Let me start by saying that this post is about making a decision … I don’t want it to be viewed as anything but me thinking out loud about a couple of really solid products. With that said, let me get rolling with it. For those who know me I don’t think it is a secret that I am an Apple guy — that may actually be a little bit of an understatement. I try to get my hands on most of Apple’s stuff for a ton of reasons, but design is at the top of the list. I love the way they make things, package things, market things, and execute in the marketplace. It honestly started way back in 1984 when the family got an original 128K Mac on my 12th birthday. It was mesmerizing … the whole thing was just amazing to me. I used that machine for 6 years until it literally blew up when I was a senior in high school. From there I got a Mac SE to take off to college. Things got a bit out of control over the next several years … here’s a sample of the Macs I’ve had in my possession over the years, an LC III, Performa 600 CD, PM 7200, Blue and White G3, G3 All in One, Newton 2100, SnowBall iMac, DP G4s, DP G5s, PowerBooks, iBooks, Intel iMac, MBP, and more … let’s not even get into the iPods. I will say that after the Blue and White most of my machines have been either a work or consulting machine, so its not like I’ve been buying everything that Apple brings out — really!
Prior to coming to ETS I was an avid 12″ PowerBook user. I loved it … everything about it. The size and industrial design still makes me smile when I see one. When I got to ETS I switched over to the 15″ PowerBook and since have been using a 15″ MacBook Pro. I love the MBP, but have found myself looking very longingly at the black MacBook recently. I am getting set to start on a ridiculus amount of travel over the next month and the smaller size and increased battery life of the MB is starting to really appeal to me. So after all that bullshit in the first paragraph, this is what I am wondering about … MBP v MB? I have spent the weekend with a MB testing it out and here’s what I am coming up so far:
The MBP gives me:
- Lighted Keyboard … I am surprised by how much this helps. I find myself missing that b/c I do quite a bit of email late at night in the dark.
- Bigger Display … Putting them side by side, the 15″ seems a lot bigger, but I’m not sure I absolutely need the extra real estate, but there are times when it is really nice to have.
- Card Slot … Honestly this has been the MB deal breaker until now b/c I not only use, but need, my card slot to use my Verizon Wireless V640. More and more places offer free wifi, but when you rely on tools like email and Google Docs as much as I do I need a live connection.
- Pro Looks … I hate to say it but the MBP looks more grown up. I am finding as I am aging that may not be as desirable as I once thought.
The MB gives me:
- Killer Keyboard Design … I have to say I am digging on the raised keyboard design. It actually reminds me of the keyboard that shipped with my LC III — my favorite of all the keyboards I’ve ever used. I do miss the backlighting, but I have a little flexible USB light that I used to use with my 12″ that will work on a plane or in a pinch.
- Size … The thing feels like a notebook — not a computer, but a real notebook. I can see myself just grabbing it to take into meetings much more than I do with my MBP. With the MBP I always put it in a bag and take all the stuff with me for some reason. Also, on a plane, this thing will be killer … being able to actually use it in coach is a big motivator here. I am a big guy and the MBP poses problems, especially if the person in front of me needs to recline.
- Battery Life … I used it yesterday morning from about 7:30 AM until noon without hooking it to an AC power source. I even had the thing cranked to best performance. The MBP cannot even come close to that. Again on a cross country flight I might actually be able to make it without frantically searching for a power outlet during a layover.
- Wireless … Yeah they are both wireless, but the MB seems to get a much stronger signal here in my house. Not sure why, but it is snappier when browsing, downloading, and uploading. Maybe it is just in my head, but it is noticeable.
- Lack of a Card Slot … I know I said I need this, but one of my colleagues pointed me to the Verizon Wireless USB720 Modem. Essentially it is the same as the card only USB based. Sure it sticks out farther, but who cares. I once got stuck on the runway for a couple of hours and was happily surfing, emailing, and connected with the broadband … not once did I care if the thing would stick out.
Update: OK, here is one thng that is bothering me a little bit — the case design of the MB. It isn’t terrible, but this one is a little sharp around the edges. Where my wrists hit the wrist rest areas it is sharp edge. Are others dealing with that or is it just the one I am using?
Performance seems to be close to the same … I am a little dismayed by the lack of dedicated video memory on the MB, but if I am going to need something to do some real work on I use my 24″ iMac anyway. At work I hook the MBP up to an external display and I know the MB can drive it — it isn’t a 30″ display, so no worries there. So at the end of the day I still can’t decide, but I am leaning towards the MB. Anyone out there have a MB and want to share some thoughts with me?