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Thread: Laptop feedback

  1. #1
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    Laptop feedback

    Even though I have a really good desktop PC I find myself thinking about a laptop. I do have a few trips coming up where a laptop would be useful but mainly I think I would actually be more social to my family if I could join them on the couch watching TV AND do some work with a laptop.

    I have a buddy who has a MacBook Pro and he loves it. What attracts me to the MacBook Pro is that it can run Windows7 and it handles pretty graphic intensive games. My friend has been using it for his personal stuff and he seems to be able to play just about any game out there. We have a circle of friends that like to get together to play computer games - yea, we are wild.

    The main problem I have is that I'm really not an Apple fan. Plus, I'm a Windows7 user for both home and work so most of my work would be done in that OS. And from my brief review of options it seems like a non Apple laptop can be had for much cheaper. I see some similar specs in the Alienware models, the HP Envy line, and a few by ASUS that can be had for $500 less (or the specs increased immensely for the same price).

    So, knowing that most here are Apple fans, I thought I'd ask for opinions. I know it's a bit crazy to ask for opinions given my position on Apple but I really would like to hear from others.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

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    I received a tablet running Windows 7 for Christmas, the Acer Iconia W500. Has detachable keyboard, sd slot, and USB ports. Has a 32 gig SSD which I bumped to an additional 32 gig with SD card. Additional storage is a 320 gig Seagate slim drive.
    I got a refurb unit for $360.

    Happy with it so far.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  3. #3
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    Pretzel, while I only use Apple OSX (at work and at home), I can also run Windows and it's fine on any of my machines. However, I gotta say that if I didn't want to use OSX, I wouldn't buy a Mac. If the aesthetics, etc. of Macs don't really appeal to you either, then I can't think of a reason why you'd want a MBP over a similarly-equipped windows laptop. Could your friend let you play some games or do some other stuff with his MBP so you can see if your hands-on experience of it is different than just toodling around with one in the Apple Store or something?

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    I'm pretty sure eventually somebody out there will say 'get both'. Price notwithstanding, that's what I did. When my Dell laptop died, I splurged and got a MBP thinking it could do both. Eventually, I just went out to Costco and bought a cheap Dell laptop again. Don't know what it is, but I prefer the looks/feel of the MBP over the dell, but found it easier to keep the Windows stuff separate from the Mac stuff. One other thing, I found out after the fact that my HP printer (older model) wouldn't support Mac at all, so I couldn't print to it from my MBP.

    As for Apple, I also have an iPad2, but that's mainly for playing around and checking the web. While I would suggest getting a PC laptop if you're mainly going to be using it for work, I keep finding myself looking for smaller and thinner. There are days when I'd rather grab the iPad than the MBP, but again, that's not for work stuff.
    Aeronaut (crimson) with Absolute Strap, Synapse (navy), Smart Alec (black/steel/solar), Shop Bag (solar), cache for MBP, cache for iPad2, and numerous pouches and key straps.

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    Thanks for the thoughts so far. I should have said at the top that I do own an iPad2 because my father has one and I need to be able to provide tech support to him if need be. Recently I have started to buy apps and find it useful and a great tool for checking the web and such. But since my phone is Android I commonly get frustrated with how "closed" the Apple world can be compared to what Google offers.

    As good as the tablets are these days, I still have a need for a full computer for games, photo editing, and maybe someday coding. I still debate switching my main computer from a big old box to a laptop. I find the MBP alluring for it's compact size and since I know someone who claims it performs like a beast that makes me think it can handle nearly anything. Looking at specs, the Win7 offerings should do the same for less money but I have no experience with them. Plus I think they are more bulky. It's hard to find some of these laptops in brick and mortar stores unlike the MBP.

