 7 hour (depending on what i'm doing) without charging, this is perfect for when I want to do work in and around uni and carry as little as possible.
This macbook now retails at about £1000 but if you are a student, a 15% education discount is available. Its more expensive than standard laptops, but its worth it in my opinion as it works a lot better, is durable, will last longer and is less prone to virus's.
I will update this when I think of more things to add.
Well what do I say?!
Now I know the new Ipad has just come out but for me I would prefer to have a laptop, I like to have a big more of a structure to my computers. So if that is you and your head is turned by Apple then a Mac Pro is brilliant. They are very light and easy to use with a good sized screen. Now windows have started to have features on their new system which Apple has been using for a long time and I still feel Apple are better. The only thing I would recommend is that you have one of the teaching sessions or at least a good demonstration before you buy a Mac, especially if you haven't owned one before as the instructions that come with the laptop aren't the best as Apple do expect you to take up on the teaching sessions. Therefore if you haven't used the system before it may take you a while to learn your way around it. However, once you have they are excellent, I don't think I would go back to having anything else. They are also reasonably priced and easy to get hold of, with good accessories and additional features. You just can't go wrong!
Like so many people, I'd spent the majority of my computing life using Windows-based computers. I'd also spent a fair share of this time doing these things:
- Sitting through random crashes and restarts.
- Saring at the 'blue screen of death'.
- Being shown inexplicable error messages (also see blue screen of death).
- Suffering from performance issues because so many uninstalled programs left residue files and folders lying around within the over-complicated filing system that is Windows Explorer.
- Having countless driver issues.
- Daily updating of anti-virus software for the countless threats of spyware/malware/viruses.
I could write a thesis about the difficulties I have faced over the years with Microsoft Windows. There had been happy times, but frustration won out in the end; and after the abomination that was Windows Vista, it was time to say goodbye once and for all. I was tired of making do, the time had come to take a stand and make computing enjoyable again. The computer was sold and the Vista disc was burned and shot out into space -- then I got a Mac.
A lot of people comment on Apple Macintosh computers as being style over substance. This is not true. They look great, there's no denying it, but the performance is even better. It was genuinely the operating system alone that drew me to Mac.
There is one caveat: you HAVE to obey its filing system. If you are the kind of person who enjoys having your files and folders where you want them, then forget it. With a Mac you load up an application and let the computer organise everything for you. This was difficult for me at first, but now I simply let iPhoto and iTunes do their thing. It is the only way -- resistance is futile.
I could go on and on in this review about how great the built in applications are; how simple and easy the operating system is to use; how most applications are simply dragged and dropped to install them; how intuitive and useful the touch pad is; how I've never had to restart it because of a crash (applications can crash, but very rarely); how I don't even have or need a firewall or anti-virus program; how lovely the keyboard looks when it's lit up at night; and what a complete joy it is to use.
To put it very briefly, the thing that makes a Mac great is that it just works. It works! What more do you want? (Well, a cheaper price tag would be nice!)
I used to be a strong windows lover until i played around with this. If you have never had a mac laptop or ever used one i highly recommend doing so before purchasing a new windows laptop. The major features that i loved about this computer are as follows:
1) Portability truly is amazing, unlike most "portable computers" that try to double up as a home laptop to watch movies etc that mainly fail in one of the two respects, this succeeds with flying colours. It is extremely light and the aluminium casing making it very durable. Also the battery life will last you a whole day of use (5/6 hours) easily, making an extremely good laptop if you are on the go a lot.
2) The operating system, (this is for windows users) BUY IT you will never go back. And i know everyone says that but it is true, unless you are a hardcore gamer or something mac is the way forward. The easy of use and the look of it makes it all in all an enjoyable experience.
3) For some reason it seems to make almost 0 noise when you use it compared to my previous laptop, (a top of the range HP) which sounded like it was about to explode every time i turned it on.
So my view is if you have never touched one of these and are thinking of buying a new windows laptop, play around with one of these first and if you don't like it then fine but I'm pretty sure you will.
