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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Laptop for holiday. 13" MacBook Pro MC700/A or Windows 7 13" Laptop?


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Orchardmead143

 
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I am new here and new to Apple Macs, so please be patient and bear with me.

I have been retired for 8 years. Before you ask, yes I do have a bus pass! I spent 40 years as an aircraft engineer and then retrained as a network engineer and system builder and also built PCs for local people and also for the small company I worked for. This IT experience lasted for 6 years. Therefore I consider myself a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
I have a small network at home that has a QNAP 439 Pro server where I store all my files including my music and photos that go back to the 1970s. I have a PC that I built myself for my general word processing etc. I also use it a lot for Flight Sim games. It is an i7 920 with 6GB RAM (with nVidia 460 GTX) overclocked with Windows 7 x 64 with many other peripherals hanging off it. To get a fast Windows boot up, I upgrade it to an Intel 160GB SSD, but store games and other programs on a 500GB normal HD. I use a 24" Benq monitor running at 1900 x 1200.

After giving you my background, here is the reason for me joining the forum and asking for advice.

I have started going on holiday for a month at a time to places such as Thailand and wish to purchase a laptop for traveling and use in hotels or anywhere (airports) where I can get a connection be it Ethernet or WiFi. The more I looked in my local stores (Curry's Dixon's Comet and PC World) the more I became confused, because I could see that there was a vast range of laptops available to me. The small laptops do not cut the mustard and I need to have a 13" screen because of my eyesight using bifocals or VDU glasses. Anything bigger becomes too heavy and cumbersome and will defeat the object of being transportable and easy to use.

After talking to sales people over several days they advise me instead of going for a laptop such as the following:

Asus U30S review top pick 13 inch laptop

They say I should seriously consider the Apple MC700B/A 13" MacBook Pro. However, when start asking the "sales" people there are many questions that they just cannot answer, so here goes.

a. I have 8 (eight) email addresses that I need to keep track of and answer. Can I do this on the mail client on MacBook Pro? If not I can use the Thunderbird email client.

b. I spend a lot of time using Microsoft's remote access client to monitor and sort out problems on a windows 2008 server. Is there a program on the MacBook Pro to do this? If not which program if any would be suitable?

c. I have a Panasonic compact DMC TZ10 camera that is perfect for traveling and produces AVCHD Lite video 720P files. The files are (*.mts). These will be on the SDHC card on the camera, so I presume I can copy these across to the MacBook Pro?

d. Can I edit or join the file video clips together to produce a longer video file using the supplied Apple software?

e. Do I need to convert them to another file format on the MacBook Pro before doing the cutting/joining/editing? If so, what is a suitable program?

These are just a few questions that hopefully some kind person(s) can answer and I am sure there will be more.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to replies.
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thurstmw

 
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A. Yes you should be able to use Mail to manage these accounts or you can use thunderbird if you are more comfortable with it.

B. Yes microsoft offers a free download of "Remote Desktop Connection" which I use to manage my HTPC. It is not perfect (somtimes I have to force quit it to get it to quit and somtimes it thinks I am holding down the shift button when I am not, but restarting the client fixes this) but it works fairly well.

C. Yes you should have no problem transferring the files to the computer. If the card is formated in NTFS as opposed to FAT you will not be able to write to the card without additional software.

D. Yes iMovie should allow you to do all of this but I have never used it so...

E. Since I have no experiance with this... Here is a thread that might be helpful. .mts video files in iMovie
Short version is it looks like you will have to convert them. They list off a few suitable programs.


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pigoo3

 
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My first questions would be:

How much Macintosh computer & OS X experience do you have?

How do you know a Macintosh is right for you?

How much time before your vacation do you have to learn & get comfortable with a new Mac & OS X?

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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Since you are looking at this for travel you may want to consider a 13in MacBook Air. If you do, I would recommend you wait a bit to purchase because it is highly likely there will be an upgrade soon to this product line.

EDIT: saw Nick's post. All very good questions there

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
a. I have 8 (eight) email addresses that I need to keep track of and answer. Can I do this on the mail client on MacBook Pro? If not I can use the Thunderbird email client.
Yes and yes.

Quote:
b. I spend a lot of time using Microsoft's remote access client to monitor and sort out problems on a windows 2008 server. Is there a program on the MacBook Pro to do this? If not which program if any would be suitable?
Yes, Microsoft makes an RDP client for OS X.

Quote:
c. I have a Panasonic compact DMC TZ10 camera that is perfect for traveling and produces AVCHD Lite video 720P files. The files are (*.mts). These will be on the SDHC card on the camera, so I presume I can copy these across to the MacBook Pro?
Yes, absolutely. I just bought a DMC-ZS8 that uses the same format for video and it works great.

