back to article Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

For the past few weeks, this tech reporter has been tussling with a complex issue: which new laptop to buy. Just a month ago, this seemed like an exciting proposition: not only was Apple going to update its MacBook Pro line (at last), but Microsoft had gone all Apple on us and come out with some genuinely innovative products. …


  1. Aknarula9

    I have been using Mac line up since early 2000's, I am pretty happy. So I ditched my MacBook Air for Microsoft Surface, I feel that we need to teach Satya and his team that how the hardware is suppose to work. The response time when you are working just A Ess internet is bad. The surface mouse integration with Surface Pro is very bad and slow. You are trying to move the screen up or down. The system response is either very slow or it's going to fast. Some time it's just slow or hangs

    I am not sure if the Microsoft staff itself uses the Surface Pro

    Its integration with One drive is so confusing, I am a Executive who uses computer for normal Word, Excel Power Point, Demo our software product, struggles with high end Aurace Pro. The touch has no use, some time the attached keyboard will stop functioning. It's a nice showpiece but disappointed with the hardware.

    I guess I won't suggest any one to buy this machine, buy MacPro for quality, speed, Excellent

    Hardware and its integration.

    I will replace the Surface and go back to MacBook Pro

    1. Geoff Campbell


      You don't say which Surface Pro you have. I have not experienced any of those problems with the SP4.


  2. giin

    Not much has changed in Windows-land

    I've been using mostly Macs for the last 10 years or so. I've always had at least one Windows computer to deal with. Either it was my daughter's Dell or the gaming laptop I recently bought. Both are running Windows 10, which is supposedly on par with MacOS these days. Both still suffer from the same old Windows OEM bullshit. Crappy drivers ruing the experience on both devices, both have odd random issues ranging from having trouble connecting to WiFi, touchpad drivers simply not working to not waking up from sleep. Needless to say, having owned and used 10+ macs in the past 10 years, none of them have had these issues.

    So keep kidding yourself about the Windows experience being even close to what Apple can deliver, it is not, unless you buy the premium hardware direct from Microsoft.

    Criticize Apple all you want but fact is, despite the price MacBooks are still the device to beat. Microsoft may be closer than before with the Surface line, but it has not even caught up yet.

    1. Electron Shepherd

      Re: Not much has changed in Windows-land

      But computers exist for the sole purpose of running software, and, like it or not, the range of software available for the Windows "ecosystem", if there is such a thing, is much broader than that for OS X.

      For example, why did you buy a Windows "gaming" laptop, if "the Mac is still the device to beat"? Why not just run the games on the Mac?

    2. Rusty 1

      Re: Not much has changed in Windows-land

      Isn't it strange how different people have different experiences. I've supported and owned a good number of traditional PCs and laptops over the last decade, running Linux and Windows (XP, 7, and 10), and have hit only one problem - one old system which was upgraded to Windows 10 didn't have drivers for the 8 year old sound card. No network problems wired, or wireless. Video was fine. Keyboards have always worked fine, and all provided both delete and backspace keys. The wonders of engineering!

      I don't care what a specific software vendor's hardware is "the device to beat" - I use an operating system that just works on what ever device its installed on.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bought a t410i without os and a few bits missing off ebay for £48. Put in ssd, more ram, usb 3 express card, linux mint, new battery, wwan card, and missing trim from China off ebay. Total cost about £115. I have windows 10 in virtual box which I got for free under the windows 7 upgrade offer.

    Never crashes, very fast to use, easy to fix. Why would I want to spend ten times that for an apple product that I can't fix, can't plug my peripherals into without proprietary cables, and can't replace the battery ?

    Frankly the direction apple are taking says a lot about their user base. I have a mate who is an apple fanboi. He doesn't think you should have more than one usb port....

    1. Ilsa Loving

      Apple has two demographics

      > Frankly the direction apple are taking says a lot about their user base. I have a mate who is an apple fanboi. He doesn't think you should have more than one usb port....

      The thing is, Apple has two demographics. One is the classic "sheeple": the ones that don't actually know jack about computers, with a subset being an almost cult-like following.

      The second demographic are tech professionals that already have more than enough work to do and just don't have the patience to deal with having to baby their computers on top of everything else.

