Thinking about purchasing a new laptop? Ready to try out something new? While there are hundreds of choices out there in regards to laptop brands, models, sizes, etc, you may want to consider taking a look at the popular new Apple MacBook laptop line.
I have been a Windows PC user for about ten years. I own a customize-built desktop PC as well as an HP Pavilion laptop. The HP laptop was getting old (3 years) and outdated. I was interesting in purchasing a new laptop that had a better built-in wireless card, ran faster, and can browse the internet, play music and movies, and do other simple tasks without me having to spend an entire day configuring it.
The solution for me was a brand new MacBook from Apple. Prior to purchasing one of Apple’s new MacBooks, I had very little experience with Apple’s Macintosh machines. I am a well-seasoned Windows user who knows his way around a Windows based system very well. However, I’m also a Computer Science student and a huge fan of technology.
As anyone who is well versed in technology knows – it’s important for someone in my field to keep up to date with constantly changing technologies. Apple has come a long way since they released their world-changing iPod media players, and with the release of the popular dual core processing MacBook laptops, Apple is quite the rave these days. The efficient design of their operating system and the multi-tasking optimized speed of dual core technology make Apple’s new MacBooks a really nice option for laptop users.
To learn a new system I could easily hop on one of the Macs here at my university’s Apple computer labs and play around with the system to get used to how it works. However, I needed a new laptop and I wanted to learn a new operating system. I’m an adventurous guy and I need a change once in a while to keep me motivated. The Apple MacBook was the perfect choice.
Apple offers both the MacBook and MacBook Pro with 3 different configurations of each model. When I did my research, I noticed that the MacBook Pros were good if you didn’t mind paying extra for better gaming capability and video power. I didn’t need that, though. I just wanted the basics (internet, some word processing, play some DVDs, listen to some music, etc). I also didn’t need a lot of hard drive space. That narrowed my choices down to the regular MacBook line.
The good thing about the MacBooks compared to the superior MacBook Pros is that they are just as good. The mains differences being that MacBooks Pros have slightly faster processors, a bigger screen, more hard drive space, and a better video card. These options are very nice, but not necessary if only the basics are required, as mentioned above.
I was really interested in getting the black MacBook, but the only advantage was the cool black color and extra hard drive space. I liked the color (my other gadgets are black), but I didn’t need the extra hard drive space. My previous laptop had 30GB of space and never went past the 15GB mark. I had to resist. It’s too bad Apple doesn’t offer a lesser priced MacBook with a black color finish.
Anyway, after some thorough research and browsing various product reviews, I decided to settle on the white MacBook with 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM. It had the specs I wanted, with none of the extras that I didn’t need.
Now for the review: After using the MacBook for about three weeks, I can honestly say I really enjoy working on it.
Some great things I noticed about the MacBook:
The battery is awesome. According to Apple’s specs, it’s up to 6 hours. I get a little under 5 hours, but that beats the snot out of my previous laptop which gave me about an hour tops when I was performing some heavily workload. The charger is really nice too. You can wrap the cord around two little tabs that pop out. The end of the power cord is magnetic, so you can hold it next to the power slot on the MacBook and it just “pops” right in. I thought that was pretty cool and convenient.
Everything just works on the MacBooks. I personally don’t mind configuring things if I have to, but it’s a relief when you can just plug something in and it does what it’s supposed to. In my experience with computer technology, 9 times out of 10, something will either work perfectly right away or it will take 3 days worth of headaches to get running. Luckily, the MacBook is the former. Everything works right out of the box. You have to type in some information and complete some optional registration forms, but after that, it works right away. You’ll be logged in, browsing the web, downloading movies, and listening to music in no more than 10-15 minutes. Gotta love stuff that just WORKS!
The MacBook is lightweight. According to Apple’s website, the MacBook weighs in at 5.2 pounds (2.36 kg). It’s very thin and easy to carry around. I haven’t bought a case yet, but it looks like it would be no trouble packing it away in a backpack or carrying bag while traveling somewhere. If you are interesting in a traveling case, you can purchase at the Apple store (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore).
The MacBook also comes with a remote and some quality video playing software. Of course, I had to do some special tricks to get ALL kinds of video to work, but for the average user, you can just pop in a DVD and start watching movies. The remote enables you to use Front Row which is an interface that allows you to play DVDs, music, display pictures and video from a distance. The first time I used this, I was very impressed. All it took was a pressing the “Menu” button on the remote and the menu popped up, ready to go.
Performance and speed is top notch on MacBooks. The dual core technology allows for a user to multitask with various applications and result in very little reduction speed. This technology makes workload on the MacBook a lot easier. The interface also looks really cool and flows very well, even on the lesser quality video card.
Now, here are some things I don’t necessarily like about the MacBook:
Printing is difficult if you only have a printer connected to a windows machine. I was able to download some free software called Ghostscript (http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/) which enabled me to print to my HP printer. However, this process is difficult for the average user, and you’re probably better off just purchasing a new Apple printer.
Word processing is not that great. The MacBook comes with software called Office 2004 for Mac, which is cool, but it’s only a 30-day trial and it looks terrible on such a small screen. I am a student and the majority of my projects require papers typed up in .doc format. Not easy to do with a Mac. There is the option of using software called Parallels (http://www.parallels.com/) to emulate Windows on your MacBook. However, this product does not come with the MacBook and is probably too much work for the average user. There are other word processing applications for the MacBook, though, so that is not that big of a deal.
Synchronization is another difficult task. Of course, there are methods to get this to work, but it is a lot easier on Windows since it is built in. On the MacBook, you can use iSync, but it requires a paid subscription to iMac. Not my cup of tea, but it may be worthwhile in your situation.
So that’s my review of the MacBook. I would definitely recommend it to someone in the market for a new laptop and willing to learn something new. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it looks pretty darn cool. You won’t get everything offered by the much more widely used Windows operating system, but you will get most of what you need.