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Thread: MacBook waste of money?

  1. #1
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    MacBook waste of money?

    Daughter is going on about getting a MacBook.

    Looking at the technical specs they seem massively overpriced for what’s in them.

    I’m a big fan of iPhone/iPad but lumping a load on a laptop that a good quality equivalent could be had for hundreds less doesn’t sit well.

    Am I missing something here?


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  2. #2
    Master Franco's Avatar
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    You are going to get 50% saying that Macbooks are a waste of money, less flexible to configurate, and not as connectable as other platforms. The other 50% will say that last forever, talk seamlessly with any other Apple devices, and are truly easy to use without prior training.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco View Post
    You are going to get 50% saying that Macbooks are a waste of money, less flexible to configurate, and not as connectable as other platforms. The other 50% will say that last forever, talk seamlessly with any other Apple devices, and are truly easy to use without prior training.
    Yes, I think that's probably right. I'm in the "waste of money" camp. It's a fashion item, in essence. They do look nice on a desk though.

  4. #4
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    They are more efficient with the specs you get, due to iOS rather than windows.

    youngsters take to them instinctively.
    the older ones were pretty well built and upgradable.

    New ones now:
    A lot of money, and not the same quality. Also - you can’t upgrade at all (I think).

    If you are already invested in iPads and iPhones - that could sway you to go for the integration.

    I tried a top-spec MacBook Pro, but the keyboard failed and I got shot of it (lost a lot, considering it was a new machine from the hinge down)

    I won’t be back

    - - - Updated - - -

    “Configurate”

  5. #5
    Nothing Apple makes is cheap; The Register refers to it as the "Cupertino Idiot Tax". But Apple stuff is well made (mostly, they've taking a bashing recently over the Mac Book Pro keyboard), generally well specced and as said, works pretty seamlessly with all the other kit within Apple's walled garden. Whether you buy into that is a matter of personal choice - I bought my first Mac in 2005 and have never looked back. Having previously worked in IT and not being Bill Gates' biggest fan probably has something to do with this, but (at home, at least), I've been Windows free for the last 14 years. Long may it continue.

    Cheers,

    Plug

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Franco View Post
    You are going to get 50% saying that Macbooks are a waste of money
    If you ask users of Macbooks, I'd be surprised that many would say they're a waste of money. Loads have made the switch from PC to Mac, I don't know of many that have gone the other direction.

  7. #7
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    I have an iPhone and an iPad but when I tried one, I couldn't get on with the OS.
    I'd have thought a decent spec IPad Pro with a keyboard case would be a better alternative?

  8. #8
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    Value surely depends on the intended use imo. I see no value in a mac book if the only intended use is say writing essays and browsing Facebook. Some photoshop etc, and it's a totally different argument.

  9. #9
    Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    If you ask users of Macbooks, I'd be surprised that many would say they're a waste of money. Loads have made the switch from PC to Mac, I don't know of many that have gone the other direction.
    As someone who's used OS X for the last 15 years and previously worked at Apple my next computer won't be a Mac.

    They are great if you need one but if all you do is Chrome/MS Office/Cloud based stuff they are an utter waste of money. They used to be worth the money but Apple have really slacked in recent years.

    OP what does she she want it for and how old is she?

  10. #10
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    I have an iPhone and an iPad but when I tried one, I couldn't get on with the OS.
    I'd have thought a decent spec IPad Pro with a keyboard case would be a better alternative?
    Now that it has it’s own iOS - you might have a point. I love mine, but don’t use the Office apps.

    As to MacBooks - I think they still have better battery-life for time away from your desk, than a windows machine. Plus - for youngsters, they like to be seen with a Mac

  11. #11
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    OP what does she she want it for and how old is she?
    She is first year A-Level, so mostly writing essays and research. Lots of her mates have them, so more of a fashion item in my view, although this ‘unhelpful’ opinion has left me in the doghouse with wife and daughter!

    She has saved up so at the end of the day it’s up to her, but you could buy two windows laptops for the price of one MacBook, which is nonsense for the use it will get.



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    Master Filterlab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    They used to be worth the money but Apple have really slacked in recent years.
    As someone who owned a Mac consultancy for years, I have to agree. The recent operating systems have been a shambles of problems, ridiculous coding issues, bean counter selfishness and hardly innovative. Not the same as the Jobs days.

  13. #13
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    She is first year A-Level, so mostly writing essays and research. Lots of her mates have them, so more of a fashion item in my view, although this ‘unhelpful’ opinion has left me in the doghouse with wife and daughter!