      And this second group is MIGHTY pissed off with what Apple is doing because Apple is actively making our lives significantly and unnecessarily more difficult for no reasonable reason. I'm still using an 2011 MBP. I've been wanting to upgrade cause it's getting long in the tooth, but every successive machine Apple has released has been even more idiotic than the one previous.

  4. Daniel B.

    Well, shit.

    Just when I was thinking that it was probably time to upgrade into a rMBP, they somehow made it crappier. Not only is the laptop non-upgradeable, now it also sucks with the removal of MagSafe and requiring dongles for pretty much everything.

    Looks like I'll have to upgrade to the older model, if they're still selling it by the time I save enough to buy one. Otherwise, it seems I'll just have to do with my current 2012 13" MBP until it dies, and then see if there's something actually decent. But judging by Apple's direction, it seems I'll have to jump back to the icky Mickeysoft waters I evacuated when Windows 8 shat on that pool.

    Apple, cut the crap. It's not funny anymore.

  5. tempemeaty

    The Vice

    This article was a great read. Thank you. I've been feeling like I'm being squeezed in a vice. It's nice to know I'm not the only one going through this extremely troubling dilemma.

  6. kmac499

    Apple n' Scientology

    In the beginning was a guy who made his own harmless DayJob was moderately good at what he did (in his field) making a few dollars.

    He quite grew to like having a few dollars so he did it again and realised that the 'world' he had created appealed to quite a few people.

    He then got 'marketing' a terrible disease which allows you to take a basically harmless idea and spin it into a belief system. This can become so strong it can take over the lives of the people who follow it, making them hand over all their money for the latest edition\revelations.

    Then the original guy died, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of his fellow travellers and a wish in them to continue his legacy a they see it.

    Sadly the flow of money becomes a self reinforcing meme which corrupts the custodians of the basic idea convincing them that they must be the only true path because otherwise why would they be so succesfull.

    Eventually pursuit of the belief blinds the custodians, until some smart arse kid at the back shouts "Hey look he's got no clothes on" Then it can all go to shit very quickly.

    BTW I'm most definitely not saying Apple is an evil cult.. it's just marketing

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Apple n' Scientology

      Whatever, but it needs to go to shit pretty quickly so that we can have acceptable machines back.

      OTOH, the last acceptable machine from Apple that I eyed was a NeXT Cube.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    Boutique markets are only so big

    Apple has made the mistake so many manufacturers make when aspiring to the upscale market: that market is only so big and it's great while it lasts, but it is still a finite market, is very fickle and demands bleeding edge coolness and you must remember all three of these things or you will get dismisses seemingly out of nowhere.

  8. The Morgan Doctrine

    Yo, what about the ancient desktop Pros?

    I've been ready to spend up to $9,000US on a new blazing desktop. Since 2014. My old one is too old to update with the new OS. But I'll be damned if I spend big bucks on obsolete hardware and a CPU that's two-generations too old. Yeah, good bye Apple. You schmucks. Great OS if you like riding dinosaur hardware.

  9. Joe Gurman

    OK, I get it

    Mr. McCarthy doesn't like the new MacBook Pro, thinks he's going to jump ship on Apple, and likes the MacBook Air of a few years ago. Cool.

    But why the inaccurate tirade (the cheapest model of the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is $1799 in the US not $2400)? He admits he didn't even get a chance to try it out before deducing it was useless for anything but emoji. I think I'll visit an Apple Store when they have ones to, you know, use, and decide whether I agree.

    Oh, and I use a three-year old MacBook Air. Its CPU, graphics, and storage (a mighty 128 Gbyte SSD) pale in comparison to the base model MacBook Pro's with Touch Bar. I think I'd like to look at a performance comparison and try it what the Touch Bar, an unfamiliar technology, can do before I make a decision. Mr. McCarthy's rant hasn't helped me make a decision, not one little bit.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: OK, I get it

      He presumably wants a 15" MBP. The 15" with just two USB C ports (a.k.a the completely, totally, utterly, useless one) starts at $2000. The 15" with four USB C ports (a.k.a the merely useless one) starts at $2400.