    Anyway, I appreciate the dialog.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  6. #6
    Registered User GEOcycle's Avatar
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    Apple's laptop trackpads have no match in the computing world. This article I was reading yesterday sorta brought my feelings up so it's fresh on my mind: Why The Apple Trackpad Might Be The Best Video Game Controller Ever Made Multitouch gestures are absolutely amazing and I don't know how I could live without them without feeling like I was back in the stone-age. (first world problems.)

    My wife uses a newer MBP (1 year old) for her postdoctoral research. Usually involving a lot of coding with linux, fortran and X11. With that coding, lots and lots of math simulations. With my older MBP (before the unibody design) I would run a lot of Photoshop & Illustrator for my cartography classes without a hitch. I first had a 12" MBP. Loved that thing. Then switched to a 15" MBP - was great, but for portability just had to go to something smaller. Back to a 13" MB now for the last couple years. Wife is on a 13" as well.

    I have a Unibody MB currently and an iPad2/iPhone. Next Mac will most likely be an iMac or Mac Mini since I do all my portable computing on my iPad.

    After CES this year there are a lot of manufacturers who are copying the Macbook Air design, and as you said, a lot of non-Apple laptops really tend to be clunky.

    Never underestimate the power of the backlit keyboard either. One of my favorite features of these computers.

    If you get some time head into an Apple Store or Apple Ministore (Best Buy, Target, etc) and spend some time playing with everything. Whatever fits best into your workflow will help you be the most productive and there is no sense in having features that you won't use. When breaking down features/price keep in mind not just hardware specs too.

    /self-proclaimed apple Geek.
    //hates apple vs. anything else wars
    ///if it works for ya, all the better!
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    I use and support both Mac and Win machines but have moved almost completely to Mac for my own use.
    The fastest machine I own is a 17" MBP and it runs Windows pretty much flawlessly and better than most Native Win Machines.
    I have no idea how a Virtualized environment can run Windows better than a Windows machine but that has been my experience?

    I would not run a Mac if I were only running Windows software but I sure like having both in one machine.

    I program some devices that require an actual Serial Port and so I use Panasonic Toughbooks mostly for that.

    I challenge you to use any current Macbook and then find any Windows machine that has a Trackpad even close to as easy and consistent to live with.
    For me this is the main ergonomic measure,can I move around the screen easily?

    I also rarely have lockup or freezing with a Mac unlike the almost sure thing of an issue a day or more in Windows.

    I repair far fewer Macs also but there may be just far fewer of them out there too?

    I don't see myself ever switching back,I don't hate Windows anymore since Win7 but I don't like it either.

    Also worth mentioning that I do not,have not and probably will not play any games ever so I can't really comment on that.

    I do edit Video,Audio and Photos and prefer a Mac OS device by far for that.

    Ed

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    Geo

    we were evidently typing the Trackpad comment at the same time,great minds must think alike!

    Ed

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    OK, I do have a preference (might have something to do with my name) but I am not a MacBigot as that is my business partner's job. We have 20+ Macs in the company and 2 PCs and we spend more money supporting the PCs then we do the Macs.

    Part of this is upfront cost loading. Also SIGNIFICANTLY in the Macs favor is the very limited internal hardware range. Only a couple of video chips, very few disk interface drivers, very few sets of CPU chipsets.

    I built PCs at a previous job and that limited hardware listing is part of the reason that a Mac is a more dependable PC than a PC. The flexibility of the Windows hardware choice are both their upside and their downside. It is why you can buy a reasonable $399 laptop, but is why there tend to be challenges at some point.

    I HAVE to run Windows software for some things (Autocad and DSP design software) and I choose to for other things even above some Apple choices but they all live happily in MacBook Pros ecosystem. Good design often starts with simplicity and while you can fault Apple for some things, they definitely understand that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts so far. I should have said at the top that I do own an iPad2 because my father has one and I need to be able to provide tech support to him if need be. Recently I have started to buy apps and find it useful and a great tool for checking the web and such. But since my phone is Android I commonly get frustrated with how "closed" the Apple world can be compared to what Google offers...
    That could be a good thing...

