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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Are macbooks worth it?


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runback22

 
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I've never used a mac before but I absolutely love the macbooks style. I love the fact that macs dont get viruses or spyware and the OS looks really nice from what little experience I have with it. I am so very close to making the decision on buying one but I have some questions which could be dealbreakers.....

1. How easily do these things scratch? My black ipod has always been kept in its case and nothing but the case and my hands have touched it, yet it looks like its been through a war. Its all scratched to ****. Are the macbooks this sensitive to scratches, and if so, how bad do they look?

2. I've read alot of bad things about macbooks and a lot of great things. The bad things (discoloration, cracks, bad lcds) sound horrible and I was wondering if these are severe problems or just trolls hating on macs.

3. Last question is what is the true battery life like? Just doing basic things like typing reports and listening to music.

Thanks in advance to all that help. Hopefully I'll be joining the macworld soon.
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visualpurple

 
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1. everything will eventually scratch so I don't see much point in worrying about it...that being said, it will obviously look better if you keep it in a case/sleeve rather than loose in your backpack

2. I thought those problems were resolved with the core 2 duos...anyway, if your MacBook does have one of those problems I don't think you'd have a problem getting it replaced

3. if you turn off wireless and bluetooth and turn down the display and don't use any programs that are too intense, you can get like 5 hours. With wireless you can get like 3.5 hours...really it depends on what programs you have running and the brightness of the screen and whether you have wireless on...
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runback22

 
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Thanks for the info. I was just wondering if they are scratch magnets like the ipods are. I dont want to be carrying something around that looks like its been through **** and back.
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bobtomay

 
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Just get a hard case along with it. Several of us around here have this case.

Have the red one for my MBP and got the clear one for my wife's MacBook.
Can save you some time. Haven't seen anyone cheaper than newegg for 'em.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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walkerj

 
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I've had my Macbook for four months now, and it's got a ding or two here or there, but no major "aw, crap" scratches. It goes into a case though wherever I take it.

My iPod is a slightly different story. It's got scratches on the screen, face, back etc. None of it hampers its function for what I do with it. I suspect that the reason it has more scratches is that I'm more likely to put it in a pocket or something like that; something that you are unlikely to do with a Macbook.

All laptops get dings here and there. I've posted before that those are more like badges of honor as it gets used out in the real world. The white Macbook seems to hide any of these dings pretty well, however. My wife's black Macbook doesn't travel nearly as much as mine, but is holding up just fine in about the same amount of time as mine (less one week.)

I haven't tested the battery to its full capacity, but I'm pretty sure that if I turned off bluetooth and wireless, I'd be able to get the full 4 hours out of the battery. Not a bad amount of time. Not quite coast-to-coast in the US, but definitely close enough. I seem to find myself close enough to some place to plug it in most of the time, however.

Oh, and remember that people usually post on internet forums for one of two things: To ask questions like you are (with the accompanying answers like this one) or to relate migrane-inducing problems that they've encountered with computers which, like any other thing built by humans, are all subject to the occasional problem. So yeah, you're going to see more posts about problems than 'Hey everyone, I just wanted to tell you that I got one of these and everything is just peachy!' Though we do have our fair share of those on this forum at least.

Your primary question is 'are Macbooks worth it?' The answer to that is "If you are planning to switch to Mac OS X and are willing to open your mind enough to embrace how Mac OS X works to the point that you will find that it will do anything any other brand laptop (running Windows or Linux) will do, then yes it is most definitely worth it." In fact, if you were to price out a similarly configured laptop with similar specs you will find that the Macbook is either competitive, or beats out the price of other manufacturers. It's also pretty compact, well designed, and convenient enough sized to carry around everywhere you go.
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cwa107

 
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One of the things you have to consider when reading about other people's problems is that people tend to be FAR more vocal when they're having problems then when the machine is functioning properly. In that context, I think you'll find that the MacBook is an excellent choice. Apple scores amongst the best in the industry for customer satisfaction - and when polled, more Mac users would buy another Mac, then say, a Dell customer would buy another Dell. That's not just because of the operating system or the software, it's also because people tend to have good experiences and the quality of the product is very high.

The same thing happens in automotive forums. Despite the fact that Honda and Toyota have among the highest reliability ratings in the industry, you tend to see a lot of people going to those forums for help. It doesn't mean that the vehicles are problematic, it's just that for every 500 owners who are completely satisfied, there's going to be one that had a problem and is trying to get help. When you look at it in the context of hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold, that's a lot of unhappy people despite the fact that an overwhelming number are completely satisfied.

