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Macbook - MacBook impressions - trip to store


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kaidomac

 
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I went to my local Apple store today to decide on a machine. I was looking at the MacBooks and 15.4" MacBook Pros. The black MacBook caught my eye right off the bat. Very cool machine! Matte black, well-built, way cool keys. I actually really like the keys and my wife said she liked them better than any other laptop keyboard she had tried. The MacBook Pro's keyboard was very different compared to the MacBook's. I really prefer the MacBook keys. MacBook wins here.

Heat - The display models were warm on the bottom and cool on the wristrests. On the contrary, every single 15.4" MacBook I touched was HOT on the bottom (I played with 4 or 5 display models). The wrist areas were quite warm as well. That immediately ruled them out the Pro models for me. I could tolerate a MacBook on my lap with jeans, but no way on the Pros. MacBook wins again here.

Weight - The MacBooks were suprisingly heavy for their size. Not heavy in a bad way, but if they dropped a pound or even half a pound it would have made them a lot nicer. The MacBook Pros are roughly the same weight (5.6 pounds compared to the MacBook's 5.2 pounds). The Pros actually felt a bit lighter because the weight was distributed over a greater area. Personally, I'm coming from a 7.5 pound 15.4" Gateway lapbrick and the Pro weight felt wonderful comparatively. I can definately live with the MacBook weight, however. MacBook Pro wins this one though, since it's less than half a pound lighter.

Size - Ah, finally a thin & powerful 15.4" laptop! Too bad it's twice as hot as my 2ghz Athlon 64 notebook! I really, really liked the MacBook Pro's thin size and low weight, but it's just too dang hot! The MacBook is actually like .08 of an inch thicker, which you would think would make it seem like a fatty compared to the Pro, but I really liked the dimensions of it. It's comfortable enough to carry around and not so thin you feel like you're going to break it. It really felt like the right size for the machine. Small & cute, the way it should be. It's a draw here, both the MacBook and MacBook Pro have nice dimensions.

Color - Silver, white, or black? From past experience, I like silver and black. The white iBooks I had seen got dirty very quickly and didn't look all that cool in white compared to the silver 12" PowerBooks. As a tip, the rep at the Apple store said he used Cholorox wipes on his white iBook to keep it clean. Nice to know! The silver on the MacBook Pro didn't strike me as very cool. A little on the industrial side. Put it next to a microwave or a blender and it'd fit right in. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Moving on to the MacBooks, the black was hot. Wow I liked it, a lot! I also liked the white more than I thought it would. The black is a matte while the exterior of the white MacBook is shiny. The deal breaker was that the white MacBook's wrist rest and inside area weren't glossy white, they were matte. I didn't like that. The black MacBook, however, just looked fantastic all around. The black looks great with the new keyboard design. Black MacBook wins here.

Screen - I really had my hopes up for the MacBook Pro's screen, but I was somewhat disappointed. Yes, the screen was brighter, but the viewing angle wasn't that great. AND the screen didn't tilt all the way back! My Gateway's screen can got 180-degrees from closed to fully open, I didn't like that limit. I'm not sure if the older Apple laptops has that limitation or not. The hinge on the bottom was a bit weird, but not was weird as it was on the older models. The glossy screen on the MacBook looked much better than the non-glossy screen on the MacBook Pro in my opinion, but the colors were a bit more washed out. I have a colorimeter tho (Gretag Eye-One), so no worries. Also, the thick border around the MacBook's screens in the pictures bugged me, but it actually looks great in person. I was very suprised about that. The inch-thick border was a turn-off for me when I first saw pictures of it, but it's much different in person. It goes very well with the design and with the screen quality. MacBook wins here.

Lid Latch - The magnetic lid is super-cool. The MacBook Pro has a thin button that you push in to release the lid, which I didn't like that much. It seems easier to use than the previous-generation laptops, though. With the MacBook, all you had to do was lift up the lid by giving it some pressure. The MacBook had the perfect magnetic strength to not pop open easily but not be too hard to open. MacBook definately wins here, in my book.

I really liked the magnetic power connector (MagSafe?). I'm a tad bummed out that the MacBook doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, but no biggie. I was hoping to jump back on EVDO eventually (i.e. wireless anywhere), but I'm sure they'll make USB adapters eventually. Oh, and I also played with the 17" MacBook. The thing is a monster! Way too big for me. If you needed it, it would be a good machine - thin, not too heavy, powerful - but it was simply too big for me. The 15.4" MacBook Pro was just not right for me, mainly because it was too HOT. I could fry an egg on that thing if I wanted to. The MacBook was a little toasty, but it was only on the bottom on the rear. The Pro was an oven compared to it. The 17" MacBook Pro was warmer than the MacBook but not nearly as hot as the 15.4". The white MacBook was neat, but again, I didn't like the matte white interior.

In conclusion, I will be getting a black MacBook. It's got the looks, the power, and the portability down cold. It won't fry my legs, hands, wrists, or wallet for that matter. I look forward to selling my last PC and completing my switch later this month! (although I will still be using XP via Boot Camp)
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baggss

 
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Nice write-up, thanks.


