Why should I get a new Macbook Pro?
April 18, 2010 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Why should I get a new Macbook Pro?

I'm considering getting a new 15" Macbook Pro. I have a two-year old Lenovo/IBM x61t Thinkpad tablet laptop, and there's a fair-to-middling change I'll mainly use Win XP on the Mac (it's for work, sorta).

What are some of the things I'll like about the Macbook Pro, considering what I'm coming from/used to? (Other than it being a Mac, I mean)

I'll probably get it, but if it doesn't seem exciting, I might change my mind. Sell me on this machine, good people of AskMe!
posted by Joseph Gurl to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm on a month old macbook pro. I'm a mac guy, always have been.. but this jump (from a one year old Macbook) was huge...

screen is great, lots of neat little features (lighted keyboard is a good example)..

Do yourself a favor and also get the bluetooth apple keyboard and the magic mouse. If you're usually desk-bound like I am, they make a huge difference in terms of comfort level....(and, the smooth surface scroll feature on the mouse is HUGE in terms of quick scrolling on web pages...)..

Track pad on the laptop is smooth, no real click bar on it, the whole bottom of the pad serves to click.... multi function, multi finger uses of the track pad are neat (still figuring those out!)...

you'll love it...
posted by HuronBob at 6:29 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Two words: Battery Life.

Also, the keyboard is really nice, the trackpad is wonderfully big and the screen looks really good.

Plus, with these "new" unibody designs it feels really solid.
posted by 47triple2 at 6:38 PM on April 18, 2010

I'm actually moving from an x61t to a 13" MBPro this summer. As much as I've been tempted to get OSX on my tablet I've never gotten around to it. The Macbooks are great machines. You won't beat the keyboard on the Lenovo but the trackpad Macbooks have now are really nice to use. Also, I know Lenovos are always touted as the epitome of build quality but that hasn't been my experience at all as far as this tablet is concerned; broken pen, broken pen holder, loose hinge, broken clasp ... It still runs Windows 7 great but with the new laptop purchase I'm hoping to sell the tablet and get an iPad or one of the competitors, (now that I've sold everyone on the tablet I'm happy to take on any offers of a trade for an iPad :) . The Macbooks have a more solid feel to them (at least to me, coming from the x61t).

The battery life is supposed to be stellar. The tablet is small and not a workhorse, but you've probably noticed it doesn't have a very long life given the Wacom on-board.

You mention "Other than it being a Mac" but OSX is a really big draw to the machines. There's a lot of pluses there as well. I'd try out Parallels and run Win XP inside OSX for awhile if I were you. With the MBPros starting at 4GB of ram there's really no reason not to unless you're doing some real heavy lifting on the XP side.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:40 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to be upgrading to a Pro soon, from my current MacBook, and after switching 3 years ago, I can't imagine working on another platform. Things I'm excited about upgrading from the MacBook: great build quality (the plastic MacBooks aren't very sturdy), better performance, more room for memory upgrades, better graphics, and crazy battery life.

In terms of switching to a Mac, I just love how things "just work". And, yes, that's probably cliche, but it's largely true. I don't have to worry about keeping anti-virus up to date or regularly updating my adware scanner. Backups are incredibly simple: just attach an external hard drive and Time Machine will backup everything on your laptop (though I'd recommend using something like SuperDuper! in addition to Time Machine).

If you're into taking photos or making movies, iPhoto and iMovie are both great and can be a lot of fun to use. Also, the quality of independent software (made by companies other than Apple) is pretty high, and there's lots of good stuff to check out.

Ack, just realized you said you'd be using Windows mostly. I'd really urge you to try out OS X, as it is a really solid operating system, and the way Apple hardware and software go together is really awesome.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 6:42 PM on April 18, 2010

I have faith others here will try to convince you go with the Macbook Pro, allow me to convince you why NOT to go with a Macbook Pro;
  • the 15in is substantially heavier than the x61 you have now. The 13in is noticeably heavier as well.
  • The windows drivers from Apple for Windows quite simply suck. CPU throttling isn't as good, screen dimming is not as good, audio is often just wonky, keyboard light dimming isn't as good. Hibernating and sleeping often fails. It is better with Windows Vista, but with XP it was appalling. Note: my experience is based on late 2009 Macbook's, Macbook Air's, and 13 and 15 in Macbook Pros. I have been told by my mac friends that this has been the case since Boot Camp got out of beta.
  • You can get a basically equivalent (minus the oh so sexy unibody aluminum case) for less money from Lenovo.
  • The power cords are twice the price of Lenovo ones. You do own three power cords for your laptops, right? Yes, I am serious. I advocate that for anyone that brings their laptop to work should have one at work, one at home, and one in their bag.
  • Apple technical for software (if you live near a decent sized apple store) is pretty good. Less good if you are primarily using the system in Windows.
  • Apple technical support for hardware is laughable compared to Lenovo. IF the local apple store will deem you worthy of a hardware swap, it's same day service and it's great. IF the local apple store is well stocked for parts and will do the repair on site, it's one to two days for a repair. If the store won't swap or can't repair it, they will be shipping it to a depot for 5-10 days. Lenovo offers next business day on site hardware repairs most anywhere in the country. A slight aside, Lenovo next business day on site support is a similar cost for three years as AppleCare which gets you three years of hardware support from Apple.
All that said, I went from a Lenovo X200 (before that an x60) to the Macbook Pro 13 in. that I am typing this on now. But along with the hardware change, I migrated to OSX. Is this an awesome machine that I can also boot to Windows to play Left 4 Dead? Absolutely. Was I happy with the increased weight as I commuted by train everyday? Not entirely but it wasn't a deal breaker. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, if you are looking to move to OSX, but not if you are going to spend most of the time in Windows.
posted by fief at 6:54 PM on April 18, 2010

