Notebook computers are a very personal affair. It’s either you like a laptop or hate it. It’s not like a desktop computer where you can replace a part or peripheral if you get tired of the parts that come with it. For example, if you’re not comfortable with your desktop computer’s keyboard, then you can run off to your local computer store or order one online for a five bucks. If you hate your mouse, then you can do the same–you can spend anywhere from five bucks to a hundred for that top-quality wireless optical mouse with ten clickers and rollers.
But a laptop is just different. If you hate a single part, peripheral or design element, then you’d have to live with it. Say, you hate trackpoints–those rubber, eraser-like nubs present on all ThinkPads and other brands–then you should altogether avoid laptops that only use them. If you hate small keyboards, then you’d better go for laptops that are sized 14-inch and above. If you hate to lug around a large notebook, then you should go for a 12-incher or even a sub-notebook.
Same goes for the operating system. These days, it’s Windows versus Mac versus Linux (yes, for the few Linux geeks out there who would rather not pay for their OS, and who would rather tweak every aspect of their OS’s configuration.
The MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBook Pro–the successor to the popular (and expensive) PowerBook notebook line–has been in the market for four months. Hence you’d probably think that it’s mature enough for purchasing. The bugs and issues should have been resolved by this time. More so, its less-powerful (and smaller) sibling, the MacBook has also been released just a couple of months ago.
Also, being Intel-powered machines, you could now run Windows XP on the MacBook Pro (and other Intel-powered Macs) with BaseCamp, which is actually a software package from Apple itself. Pretty soon, with the next Mac OS X release, BaseCamp will be built-in. So here’s another reason to buy a MacBook Pro, isn’t it? You have the best of both worlds: Mac OS X and Windows!
As for the design, well, it’s a Mac. And Macs are known for excellent design inside out. From software to hardware, you would expect the MacBook Pro to be the epitome of laptop perfection. After all, it has those familiar cool PowerBook looks, and with a fast processor powering the familiar Mac OS X that Apple geeks just love.
You would therefore expect recent reviews of the MacBook Pro to be more favorable. However, we chanced upon several online reviews that were to the contrary.
We came across an interesting review of the MacBook Pro by OS News, which is in a dialogue-type format (via TUAW). It’s not that one-person point-of-view review you’d usually read. What’s good about a dialogue-type review is that you get opinions from two persons, and you can read about them arguing about several points. This is actually good from the consumer’s perspective because some aspects of a review are simply too subjective to be covered by one person only.
Thom: This is a mediocre laptop overall, and definitely not worth its hefty, hefty pricetag, especially now that the MacBook has arrived. It is astonishing to see that on three fronts, namely speakers, screen, and keyboard, a 2489E machine (my configuration) gets beaten on these important fronts by a 700USD Dell.
Adam: See, I would argue that this is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. While subsequent generations may leave impatient people like me with lacking 1st generation prototypes, I think it’s been worthwhile. The biggest competition the MBP has is Apple’s own Macbook, which is good enough for about 90% of potential Apple switchers. That said, if you run heavy apps and use a Mac for professional design, music, or video, the MBP is the only real portable for you.
See, two points of view are better than one. What’s great is you see both sides of the coin–there’s the good and the bad being reviewed. It’s definitely more objective than just having one person review the product.
As for the MacBook Pro, we would tend to agree that for those whose needs would mostly be Web surfing, word processing and email, the MacBook may be a better buy. Of course there’s the cool factor of owning a MacBook Pro with the metallic finish, large display, and all. However, the MacBook looks cool, too (especially the black ones, but hey, they’re not as reasonably-priced as the whites). And as many an enthusiast would tell you, it would be best to purchase something not while it’s just a few months in the market. Wait maybe six months to a year, when the glitches have been resolved, product lines updated, and prices possibly reduced. By then you’d have a solid, mature product you can rely on.
Still, if you need the speed, and if you desire that uber-cool form factor, the MacBook Pro looks like a good buy, especially at the ~ $2,000 price point (it’s priced similar to comparable ThinkPads, Vaios and LifeBooks). Hey it’s a Mac! For Apple enthusiasts, that, itself, is enough to warrant a purchase!