It's my wife's birthday and I am thinking what should I buy her. She has a lot of Jewellery and I wanted something that might be useful to her. After much thinking I settled on the idea of an Apple Mac. I wanted a small MacBook and was primarily looking at the Air. This was because she has a main 15" PC which is heavy, powerful and all connected up on her desk, I wanted her to have one she could easily carry around, was lighter, and she could easily pick up and take to do things in the lounge, or at her parents, etc.
I bought this from PC World and we were considering the MacBook Air, but the Apple bloke recommended the MacBook Pro as only a little heavier but far more beefier, especially as we both wanted to play about with the creative side of it, with photos, videos, animation etc.
We settled on this MacBook Pro 13" 1 month before her birthday as it was on special offer of Buy Now Pay in 12 Months. Unfortunately they didn't have stock, but that's for PC Worlds' review. I had to come back and pick it up two days later on the Tuesday. I took it home and that's when we got to play with it. As I say it is my wifes, but being the IT Geek I am, I have to go through the set up with her, plus I also wanted to see what it was like.
I will be writing this review for a week before I post it, over my general use of it. I will then progressively update it with any new information I find. I will also be comparative to it from a PC person point of view. I have always used PC's but I will never turn it into an argument of 1 is better than the other, both have merits for different reasons, people who say Macs are better and PC's are better without any justification or reasons are superficial as they clearly have no evaluative process. While I have always used PC's I have always been a business and data processor, I have always appreciated Macs are ideal for design and creative work, which is what this was bought for.
The MacBook comes in a very nice stylish box, very thin and very lightweight, mind you it is a light weight laptop.
The Laptop is all built up, the battery inside and all ready to turn on, just a nice plastic sheet to remove from around the outside.
Inside a typical soft fabric to protect the screen and keyboard.
Once removed there are three sections left in the box.
The first holding the MagLock cable (it's actually magnetic which keeps the power connected to the laptop and also means the connector will never break from the power cable being snagged etc.
The second section contains an extension lead for the power cable to allow you to work a distance from the power socket.
The third and final section contains a basic manual, a cleaning cloth and 2 DVD's containing the operating system and applications.
For starts I was very impressed, normally on a PC laptop you have to plug the battery in... although this does leave the question about replacing the battery if there is a problem after a few years, as it clearly is in side, where as on PC's it is usually a simple 2 clicks.
The laptop it self was very thin, light weight only just over 2KG, the screen very thing, it just looks so sexy, one main thing for Macs' very sexy designs. The other positive for the Mac is that you actually get the operating system on DVD, most PC's tend to have the operating system on the Hard Drive, meaning a save on costs, but it also means if the Hard Drive becomes properly faulty you also lose the operating system rebuild information.
Turning it on for the first time
Once it was unpacked it was time to plug in and get it turned on. So I plugged the power adapter into the extension cable, nice and simple, plus the converter block also contains a simple cable tidy. As mentioned previously the connector to the laptop from the power adapter is Apples MagLock. It is such a simple and excellent idea. With normal computers the power connector is a male length of metal that goes inside the laptop. The problem is because there is always a natural wiggle when inserting or pulling out over time this connector can break inside the laptop meaning a new motherboard (I have seen this so many times as the reason for a new laptop being needed). Yet with the Apple Mac the connector doesn't go inside, in essence it just touches. The magnetic force of both it what holds them together. This means there is no wiggle, less chance of breaking with normal use. There is also the other huge benefit. With a PC laptop if the connector is inside the laptop if someone snags the cable as walking past the laptop will usually go flying. Yet you can see that if someone does this with a MagLock cable, the force of the snag would just unplug the power cable keeping the MacBook safe. Well done Apple, you really re creative designers!!! (But hey as I say a Mac is perfect for Design and Creative work).