      The new MBPs have only two or four ports; All the 13" units only have two ports. Just two ports makes them useless for pro ops.

      The ports in question are USB C/Thunderbird 3 ports. In order to connect anything, anything at all, which is not fitted with a USB C plug, you need an adaptor. There is no Ethernet. There is no FireWire. There is no old-style USB. There's not even a power plug, one of the four (or two...) ports is going to be needed for power. Adaptors are required for everything. I have a multitude of old-style USB devices: external optical drives (including one from Apple, which I suspect will not work with the new MBPs), external hard drives, USB thumb drives, scanners... there are times when I must connect to a USB printer for one reason or another. Now I need adaptors. Certain networks around here are deliberately walled off from the wireless networks (security. You may have heard the term) and so I must have Ethernet. I need an adaptor.

      The CPU in the 13" units tops out at a two-core 2.4GHz i7. This is not a 'Pro' system. The RAM on all of them tops out at 16 GB. The $2000 15", in addition to only having two ports, also maxes at a 2.2 GHz quad-core i7, marginal at best, with Intel graphics, again marginal at best. The $2400 15" is a 2.6 GHz quad-core i7, better than 2.2 but not earthshaking, and has an actual video card, a Radeon Pro 450, again not earthshaking but better than Intel video.

      it's not even debatable: a 13" MBP is not a 'Pro' system. A 15" MBP is just barely a 'Pro' system. I currently have a 5-year-old Windows laptop which has a 2.2 GHz quad-core i7 (a good CPU for 5 years ago) and only 8 GB of RAM. But it's got three USB ports, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI. It also has a battery which was never great and is now worse. However, I understand that a significant percentage of the new MBPs are already having battery problems. 4 hours or less instead of the promised 10, that kind of thing.

      Sorry, man, but just on the specs there's no way that I'd buy a new MB. I might buy one of last year's version. They have ports, and working batteries.

      I do hope that this clarifies things a little. Or you could go to Apple's site and have a look at what they actually post there.

  10. kskropf

    Perhaps it's time to refer to Apple in a way appropriate to what they have become:

    Purveyors of luxury goods and services.

    Not a tech company any more.

    Would you like a Chardonnay with that MacBook Pro?

  11. Demogenes

    Good pooints and same conclusion as mine.

    One slight remark The last mbp's that could be modified was the 2011. I have that and it can be upgraded.

  12. spitfire31

    "The mid-2009 Pro was basically the last Apple laptop that let you do all the things that kept it running: new memory, hard drive, battery etc. From that point, Apple started locking the laptop down."

    Not quite.

    My Early 2011 MB Pro 17" is running almost every day as a desktop machine with external monitor, keyboard+mouse and an Akitio Thunder Dock Tbolt hub that gives me 2 x ESATA, 2 x USB 3.0 and one FW 800, plus one extra Tbolt. The MB Pro itself has an Xpress Card slot for further expansion.

    I've myself changed fans on it twice, battery once, HD twice (it's now a Samsung 1TB SSD) and I upgraded the RAM to 16GB. This is a machine that earns the Pro designation.

    I also have an MB Air 2013 13" with 8GB which has proved itself capable enough for serious video and audio editing as well as being a handy typewriter.

    The new MB 'Pro' is an embarrassing joke. Eventually, I'll also be looking for a new machine, but I very much doubt it'll be adorned with partially eaten fruit on the lid.

  13. albsure

    Apple are historically famous for going in their own direction and ignoring the mainstream industry and going in their own direction. That's what makes them Apple. Yet people are complaining that Apple are doing exactly what they always do and have been for the last 20 odd years!


    Why is anyone shocked?

    The reason they do this is EXACTLY the same reason why google drop software and api's routinely (remember the rss stuff?). It allows Apple to deal with the pain upfront and gives them a free run at designing new machines without legacy issues. If you try to hedge you end up like Microsoft. Trying to make new OS's with tools and services from 20yrs ago still hanging around causing all sorts of issues.

    People in this thread have been saying they have been using their MacBooks for over 5yrs and it's still doing well in some cases. That's because it's was cutting edge then when it didn't have to be. Who was releasing retina screens before they did? I remember all the outrage at how some websites and apps didn't use retina and Apple should have waited. Well guess what, 5yrs later you are benefiting from that move.