Quote:
d. Can I edit or join the file video clips together to produce a longer video file using the supplied Apple software?
Yes, iMovie can do that and a lot more.

Quote:
e. Do I need to convert them to another file format on the MacBook Pro before doing the cutting/joining/editing? If so, what is a suitable program?
iMovie will need to transcode the video, which it will do on-the-fly. See this white paper for more detail:

http://tinyurl.com/3dyvocz

Quote:
These are just a few questions that hopefully some kind person(s) can answer and I am sure there will be more.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to replies.
Hope that answers your questions and do let us know if you have more.

I will say that something you should consider is whether you are someone who likes change. If you tend to be set in your ways and don't enjoy the trials and tribulations of picking up something new, then the Mac might not be for you. It can be difficult to drop all of the habits that you've picked up over decades of using Windows and change your mindset over to the Mac.

There are plenty of nice (and inexpensive) Windows laptops out there - the ASUS model you mentioned is certainly a good bet. But if you're ready for something new and different, the Mac might be a good pick. Just don't be surprised when you find that it is, indeed, very different.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Orchardmead143

 
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Wow!!!. So many replies. I thank you all for your inputs, I really do appreciate the time and effort you are putting in. I will answer some of the responses as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
My first questions would be:

How much Macintosh computer & OS X experience do you have?

How do you know a Macintosh is right for you?

How much time before your vacation do you have to learn & get comfortable with a new Mac & OS X?

- Nick
I do not have any experience on Macintosh or OS X experience, but I am willing to learn.

I do not know whether it is right for me! This is one of the reasons for joining this forum. As you read on, do I sound positive or negative on this subject? Glass half full or half empty? I still help people with operating system problems if they are stuck. I am forever installing different versions of Windows to help. It keeps the brain active. I am not boasting, but many are surprised at what I do considering my age.

I have until January 2012 before going to Pattaya (Bangkok- Thailand).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
Since you are looking at this for travel you may want to consider a 13in MacBook Air. If you do, I would recommend you wait a bit to purchase because it is highly likely there will be an upgrade soon to this product line.
I had looked at it and considered it, but it does not seem as robust a screen as the MBP Pro and does not have an optical drive. My eyesight means a 13" screen is a must, so that is the reaons for going to MBP Pro. There again, I could get a portable one (Optical drive) for the odd times I need one. Yes, I saw that the Air is to be upgraded. Any news on this?

With regards to the MBP Pro and the Apple OS, I can see me sitting downstairs in the lounge or garden and picking up emails, instead of going back upstairs and booting up my main machine. I could also dual boot (Mac OS and Windows 7 x64) also there is the program (name slips my mind....parallels?) where I could have them running side by side. On this subject (running on the same screen) would the 13" screen be too small?

Whatever I do, I am technically able to change the HD, so I could purchase a 500GB 7200 2.5 disk and install it, or if needs be I could install a SSD. I already have one (SSD) boot drive on my main machine.

cwa107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
There are plenty of nice (and inexpensive) Windows laptops out there - the ASUS model you mentioned is certainly a good bet. But if you're ready for something new and different, the Mac might be a good pick. Just don't be surprised when you find that it is, indeed, very different.
The ASUS's very glossy screen has put me off it. How glossy is the MBP? Bad reflections in sunlight?


Thanks for the rest of comprehensive responses, especially to to my question on video editing. The white paper is just what I needed. There are going to be more questions on this subject.

If the video editing is so easy on the MBP, is there a problem with connecting it up to my 24" Benq monitor. If not what hardware adapter would I need?

Can the MBP Pro (or Air) have a portable Blue Ray optical drive attached to it and the output sent to a large screen TV (1080p)?

Thanks again everyone. Please keep responding, I am willing to learn.
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thurstmw

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
If the video editing is so easy on the MBP, is there a problem with connecting it up to my 24" Benq monitor. If not what hardware adapter would I need?
Shouldn't be a problem at all. I would assume your monitor has an HDMI input? If so all you would need would be a mini display port to HDMI adapter or cable. Apple sells them but they are much cheap at monoprice.com

Here is a link to the item

As far as I know OSX is not compatible with blu-ray drives at all right now, or at least not with any level of ease. I think if you had a portable one you could watch them on windows output it to a display though.


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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
I do not have any experience on Macintosh or OS X experience, but I am willing to learn.

