Apple Macs – The Truth

How can a laptop be worth £1000? I could buy half a decent car for that kind of money. I waited for nearly 3 years, attentively keeping my eye on the Apple presentations by the now late Steve Jobs, making sure I knew exactly what updates the Macbook lines were getting every cycle.

Eventually, I took the plunge. I caved in and went to the Apple shop in Birmingham’s Bullring and came out with a Macbook, albeit with a 15% student discount. Do I regret spending so much money on it? NOPE… so let me tell you why.

Firstly, I’m not the kind of guy who jumps on bandwagons or just buys things because it’s in fashion or the ‘it’ thing to have. I always make my purchases, no matter how big or small, based on how useful or how happy it will make me. So take it from me, as much as it seems that I am an Apple fan-boy – I’m not. They make a few great products but I still hate iTunes and the fact that they tie you in to their apple-life eco-system. I don’t fancy the idea that one company controls my every technical need.

So anyways, back to the PC vs Mac story… I got increasingly fed up of having SLOOOOOOOOW laptops. Maybe that’s because I bought shit laptops… but I know that’s not true. Every time I was in the market for a new computer, I made sure I purchased top of the range. I did my research, looked at customer reviews, and found the best laptops that were good value for money.

What I soon realised was that all these machines had the same flaws. So you buy a new laptop, running on Windows, any manufacturer whether HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer etc. From the very first day, you’d notice you don’t actually use 100% of the speed you bought – simply because you have to run the internet security software (which in itself costs a fair amount, unless you’re illegally downloading of course) – this slows down your PC. Also, you quickly find that your battery doesn’t last the 5 hours that you saw in the shop, you’d be lucky to get 2 hours without being plugged in!

Somehow, your laptop gets a virus anyway. No idea how these got through the firewall or didn’t get detected by the anti-virus. So your computer fails to start-up and instead, what you find yourself doing is borrowing a reboot disc off a mate and wiping everything clean. You’ve lost all your bloody work and now you’re worried about every USB stick you’ve plugged into your machine. (To those more technically aware, I’m not a gadget genius, so if there are other ways, I don’t know them).

Above situation sound familiar? This happened to be 3 times in the last 7 or so years – that’s 3 times more than I wanted. I don’t know what I was doing wrong. Fed up of losing all my photos, music and work, I decided to go into the Apple shop – I heard they don’t get viruses and you don’t need internet security software, oh and they’re fast and the battery actually lasts more than 5 hours.

Having been given the hour-long demo by the apple store dude, I was dead set on getting one. Only the price was putting me off. So I waited until I had enough money. Convinced that I could no longer put up with shitty viruses and scanning and all that crap, I went in and got my Macbook pro, 13ins.

I’ve had it for a fair few months and so far, no problems. No viruses, no weekly scans, the thing runs as fast as it did on the first day and damn, when they say the battery lasts ages, they’re underestimating it – I can get 9hours out of mine (screen brightness turned down to maybe 30% or so, surfing the web, writing up stuff and doing all the normal stuff normal people do on their laptops).

The software that comes ready loaded is quite good, especially compared to Windows. And I love that there’s an App store for Mac. Even then, the iWork software is relatively cheap, especially when compared to Microsoft Office.

One of the greatest advantages of the Mac over the Windows PCs is the trackpad. It’s absolutely brilliant. You just don’t know what navigating the web is until you’ve got a Macbook trackpad. Although I’ve seen similar systems in other laptops, nothing beats the sleekness of the glass multi-touch trackpad Apple have come to master. Four finger swipe, 3 finger drag, 2 finger scroll – it’s all good. Expose and Launch Pad are pretty useful too. As is the multiple desk-top feature (i.e. you can have more than one desktop open, and you just swipe through them).

One in-built app I’ve come to love is the Preview programme. Essentially, the Apple version of Adobe Reader. But with added functionality (or easier functionality, because I don’t know if the following features are on Windows) – you can highlight and annotate PDFs – great for photocopies of books or online journal articles for uni work. I was surprised this stuff came ready loaded. (I please easily, what can I say.)

OK, those are the brief advantages. But what do I hate on it? Well… it’s different to Windows. I’m used to right clicks and start menus and CTRL+ALT+DELETE; the mac doesn’t have that. It takes a while to get used to but it’s still quite frustrating at times. Looking for options/system preferences is a chore because you no longer have the ‘Control Panel’. Everything looks different and it takes that little bit longer to find what you’re looking for.

iWork is pretty shit, so I downloaded Microsoft Office for Mac. No matter what they tell you, Pages and Numbers CAN NOT compete with Word and Excel. No doubt about it.

Cross-functionality with my iPhones great… but I hate when the computer does stuff I don’t know about. For example, being from the same company, every time I attach my iPhone, my mac syncs all the photos, emails, apps, videos, notes etc. Now I know you can stop this, but if I un-tick a box, I get a warning telling me the stuff on my iPhones going to be deleted. I’ve lost ALL of my contacts from my phone by not reading the warning before clicking OK before. This wouldn’t happen on my windows laptop. Simple as. It’s a bit too clever at some things and it makes connecting my iPhone up a hassle I don’t want to deal with.

Some CDs just don’t work either. Same applies for some websites. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. That’s just shit.

Also, no HDMI slot. Instead, I think you have to buy a £25 adapter. That’s a bit crap. I get the feeling that Apple will over-charge me on every little thing. I knew this when I bought the Macbook. But bearing this in mind, Apple have a great guarantee/warranty policy, so I extended it to 3 years – worth the extra £50 for peace of mind in my opinion.

Most annoyingly though, the Apple Macbook pro DOESNT HAVE A DELETE BUTTON! Yes, I miss it so much it gets a special mention. Why won’t they include one?!

The sounds from the in-built speakers are a bit crap too, it’s not as loud as I’d expected.

And the aluminium scratches pretty easily, so you need a case unless you want to show off your new purchase. Oh and the keys and trackpad get greasy quite quickly. They seem to be a dirt-magnet. I have to clean mine once every few weeks. Although typing on it is a doddle; why do you think these blog posts are so long?

ANYWAYS, I hope that’s given you guys a bit more information but a real person’s perspective. No bullshit advertising or anything. On the whole, definitely worth the money. Along with the functionality and out of the box apps, this product seems like it can outlive most Windows laptops with relative ease. No worries about internet viruses or scans and stuff plus the battery actually lasts all day – which are by far the most appealing selling points of these things. That and they just look quite cool.

Happy to answer any questions, so just leave your comments below.