Now it's plugged in, it is time to turn on. I opened the lid as I said very nice and thin, no slide locks, just a feel of a decent mechanism inside for the lid to be firmly closed and firmly opened. I pressed the power button on the right side and within a few seconds the screen was on asking me for my language. Naturally I chose English, and then it flashed through a very sexy looking video/animation of Mac OSX. It then started to set up the account for Karen. Name, Password, etc.
As soon as it booted up, we set up her e-mail software, and a few other pieces, these were simple, although Apples Security was a little over the top. We own our own domain name, and it didn't; like connecting to my webserver without throwing up security errors. Most POP accounts don't use SSL so to say they are not trustworthy without it using SSL is way over the top.
The next thing to do after a little fiddle, was to update all the software. This took 2 hours to download and install, but hey I'm used to system updates, that's the same as a PC. Clearly Apple does have security flaws that they have to patch, just like Microsoft.
From the offset this is a nice to use system, but takes time to get used to it. I did have a quick play through the software, it also came with iLife, and I bought iWorks in addition. I can immediately appreciate there will be some things that don't make sense because I am used to a Windows computer, but I am happy to keep my mind open and learn.
Now I had got the initial parts set up I needed to sort out the software. iLife comes pre-installed, so we had a little play through those applications. iPhoto was the first thing I looked at. I can see how this will allow me to do a lot with my photos, however at first glance it looks like it will take some getting used to. However what did impress me is that there are tutorials installed with it, to guide you through the common things. I have also collected over the previous few years magazine tutorials for the common software. All I know is I will need more than an evening to sit down with the software. iMovie again had tutorials and looked pretty impressive, it also looked reasonably intuitive, but still more time will be needed. iWeb looked a bit too WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get), but I appreciate Mac's are for designers not developers, and as part of my background is web development I love to get into the code. What was nice with iWeb is it has widgets you can just drag and drop anywhere on the page and it will sort out all of the coding. iDVD I didn't really look at, as I had nothing to commission, but I can clearly see from the other software it should work quite well to produce a few DVD's. Finally I looked at GarageBand now this really did look complicated and non-intuitive, however that could be just because I have never used music creation software before on any platform, so I am hoping the tutorials will really guide me through a lot.
Clearly with all the software included I have a lot of learning to do, thank god for Easter, I will write an in depth review about iLife separately once I have had a goo few months playing with it, my first project will be a DVD of my wedding photos, I did this in Windows Movie Maker, let's see how truly easy iMovie is.
The next thing was to put iWork on, I put the DVD in, and it came up with an installation screen, all pretty simple, a click here and bang on it went. One thing I was very nervous about was how it would work with other profiles and licensing. I had read in MacFormat that multiple users could be set up, however it did say some software my need multiple user licenses. Where as a PC every license I have come across allows any number of users on 1 PC to use the software, I could easily imagine Apple saying you need to buy 2 copies of iWork for 1 computer with 2 users on. After reading the terms and conditions it was fine. What I am worried about is for the future that MacFormat went out of its way to comment on "if you have multiple users on 1 MAC some software may require multi-user licenses" and this has never been highlighted for PC's.
Anyway the software installed quickly and easily, done. The DVD back in its box, a quick registration was done and all finished. I will review the iWork software at a later date, again when I have gotten to use it. Clearly though from the quick look I can see how it is for design, you can have some really good looking documents created, however not always what is needed for business, which is what Microsoft Office on the PC is primarily used for. Again its the Fun world vs. the Business world, Developers vs. Design. However clearly should be good fun to use when I need something that looks outstanding rather than just practical.
Now came the fun part. Over the last 3 years I have been subscribing to MacFormat to learn about MAC's and to get support tips, as while I have never owned one until now, I have needed to support them and fix things etc. The only thing I had never needed to do was install any software, and with my Windows brain I was imagining how easy this should be, boy was I right and wrong. It is very easy when you know how.
