One Month In With the Macbook

I have had this Apple Macbook Pro for a little over a month now, and I just wanted to report on how it is holding up. Normally when you search on the internet (I looked on Youtube specifically) you get the first impressions of a new owner. They will tell you all the delicious specs and drool over how it looks and if you are lucky they’ll even let you watch them unbox it. Nice! But what do they think further down the road? Is it still holding up as well as the day they first booted it up? What about the features, are they bogging it down? What are they using it for and is it as satisfactory in that line of service as they expected? Well, that is what I wanted to address in this follow-up to my original post of purchasing this little guy.

The Laptop Itself

The body of the Mac is a typical laptop design, I guess. Clamshell look and all that jazz. The brushed aluminum body is very easy to scratch and smudge, though. Brush it against something and it leaves a mark – but no worries, it will wipe off! That is a major plus. I have only taken the Macbook with me outside the house once, to work. Other than that, it stays at home and travels between rooms, so I can’t really attest to how it would withstand heavy travel outside the home. I’ve also not yet bought any type of cover or protective casing for it, but have seen numerous videos on Youtube that tell of stories involving bits of dirt getting beneath the harder covers and scratching the surface.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keys have a nice little feedback to them, but the one thing I’ve had problems with is the Caps Lock key not wanting to activate. I have pushed it two or three times on occasion before the indicator light will finally come on. Aside from that, I will wipe the keyboard down every couple of days to keep greasy fingerprints from fading the keys before their time. The same goes for the trackpad. As with any laptop, I guess, you can tell where you use it the most, where your finger tips rest while scrolling or tapping. A quick wipe down of this as well takes care of that. Normally the computer is off and maybe every week I’ll apply a lightly moist cloth to it to get anything a dry rubdown might miss.

The LED Screen

The upper portion is all glass, from corner to corner. Black around the outside and then the bright LED screen in the center. It is remarkably smudge free. You really have to work at getting the screen dirty – unlike an iPad or iPhone, where the slightest brush of a fingertip will mar the surface. No stuck pixels on my machine, no glare, no ugly smudges every time I open the device up. Rub down with a soft cloth and she’s as good as new.

OSX

The software and operation of the Macbook … Yikes! My second day with the system, I deleted a file and the entire OS went crazy. None of my icons would response, I couldn’t load any programs, nothing! Looking up advice on the internet and implementing the suggestions there proved pointless. Finally, I reformatted and recovered the system. Yes, my 2nd day using my expensive Christmas gift and I broke it. To complicate my worries, I opened up the box to get the recovery discs, and there weren’t any. So, I had to go back online and figure out how to boot the laptop into a recovery mode. It was pretty simple, and thankfully I hadn’t installed a bunch of software at that point in time or downloaded a bunch of music or ripped cd’s. So, luckily, nothing lost aside from a few years off my life and the virginity of my Macbook’s untampered operating system.

OSX is easy to work with. It hides the important files and you really have to work to mess something up. Yes, I realize what I am saying now may contradict what I just wrote above, but that’s what I get for fumbling around and not paying attention. System files aren’t just out in the open or accessible with a single click. Instead, you have to dig. Even deleting entire programs is a snap! All you have to do is click and hold the mouse on the desktop icon, drag it to the trash, and voila, OSX takes care of everything else. In Windows this would require you to go to the Start menu, open up system options, go to the Add/Remove Program box, find the program you wanted to uninstall once all the items had finished loading, clicking uninstall and then waiting several minutes while it did this. Apple: Click, drag to trash, done.

Included Programs

The only programs I’ve really used, aside from iTunes is the iLife ’11 programs (iMovie, Garageband and iPhoto.) My complaint here, and from what I’ve read online it isn’t just me or the fact that I had to reinstall the OS, is that iMovie no longer comes with iDVD. Now, according to Apple, if you want iDVD, you have to buy iLife ’11, but if you use the iMovie that comes preinstalled, it doesn’t include the dvd burning software. So, wait, you get what I’m saying here, right? You get iLife’s three major programs, but if you want the dvd burner that works in conjunction with those programs for burning discs, you have to BUY iLIFE ’11 for $79.  Yea. I don’t get that either. If I am wrong and have read bad information off the internet, please, someone correct me.

The only other issue I’ve had with any of the software is the Safari browser. Every now and then I will type in a website, or click a link, and the browser will hang. It won’t freeze, you can do other things, open new tabs, but it will just hang and not even attempt to load that page. You will have to close that tab and try again.

Battery Life – The Big Deal

The biggest worry for me was going to be battery life. The very first laptop we owned in the family was horrible with battery life. You would be lucky to get an hour out of it before having to plug it in. The little netbook I bought my wife a few years ago could pull about an hour and a half to two hours on a good charge, but once you started firing up Solitaire or doing heavy internet surfing, it drained quick. On the i5 Core 13″ Macbook Pro, I’m actually happy with battery life.

My usual laptop habits include: surfing the web, posting to Facebook or Twitter, making blog posts, watching the occasional Youtube video, sometimes watching Netflix Instant Streaming shows or movies, listening to Spotify or downloading music and podcasts. I’m not a huge power user nor do heavy “lifting” as far as any heavy applications go. I do play an occasional game, such as World of Warcraft or Starcraft, and for that I plug the power supply in anyways, unless the laptop is 100% charged. So, this is where I’m coming from in terms of usage and battery drain.

Knowing that, I can get anywhere from 5 1/2 hours max to no less than 2 1/2 hours on heavy usage. Now, the games hog up more power, of course, but depending on music and video streaming, and if I’m using internet and have Bluetooth turned on for my Magic Mouse, I’ve never gotten any less than 2 1/2 hours of battery time, which is fantastic in my book. Casual internet usage, and closing the laptop, leaving it in standby mode, I’ve yet to see it exceed 5 1/2 hours in the month I’ve used it. I believe Apple’s brag time is 7 hours or more. I suppose if you turned it on and left it there untouched you might be able to pull that in. But, really, 5 hours is excellent in my opinion.

One More Thing

I mentioned Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft. Yes, even though the Macbook Pro may not be offered as a gaming laptop, I use it for these two particular internet connection games. Graphics on World of Warcraft are amazing compared to what I am use to. Once yesterday I checked my performance and was actually getting 60 fps on the MMO, that’s something unheard of on my old desktop PC. And Starcraft 2 is smooth and beautiful to look at. So, while these laptops may not be gaming powerhouses, they can hold their own.

So …

One month in, and I am happy with my purchase. Could I have gotten a better deal? Heck yeah! PC laptops are available from every possible company for $299 and up – something my wife is quick to point out. But am I glad I dropped the cash on an Apple Macbook Pro? Yes. I enjoy Apple’s products and am happy to support them in any way possible – be it buying one of their products, downloading music from their iTunes store or just throwing their name around in conversations at work. No regrets, lots of love and few, if any, complaints.

 

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