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Mac Swap

16 July, 2011 (16:06) | Hardware | By: Lyle

My work computer was switched yesterday. The Mac Book Pro 17 inch was replaced with a Mac Book Pro 15 inch. The new one is current MBP specs; 4 G RAM, Intel i5 chip running at 2.4 GHz, 500 G hard drive, “matte” LCD/PED display. The old one was backlit LCD, Intel 1.8 GHz Duo chip, 160 G hard drive, 2.5 M RAM.

I used the old one for more than 4 years. The MBP 17 inch is a premium product, and priced that way, but when you consider the long life compared to other manufacturer products it is not overpriced. The machine ran reliably for 4 years with hardly any crashes (none hardware wise). I didn’t encounter the spinning beach ball of death until I started running larger Java programs, and it ran cool unless I was on a Adobe Flash site. Frankly, if it had more RAM and if I replaced the keyboard (the keyboard had some noticeably worn out keys) I could have squeezed another year out of it I imagine.

It will take more time to provide a detailed comparison. The initial impressions are:

Not real crazy about the screen. I know this is a better screen any way you measure it, and the lighting is absolutely completely even from end to end with a larger viewing angle. But, it seems to have a blue-ish cast to it compared to the 17 inch which could completely be my brain after staring at the other one for four years.

Keyboard is louder. Im used to the more chicklet style keys from my desktop keyboard, but typing on this is much louder. There seems to be a drum type resonance from the case construction. Feel of the keys is positive and not stiff.

Miss the mouse button. Or, hate the giant track pad. The press on the track pad requires a lot of pressure, and doesn’t allow the glancing click that the large mouse button on the old laptop had. I see that there are a whole lot of multi-finger gestures, and everyone says I’ll get used to it. Don’t like it so far. The click and drag gesture is especially awkward for me.

Better Case. Runs cooler, stiffer construction, lighter. The “billet” approach is clearly superior to any other laptop I’ve had my hands on.  The 17 inch case actually warped a bit over time due to some weak points in the case.  There was a noticeable bend where the CD slot was.

Super Battery Life. Runs for hours on a charge. No wonder I was the only one carrying around a power supply to meetings lately.

Seems Snappier. I would hope so – two generation of chips later and more RAM.

Fits on a Plane Easier. The old one was great for my aging eyes and for a more desktop experience on the road. Really challenging to use on an airplane though.

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