We found a free program on the MacFormat DVD for genealogy, so lets 'install it' in windows you double click on a file and it runs the install, does all the behind the scenes bit, makes an option for you to run it, and adds an uninstall component to get rid of it later. On a Mac, I double clicked on the file on the DVD, it made a virtual drive and let me run the application from the DVD. I didn't want this, I wanted to chuck the DVD in the bin after I had took off everything I wanted. So how do I install? 3 Googles later I found out. All I had to do was let the virtual drive be created, then drag and drop the application file into my Application folder, and it would be installed. The way Mac Software is done is all parts of it are put within a package. The package is a single image file that when dragged onto your Mac the computer will run normally without any need to extract it. I am impressed, no messy installs, no files all over the place, everything is all within this 1 image file, but the problem is, who is there to tell you how to do this? Apple doesn't, MacFormat didn't and the manual doesn't??? So how do you learn, at least with Windows, you just double click and it guides you. So while the system is easy once you know how (which you do now), it is not the most intuitive for people, as natural reaction will have you running software from the DVD, and as soon as you eject the DVD it will disappear.
Now how do you uninstall, again just as simple, you drag the whole application into the trash. It would not hurt for Apple to make a basic manual on how to do this, or a tutorial like it did for its many programs.
The software is clearly powerful, and it ha been done to keep things simple, however it is not clear for those who grew up with Windows expecting guides and Wizards, what needs to be done, I could also see problems for people whom have never used a computer before. However once you know how, I must admit it is pretty simple and sensible.
One very impressive thing I have noticed with hours of use of this laptop is, that heat is almost non existence. Even though there is no exhaust for it (which on many PC's there are) there is practically no heat from the enclosed components, which means your not working with a laptop that gets too hot to touch, and no exhaust means no air vents and fans to get clogged (I hope)
The battery also lasts ages through wireless use, easily over 5/6 hours with general use and being connected to the network wirelessly. Now that is impressive!
I bought the upper version of the 13" MacBook Pro so i will point out the specs here so you can see what you get for £1174 (excluding iWorks);
2.53 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor - this prov ides us with a meaty processor that should allow things to be done very quickly, especially as the MacOs is written to maximise its hardware's use.
4GB of 1066Mhz DDR2 SDRAM - DDR3 is the fastest Ram on the market, only going into top end PC's now where the purchaser has a lot of money, so I am very impressed this comes as standard on a Mac, and 4GB really does provide a punch, luckily as MacOS is 64bit, it also means that this can be upgraded in the future to 8GB should you need a bit more speed. The speed this controls though is how much data can be manipulated quickly rather than how fast it can be manipulated.
250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive - this is probably the slowest component, which is why I am glad I have enough RAM to store a 2 hour DVD in. (Computers tend to work as fast as the slowest component). As is it s SATA the throughput will be fast, however the 5400rpm, means that finding a file will be slower, however this will only effect me if I end up with a lot of files on the hard drive, and as I use a Networked Storage Solution the hard drive here will only be used for applications and current projects.
13.3" LED screen - This has a native 1280x800 resolution. It can handle other resolutions however you're always best to work at the native resolution with LCD/LED screens as that is how many physical dots of light there are (keeping it simple and not commenting on SubPixels in case anyone wishes to try be clever in their comments  ) Again I am very impresses with the quality of hardware being an LED screen and not an LCD screen. This monitor also does give a false impression of size, it looks a lot bigger than 13" but it's because it's widescreen, but still awesome. An ideal size for a small laptop that is easy to carry around.
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of shared memory - This is the only other downside for me, but you can't get everything. I prefer with graphics for dedicated memory in case I wish to play a game on it, a powerful game. Now while i know there are not many games out there, with laptops, as you can't upgrade them, I usually like to have everything I need on them. I do hope though that the 256 being DDR3 will be fast enough for any games I wish to put on, or my Wife wants to play and 256 is enough for their use. (I'm considering getting her SIMS 3). However a NVIDIA graphics chipset of the 9400 series is a good make and should allow me to handle most things. It makes a refreshing change to being the Intel Onboard chipset.
Build in Webcam - pretty standard for laptops today, however from the little play I have had it is impressive, and some nice gimmicky functionality with the software is there. I plan to use this more with some Stop Frame animations I want to create.
