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jade
Oct 28, 2008, 02:21 AM
I thought I'd post a review on my new Aluminum MacBook.
First, a little history.
The ghosts of notebooks past:

Everex - weighed about 7 lbs, Win 95
Sony Vaio (one of the first ones!) - weighed about 5.4 lbs, Win 98
Compaq (borrowed from my parents) - weighed about 6.5 lbs
12"PB (provided by work) running 10.2, later 10.3
12"iBook
Now @ work: Dell Insipron, 5.5 lbs
Now: 2.0 Aluminum Macbook

When OS X was announced, after the early demos I thought it might be time to start using a mac. I saw the cool iBooks with handles, the slick titanium powerbooks. And after ~3 years I finally got to use OS X hands on (with my work computer). I loved it. Eventually that job ended, but I purchased my own iBook with plans to upgrade to a PB when the G5 PBs came out.

We all know how that ended.

I have always had a pact with myself that future laptops must be lighter than my last one. This severly limited my pool of suitable notebooks. I had a 5 lb notebook in the late 90s, I didn't want to downgade to something heavy and annoying.

Eventually the intel macs came out. And there was a new macbook. That eliminated the physical latch. I wanted that feature in a metal notebook. So I thought, well the new MBPs can't be far behind with that feature........

So many times while waiting I thougt I shoulf take the plunge into a new notebook. But I knew that as much as I wanted a metal notebook, it would be overkill for my modest needs.... so I stayed on the fence.

A few weeks ago my situation was looking moe urgent, to replace my ibook.
1. My hard drive was down to ~3GB
2. I was looking for a few 3rd party apps and the 10.3 versions were few and far between

So I returned to the same level of obsession I had a few years ago and began checking the rumor sites religiously (like I did while awaiting those G5 powerbooks). I saw the rumors new notebooks would be out in September, then October. I told myself no matter what, I'll buy a MacBook in October.

Stuff I really wanted:
1. metal case
2. multitouch gestures

These were the features that made me question my decision to go MacBook. My wallet on the other hand said....get a MacBook, save your money for accessories.

On October 14th, Apple made the decision for me, the Aluminum MacBook had all of my must have features as well as my top desires.

Now that I have had my computer for nearly 2 weeks, I hought I'd be able to give it a far and thoughtful review. I owuld have posted this in the other threads, but they all seemed to turn into gripefests.

First impressions on the new features (and the new to me features)
1. The construction feels sturdy
2. My notebook is in perfect condition, I didn't have an misallignment or keyboard issues
3. I love the new battery indicator on the side
4. The magsafe power adapter is really cool
5. The packaging was top-notch, as usual
6. The pictures don't really showcase the sleekness and attractiveness of the notebook
7. It didn't take long to adjust to the new keyboard
8. I love the new trackpad!!!!

Transitioning from Panther and XP
As you can imagine, my iBook started to feel pretty slow. Things like loading too many movies or graphics heavy web pages were really taxing my computer, and I always had the dreaded spinning beachball with too many browser windows. As for the work Dell? Browsing is pretty snappy, once all of the apps load. But there are other slowdowns, Outlook 07 and my other applications. This can be a bit annoying so I was looking forward to something speedier.

Big changes from panther:
Spotlight
New System Preferences Panel
New UI for Mail
Stacks


So I am just now getting the hang of Spotlight, and have started using it to launch more apps.
One of the first things I did was create the Apps folder shortcut on the Dock. The Stacks confused me for a while, but now I get the hang of it
Right clicking on the trackpad is great. Most morning I have a transition time to stop hitting control on the work laptop.
The downloads folder is helpful, but not groundbreaking since I have been doing this for years. ;)
I like the web receipts folder, and the fact that OS X automatically finds it when mail items seem like a receipt. Good job Apple.
New keyboard shortcuts on the F-keyd. I am a little confused, but I'll get there soon enough


Here is the bad:
Office 2008 seems to be unstable. The first few launches crashed, but it seems to be running OK now.
Leopard is flakier than Panther. I have had a few slowdowns that required a restart. This is weird. But now it seems like my MacBook is happy, and I can start keeping it sleeping
Dashboard has crashed/lost connecton a few times. I think some widgets might be buggy, so I cut back on my Widgets. I like the idea though and I have the iStatPro and weather widgets installed. I killed Twitter and Facebook since they didn't seem to work well.
The migration wizard does not work with panther? This is a total bummer, and I am still trying to get my keychain over to my new mac. :( That is ridiculous, and I am disappointed Apple left panther users out, since I am sure there are plenty of them who will trade in old hardware now.

Cool Apps I am using:

I installed Things, task manager for GTD type people. This is a really cool app, look forward to buying it soon. Love that it syncs with iCal (and my phone!)
Missing sync for Palm: I can finally sync my centro wth Mac Address book! But it doesn't seem to connect consistently. That's annoying.