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kaidomac

 
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Oh another note, I was looking into iPods. I have a 512mb Shuffle and my wife has a 1gb Nano; I was interested in picking up a Video iPod for the extra storage space and for the ability to do bookmarks on audiobooks (I use audiobooks in my car a lot while driving). The 60gb model is nearly twice as thick as the 30gb model. I liked the feel of the 30gb model better. Also, I prefer the Video iPod in white, not black. I was suprised at this. My wife's black Nano looks really hot - black and chrome with a beautiful color screen in a tiny package. I liked the white much better on the larger models, however. I just thought I'd post that for anyone looking into iPods; I didn't know the 60 gig model was bigger!
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lil
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Very nice observations. Regarding the hinge, all PowerBooks and previous iBooks don't have the 180 degrees hinge motion, but they all have the most substantial hinge I have seen on any notebook, IBM ThinkPads included.


In regards to the iPods, I'm not an ipod person nor a person for listening to music on the move, but I did not know the 60gb model was larger either. These were released a month or so after I was made redundant from my work at an Apple Store and used to shift tons of the iPod 20GB and Nanos there.

Vicky
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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lil
Very nice observations. Regarding the hinge, all PowerBooks and previous iBooks don't have the 180 degrees hinge motion, but they all have the most substantial hinge I have seen on any notebook, IBM ThinkPads included.


In regards to the iPods, I'm not an ipod person nor a person for listening to music on the move, but I did not know the 60gb model was larger either. These were released a month or so after I was made redundant from my work at an Apple Store and used to shift tons of the iPod 20GB and Nanos there.

Vicky
Thanks! It's just surprising is all. I can tilt my PC's screen any direction I want to get the best viewing angle. When I was in the store, the lights were a bit glare-y on the screen and when I went to move the screen back more it suddently stopped. Small disappointment but not a huge deal, I don't think I'll be standing up while using my laptop too often

Yeah, I was playing with the iPods while my wife was looking at software and I noticed that the 60gb model was thicker. Nearly twice as thick, in fact. Felt like a brick compared to the 30gb model! If I get enough cash from selling off the rest of my PC stuff I think I'm going to get one. It'd just be nice to store my whole library on one unit, plus use it as a file drive, plus have the ability to go back to the place I was in my audiobook. I installed a car stereo that has a line-input in the front, so I can just connect the iPod right into my car. My work is about a 2 hour round trip when I go in (I'm telecommuting this year so it's not too often, yay!), so it's nice to have something to listen to on the way.
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kaidomac

 
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Wow, a lady burned her leg with a MacBook Pro:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread....87377&tstart=0

Glad I'm opting for the MacBook
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kaidomac

 
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I should also add a note about the touchpad - it's HUGE on the MacBook! I also discovered that using two fingers = scroll instead of cursor movement, way cool!
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ShillAT

 
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the heat on an MBP is really overrated. you get used to it, and you can use it on your lap. yeah, it might get a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn't really be an issue. otherwise, good write up. but no matter what, the silver exterior is WAY BETTER than matte black.
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playm0de

 
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I was at the apple store and also loved the look of the black macbook. The 15 inch macbook pro seemed way too large for a laptop. Im looking into one around this time next year for college and I want the smallest one possible as I will only use it for classes, and have another computer for "power" programs. I would rather have a 13 inch macbook pro, so I hope they make one but if not...the 13 inch black macbook is also awesome.
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Katie
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like baggss said, very nice write-up! I really enjoyed reading this because I could tell you were serious and new what you were talking about. you kind of remind me of how I'll be once it comes down to me having to choose between the 3. haha! a friend of mine bought a pro around the same time you wrote this and told me it DOES get hot, but not it's terribly uncomfortable. since it's July now, most of the pro's heat problems should be somewhat updated and fixed by now... right? if not, then hopefully soon! at least, that's what I keep reading on tons of threads at this forum. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I was leaning more towards the pro. maybe I'll head over to the store and do a little testing myself just like you!
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taseal

 
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ugh, I just cant see myself spending 200 bux just to get a black macbook I really wanted it, but I just couldnt do it

most laptops are dark in color, so having a white one really sets it apart imo

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i like the macbook being heaver because it makes it feel good not cheap like the PC's i like how it feels solid.

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Hi guys I totally agree that the macbook pro can get very hot. I have held it on my lap while watching the office and had red marks that didn't dissappear on my legs for almost an hour. but it is still a great machine!!!

I just bought the macbook black for myself. i know black costs more but do what i did. Apple.com sells refurbished for very reasonable prices and makes it less of an unnecssary expense. good luck.
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cvx5832

 
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On the hinge not tilting to 180 degrees - I noticed this one too. But with the MacBook on a desk, table on on your lap, the angle is actually enough. With a few degrees to spare.

I will agree with the narrow viewing angle as well. Plenty of LCD's coming out now with insane (better) viewing angles. Cost issues maybe?

I also thought that there was not enough brightness to the MacBook screen. Turns out the store was just way too bright.

In summary - these were "shortcomings" that I experienced at the Mac store. In real world use, all points are non-factors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffy View Post
I have held it on my lap while watching the office and had red marks that didn't dissappear on my legs for almost an hour.
One possible solution: wear pants while watching The Office next time?

My MBP doesn't run any hotter (that I notice, at least) than my 17" HP Core Duo and not even a fraction as hot as my Dell XPS (notebook running a P4 processor). I can keep my MBP on my lap for hours -- even playing games in WinXP via BootCamp, which is very resource intensive -- without the machine becoming uncomfortable.

It took me a little while to get used to the fact that the screen won't open wider, but that's because of the exhaust port location.
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