There are many Mac users on here so i am looking for some advice. I would like to buy my first MacBook. I want one as I believe they are less prone to issues than Windows machines and I need something more reliable and easier to maintain than they have been. As you probably have guessed I am not technically minded at all when it comes to hardware or OS. I will be using it to run normal office productivity apps e.g. MS Office for Mac and perhaps creative applications for simple graphic design, straightforward video editing etc… It will be initially be the main machine for my business (Consultancy) and so it needs to be both easily portable but also very usable in terms of keyboard and screen size.
Recommendations please from those in the know. Mac-haters, or suggestions for Windows machines would not be helpful at this time.
JPosted 4 years ago
15in and preferably the retina one if you want to do much video, the graphics cards(there’s 2 of them) are faster on the 15in.Posted 4 years ago
The retina display is stunning and I will not be going back to a normal laptop screen.
There are new models with a speed bump and slightly better battery life being announced any day now but that means you can get a refurb for a very good price that isn’t actually a refurb just old inventory. I bought a 2.6 with 512gb 16gb ram for £1530 (ex vat) last week that is only .1ghz slower than a current 2.7ghz model and saved £300 it weighs the same as my old 13in, the non-retina 15 feels chunky and heavy in comparison.
I would get the 16gb version if you can stretch to it or upgrade the ram yourself if you go for the non-retina.CaptainSlowMember
It boils down to preference rather than one being better than the other (IMO as a user of both PC and mac). I couldn’t say my mac is any more reliable (or faster) than my PC.
With that out of the way, one key thing to note as you mention using Office is that office on the mac is not quite as good as office on the PC.
There are features missing. Eg in outlook, the ability to drag an email to the calendar or the to do bar (with calendar). In PowerPoint, the ability to prepare the slides (inspect), check for off slide content, remove presentation notes etc.
If office is important to you and you would be annoyed with the missing functionality, stick to windows and buy a high end laptop rather than a cheap laptop or mac. A high end laptop will be just as reliable and will “just work” in exactly the same way a mac will.Posted 4 years ago
However, if you’re set to buy a mac, go for it. It’ll be a little frustrating at first but you will soon get to grips with it and will enjoy using it.bikebouyMember
Well recently we have changed our laptops. I’m a died in the wool PC guy and love the way Windows has coloured my life, but mates went down the Mac route and we have this general too-ing and fro-ing of banter etc. but this year I needed to buy a new laptop and thought I’d at least try a Mac. So I went into the Mac store and tried out the Pro and Air, fiddled about a bit, asked questions and generally made sure that they would be able to run Office as that’s a big part of my working world. Both Air and Pro now come with Office and it runs very well by all accounts and I’m starting to find I’m getting used to the way Macs operate and file stuff (which I found frustrating at first) but I’m growning used to it so to speak. The UI is similar to iPad and I’ve been very impressed and more than happy to have an insight into the Mac world over a year with that, so the button was pushed on a Pro 2.4 retina 15″ and I’m more than happy with it, very impressed actually and I find figuring out the Mac logic quite fun. I’ve also just bought an Air (2 months later), i know that this seems ridiculous and should have just bought an iMac for home and an Air, but it just didn’t work out that way.
So all I would say is look at the application you are using the Lapps for, don’t go for the mega fast ones because you may not need them, they are very quick machines and more than capable of super fast graphics and yet run Office way quicker than you/I thought possible. Transferring files to and from my office and converting them from Windows to Mac I thought might be an issue but its not, even work who insist of running the 07 suite and the Mac has 10 on it I’ve not encountered any issues even running some pretty hefty Macro’s. I haven’t yet looked into see if a Mac will run Access, though I suspect it may not.
So overall I’m pretty pleased with buying the Macs, the Pro is a little heavy (as said, but no heavier than my last Lappy) and the Air is a teeny bit heavier than my iPad, so far the Air is the one I seem to take around with me when I reach for either iPad or Air as it really is a tool for work rather than a trimmed version that the iPad is.
My only dilemma now is do I buy an iPhone to link the lot together? I’ve steered clear of iPhones because of the way Apple operate but I’m coming around to thinking it might be a good idea to get the next gen iPhone and be done with it,, we’ll see.Posted 4 years agosomoukSubscriber
Been using my Mac Pro for about 3 years now and it’s been solid as a rock. Upgraded to SSD and 8 Gb of RAM and it flies.
Get’s used every day, travels all over the world being bumped about in plane cabins and all sorts without a single fault or error, can’t recommend a Macbook Pro enough.
As mentioned, there are some new ones going to be announced tomorrow most likely so hold out for some refurb retinas.Posted 4 years agosamuriMember
Go for a 15″ Macbook pro unless you are very weak in which case get an air.
If you’re immensely wealthy get the retina version.