8x Slot Loading SuperDrive - This reads and writes to DVD Dual Layers, DVD's and CD's
Mni Display Port - From what I can gather this will allow me to hook up to a bigger monitor and show at huge resolutions, this will be impressive, although there is no need for it at the moment. When I get a bigger area for a big monitor I plan to get an iMac.
SD Card Slot
Firewire 800 - this could be useful for some faster data transfer
2x USB 2 - Why there are only 2, I don't know, however I can appreciate there is limited space and Hubs aren't that expensive.
10/100/1000 Ethernet - This is very good especially as I am upgrading my network to 1000 speed soon, however as a laptop on the move may not always be used. It does just allow for flexibility at high speed to be at a desk.
Built in wireless to 802.11n standard - This is good, high speed wireless access, this means it should provide 108MBPS speed over a wireless network, most routers have this as standard.
Built in Bluetooth - easy connection for mobile phones to transfer pictures etc. Always a very useful feature for a computer to have in todays world.
Backlit Keyboard - yes you can use this computer in the dark, and not struggle to find the keys they are backlit, clearly letting you see where they are. Now you can surf in the dark without waking your partner, or write your dooyoo reviews if you can't sleep.
2.04kg - Yes that is all 2kgs of weight, it is very light weight and easy to carry.
Comes with MacOS Snow Leopard and iLife 09 preinstalled.
The main advantages to me were;
A lot of multimedia software is available for creative use
High specification of hardware as standard
The OS is built to work with the specific hardware so less chance of errors and everything is optimised for each other
13" so small in size very easy to carry around
Long lasting battery 6hours+
Low heat from use
Common sense on power connectors
Can be tricky to get used to is you're a Windows user.
Can be tricky to get used to if you've never used a computer before
Can not easily be upgraded (most laptops can not easily be upgraded)
Less software choice available (However a lot of high quality software is available)
Less games choice available (But still personally I think of a Mac as a Designer/Creativity machine)
I have been a PC user for 20 years of my life, back with 086 processors. I have grown up with DOS, Windows 3.1 all the way up to Windows 7. As well as being a teacher I am also an IT Consultant, and can make PC's sing and dance for me, very quickly identify problems and solve them, very useful when being observed teaching ICT and suddenly something does not work for the students, I can easily get a solution.
I have experienced users of all kind of knowledge from none up to a lot.
I have always disagreed with this argument about PC's being better than Mac's as when you ask a person why they just answer "they just are" and that is the sign of not actually understanding what you think. Yeah we all like a bit of fun saying something is better than something else, but you need a reason, and even the Mac "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" adverts have them highlight the main differences. PC's have always been best for number crunching, the speed is optimised for that usage, for huge databases and data processing. Macs have always been designed for creativity and multimedia processing. They are both excellent for their needs. Macs are expensive, the kit here is not cheap, I could have had a comparable machine for a couple of hundred less on a Windows PC, however it is not the use I wanted it for, the creativity, the design, the movie and picture processing and that is what has made the extra couple of hundred quid worthwhile.
As you can see from my review there is a lot on the Mac that I am impressed with, there are a lot of common sense features that PC's should adopt, the MagLock.... oh yeah if a PC used that system Apple would sue, it's a shame Apple wouldn't let its creations be used elsewhere, hopefully a PC manufacturer can use the Idea, but create it in a different way that doesn't invoke Apples patent. I can clearly see that Mac's are simple to use, they have a lot of software this is simple to use and they are very powerful. The only thing that wil always annoy me is that I have to have what they provide, I can't use a different graphics card manufacturer, etc. but I appreciate that is why the software is so stable. Windows gives the users complete choice over everything they want to put in a PC, which results in errors when a graphics card manufacturer doesn't write their drivers properly, and we all blame Windows. Yet a Mac you get what is in the box, no real choice, but you have a very stable system, but it costs a bit more.
