Two weeks ago, Apple announced its new Retina MacBook Pro. It was just about everything I wanted: a powerful processor, a beefy GPU, and a thin-and-light body. In fact, I even told you how I was planning on buying one after the first revision was made by Apple.
But here I am today, writing another post about my future laptop purchase. This time, though, it’s not about which laptop I’m picking; it’s about why I may not choose another Mac.
I’m going to start out by telling my story and saying that Macs are really great machines. I use two: my 13-inch MacBook Pro and a Mac mini. I don’t hesitate whatsoever to say that I do love OS X, but Windows 7 and Windows 8 are leaps and bounds better than XP and Vista – the two operating systems that made me despise Microsoft’s biggest money-maker.
So, as I’ve said before, I made my switch to OS X in 2008, with a 13-inch MacBook. This was when Apple debuted its unibody Mac designs, and at the time, there just weren’t any other products that matched the Mac’s build quality and – frankly – its looks. I made my purchase, went through a couple of replacements, and now it’s today, when I’ve got a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with a dying hard drive.
When Apple showed off its 0.71-inch thick retina MacBook Pro, I was obviously lusting over it. It managed to sport a svelte profile while packing a quad-core Ivy Bridge chip and dedicated graphics. Unfortunately, and like I’ve already said, the unibody Mac design was introduced in 2008. It’s 2012 now, and even though the new MacBook Pro is a fifth smaller than the old, it’s still a unibody design and it’s still distinguishably a Mac.
It’s not that the aesthetic of the design is bad – it’s just bad. My Mac creaks constantly. The aluminum bottom in particular is rather loud, which makes the whole computer feel less premium and more like a cheap laptop. The problem is that it wasn’t cheap; even as a base model, this MacBook Pro rang up at $1,199.
The new retina MacBook Pro starts at $2,199. That gets you some relatively nice specs, sure; but again, it’s the same unibody display that I’ve honestly come to dislike.
As I am wont to do when I am not pleased with something, I set off on an internet journey to find something better – in this case, to look at some PC OEM hardware. Keeping in mind the provisions I had set in place for my next laptop, I went to a variety of manufacturers’ websites looking for a light – yet powerful - notebook computer.
What I found was that almost every PC maker had what I was looking for. At first, this was surprising to me. But then I figured that it was so surprising because I had never really taken a look at any computers other than Macs.
As I delved deeper into each OEM’s website, I found laptops of all shapes and sizes, laptops that could literally fit me best. 15-inch laptops with a thin body and incredibly powerful innards; I might as well have died and gone to heaven based on the heavenly machines I was finding.
Prices were also much better compared to Apple’s: I could find similarly-equipped 15-inchers, oftentimes for $1,000 less. I can’t speak to the build quality of these laptops, but I’m positive that $1,500 from any OEM should be of better quality than what I’m currently lugging around.
At this point, I’m going to continue to learn about the ups and downs of each particular OEM so I can pick the absolute best laptop when I’m ready. Right now, that will probably be the same “next year” target that I was already planning on with my MacBook Pro. If something happens with my current mobile computer, then I’ll obviously use whatever knowledge I have to pick something at that point. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.
If you have any PC recommendations please let me know in the comments. I’m not interested in the Microsoft Surface for a variety of reasons, but any other >1.25-inch thick 15-inch computer with dedicated graphics and a quad-core processor is up for consideration.