As above, wait till after Apple announce things tomorrow because that will bring some prices down, a little at least.
I really like my Macbook Pro but it is just a computer. It still has issues, it still does silly things sometimes. Nicely put together though. More stable than something comprised of assorted third party components but then it would be.
The pad and gestures on the macbook is what really makes me happy. Very intuitive, clever stuff.Posted 4 years ago
My recommendation MaBook Air 13 with 4gb RAM and 256gb Drive (top model) £1,129 with VAT
Go to an Apple store and have a play/look at the various options side by side, staff are very helpful and knowledgeable.
Rationale. The MacBook Air is super portable, light and thin with very long “all day” battery life. It is very fast due to SSD – so instead of a traditional spinning hard drive it has a special type of ram which holds information when machine is off. It is also very cool, sorry couldn’t help myself !
The MacBook Pro is more directly comparable to a pc in terms of weight and would be the choice if you wanted more storage, ram and hard drive on-board the machine, you can also pay a premium for the retina screen which is outstanding but possibly overkill, personally I’d have the lightness and speed of the Air over the Retina screen but others don’t agree. As above you can add SSD to Pro’s. The 13in Pro (non retina) is £1,249 and has much more memory and storage than the Air above. The £100 you save with the Air you can spend on an external storage drive / backup
As you are a business you should have a backup, so an external hard drive or possibly cloud storage. Backing up is trivial and automatic with Mac’s via TimeMachine which comes with the computer. If you need/want/afford you can buy an Apple combined wifi router and 1TB backup / storage device, but you should have something perhaps upto 500gb if you want backup and additional storage (eg for lots of movies, video files). The backup/storage device doesn’t have to be an Apple product, I use a 640gb “free agent” portable drive.
Maintaining a Mac means just clicking ok to software updates when they appear from time to time. Trivial. Even Operating system updates and major upgrades (which are rare and cheap and optional) are done this way. The downside with Air is that upgrading ram and storage is troublesome, so buy the most you can now. Normal MacBook you can change hard drive (inc for solid state) or memory easily. I am still using my 2009 MacMini and I only recently upgraded it from 2gb to 8gb ram as it ran ok with what was the base spec back then.
If you don’t have an iPhone consider one next time as Apple products work very well together. Assuming you buy before Mavericks the new operating system comes out very soon make that upgrade, should be pretty cheap or even free. Apple TV is a small box which turns your flatscreen tv into another monitor is wireless (needs mavericks) and allows you to stream video/music/mid week mini movies from your MacBook or iPhone to the tv (you may be able to do this with a single £25 cable also with new Mac’s, my old machine needed cable plus separate sound). My setup is Mac Mini desktop (usually connected to tv but also used with standard widescreen pc monitor) plus iPad for portable device.
In my view Macs are much more reliable than windows machines, better hardware and windows just grinds to a halt after couple of years due to accumulated garbage. After 2 or 3 years you can sell you Mac for 50% of what you paid for it whilst your windows laptop goes in the bin. Alternatively you just keep using it as it’s still working well ! If you buy an Air and you don’t like it you can sell it to me (for a discount of course 😉 )
Any more questions drop me an email.Posted 4 years agoAlexSubscriber
I have a oldish (2 year) MBP 13inch which was fine (except it’s at the menders having had a HD failure and that’s not the first thing wrong with it). I ran VMWARE fusion for a windows image with office, but it wasn’t very nice and I ended up putting lots more memory in it to make it run at a decent speed. Still loved it tho after being a PC guy for 20+ years. Bought Aperture for photos as iPhoto is horrible.
Now have a new MB-air with as Jon (samurai) says is for weaklings 😉 With the SSD and load of RAM (and an airport backup), it’s brilliant. Now run office for Mac which is fine and can have it open at a clients all day without needing to plug it it. Screen is a bit small if you’re doing movie editing etc, but for 99% of what I do, it’s perfect. And super light.
The retina screens are lovely tho.Posted 4 years ago
One more thing. Use Office for Mac as you’ve said rather trying to run a windows partition which is more complex and makes the machine run badly. For video editing etc buy the products which work with / were designed for Macs.
The Mac email programme will connect up to any of your accounts so you don’t need Outlook and you can share stuff easily (like calendars) via iCloud to your other Apple devices if you have them.
EDIT: 1TB external hard drive is about £60 – add that to the Air for backup and movie / video file storage (as you don’t need to be carrying every video with you on every road trip)Posted 4 years ago
@bikeboy – yes to the iPhone, really it’s a no brainer given your other kit.
EDIT: OP, make sure you watch the tutorials online, get the shop staff to show you the iOS features, ask friends. The special keys for launch pad, window selection and swiping left and right through multiple virtual screens is very useful. If you don’t like Safari just download Chrome or Firefox. It took me a while to get used to Safari.Posted 4 years ago
they need permissions repair/verify every now and again and after every update. use disk utility or onyx (free) they tend to run a bit ‘sticky’ if you don’t do this.