Overall I am glad I have got this Mac in the house, my Wife will have most of the use as it is hers, but I can clearly see we will both have a lot of fun with the software, creating movies, editing our photos and playing with Stop Frame Animation (Watch out for the Lego Death Star building itself on YouTube - Coming Summer 2010)
Being a Microsoft Windows user for the past 12 years, I never thought I'd buy myself an Apple Mac but after caving in a buying an Apple iPhone, and with the many recommendations from friends and acquaintances raving about Apple and how great Macs are (plus a test drive of the Mac OS on friend's and Macs in-store), I ordered myself a 13.3" MacBook Pro (2.53GHz, 4GB, 250GB HDD version).
First impression is that the MacBook Pro is a gorgeous piece of kit. The chassis feels very sturdy. The screen appears to be covered with a pane of glass and is quite easy on the eyes but when outdoors, there's quite a bit of glare in bright sunlight and a strong reflection of myself, which is a bit annoying. The back of the screen has the Apple logo which lights up. The DVD Writer drive is a slot drive, which is a lot less common in Windows laptops (well, I've never seen one with one) and to me, just seems way more stylish and more convenient than a drive that pops out. It has what is called a 'unibody' chassis which means that the chassis comprises of a single piece and so it doesn't have lots of holes, gaps, screws, etc like most laptops. Only screws that I can find are those on the underside where a big plate is screwed down. This, I'm guessing gives access to the battery, memory and hard disk drive although I've not opened it up yet. This means, to replace the battery should the need arise, I would need to undo the 10 screws which hold the plate in place. Minor niggle.
Although mine's only the 13.3" version, it's still a little on the heavy side (around 2Kg) but if you want super light, then there's always the MacBook Air (expect to pay a bit more and it lacks a DVD optical drive). The weight may be to do with the Titanium(?) case but it feels sturdy. However, this metallic chassis does seem to scratch easily! Not just that, also dents pretty easily. Was putting my glass down but it clipped the top corner of the screen lid and it made a small dent!
It has a built-in webcam at the top as do many other laptops. The camera does seem to require good lighting otherwise the quality isn't great. The camera doesn't stand out much and blends in very well. When active, a small LED light is lit to show that it's on. There's even a very discrete battery indicator on the left side of the machine, which shows the battery level using green LED's when a button is pressed.
It has wireless N connectivity and bluetooth, and a very discrete headphone socket on the left side. All sockets are labeled neatly and discretely without spoiling the appearance of the machine. One thing that's very different to most laptops is the charger. For a start, it's white and you can choose to connect just a plug to the adapter box or a cable with a plug at the end which you slot on. The charging plug is actually magnetic and literally sticks to the charging port on the MacBook. Much better than usual adapter plug with a pin in the plug or in the machine itself as these are prone to breaking if you're not careful.
Battery life is quoted at 7 hours. As usual, this may be if the machine was idle, with minimum screen brightness, etc as I've never got 7 hours out of it. Realistically, I get about 5 hours out of mine whilst surfing the web with pretty high screen brightness setting, which is pretty good anyway so no complaints on battery.
It's got a keyboard with gaps in between the keys and is very comfortable to type with without requiring much effort in tapping. Furthermore, the keyboard lights up in the dark (it has a light sensor) so it's easy to see the keys in the dark. The underside of each key has a nice white light, which also shines through each letter/symbol. It looks beautiful when lit! There are the usual hot keys at the top for brightness, volume as well as other options specific to the MacBook (i.e. keyboard light brightness) as well as Mac OS specific ones to bring up gadgets such as calculators and calendars for convenience.
There are some downsides such as the layout and labelling. One minor annoyance is that the @ symbol is in the 2 key's position and the quotation (") is where the @ symbol would normally be. This is the case with US keyboards but my MacBook is a British one. This happens to be the case with all Apple Macs and basically, they've stuck to the American layout with this. Only reason being that Apple is an American company.