    Google Announces Privacy Changes Across Products; Users Can’t Opt Out

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    I'm kind of amused by the track pad comments. I was never instructed on how to use it but the small amount of time playing with it in the store had me furious. Maybe I'm more familiar with the right click of a mouse and the tap to bring up a menu found in all tablets these days. Personally I find common visual controls (like a small cog indicates settings or a plus sign means add a new record or an arrow pointing left means go back) a better UI element than trying to learn new gestures that have no real meaning naturally. The devices are slick looking though.

    I think part of my battle on this is because I normally build all my desktop computers. I'm familiar with most of the parts and I know it doesn't take much to build a good solid rig. Looking at what goes into the MBP I don't see much difference that what goes into all the other laptops out there. And since I will be running Win7 either way the merits or woes of the OS are not a factor. If Win7 is going to have issues with the I7 cpu and the ATI GPU then it's going to have them in any container. If only I could build my own laptop too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlJ View Post
    Very unpleasant.

    To stay on topic.

    My foray in to the world of PC has been through the EE PC, one of the first netbooks.

    The limitations, constant "updates" of Windows get tiresome after a while.

    I resent being forced to keep Windows adds ons, which I never use, such as Explorer and having lots of memory and disk space gobbled up by free (and useless) softwares.

    I just loaded Open Office and let the netbook be, since we got a used Linux system which I paired with a discounted screen, we mostly use the netbook as a travel computer.

    We got the EE PC before the Air or iPad came out.

    My own travel setup will one day certainly include and IPad and an iPhone.


    I forgot to mention the only PC laptop we got, an HP machine, which one minuscule part overheated so much it almost set the laptop on fire.

    My in-laws HP printer bought in 06 is now an obsolete paperweight, just like the one they bought before that and the one they just got will soon be.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-26-2012 at 09:57 AM.

  13. #13
    Registered User GEOcycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    I'm kind of amused by the track pad comments. I was never instructed on how to use it but the small amount of time playing with it in the store had me furious. Maybe I'm more familiar with the right click of a mouse and the tap to bring up a menu found in all tablets these days. Personally I find common visual controls (like a small cog indicates settings or a plus sign means add a new record or an arrow pointing left means go back) a better UI element than trying to learn new gestures that have no real meaning naturally. The devices are slick looking though.
    If I recall most of the time in-store demos don't have all the features turned on. In the settings though, there are actual videos that show you what they mean when you can pick what gestures to use. (Easy to learn then!)

    Easiest ones are two-finger scrolling (which is weighted if that makes sense) and a two-finger tap on the pad is the same as a right-click. The bottom portion of the trackpad is still a button for those that want to click or control+click (right click) things. The one I use often is a 4-finger swipe left/right to switch desktops. Blissful.

    It sounds like you have every reason to stay with your standard PC, but you are drawn and looking for a reason to try out a Mac. If anything - they have high resale value if it doesn't work out for you, trying something new for the sake of doing something new is fun!
    Expat living in Japan
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    The resale value is a good reason to take the "risk" and give it a try. But I do hate going the eBay route.

    It seems fate is mocking me on this topic. On a recent trip I was waiting to board and a teenager was playing BF3 on a MBP. If he didn't have the ultimate look of "leave me alone" on his face I would have asked him about it.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  15. #15
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    The 15" version does have a pretty high capability for playing games. Downside is--it costs 2 grand. I know that the MBP line got a minor refresh a couple months ago. If you're still sitting on the fence, I would wait until the next refresh to buy. Ivy Bridge should be making its way through the MBP line hopefully.

    Additional information:
    I own a 2011 13" Macbook Air stock, and I am surprised that I can manage to play WoW a bit on it. Obviously not as graphics intense as BF3, but it's pretty nice. Downside is, if I miss my key on my left hand, I sorta burn my finger tips (the processor is only running at a cool 92 degrees celsius)

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