Interesting – never had that problem on my Macs since 2007 – perhaps I haven’t noticed 😳 or just have a simple setup.Posted 4 years ago
So I think I probably want a 15″ MacBook Pro 2.7ghz maybe with Retina screen, 2TB Airport backup and using the Mac version of Office is fine unless I want to use lots of macros etc…
So a couple of additional questions…
– Is the upgrade to a 2.8 ghz processor worth the money?Posted 4 years ago
– Will I be able to access Office 365 with a non-Windows machine?willchaynesMember
I use a 15″ Macbook pro, and really can’t fault it! I’ve upgraded the RAM and the OS, but it still runs well and it hasn’t had a particularly easy life. I still run photoshop/AutoCAD on it with very few problems, and the battery still lasts a reasonable amount of time, especially compared to the sony I had previously. I run it with a second screen at my desk which enables a bit more functionality when I have multiple applications running.
In answer to the Q’s above, apple charge quite a lot for extra processing power, and it doesn’t sound like you’re doing things that really need it. (unless you are doing serious video editing)
No Idea about office I’m afraid as I run iWork, I don’t do much writing/spreadsheet based stuff.Posted 4 years agochompMember
my 2009 macbook pro is still running fine, apart from the CD drive and keyboard not standing up to the abuse my two young kids have put them through (pulling a key off and then forcing it in the CD drive). It’s also had the logic board go and the graphics card burn out but each time they were replaced within 3 days free of charge. The graphics card was after apple care had run out and the bill was for £1k inc parts and labour, which they wrote off as they said it was probably nvidias fault and that a class action suit would probably be raised at some point so they’d pass the charge on somewhere down the line. That kind of thing would not have happened had it been a PC manufacturer in my experience.
Still runs fine apart from that (and the battery is shot, but I can handle that after 5 years of use) and sits happily plugged in all day with the kids using it (even with missing keys you can still type ok).
I’ve an 11″ macbook air which I use for my day to day stuff and have yet to feel that I needed more horsepower/screen/HD space. Portability was key (have to work a fair bit while in transit to other locations and in coffee shops etc) and I just swipe between desktops and run most stuff full screen.
I do the odd bit of photo editing on it when I’m away from home, but nothing particularly taxing.
yeah they’re expensive, but being able to not worry about it breaking or going tits up while I’m away from my base office where I can get something fixed is worth the apple tax imhoPosted 4 years agonickdaviesSubscriber
I’d go 13″ air. I’d love a MBP retina but much prefer the low weight of my air, and the all day charge on the new one’s really good. Anyway that’s all been said… I’m only really chirping up about the office question. I have o365, and outlook web access is fine in the cloud and you can access the office365 portal easily enough but you can’t run the cloud versions of office (word/excel) on a mac.
If you’re on one of the E plans with office installation rights then you get a licence to install the current mac version (2011 now) on 5 machines just as you do with a windows licence. However I don’t think you can chop and change i.e. have office 13 on 3 windows machines and office 11 mac on 2 macs.
Also if its business use create a business account and you should get a bit of discount.Posted 4 years ago
15″ MacBook Pro 2.7ghz maybe with Retina screen,
then save a few hundred quid and get 2.6 refurb. they are not refurbished but old stock they need to shift before the new ones. i doubt you would notice the .1ghz difference.Posted 4 years ago
there are a few websites that mail you when the model you want comes in stock. another turned up today and both retina 16gb 2.6’s were absolutely brand new but in a white box not the usual apple packaging.
then save a few hundred quid
I think @jamj is not sensitive to such amounts, he just wants to know what’s best for him, he’s suggesting top of the range MBPr (geek abbreviation stolen from MacRmours which is excellent btw they told what upgrades and how for my Mini) … anyway top of the range MBPr plus top of the range 2TB wireless backup devicePosted 4 years agoretro83Member
jambalaya – Member
Interesting – never had that problem on my Macs since 2007 – perhaps I haven’t noticed or just have a simple setup.
Or because it does nothing (unless you have a permissions problem, which would be unlikely to manifest as general ‘slowness’ anyway). It’s just become Mac folklore solution-to-any-problem like “rebuilding the desktop” used to be on system 7.Posted 4 years ago
Right update time. I bought the 2.7ghz Retina MacBook Pro. Currently using Numbers, Keynote and Pages as they are meeting my initial needs. I have to admit the amazingly rapid startup and shutdown are very impressive and learning a new OS and productivity apps has proved interesting and fun!
Thanks to all of you for your perspectives – they are much appreciated!Posted 4 years ago
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