The hash (#) symbol is nowhere to be found but a bit of Google'ing taught me to hold Alt and then press 3 to get it but why it isn't labelled on the keyboard is beyond me. One little annoyance is that there is no numeric keyboard that you can access by turning on Number Lock. Ignoring large laptops with the full numeric keypad on the right, practically all Windows laptops and netbooks have the numerical but my MacBook doesn't, meaning I'd have use the numbers across the top, which can slow me down a lot when inputting lots of numbers. Only way round this seems to be to buy a USB numeric keypad (which I own one of anyway). Aside these, I have no other complaints regarding the keyboard.
Apple computers have a 'cmd' (command) button, which is used more often for shortcuts instead of 'ctrl' (control), which also exists on the keyboard but I've gotten used to this even though I do forget now and again but this isn't really a problem.
SOFTWARE AND NAVIGATION
Mine came with the Snow Leopard operating system, which I admit I'm enjoying. Some things do require getting used and a little exploring to find things but once you get used to it, it's quite easy. However, certain things are a bit annoying like if I do Alt + Tab to open Firefox, it doesn't bring up one of the Internet pages I'd previously opened. I'd have to open a menu or bring up the screen that previews all running programs. I did find a few other things in other programs that were slightly better in their Windows versions. i.e. Dreamweaver where you can't type a full image URL in the box when inserting an image but can in Windows (more Adobe's fault than Apple though). I find that navigating around is very smooth and so is running most programs. Don't know if it's just me but even loading web pages seems quicker. Most things 'just work' with Mac whereby you can be pulling your hair out with Windows. With setting up printers, although newer printers do come with Mac software and drivers, I've found that I didn't even need it to get my machine printing. I have network printers at home and managed to find the printer, add it to the printers section and it printed without having to install any extra drivers.
I find that the machines start up time is much quicker than Windows (think Mac OS is based on Linux). Shutting down is also quicker than most Windows machines. I especially like how when I close the lid, the machines hibernates instantly and wakes up in seconds after I tap on the keyboard.
One big problem with using a Mac is that there is a lot less software available for it. I have found that a lot of the good Open Source software is also available for Mac. i.e. OpenOffice, VideoLAN (VLC) Player, etc and even certain Microsoft products like Windows Live MSN so it's not too bad as larger vendors often cater for Mac users. Programs from smaller software vendors may not support it, which may be a problem for some. Those whom have bespoke software would also be in trouble but there are ways to run Windows within the Mac Operating System like installing Parallel or Virtual Box (Free), which is like Microsoft Virtual PC. Alternatively, do dual boot so that you can choose to load up Windows on your Mac if you need it for compatibility. A few more hoops to jump through but at least there are ways round some of these problems. For gamers though, there may be no hope, as the games companies probably wouldn't be sustainable to create Mac versions of the more complex games. Luckily, I'm only a casual gamer so it doesn't affect me. I also have Windows machines for times when I need stuff to be compatible.
The track pad is nice and big and is quite clever. I really like how I can slide two fingers around it to scroll up, down, left and right. Some other gestures bring up other options and these are all customisable. It even allows me to write Chinese on it as it has built-in character recognition. Not seen anything for English but guess there's no point with English if it has a keyboard! The track pad is quite big and is extremely accurate and responsive, especially when it comes to scrolling up and down documents. I just feel more in control when scrolling with the track pad on the MacBook whereby I'm prone to scrolling too much if using the scrolling facility on the track pad on Windows laptops. There's no visible buttons for left and right click but they are there. Right click can be turned on but Mac users may be more used to holding Ctrl down and then tapping for the right-click functions. Tapping with two fingers is also equivalent to a right-click so it's not difficult.
It has the usual SD Card, LAN, USB (x2) but also has FireWire. Annoyingly, it has a mini DisplayPort connection, which requires an adapter that needs to be purchased separately in order to plug in a HDMI, DVI or VGA display. This is a bit annoying but does look nicer than having a DVI or VGA connector there.
