To Mac or Not to Mac25 October 2009
This is probably my most overused photo but I'm probably never going to get tired of it. It was taken in Tamagawa Weekly mansion two years ago when I was here on a business trip and I relegated myself to a dinner of canned goods for the entire month so I can get myself a Macbook. To be fair, at the start of that year, I told myself I'm going to get one even if I had no idea how the hell I'd be able to save up for it but the universe somehow made it happen.
Anyway, so the new Macbook was released a couple of days ago. Seems like a good time to switch.
My two cents:
#Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert. If you want the whole comprehensive comparisons there are a billion tech blogs out there with benchmark tests and all that. This is just what I normally tell people when they ask me about it.
1. Snow Leopard or Windows XP/Vista/7?
My honest answer is I don't know. I mean, I would answer Mac in a heartbeat but I'm not sure it's for everybody.
What I love about my Mac:
- Virus free. Although I'm open to the fact that eventually there may be one. But for now, I don't see the point of wasting processing power on antivirus software.
- It's stable. I've had my Mac for two years and I've only ever had two kernel panics. And even then, all I had to do was reboot, and then it's solved. My PC crashed on me more times than I could count and on a couple of those I had to reformat which means everything that was ever in there is now gone.
- Virtually no set-up. When you get your Mac, you press the power button, and it plays a welcome video, and after a few clicks, you're done. No drivers, additional installation, and all that stress.
- It's Unix-based. This enables me to... ermm... do a couple of tweaks.
Why you should stick to Windows:
- You love Windows. If you find that it works for you then stick to it. If it doesn't stress you out, why switch? Don't go buy a Mac and then complain that it isn't Windows. I found people's reactions towards Macs tend to be polar - they either love it or hate it. So if you find that you hate it then for chrissake don't switch.
- You like upgrading your hardware and all that jazz. Difficult to do with a Mac. Although maybe if you get a Mac Pro...
- You're a hard-core gamer. A lot of games do not have versions for Mac.
- You tend to have a steep learning curve when it comes to new OS and you're using it for work. I found migrating to Mac pretty easy, but I'm not sure if that applies to most people. So it might be frustrating for some.
2. Macbook vs. Macbook Pro
Again, I don't know. But I can tell you that now is the *worst* time to get a Macbook Pro. If you compare them side by side, the Macbook has the same tech specs as the Macbook Pro 13-inch plus a higher storage capacity. So I'm pretty sure that the Pro is going to get a sweet little hardware bump sometime soon.
Why I'm getting a Macbook:
- It's white. Yes it attracts a lot of dirt, but I've had my Macbook for two years and guess what? It's still white. And it's not like I covered it in plastic wrap or was totally anal about it. OK, so maybe at first I was, but I find that Macbooks are like cadavers - at first it's unthinkable, but after some time you find it tolerable to eat in front of them (I'm no med student but I'm told it's like that). And I don't use keyboard covers either, or any of those fancy protectors. Waste of money. All you really need is microfiber cloth and a magic eraser which are all readily available in the 100 yen shop.
- Specs are as good as the Macbook Pro specs. At least for now.
Why you should get a Macbook Pro:
- You use Firewire. I have never in my life used Firewire so I don't really mourn the loss of the Firewire port in the Macbook. But if you do, get the Pro instead *after* it gets the hardware bump.
- You need the SD card reader. I don't. To transfer photos I use the USB cable attached to my camera. And if ever I need to transfer some other thing I have an SD card USB attachment thing which I've used only once or twice ever since I bought it, and that was to copy stuff from a CF card. So no, I don't need an SD card reader. But, if you think it's really handy, then by all means go Pro.
- You had a white Macbook previously and it turned brown. I can't quite fathom how Macbooks turn brown but it has happened for some people so if you're one of those, maybe the more stain-resistant non-white model would be better.
- Display quality is a big deal. The Macbook Pro supposedly has a 60% higher color gamut. If that matters to you, then maybe it's worth splurging 200 dollars more.
3. Magic Mouse vs. other mice
The Magic Mouse is pretty, shiny, and is just incredibly cool. It is also non-ergonomic. So, if your hand is on your computer mouse more than 50% of the time, like gamers and graphic artists maybe, I think you should stick to the computer mice that mold to your hand that have a billion functions and look more like huge rats. They may be fugly as hell, but at least you don't get carpal tunnel. However, if you're a somewhat casual mouse user and if your Mac is as much a piece of interior decoration as it is a gadget, the Magic Mouse is the coolest thing ever.