    She has saved up so at the end of the day it’s up to her, but you could buy two windows laptops for the price of one MacBook, which is nonsense for the use it will get.



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    Post a WTB on this forum? One from a few years ago could prove to be excellent VFM.

    My £3k+ machine (1yr old, but sold with a completely new machine/battery below the hinge) - got me the grand sum of £1,750 when I sold it)

  14. #14
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    I switched a few years ago and would never go back.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  15. #15
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    End of the day what's going to make her most happy... and don't forget the resale on a Mac is really quite strong compared to PC platform, which are literally valueless after a couple years (or months!).

    And don't forget you can get student discount (10%?) as she's still at school (or is it actual students?).

  16. #16
    Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    She is first year A-Level, so mostly writing essays and research. Lots of her mates have them, so more of a fashion item in my view, although this ‘unhelpful’ opinion has left me in the doghouse with wife and daughter!

    She has saved up so at the end of the day it’s up to her, but you could buy two windows laptops for the price of one MacBook, which is nonsense for the use it will get.



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    Chrome in Windows looks the same as Chrome on Mac. As does FB, Spotify and Google Drive etc. Just don't get her something massive and ugly.

    We have 1x 15" MacBook Pro, 1x 13" MacBook Pro and 1x 13" MacBook Air. For work we have a Lenovo and a Dell. I bought a new modem a few weeks ago to help balance my internet at home and part of the set up process requires to be plugged into a laptop by Ethernet for a few seconds to start the set up and none of the bloody Mac's have a port. Mine and my wife's work laptops have everything - Ethernet, VGA, usb a, usb c, hdmi etc but they're locked down by work so I'm going to have to borrow a laptop from someone or buy an adapter for the Mac. All because the Mac wants to metal and super heavy. If I hadn't missed my returns period I would have returned it!

  17. #17
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    She is first year A-Level, so mostly writing essays and research. Lots of her mates have them, so more of a fashion item in my view, although this ‘unhelpful’ opinion has left me in the doghouse with wife and daughter!

    She has saved up so at the end of the day it’s up to her, but you could buy two windows laptops for the price of one MacBook, which is nonsense for the use it will get.
    Nah, it is what she wants - end of.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  18. #18
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    Nah, it is what she wants - end of.
    Sums it up nicely I guess!



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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    She is first year A-Level, so mostly writing essays and research. Lots of her mates have them, so more of a fashion item in my view, although this ‘unhelpful’ opinion has left me in the doghouse with wife and daughter!

    She has saved up so at the end of the day it’s up to her, but you could buy two windows laptops for the price of one MacBook, which is nonsense for the use it will get.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    So it’s her money and it’s what she wants I don’t see the problem I’m sure she could pick a watch in your collection and say you could get 2 timex for that price , sorry but if she’s saved and it’s what she wants that’s it really.

  20. #20
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    Thought I’d better start with my usual disclaimer on the matter:- I am an Apple shareholder (not lots but still a shareholder).

    I own an iMac and two MacBook Pros. One of the MacBooks is coming up on 10 years old and still works like a dream. The only issue I had was the wifi card failed three years ago and was replaced by Apple themselves for only £38.

    In that same 10 years my wife has gone through two Windows laptops and is currently looking at a third.

    I once took a brand new MacBook Pro out of its box , performed its initial setup, connected it to email and the printer and downloaded and printed a PDF email attachment quicker that it took my wife to download and install Acrobat Reader to her laptop.

    They aren’t cheap but they ‘just work’ and for that you can’t beat them.

  21. #21
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    I think it depends what you want. I bought a macbook air and think it's nice for a small casual machine if you don't need much power and want something small and light without big fans. I think the pro line are too expensive for the compromises in the design, and I also think windows is better for none casual use.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SydR View Post
    Thought I’d better start with my usual disclaimer on the matter:- I am an Apple shareholder (not lots but still a shareholder).

    I own an iMac and two MacBook Pros. One of the MacBooks is coming up on 10 years old and still works like a dream. The only issue I had was the wifi card failed three years ago and was replaced by Apple themselves for only £38.

    In that same 10 years my wife has gone through two Windows laptops and is currently looking at a third.

    I once took a brand new MacBook Pro out of its box , performed its initial setup, connected it to email and the printer and downloaded and printed a PDF email attachment quicker that it took my wife to download and install Acrobat Reader to her laptop.

    They aren’t cheap but they ‘just work’ and for that you can’t beat them.
    My experience is so does windows. How long ago was your example. I can't recall how long ago it was that you actually had to download a specific app to open a pdf.

