I’m a PC — AND a Mac

The secret is out — I decided to get a MacBook Pro.  It’s something that I have been considering for a while, but it still feels a bit strange getting an Apple machine.  As anyone who’s met me knows, I’m not a big fan of Apple.  Sure, I have an iPhone.  But I’m not a particularly big fan of OS X, and I’m often critical about Apple’s software and business practices.

So why a MacBook Pro?  Isn’t that like buying into the dark side?

Well, let me assure you first of all that I’m not a "switcher".  I’m not going to port Trowl to OS X, and I’m not going to start wearing black turtleneck sweaters.

But having said that, Macs and OS X are still important.  Not as important as Apple’s commercials would have you believe, but still something to sit up and take notice of.  I’m a computer geek, and I have no alliance to any one company.  Microsoft’s solution is what appeals to me, but I see the value in OS X.  Especially since we use Macs at work, and so I get a peek at the potential of the platform.

Honestly, the only reason I’ve even considered a Mac is because of the ability to run Windows.  And not only just run Windows, but run Windows and OS X concurrently.  This not only has a geek factor that appeals to me, but it lets me experiment on both platforms at any time I wish.

The final deciding factor, though, was the hardware itself.  Before I understood the constraints of doing so, I planned on buying a MacBook and only running Windows on it.  The hardware is designed so well, and the specifications were impressive enough, that it was simply one of the best laptops you could buy.

With Apple’s latest refresh of the machines, that is even more true.  I did some research of PCs before committing to a MacBook because, as you would expect, MacBooks are designed to work with OS X.  While Windows works, and works pretty well, it’s not perfect.

In doing my research, I found two things.  First, the designs are getting better, but they’re not perfect.  For example, some HP machines looked very attractive.

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The big problem with HP design, though, is "stubby port syndrome":

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This is about as attractive as an HP gets.  For some reason, HP doesn’t understand how to make a computer’s ports go flush against the edge of a computer.

On top of that, I’ve heard some pretty atrocious stories of HP support.  Or rather, lack of support.  They have a call center that is so obviously outsourced to India, and they don’t trust what you say in the slightest.  I even heard of a story of their customer support actually using remote assistance to take control of the computer, and change settings to try and remedy the problem.  This may not be so bad for a customer who doesn’t know any better, but if the customer can describe what the tech is doing, and say that it won’t work, then there should be another course of action.  But there wasn’t.  I could go on, but really I don’t need to.  Google has the full story.

So HP quickly got ruled out of the equation.  Then there’s Dell.  Now, Dell is getting some pretty nice designs out on the market.

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The problem with Dell is that you either get a nice design, or you get a powerful computer.  You can’t have both.  And the nicely designed ones are as expensive as Apple, but have some design flaws.  Not good.

Sony has probably the best PC laptops on the market right now, but they are not cheap.  And a lot of them are angled, with the back raised.  I’m not sure if I like that.

So, in the end, I concluded that I couldn’t get a PC that was any better in any particular way to sway me from the design of the MacBook Pro.

Ultimately, I’m not going to know how this will pan out until I’ve spent time with the MacBook Pro.  It could work out well — or it could be the biggest mistake I’ve made.  I’m curious to see how it will turn out.  Hardware wise, it’s one of the best computers, with the best mix of form and power, that I could find.  Functionally, though, it remains to be seen how it meets my needs.

When I originally planned out this post, I wanted to include price comparisons to further justify my purchase, but I think that’s overdoing it.  I think I’ve made my point.  I’ll follow up here with how it goes :)

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