I’m taking time off from Failure Analysis and Non-Destructive Testing to write this entry. Because it has been bugging my geeky alter ego for awhile now.
My brother bought a Macbook Pro recently. His girlfriend won an iPad not too long ago. Now he’s suggesting that I should get a Macbook Air. To complete the Apple family, perhaps? My brother and I share a lot of similarities, but when it comes to our preferences in gadgets we can be quite worlds apart.
He’s a diehard Apple fan. iPhone, iPod, Mac Mini, Macbook and now the Macbook Pro – to his credit I think Apple should endorse him at some point. I don’t have anything drastic against Apple products, but I still think I can get a lot more from Windows-based / Android-based products for the money I’m footing out. As a matter of fact, if one really likes the Mac OS, there are numerous ways to create your own ‘Hackintosh’ system for almost half the price you would pay for a Mac hardware.
But I’m not prejudice. I can see why once a person steps into the Macworld, they’re most probably bound to declare their loyalty and citizenship to that Apple flag. We can’t deny it, if there’s one word to describe Apple gadgets, it would be : sexy. And they are premium products, in a class of their own. Of course, the less possibility of your Mac being infected by a virus adds a plus point too.
Just like everyone else, I often find myself hopping into a Mac store, fiddle around with its gadgets, secretly hoping I’ll be able to own one of these babies when I have the extra moolah to splurge. Yes, it doesn’t matter how loyal you are to the Windows / Open Source community – you know “it would always be nice” to own a Mac provided you don’t have to feel the pinch in your wallet.
My brother’s innocent (or is it?) suggestion of me getting a Macbook Air stuck on to my mind longer than I thought. I looked at my old-faithful Vaio who has been serving me for almost 5 years and sighed. Most of its keys aren’t working anymore, I have to get it repaired (cost: RM200) and once again, the battery is fried. Vaio batteries are ridiculously expensive (cost: RM800) and I won’t be spending anymore money to get another.
To-date, I have successfully built myself a high-end desktop PC (yes, I have to boast on this one – it’s a humble-looking rig that oozes a lot of power and speed, silently) but obviously it does not have the mobility that laptops do. I need a laptop, but now, my preferences have changed. There are only two things I look for in a laptop now: Portability and Long Battery Life. I need a laptop for presentations, my knack for writing, a little bit of web-surfing and watch movies on it.
Immediately, the word netbook comes to mind. For those non-IT savvy, netbooks are smaller laptops that packs both portability and long battery life. But it’s a legal, wide-open scam. I’m sorry to all netbook owners out there, but you know your netbook cannot multitask. And after opening 4 browsers at once, it begins to crawl. I have friends who own netbooks, and most of them end up telling me: Don’t get one. Spend a little more to get a decent-working machine.
Anyway, my entry is not to criticize netbooks (I can start an entire entry on that one). If you have one, good for you and I hope you’re happy with it.
So back to Mac (gee, that rhymes!).
Let’s pretend I have the money. And let’s see it in a point-of-view of a person with the money.
The prospect of getting a Macbook Air seemed very tempting to me. It’s lightweight, has long battery life, and is surprisingly, extremely fast. It does not use the latest Intel Core-i processors, but merely the outdated Core 2 processors. But guess what? Real-time reviews have shown that the Macbook Air boots up seconds faster than the higher spec Macbook Pro. For further explanation, this is mostly due to the fact that the Macbook Air uses the ground-breaking (pocket-draining) solid-state storage drives, similar to iPads. I won’t discuss how solid-state drives work as compared to our normal SATA drives – but you just have to know that they work MUCH faster, but they are much more expensive too. It will take time to seep into the market because right now, SATA drives work just fine and gives us much more storage space for a lower price.
The Macbook Air does not have a CD-slot, a few ports are missing, no back-lit keyboard, unlike the Macbook Pro. Both have impressive long battery lives, but just like clothes nowadays, you pay more for less material. In other words, despite the missing things from the Macbook Air, its lightweight factor makes it more expensive than the Macbook Pro. We may think it’s quite stupid to opt for the Mac Air with this kind of reason, but once you’ve personally lifted the Mac Air – somehow, it has that Apple effect on you.
Oh, what’s the Apple effect?
It transforms “Bah, it’s not worth it” to “OMG, this is amazing.” Even when it doesn’t make sense.
And then I realized, this has become a Mac vs Mac affair! I did do some research on other portable laptops out there, such as the Lenovo Ideapad U460, HP Envy 13 and some Dells along the way. But currently, the Apple effect is dwelling in the atmosphere. Of course, I just have to think about the price to snap out of it.
But just comparing these two, I would opt for the Macbook Pro for now. Although the Macbook Air is as light as, well, air, the Macbook Pro isn’t heavy in the first place. It’s slimmer and more compact than any 13″ laptops out there, has amazing battery life than any 13″ laptops out there and is actually quite worth the money if you compare it with the likes of the HP Envy and Dell Studio laptops. Some may think the whole uni-chassis and un-removable parts of the Mac is a turn-off, but honestly, I would rather have “a laptop-that-says-it-all-as-it-is” compared to having a custom 9-cell battery sticking out of my notebook for extra power. Do you know that even those huge batteries cannot match the longevity of Mac’s battery juice?
And then you compare the prices. A PC system similar to both Macs up there would cost at least a thousand ringgit less. That’s a lot of money saved.
And then there’s the Apple effect. Sigh.