    Your point on the quantity of windows laptops used in that period is also rather meaningless :) you can buy a windows laptop for £150, you can buy one for £3k. That's partly the whole point of not buying apple. You've complete choice over price and build quality etc.

    It's all about what you need from a platform. Apple and non-apple all have potential problems, and benefits. It's about which of those problems and benefits work for or against an individuals needs.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    My experience is so does windows. How long ago was your example. I can't recall how long ago it was that you actually had to download a specific app to open a pdf.

    Your point on the quantity of windows laptops used in that period is also rather meaningless :) you can buy a windows laptop for £150, you can buy one for £3k. That's partly the whole point of not buying apple. You've complete choice over price and build quality etc.

    It's all about what you need from a platform. Apple and non-apple all have potential problems, and benefits. It's about which of those problems and benefits work for or against an individuals needs.
    Also if you spend the same money on a windows pc as a mac then resale is very good, as is build quality, speed in my experience is better if anything and it's more compatible with various devices. Windows 10 is extremely good.

  24. #24
    Master sean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filterlab View Post
    The recent operating systems have been a shambles of problems, ridiculous coding issues, bean counter selfishness and hardly innovative. Not the same as the Jobs days.
    Mac OS X Tiger was rock solid. Nothing since, while still fine, has been comparable.

  25. #25
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    MacBook waste of money?

    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    My experience is so does windows. How long ago was your example. I can't recall how long ago it was that you actually had to download a specific app to open a pdf.

    Your point on the quantity of windows laptops used in that period is also rather meaningless :) you can buy a windows laptop for £150, you can buy one for £3k. That's partly the whole point of not buying apple. You've complete choice over price and build quality etc.

    It's all about what you need from a platform. Apple and non-apple all have potential problems, and benefits. It's about which of those problems and benefits work for or against an individuals needs.
    Windows 7 was unable to open PDF’s natively and is something many people still run (despite Microsoft ending support for it very soon).

    The laptops in question were typically in the £600 range, if that helps you put some perspective on it, and from reputable brands.

  26. #26
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SydR View Post
    Thought I’d better start with my usual disclaimer on the matter:- I am an Apple shareholder (not lots but still a shareholder).
    Good job you declared that! Had she bought one, based on your advice - it could have pushed the share price up by.................... well - shag-all.

    They suit some, they don’t suit others - that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla........

    But the almost religious intent to convert people to them is hilarious.

  27. #27
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    The Windows OS and all Windows laptops are just plain ugly. End of.

    I had to use one for a job I was doing as favour a few months ago and I lasted an hour before I wanted to throw the thing at a brick wall. Horrible!

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Good job you declared that! Had she bought one, based on your advice - it could have pushed the share price up by.................... well - shag-all.

    They suit some, they don’t suit others - that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla........

    But the almost religious intent to convert people to them is hilarious.
    I know that and you know that but you’d be amazed at the number of folk that get p’d off if there isn’t a ‘declaration of interest’ made.

    I need to fill out paperwork for my employer every year declaring what companies I have ‘an interest’ in!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SydR View Post
    Windows 7 was unable to open PDF’s natively and is something many people still run (despite Microsoft ending support for it very soon).

    The laptops in question were typically in the £600 range, if that helps you put some perspective on it, and from reputable brands.
    Good luck walking into pc world and asking for a windows 7 laptop. Things have moved on... My point was that your arguments are not reflective of current hardware and software. A £150 laptop on a lidl super weekend offer will open and print pdfs out of the box. Perhaps there was an argument for mac being better many many years ago, Others have even stated that apple have gone downhill from the times that's you're talking of, while windows has really just gone massively uphill (other than limited choice as to the time of installing updates). Besides, with a "Windows" laptop, Its not a Windows laptop, you can install whatever OS you want.

    As I say, it's about what you expect and want from a device.

  30. #30
    What model of MacBook does she want?

    You can get:

    13” MacBook Air - updated July 2019, starts at £1099
    13” MacBook Pro - updated May/July 2019, starts at £1299
    16” MacBook Pro - updated November 2019, starts at £2399

    The 2 13” computers use the controversial butterfly keyboard which has been in the lineup for the last 3 years and has been shown to be very unreliable. These computers are covered by a 3 year repair program. Beyond that I would be concerned about their reliability.

    The 16” was introduced last week. It is a lot more money but is a good value computer when compared to similar specced thin and light Windows PCs. It has a new scissor keyboard based on the Magic Keyboard. This will be a much more reliable design.

    I expect the new keyboard will be introduced into the 13” computers within 6 months. I also expect the 13” MacBook Pro to increase to 14”.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    The Windows OS and all Windows laptops are just plain ugly. End of.