I bought my MacBook direct from Apple and this comes with 3 months complimentary phone support and a 1 year warranty. This is actually a refurbished one as well, which cost just over £1000. Warranty can be extended to 3 years by buying Apple care, which I've done but I've not had to contact Apple as yet. However, I've heard lots of stories from friends and acquaintenances of how good Apple customer support is. Take your machine to an Apple store (make an appointment first), and they usually rectify faults on the spot or just replace your machine. A friend was given a MacBook Pro for free because his MacBook had a fault that came back once or twice after being fixed.
- Mac OS works better than Windows in a lot of ways
- Fewer security vulnerabilities
- Fewer crashes
- Nice looking
- Well built
- Excellent customer service from Apple
- Expensive to buy
- Titanium chassis scratches easily
- Keyboard layout takes getting used to
- Fewer software titles made for Mac OS i.e. fewer games.
- Screen reflection in daylight
Although I can't completely convert to Mac because I work in IT and often need the Windows compatibility, I'm still loving the Mac experience. At home, I'm finding that I'm using my Mac more than my Windows PC. If you have the money for a Mac, if you're not a gamer and do not require any special software then I'd recommend getting a Mac. For a lot of people, it would be a lot less stressful and cheaper in the long run if you're someone who needs to pay an IT professional regularly to sort out your PC when there's a problem. Highly recommended (but not to everyone)!
Thanks for reading.
I got my Macbook Pro last week. I used to be a PC user, but now I've turned to the dark side and gone Mac. Let me tell you why....
As I've said, I got this last week. This is the first Mac I've owned, but I have had a play on a few in the Apple store. So, I got it out of the box, and set it up. Piece of cake. It was easy to set up the Mac itself, and easy (a beginner could do it) to put on applications. Put in the disc (or download the file) open it, and put it into the Applications folder. There you are, installed.
Setting up the wireless was just as simple. Switch it on, find the network, enter the key and there you are, connected. Simples.
The keyboard is set up slightly differently (the @ is on the 2 and the ' and " are the same button, but as the Mac was designed for page designers I'd guess it's so it's easier to find and to use) Definitely makes writing essays and putting in quotations a darn sight easier.
I downloaded Firefox, just to see, and aMsn, the Windows Live Messenger client for Macs. Firefox works like a dream, it's just having to remember to use the cmd key instead of the ctrl key to cut and paste, and to open new tabs, but that's easy enough to get used it. There's also a fn key, found on most laptops, and coverts the F keys into a different function (either to show all the windows open on the desktop, to sort the sound, to start watching something, and or sort brightness or the speak function, very useful for someone who is partially sighted or blind - built in program too)
The dock at the bottom is easy to use, a child could do it. Just click on the icon and it bounces to show it's opening, to close it, go to the top menu, click on the name and select Quit. So so simplistic, so so not what I was expecting!
There's also the pull-pinch technology, first used on Macbooks and then used on the iPhone and the iTouch I believe. To make the page bigger, you pull, to shrink it down, you push. This can also be used for pictures and such, so is definitely a useful tool.
To move stuff from PC to Mac is also simple. I've been using memory sticks formatted on a PC and using them in the Mac to move stuff, and as of yet, I haven't had a problem. It's also easy to removed them safely, as you can eject them from the desktop. Brilliant
To be honest, I did wonder how hard it would be to adjust, but there's not too much adjustment to speak of. It loads on turning on quickly, it shutsdown faster than ANY PC I've seen, and I don't think I'm going to be going back to a PC anytime soon.
The only flaw is the cost of it (mine was just over 1.5k) and some of the peripherals are also expensive, but PC peripherals may also work (if they have a compatibility on them, which most do as they're plug and play USB) It's easy to do everything I need, with a monster battery life (7 hours whilst using applications) so it doesn't need charging as often, and can be taken to work and used on one charge (unless doing a LOT of work, then bring the charger would be a good option) The charging cord is twice as long as any I've seen on a laptop, and also has a convertor so you don't need to use the whole length of a cord if near a power point.
That's about all I have to say really, except that I know now I'd never be parted from this. Light, long battery life, quick to open and close from start-up. I know what I'll be using!