I do not know whether it is right for me!
If you can...how about hanging out at a local Apple Store (or Best Buy)...and playing with the Macintosh computers for a while?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
This is one of the reasons for joining this forum.
Definitely a great idea...but at some point it's like learning to ride a bike. You can talk about it until you're blue in the face...but you won't know if you can do it until you DO IT!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
I have until January 2012 before going to Pattaya (Bangkok- Thailand).
Sounds like lots of time!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post


The ASUS's very glossy screen has put me off it. How glossy is the MBP? Bad reflections in sunlight?
VERY glossy. In fact, there is an optical glass panel over the entire display, so it's not like the traditional glossy panels you've seen on more common displays. If that sort of thing bothers you, you should opt for the 15" MacBook Pro with the anti-glare option.

Quote:
Thanks for the rest of comprehensive responses, especially to to my question on video editing. The white paper is just what I needed. There are going to be more questions on this subject.

If the video editing is so easy on the MBP, is there a problem with connecting it up to my 24" Benq monitor. If not what hardware adapter would I need?
It depends on the kinds of input adapters that monitor supports. The MacBook Pro will have Thunderbolt (and mini-DisplayPort) port for external monitor connections. If the Benq supports DVI or better yet, HDMI, you can pick up a mini DisplayPort adapter when you buy your machine. It should run around $30. Apple doesn't make their own HDMI adapter, but OtherWorldComputing has a very good one (that also pipes audio) as an aftermarket option.

Quote:
Can the MBP Pro (or Air) have a portable Blue Ray optical drive attached to it and the output sent to a large screen TV (1080p)?
Although you can physically attach a Blu Ray drive and burn them with 3rd party software, the necessary video codecs to play commercial Blu Ray discs do not exist on the OS X platform (yet).

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Although the MBP13 has a glossy display, it is VERY good quality in terms of color gamut, contrast and brightness, much better than the Asus U30 screen. Its also worth noting that at present the MBP range are the only notebooks with a 16/10 screen ratio, as opposed to 16/9 which most others use, so you get a bit extra vertical space.
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Orchardmead143

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thurstmw View Post
Shouldn't be a problem at all. I would assume your monitor has an HDMI input? If so all you would need would be a mini display port to HDMI adapter or cable. Apple sells them but they are much cheap at monoprice.com
It is a Benq FP241W and has the following inputs:

RGB analog 0.7 Vpp/75 Ohm positive.
DVI-D
Component
S-Video
HDMI

I am using the DVI-D at present, so it would make sense to plug a cable into the HDMI socket and leave it available for the MBP.

I am in the UK, so I need to source parts such as this here. Anybody from UK or Europe have any information readily to hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by northrnchimp View Post
Although the MBP13 has a glossy display, it is VERY good quality in terms of color gamut, contrast and brightness, much better than the Asus U30 screen. Its also worth noting that at present the MBP range are the only notebooks with a 16/10 screen ratio, as opposed to 16/9 which most others use, so you get a bit extra vertical space.
1. Yes. I saw the display and was impressed. Better than other Laptops so far.

2. My 24" monitor was/is a very high quality one on its day, with native resolution of 1920 x 1200 and IS 16/10 screen ratio.

So, will I only need an Apple Mac keyboard and then be able to use it like a normal PC? I have a new spare Logitech mouse.

Thanks again.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchardmead143 View Post
It is a Benq FP241W and has the following inputs:

RGB analog 0.7 Vpp/75 Ohm positive.
DVI-D
Component
S-Video
HDMI

I am using the DVI-D at present, so it would make sense to plug a cable into the HDMI and socket and leave it available to for the MBP.

I am in the UK, so I need to source parts such as this here. Anybody from UK or Europe have any information readily to hand?
This is what you need (also an HDMI cable to go with it):

iWires Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter - Apple Store (UK)

Note that this is from the Apple Store (UK).

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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thurstmw

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
This is what you need (also an HDMI cable to go with it):

iWires Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter - Apple Store (UK)

Note that this is from the Apple Store (UK).
Go with a mono price one and save some coin as I said before. I have never had a bad experience with a mono price cable.


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Orchardmead143

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
If you can...how about hanging out at a local Apple Store (or Best Buy)...and playing with the Macintosh computers for a while?

Definitely a great idea...but at some point it's like learning to ride a bike. You can talk about it until you're blue in the face...but you won't know if you can do it until you DO IT!


- Nick
I rang the Apple store in Milton Keynes (50 minutes away) and have arranged a couple of hours tuition/introduction to the OS and to the MBP on Monday.
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Orchardmead143

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thurstmw View Post
Go with a mono price one and save some coin as I said before. I have never had a bad experience with a mono price cable.
No mono price store in the UK. What about these from amazon in the UK?

Ex-Pro Premium Apple Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 1.3b: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

or this one?

Apple Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter cable by Neet: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics


I already have a standard 1.5 metre HDMI cable.

Which is the best option. Thunderbolt port or standard port?
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