    I had to use one for a job I was doing as favour a few months ago and I lasted an hour before I wanted to throw the thing at a brick wall. Horrible!
    Microsoft's own line of surface laptops must have passed you by then. Far better than a mac to work on and very well made.

  32. #32
    Craftsman Templogin's Avatar
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    I supported Windows users, MS servers and network infrastructure for years. At home I used a Mac.

    I now have a MacBook Air, iPad Pro and iPad Mini. Lugging around a MacBook Pro soon got tedious. The iPad Mini gets used for most things, the iPad Pro is too heavy for use in the hand, the MacBook Air is now a backup device.

    When Macs work they are great, but when they fail, because almost everything is soldered to the main board, the opportunity for a user to fix them is nil. Look up Louis Rossman on YouTube.

    Tell her to buy the warranty!!

  33. #33
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Love the way some people qualify their opinion with “end of”........

    Sorry, I meant “find obnoxious”

  34. #34
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgreenwood View Post
    Microsoft's own line of surface laptops must have passed you by then. Far better than a mac to work on and very well made.
    I got one of them for a couple of months - well impressed. Not cheap either, mind.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Love the way some people qualify their opinion with “end of”........

    Sorry, I meant “find obnoxious”
    I agree. I use both MacOS and Windows 10 personal computers as well as and iPad Pro and iPhone. I am more interested in what software the computer can run than the computer itself. I prefer Windows for gaming and MacOS for photo editing. As long as the OS and computer itself doesn’t get in the way of the job you want to do with the software it is running, it really doesn’t matter what computer you use.

  36. #36
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    MacBook user for over 10 yrs here. I'm a happy user but the MacBook as a few unwanted issues: the fact that you can't plug in a proper headset is really annoying. You need a special jack for that. Same goes for normal usb's.

    My MacBook is on its second keyboard... a well-known problem with a later generation MacBook. And this new one isn't really trouble free. My luck is that my youngest son has a weekend and holiday job at a certified Apple repair shop. That makes it a lot easier (So is buying a new iPhone...).

    At my work, we use Windows computers and I must honestly say that I can't feel or notice a difference.

    Menno

  37. #37
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    MacBook waste of money?

    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    Good luck walking into pc world and asking for a windows 7 laptop. Things have moved on... My point was that your arguments are not reflective of current hardware and software. A £150 laptop on a lidl super weekend offer will open and print pdfs out of the box. Perhaps there was an argument for mac being better many many years ago, Others have even stated that apple have gone downhill from the times that's you're talking of, while windows has really just gone massively uphill (other than limited choice as to the time of installing updates). Besides, with a "Windows" laptop, Its not a Windows laptop, you can install whatever OS you want.

    As I say, it's about what you expect and want from a device.
    Ok let’s talk current hardware and software.....

    Windows software updates still to this day follow a ridiculous sequential process where it is not unusual to apply updates only to immediately find new updates for those updates. My son tells me, today, he has had to spend a significant proportion of today applying updates to a new laptop shipped to him by his employer.

    Apple’s updates take you from where you are to the latest version in a much more simplified way.

    Windows still suffers from its main achilles heal in that it is required to support a huge variety of hardware and driver issues as still common.

    Like it, or not, Apple control both the hardware and the software they have a very much simplified driver set to control.

    I run Photoshop on a two year old MacBook Pro and on a one year old Windows 10 PC. Despite having a faster processor, 32 Gb RAM and an SSD the Windows PC is slower that the lesser specced MacBook at carrying out the same editing tasks.
    Last edited by SydR; 19th November 2019 at 23:05.

  38. #38
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    Back when I was a student (many years ago) I kept considering Mac (loved my iPod etc) but couldn’t justify the low spec for the price and kept buying Windows. I eventually bit the bullet and bought a MacBook and I wish I had done it sooner for many reasons which have probably already been covered on the thread.

    Fast forward 10 years and the gap is a lot closer with lack of innovation at Apple and improvements by Microsoft.

    I still find that opening my one year old windows work laptop and trying to send an email or browse to a website takes a frustrating few minutes, but it’s instant on my two year old MacBook when I get home.

    If your concern is spec for £, and not the price overall, then get the MacBook as it’s what your daughter wants. She won’t regret it.

  39. #39
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    I stopped trying to talk sense to my kids years ago, you'll never win!

    However i am a Mac user and have been since 1997 with the Powerbook 1400, now currently running, 1 iMac, 1 Macbook Pro, 1 Macbook Air, 2 Macbooks and 2 iPads but no iPhones, strictly an Android user!