I went from a Thinkpad x31 to a 15 inch MBPro four years ago. What you'll like:

-sturdy: it's an amazing case, IBM would be jealous
-powerful: these machines smoke
-nice keyboard: the chicklet (aka island style) keyboard has a great feel to it
-excellent track pad: once I figured out multi-swipe it finally replaced the touchpoint as my favourite input device
-Virtual Machines (Parallels, VMWare): integrate so well that you'll wonder why everyone doesn't just use OSX with Windows in a VM.
-Battery: it goes on, and on, and on.
-Sleep/Hibernation: You don't think about it, ya just close it and open it when you need it, everything comes back up like lightening, and even if your battery dies, it's smart enough to dump everything so that after a minute you'll be right where you left off.
-Underlying unix: forty years of awesome at your fingertips.

What you won't like:
-size: a 15 inch MBPro is bigger and heaver than an xSeries, it's more of a Tseries. The 13 inch MBPro and the Macbook Air are more in line with x series. Having said that, they are still nicely proportioned and there isn't waste, but this can be an issue if portability is key to you.
-keyboard: the mac keyboard is like using a Volkswagen: you have to unlearn your own preferences and adapt to their preferences... IBM/Lenovo do such a good job at squeezing all the keys in there, on the macs they get rid of a lot of keys and you have to do things like it Fn+Del to delete, and Command+Left/Right to go to beginning/end of line. Also if you code, it's Command+] and Command+[ to indent a block selection, instead of tab. OTOH, if you know Emacs key bindings you'll be in heaven. It'll also take you a while to wrap your mind around command/control/alt being switched from a Win machine.
-Finder: Apple's equivalent to Windows Explorer sucks on so many levels that it's embarrassing and a major setback when I try to get people to switch over to a mac. I'm using Total Finder as a stopgap solution.
-video adapter: budget $30-$60 for a Display Port -> DVI and Display Port -> VGA adapters if you hook up to external monitors or do presentations regularly. It frustrates me to no end.
posted by furtive at 7:06 PM on April 18, 2010

I used to use a number of bulletproof Thinkpads, though my experience is with pre-Lenovo machines.

In general, Thinkpads are super-durable but ugly. Further, Windows is a poorly thought-out OS, at least from the user's point of view. And it's the number-one target of viruses and trojans. On the plus side, it's also got a much broader and richer set of applications, especially games. However, if there's an OS X app you want, you're out of luck on a Windows box.

On OS X, I would say most of the OS features are more intuitive. The Macbook Pro unibody models seem pretty tough (though I don't have one). Battery life is good. And if you do any Unix development, you will be much happier with OS X than Cygwin on Windows. Finally, any non-game application from Windows land will run fine under Parallels, and almost every application including games will run under Boot Camp.
posted by zippy at 7:19 PM on April 18, 2010

I made almost the same transition (Lenovo/Windows 7 to MBP/OS X) three days ago. Reasons I would do it again: Quicksilver, the whole each-application-is-one-unit philosophy, Tweetie, the fact that OS X is a *nix, battery life, unibody, multi-touch trackpad, beautiful font rendering, first-class development platform with XCode and Cocoa, good application design all around, installing new software is just dragging to a folder. And faster, as all new computers are :).
posted by shadytrees at 10:18 PM on April 18, 2010

I'm a huge Mac fan, and the new 15" MacBook Pros are amazing machines, but if you're going to be running Windows on it, I say don't bother. You didn't give any reasons that you're unhappy with your ThinkPad. Why are you thinking about switching?
posted by joshrholloway at 5:45 AM on April 19, 2010

The touchpad. It's a pain to use a computer without it anymore. I use this touchpad enhancement called BetterTouchTool that is infinitely customizable, and you can do so many things with just one gesture: http://blog.boastr.net/

In addition to the default gestures, I can swipe three fingers up/down to launch Finder and Expose, swipe four fingers up/down/left/right to launch applications, put the display to sleep with a five finger tap, click with three or four fingers to close and quit, tap in the corners and on the edges to switch applications, use odd tapping gestures to change tabs in Chrome, middle-click with a three finger tap. And so on.
posted by MeowForMangoes at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010

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