    And in 5 yrs time when your new MacBook needs a new graphics card and you can just plug it in to whatever side port you need because it's got USB c/thunderbolt 3, you'll be happy. And when you realise that your new camera just automatically syncs photos directly to your laptop or cloud account and you don't need a sd card you'll be like oh, what a good purchase that was.

    The fact is Apple always cater for the future, not for now. If you want NOW get a Dell. It's always been like this. I'm happy with that approach. Just admit you like the comfort of the pc world. That's your speed. Fine.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backward thinking

    I find your article incredible backward thinking and negative. You forget to highlight key positives such as the volume reduction, weight reduction, display quality.... same battery life with smaller volume batteries. Hmmmm

    You sound as though you would rather stay in the dark ages and not have technology move forward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backward thinking

      The macbook Pro w/touchbar isn't technology moving forward. That's the whole point. This isn't an improvement in design, for a Pro user, the backward thinking has all been done by Apple with this design.

      Here's a scenario, I've just worked on a plane for 8 hours during a flight with my new macbook Pro w/touchbar. I get off the plane I'm tired.

      I go through Airport Security, fumble, drop my laptop (I've done it). I didn't have internet on that journey. Where the fcuk is my 8 hours of work now given my dead broken Macbook? Before I could have removed the SSD, carried on, now its a week minimum without a laptop, and potentially no recovery - Fuck that.

  15. Stjalodbaer

    M0ngo still just p0wned in game of life

    Make whole macbook pro input surface of clamshell combination of haptic keys and touch display with everything relocatable and configurable by user and apps. Why why only touchstrip ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I took a similar route but instead bought a late 2014 MacBook Pro loaded with 18 months of AppleCare left.

    The good part is your previous Mac lasted 7 years on 8GB of RAM. So if you double up the RAM and now have a current generation processor which is waaaay better than your 7 year old processor you should be extremely happy. Also you can't upgrade a SurfaceBook or most of the "UltraBooks" out there so I would start to accept this as the norm, not the exception.

    The 4K resolution and TouchBar will be great in a couple of years but like Touch on a SurfaceBook its mostly gimmicky. The key point is that Windows 10 sucks and I would rather have a non-upgradable MacBook Pro running OS X than a buggy platform like Windows. Also the integration with the iDevices and AppleTV & Watch you have will be a much better experience than a Windows/Android or if you could find one, a Windows/WindowsMobile combo.

    Time will tell whether the TouchBar will be awesome but for now I was willing to save about $800 and get a used device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 10 has improved immensely. Windows update is pain still.

      "Windows 10 sucks"

      Windows 10 has certainly sucked, at different points in its rollout.

      I've run Windows 10 since the start. I'm someone who has verbally run Windows 10 into the ground at times, over its crappy drivers for Touchpads/Keyboards/Fingerprint readers in the beta/insider phase. The Windows 7 nagware. Crappy Windows 7 Update taking 12+ hours. The 'Something Happened' MS crappy ISO creation tool.

      But give Microsoft its due, Windows 10 AU 1607, fully updated, with a local account all privacy settings switched off, isn't too bad, I have to admit. I hate the start menu, but I live with it.

      Windows 7 is still cleaner/preferable in its design, but Windows 10 is past the point of being awful-"awful" and the Windows 7 File Explorer was/is just dire.

      Windows 10 AU 1607 isn't there yet, but is not far off the equivalent of Windows 7 SP1 in terms of release quality/stablity. It did suck. It's certainly a little less sucky, as of now.

      But then, macOS Sierra is rock solid/stable for me and Linux Mint 17.3 is a superb desktop/OS too.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And even though this is the tale of a ***single*** person, I am willing to bet that the same process is going on right now with millions of customers across the globe."

    Try installing Tinder dude?

  18. PassiveSmoking

    Nest is killing it

    I'd say that'd debatable. Nest might be the best known IoT brand but it's stagnated for years and from what I hear Google are no longer taking it very seriously, in spite of the ludicrous amount of resource they poured into it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nest is killing it

      agree with you on Nest being a cuckoo

      My current test IoT domotic systems are based on French NETATMO, just one IoT provider amongst many; BUT all my juicy data stays at home (on SD-card), and only metadata is sent to my 'phone through a VPN; I can choose my own cloud storage e.g. DropBox if I do wish to offsite the images. I like end-user control! No 'recurring' monthly fees.