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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runback22

 
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I figured that all the complaints were just the very vocal minority but its scary none the less. My biggest fear was that the macbook would end up looking like my ipod. I want a mac primarily to use and learn OS X. I'm going in for my A+ Certification and trying to get a job in the IT field and I just want to expand my horizons and learn something other than Windows.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runback22 View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. I figured that all the complaints were just the very vocal minority but its scary none the less. My biggest fear was that the macbook would end up looking like my ipod. I want a mac primarily to use and learn OS X. I'm going in for my A+ Certification and trying to get a job in the IT field and I just want to expand my horizons and learn something other than Windows.
Good move going for the A+, excellent jumping off point. PM me if you need any help. Consider the Network+ too. The two of them together also qualify as an elective toward your MCSA/MCSE if you choose to go that far.

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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Shannonb

 
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Short Answer - Yes

Long Answer - Yes
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ki99

 
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with wireless/bluetooth off, the screen dimmed, and small programs i can get up to like 6 hrs of battery

but yes, definitely get a case, i have a huge scratch on my cover cause i wasn't that smart now i have a soft case and my macbook hasn't seen even a new small scratch, and i have to admit, i am rough on it. so getting a hard case would probably keep it in wonderful condition.
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chrissolicitor

 
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I'm a windows to Mac onvert, I did it for style because I wanted the nicest looking desktop in my home office. I wouldn't make the switch again, it's too much hassle, there are too may programs that I use that either don't run well on Mac or have incompatibility. It horses for courses, other people with have no problems, it depends what type of software you have to use.
Also I have a macbook air which looks cool, is slow but worst of just like all the new range of apple laptops its finished in that stupid sunlight reflecting silver finish. Sure it looks great but forget trying to use it outside in direct sunlight - the lare is so bad it hurts your eyes and is unusuable in my view. Typical Apple responding to customers desires for a silver laptop without thinking through the practicalities of using a silver finish!
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rsmithgi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissolicitor View Post
I'm a windows to Mac onvert, I did it for style because I wanted the nicest looking desktop in my home office. I wouldn't make the switch again, it's too much hassle, there are too may programs that I use that either don't run well on Mac or have incompatibility. It horses for courses, other people with have no problems, it depends what type of software you have to use.
Also I have a macbook air which looks cool, is slow but worst of just like all the new range of apple laptops its finished in that stupid sunlight reflecting silver finish. Sure it looks great but forget trying to use it outside in direct sunlight - the lare is so bad it hurts your eyes and is unusuable in my view. Typical Apple responding to customers desires for a silver laptop without thinking through the practicalities of using a silver finish!
You should have done more research about the applications you use. Very few apps don't have equivalents on the Mac.

You also seemed to have neglected to do your research about the MacBook Air. I'm not sure why you consider it slow. What are you comparing it to? It is an ultralight laptop. Clearly they needed to make trade-offs. If you didn't need the extremely small size, you made a bad choice. If you do need the extremely small size, it compares very favorably to other laptops in its class.

Do you really use your laptop in direct sunlight?
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TennsDog

 
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I have a 2004 version of the iBook G4 (predecessor to the MacBook) that I bought in 2005. It is still in great cosmetic condition for being over 4 years old. There are some minor scratches on the back of the monitor, but as noted above, the white color hides it well. While I have not had any similar iPod problems, I would by no means consider the plastic MacBooks scratch magnets. I have also never had any problems with cracking, discoloration, or LCD. Really, I don't think I could expect more out of a laptop after 4 years.

With a brand new battery and reasonable usage (multiple programs running idle, listening to music and maybe on wireless or using MS Word) I can get around 4, maybe 4.5 hours on it. Ironically, about the same life I'm getting with my new "supercharged" MBP battery. :-/

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissolicitor View Post
I'm a windows to Mac onvert, I did it for style because I wanted the nicest looking desktop in my home office. I wouldn't make the switch again, it's too much hassle, there are too may programs that I use that either don't run well on Mac or have incompatibility. It horses for courses, other people with have no problems, it depends what type of software you have to use.
Also I have a macbook air which looks cool, is slow but worst of just like all the new range of apple laptops its finished in that stupid sunlight reflecting silver finish. Sure it looks great but forget trying to use it outside in direct sunlight - the lare is so bad it hurts your eyes and is unusuable in my view. Typical Apple responding to customers desires for a silver laptop without thinking through the practicalities of using a silver finish!
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iggibar

 
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If you want to prevent scratches, go with the Invisishield products. I made the stoneshield roles back at the company when I used to work there, it is an amazing product. However, it doesnt protect against dents. The Speck covers protect against dents, but can scratch the areas where the cover clips on to the macbook. I use only invisishield(stoneshield) because I am meticulously careful with it and rarely ever pick it up or hold without the speck zipper cover. I use the stoneshield on my iphone, nanochromatic, mda, ipod video 30gb, comp desk, tv, xbox 360 and none of them have ever gotten any scratchs. pm sent to you
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danible

 
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I have had my mac alum for 5 months now and not a single scratch, knock on wood, so, no they are not scratch magnets
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