Top positive review
148 people found this helpful
on March 8, 2011
First, a little background. Aside from a TI-99 we had when I was a kid and the Apple IIc computers at my middle school, I've always been a Windows guy. I feel very comfortable in the Windows environment and have been building my own PCs for about 15 years. I don't hate Microsoft. But when the need for another laptop became clear, I decided to focus my search on the higher end machines. I wanted good horsepower, but I especially wanted a nicer form factor than the creaky Dells I had become accustomed to. As I had fallen in love with the interface on my iPhone, I decided it was time to give MacBooks a try. I kept my Windows desktop in case I ran into compatibility problems.
The short version of that story is that I quickly dismantled my PC and now use this laptop as my only machine. I am fortunate to be able to do so because my work as an attorney requires only Word, Excel, and an internet browser. As a bonus, my copy of Lightroom 3 also installed on the MacBook. I'm trying not to sound like a Mac zealot, so let's have a list:
-Aluminum unibody is no marketing gimmick. It's sturdy and feels great with no flex and no creaking. Looks nice, too.
-Keyboard is well-engineered. The key travel and spacing between keys feel just right for my taste. There is no flex here, either, which I often find disconcerting on other laptops.
-Trackpad is a marvel. It really is. It's very large, but I've yet to feel like it's in the way. And the finger movements are intuitive and work very well.
-The screen is bright, clear and has great color. The reflectivity is sometimes an issue in bright locations, but I find tilting it a little solves most problems. Otherwise, you can custom order the anti-glare screen direct from Apple.
-The lid closes with a magnet, so there's nothing to break.
-It is very fast. In my experience, Mac OS X starts up and shuts down far faster than a comparably spec'ed Windows machine. I have yet to feel a need for 8 GB of RAM, but an upgrade would only cost $90 if you know how to do it yourself. Otherwise, I have no issues running lots of standard programs at once.
-Comes with Time Machine. As an attorney and amateur photographer, I have lots of stuff that needs to be backed up regularly and reliably. Time Machine works so well and so seamlessly that I can't imagine how I survived before.
-Spotlight is brilliant. Type in any word, and Spotlight almost instantly gives you results from your entire hard drive, including INSIDE your searchable documents, preferences, web results, and even definitions of words.
-Seven hours of battery life is very possible, even on wireless. I can sit in Starbucks for hours unplugged and still have plenty of life left. The caveat is that you really can only surf and use programs like Word. I also have Flash installed, which is a huge battery drainer, so I grabbed a Flash-blocking program that let's me choose which Flash files to activate. Nice solution.
-HD webcam. Nice quality, though I haven't really done more than messed around with it.
-The magnetic power cable is slick.
-As a former Windows user, I find the Mac OS X interface to be really nice and intuitive. There's obviously a learning curve, though I've found it be surprisingly short. Lion is anticipated to be a nice upgrade, too.
-PRICE! Well, a lot of people complain about the Apple premium, and it definitely exists. I found this laptop to be a few hundred dollars higher than the really nice Windows laptops with mostly similar specs, although I don't think comparing raw horsepower between two different operating systems is always an accurate benchmark. I live on my computer, so I'm willing to pay a little more to get what I want. It's like buying a BMW because you have to spend three or four hours a day in your car. Whether that value equation works for you or not is up to you and your checkbook.
-Anything I dislike? Not really. I'd like maybe one more USB port and a CF card reader. I'd love to start seeing cheaper SSDs in these things, but that's really not Apple's fault. Decent SSDs with any size are still expensive for everyone. I was a little nervous about having a 5400 RPM HDD. I think transferring large NEF files from the card reader might be fractionally slower. The tradeoff in battery life is probably worth it. Will Thunderbolt be worth it? Who knows? I don't care just yet, but ask me next year.
I know there's more to say, but I'm running out of steam. I'm happy to discuss anything in the comments.