      My thermostat works flawlessly - even with the internet down, (this wasn't the case with last years' test IoT company Momit from Spain)

      The Netatmo stuff claims to be Apple IoT/"Home" compatible, but as the first step for this requires uploading my macOS keychain to iCloud - very much à la Google NEST - I think I'll miss that bit. All the Netatmo tech, incl wobbly sensors work, very well so far and I don't have to talk to any AI to make it all go.

      I just looked at the arstechnica link, my Netatmo biometric indoor home security camera has actually achieved the opposite of those false alarms from nest protect. The Netatmo cam listens for smoke alarms, and sends an alert message to the mobile app when it hears a traditional smoke alarm. I have a 5-years old really excellent 'classic' kiddee lithium photoelectric system downstairs, obviously non-networked. Now it has become integrated into IoT, a really high quality sensor - with a very reliable (so-far messaging) - It does also think a vacuum-cleaner is an alarm, but I now expect this.

      The kiddee alarmed recently, and when I phoned home responding to the Netatmo app it was a downdraft/blowback from the chimney affecting the wood-burning stove, which hadn't been noticed otherwise.

  19. John F

    They lost me at "no touch screen"

    They said they tested pros with touch screens. Did they try their five year olds in front of them? Apparently not.

    Wake up, Apple. The future just passed you by.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: They lost me at "no touch screen"

      Anyone that puts their grubby fingers near my screen has them removed. I can't speak for your five-year old, but my two-year old knows not to prod.

      More to the point, even with out a five year old or the need for a clean screen, it's an incredibly slow way to input data. Move hand from keyboard to screen, jab, move back. I can't think of a single pro in any field that would prefer that over a keyboard shortcut.

    2. arthoss

      Re: They lost me at "no touch screen"

      Ah cut the crap. Trying to use an ipad pro for work for more than 1h with intensive touching of the screen and you get gorilla arm (own experience). I can't believe one can use a screen that is not fully horizontal for working. Now and then touching OK, working by touching every minute and doing moving and precision work and you'll get RSS.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And even though this is the tale of a single person, I am willing to bet that the same process is going on right now with millions of customers across the globe"

    Yep, bang on the money. As an owner of an early-2008 Mac Pro, which has done a wonderful job over the years and is still going fairly strong - I've recently been looking to downsize to something less power hungry which is portable if necessary.

    Unfortunately Apple have been reducing the size of their laptops for some reason - most of their offerings are in the 13" format, which is way too small for me - the largest they offer is now only 15" and the price tag on that is simply unaffordable. The 'touch bar' was for me the final nail in the potential decision to upgrade to a current spec Mac, as was the removal of the headphone socket on the iPhone was the final nail in my potential decision to switch from the doomed Blackberry to an iPhone (thinking it might complement my Mac Pro nicely).

    There is no way I'm going Windows 10 thanks to it being ridden with Cortana and other horribleness ... so it looks as though its time to dust off my long unused home-contructor skills and put together a replacement machine myself in the aluminium coolermaster case I still have from the last PC I built before the Mac.

  21. Paul 164

    Totally agree

    Apple have lost their minds along with their innovation.

    Everything with them seems to be going backwards - having to buy adapters to use Ethernet, USB and having to buy external drives because I want to write a CD! I thought that was in the past by 15 years or so!

    My iPhone is a 5s, mainly because I hate the larger phones and don't want to pay a lot of money for little improvement... Don't get me started on the iPhone 7 and its missing audio jack!

    My laptop used to be an i7 MacBook Pro until somebody damaged it beyond repair. Looking into a new Pro, I found the specs very limiting (less ports and no optical drive), and the price higher than when I bought the i7. Not only that but not being able to upgrade the hardware on a machine I OWN is just a HUGE CON.

    I had to opt for the older i5 mid-2012 MacBook Pro in the end - all because I want the option of using ports without adapters, using an optical drive and because I might want to add new RAM or HDD.