  40. #40
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Every large organisation that I have worked for has only (apart from a tiny number of niche areas) used Windows PCs. There's a reason for that.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    Every large organisation that I have worked for has only (apart from a tiny number of niche areas) used Windows PCs. There's a reason for that.
    Because they're cheap?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    Every large organisation that I have worked for has only (apart from a tiny number of niche areas) used Windows PCs. There's a reason for that.
    -Cheaper
    -better for networking
    -runs more niche applications

    The majority of students I know use Macs, and there’s a reason for that!

  43. #43
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    Use PC at work but MacBook at home and wouldn’t change for the world.

    I also find that they hold their value very well (as you may notice on SC), I’ve managed to trade up a couple of times now without spending much more than a couple of hundred pounds.

  44. #44
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Ask her whether she wants a MAC or a PC and £600 cash .

    I asked my son the same question a couple of years ago and he opted for a PC (Windows and Office) which they use at School, plus a new Andriod phone .

    He has zero time for IOS, iTunes, Safari, Apple Pay, Apple TV or Apple Cloud.

    Horses for courses at the end, but as others have said Windows is much more preferred in the business world. Plus you can get some very sexy looking high performing PC's these days.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filterlab View Post
    As someone who owned a Mac consultancy for years, I have to agree. The recent operating systems have been a shambles of problems, ridiculous coding issues, bean counter selfishness and hardly innovative. Not the same as the Jobs days.
    Interesting you say that because about 10 years ago I supported a research lab that used Macs and although I always liked the user interface, the OS underneath was absolutely terrible - comfortably the most backward and unreliable implementation of a Unix-like OS I've ever worked with. I was under the impression that things had improved in that respect since they'd moved on to a Unix-certified version shortly after that. But I haven't had to work with them for years, fortunately.

    Quite a few of those Macs failed while I was there; the hardware was if anything even more unreliable than the OS. They were uneconomical to repair and I replaced them with Linux boxes. A much better solution at a considerably lower cost.

  46. #46
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thestore View Post
    -Cheaper
    -better for networking
    -runs more niche applications

    The majority of students I know use Macs, and there’s a reason for that!
    What do you think that reason - is?

  47. #47
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Switzerland / UK
    Posts
    665
    Bought a new base spec Macbook Pro in 2010 for about £1,000. Used daily until 2019 without issue. Never went wrong, always worked. Not cheap but great value for money, two different things.

    Replaced recently with a base spec 2019 Macbook Pro.

    For my relatively light use, its more than enough.
    Last edited by Progressive; 20th November 2019 at 14:23.

  48. #48
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Bedfordshire
    Posts
    405
    After numerous problems, I moved from a Sony windows laptop to a Mac about 10 years ago and have no regrets. The Mac works well is very intuitive and used daily for business including presentations and teaching.

    I keep my laptops for about three years before changing and find there is a high secondhand demand and hence good resale value which means that in reality the Mac has not cost any more than an equivalent Windows laptop. Excellent support and training from Apple as well.

    In my view a Windows laptop is fine if you are knowledgeable and have time to make everything work. If like me you happen to be a bit of a numpty then a MacBook makes it simple and easy.

  49. #49
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bedfordshire and your back garden
    Posts
    16,427
    Main question - what does she want or need to do with it?

    Lots of kids and schools are switching over to Chromebooks these days - cheap, robust, last a whole day on a single charge, and will do almost everything you could want (with the exception of stuff like video editing).
    So clever my foot fell off.

  50. #50
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Tonbridge, UK
    Posts
    154
    I've been using Macs on and off for about 19 years. Both my work and home computer are Macs. I have a 7 year old Macbook Air that runs perfectly and that the kids use for homework. I even have a 10 year old unibody Mackbook that works, but I need to upgrade the harddrive to an SSD. My work computer is a new Macbook Air and it replaced a 2015 Macbook pro (which started to have the keyboard issue.) I moved to the Air as I was travelling more and doing less work that needed local compute.

    I've happily used Windows laptops in the past (Asus, Dell, Lenovo, IBM) but what you get with a Mac is.

    Good build quality
    A great trackpad, I think the best. This is where I struggle with other laptops
    Nice design
    Good residual value.

    You are paying a premium for the brand, but I've usually managed to avoid paying full price (work discount, friends who have worked for Apple)

    I bought a Chromebook last year. I loved the fast boot and it served most of my needs as a home machine, but the keyboard and trackpad weren't up to snuff. To be fair it was a mid level model.

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