    Unless Apple actually start listening to their faithful users, I see many of them jumping ship.

  22. jeffty

    Glad to see...

    ... it's not just me thinking this in regards to Apple's latest Pro offering.

    I get that Apple have always done their own thing around connectivity, but the new laptops can't even be connected to the new iPhone line unless it's through an adapter. That tells me this new direction isn't thought through in terms of their own devices, let alone anyone elses. It's the same with the iPhone 7 - no headphone jack, yet the much-hyped Airpod option isn't available yet due to the constraints around making it work.

    I've got two Macbook Pros in front of me as I type this - one a work laptop (2015 model), the other a personal machine (Mid-2012 i7). The personal is my favourite - one of the last models to be easily upgraded, and I've added 16Gb RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD in place of the optical drive. It still happily powers through anything I throw at it.

    Looking at the work Mac, I can see the reduction in connectivity and functionality options and I agree with the design choices. I never really used an optical drive on the go (hence me swapping it for an HDD) or the firewire ports, but actively use the rest (HDMI, Displayport, USB, SD). I don't like the fact this laptop can't be easily upgraded with everything being soldered together, but then again I wouldn't choose to with it being a work laptop.

    I can't say that about the new Pro model. Whilst the touchbar is nice, I wouldn't upgrade to a new machine solely to have it. The connectivity options are poor - whilst I get USB ports aren't very elegant in their appearance, they are widely used for every external peripheral going and their omission is a mistake at this point in time. I could understand Apple's direction if the USB-C port was starting to catch on, but you can't even get USB-C cables for Apple's peripherals yet.

    I agree with the reduction in connectivity options for the Macbook and Macbook Air - traditionally these laptops have been used by people who want shiny, light and minimalist. The same isn't true for the Pro - it's a machine for the power user on the move. And the power user isn't going to buy it if it doesn't meet their needs, let alone allow them to connect their walled-garden devices easily without a sea of dongle adaptors.

  23. Jason Hindle

    Happy I upgraded a generation early

    The latest MacBook pro didn't leave me at all disappointed with the decision. That said, my 2011 MacBook Air still runs fine, so the inability to upgrade the hardware has only been a minor problem for me. Come to think of it, the only reason I upgraded at all is really the retina display, for editing photos on the move, and extra memory (and oomph) when running more than one VM.

    I honestly don't see any good choices when buying a new laptop at the moment. Windows 10 is still not, IMHO, a finished product. Apple has definitely lost its shine. Linux*, meanwhile, is not good for photo editing**.

    * Did consider a workstation class laptop, running some flavour of Linux, for portable geekery.

    ** No, I'm not learning the atrocious bloody GIMP!

  24. Red Five

    I'm with you...been waiting over 5 years for a proper upgrade to my Mac Mini, the one I had being the last one that you could upgrade and swap out hard drive before they soldered everything down.

    And so the October 'reveal' came and my only option was to drop the equivalent of an all-inclusive family holiday down on a laptop..and a badly specced one at that, with no future-proofing.

    So, down to my last wick with Apple, I'd had enough and spent £700 on a Dell 8910 desktop with every whistle and bell going with switched back to Windows (yes, I am one of the mythical people you hear about).

    And that is the beginning of taking all the Apple out of my tech life...I've had enough with the bullshit and lack of any innovation.

    The IPhone 7 can't connect to the new MacBook Pro out of the box - that there should tell you everything you need to know about what's going wrong with Apple...

  25. Adam Jarvis

    Worth watching, regarding the iFixit teardown / Recyclability (shockingly bad). (Leo Leporte) the show, the new screensavers, did a really good investigation into the recyclability of the new macbook w/touchbar.

    The interesting fact that came out was that even Apple's recycling facility can't recycle the new macbook, due to the lithium-ion Batteries being glued in.

    Worth watching from 24 minutes onwards for iFixit section, macbook review starts around 9 minutes.

  26. Blotto

    I have 2016 MacBook Pro 15" 512GB touchbar

    so I ummed and aared and eventually purchased a standard build 2016 MacBook pro 15" 512GB with touch bar on Black Friday sales with ~£300 discount.

    a great machine,

    touchbar is surprisingly useful and intuitive

    screen is phenomenal

    machine foot print is just slightly bigger than the 2008 unibody MacBook it replaced

    usb-c to usb-a adaptors are £3 delivered on Ebay or £7 at maplins offering 5gbps usb 3 speed for data transfers

    the keyboard sucks & is noisy, she likes it.

    I decided 8GB ram was not enough and was struggling with 256 GB ssd currently so opted for 16GB ram and 512GB ssd for future proofing, 13" dual core i7 MacBook Pro customed to to my mins was only ~£100 less than the standard quad core i7 of matching spec so was silly not to go bigger. I'll suck up the extra foot print for the better cpu :).

    touchbar is so good I wish the whole keyboard was a touchbar, would hugely complement a touch screen and be much better than the noisy keyboard.

    huge trackpad is not a bother so far

    any port charging is intuitively useful

    screen is huge

    weight is less than old 13" machine and welcome for one handed sofa working.

    this will be the main machine for a while

    expensive but no regrets so far.

  27. Ilsa Loving

    Macbook Pro 2011

    A second-best option is a Macbook Pro 2011. I have one. You can't change the battery yourself, but at least you can still change the hard drive and the RAM. I have done both, upgrading to 16GB and a 1TB SSD. It works for almost everything, with the exception of the latest AAA games (Fallout 4 running in bootcamp is only borderline playable at minimum settings)

    I completely agree with this article. I have been an Apple customer for about a decade, but unless Tim Cook pulls his head out of wherever he's keeping it, I'm going to be seriously cutting back on my Apple purchases.

    Right now the only reason I haven't moved to Windows yet is that despite being thoroughly pissed off with Apple's ridiculous design decisions, I despise Windows an order of Magnitude more.

    A perfect example: Over the holidays, I had to completely reset Windows Update on my parents Acer laptop because it just *would* *not* *update*. I finally got it working, but it *still* took almost 4 days of running constantly before the update would finish. Then I tried to install a new printer. They had two older Macs in addition to the Acer. Installing the printer on the Macs? Minutes. Hell, one of them even found the printer before I clicked the "add printer" button, so I didn't even have to look for it on the network. It couldn't have been easier or faster. On the Windows 7 machine? 2 hours. 2 freaking hours. First I let Windows try to find the drivers with Windows Update. Sat there for 30 minutes before I gave up and just used the CD. Even with the CD, the process was shockingly time consuming.

    So yeah, with all the Windows 10 hate going around, Apple is now in the position IBM was pre-Windows 95, where there was a clear gap to be filled and people wanted a solution. And just like IBM, Apple appears poised to completely squander the opportunity and look like a bunch of idiots.

  28. llaryllama

    Mac portables used to be a good deal

    I owned a variety of Mac portables from the age of 16 until a few years ago when Apple killed off the built-in CD drive, which was a deal breaker at the time.

    For a long time if you wanted a well built, lightweight all-round laptop in a 13" form factor and all the requisite ports 'n stuff the 13" MBP was actually a very good deal. It was about the same price as other crappier offerings and I'm not a PC gamer so I could live with the cost savings they made on performance to get a better chassis and screen.

    Now the Taiwanese manufacturers have rapidly caught up on build quality and have a lot more specialized options so you can choose the right balance between weight, performance, ports etc. My current laptop is an insanely well built 13" Asus with a great IPS matte screen, ports all over the place, super light, i7 processor, crazy good battery life, all the other jazz and about half the price of a current generation MBP with similar specs.

    My colleague has a brand new MBP and is already starting to regret it. For a start Apple keep breaking NFS connectivity with our Linux servers on each update. His desk is full of dongles just to get basic connectivity with ethernet and HDMI, and as a bonus the Apple display he bought quite recently is no longer compatible with the current MBP. In fact it's basically not compatible with anything except an older Apple laptop.

    Windows has its faults and quirks but I can still hook up my laptop to a 10 year old touch monitor from a completely different brand, I don't need dongles to hook up gigabit ethernet and I never run out of USB3 ports. Oh, and as a party trick for MBP owners when I stay at hotels I can hook up the TV to my built-in HDMI port and watch Netflix.


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