The verdict?
I love the size, form factor, battery life, overall system, but I wish Leopard was as stable as Panther. Even though it has been a year, it doesn't feel entirely finished to me. Hopefully things continue to improve over the next few weeks and my rating will increase. But I am glad I upgraded now. This RevA machine looks to be doing pretty well out of the gate.



dnguyen
Oct 28, 2008, 03:33 AM
cool, i made the jump from a 1.33ghz 12" ibook, that i used for 3 years. that laptop was just for school internet use, but now the new macbook is my main computer :)

I took a few comparison pictures between the two, i can post them if anyone wants to see them.

rosalindavenue
Oct 28, 2008, 06:58 AM
cool, i made the jump from a 1.33ghz 12" ibook, that i used for 3 years. that laptop was just for school internet use, but now the new macbook is my main computer :)

I took a few comparison pictures between the two, i can post them if anyone wants to see them.

please post-- I have a 3 year 12" old ibook and will probably pull the trigger on a 13" alu book & would love to see your pics....

MacinJosh
Oct 28, 2008, 07:22 AM
Here is the bad:
Office 2008 seems to be unstable. The first few launches crashed, but it seems to be running OK now.
Leopard is flakier than Panther. I have had a few slowdowns that required a restart. This is weird. But now it seems like my MacBook is happy, and I can start keeping it sleeping
Dashboard has crashed/lost connecton a few times. I think some widgets might be buggy, so I cut back on my Widgets. I like the idea though and I have the iStatPro and weather widgets installed. I killed Twitter and Facebook since they didn't seem to work well.
The migration wizard does not work with panther? This is a total bummer, and I am still trying to get my keychain over to my new mac. :( That is ridiculous, and I am disappointed Apple left panther users out, since I am sure there are plenty of them who will trade in old hardware now.

Cool Apps I am using:

I installed Things, task manager for GTD type people. This is a really cool app, look forward to buying it soon. Love that it syncs with iCal (and my phone!)
Missing sync for Palm: I can finally sync my centro wth Mac Address book! But it doesn't seem to connect consistently. That's annoying.


The verdict?
I love the size, form factor, battery life, overall system, but I wish Leopard was as stable as Panther. Even though it has been a year, it doesn't feel entirely finished to me. Hopefully things continue to improve over the next few weeks and my rating will increase. But I am glad I upgraded now. This RevA machine looks to be doing pretty well out of the gate.

I really recommend in trying out iWork '08 if you haven't already. I really enjoy using it. I've used it since the first version and never looked back on Office.

I also use Things. It's pretty awesome. I also bought it for my iPod Touch and the sync feature is spot on.

Joshua.

pratap21
Oct 28, 2008, 07:43 AM
Congrats on the new buy.
Any comments on the display of your MB?

Skeletal-dæmon
Oct 28, 2008, 07:56 AM
Congratulations for making the jump from PPC to Intel, and welcome to the wonderful wobbly three-legged stool that is Leopard!

You missed a few things in Tiger:
1. The last of the nice blue Dock. You can cheat it back in terminal but it requires bravery to tinker with the innards of applications.
2. The last of the shiny metal UI skin. I quite liked it, more than I like the dull grey of Leopard. Finder and Safari looked slick in aluminium.
3. The ability to customise the ****** out of the UI using Shapeshifter which still isn't available for Leopard.
4. Dawn of the command+space feature to open any file or app immediately.

You missed a few things from the old MacBook...
1. It came in black!
2. It could keep you warm in the cold just by running WoW for a few minutes.
3. A less glossy screen. Okay yeah its glossy but not nearly as bad as an actual glass screen.
4. Dawn of the chicklet keyboard. I have had a go on a new AlumBook and the keyboard feels plain wrong compared to my BlackBook.

However, all that said, welcome to the Apple world of 2008. I'm glad you're enjoying your MacBook so far! Part of me wishes I had waited three months, but most of me loves my BlackBook too much to give a damn about better graphics and a backlit keyboard.

... *pining for backlit keyboard*

jade
Oct 28, 2008, 12:36 PM
I really recommend in trying out iWork '08 if you haven't already. I really enjoy using it. I've used it since the first version and never looked back on Office.

I also use Things. It's pretty awesome. I also bought it for my iPod Touch and the sync feature is spot on.

Joshua.
Re: iWork
I have used Keynote (1, 2) so I was excited to get iWork. But I found that in my work life (and my sidejob) that 100% compatibility with Office was critical. We'll see how this plays out.

Numbers was lacking a few of the key things I needed in Excel. And I didn't see the same in NeoOffice/Open Office.

If I was just using the suite for me, with no need to share at work I'd stick with iWork, but I need to switch back and forth with office docs too frequently.

The screen:
Looks great. Unless you are standing over it and looking down! I think some people are really over exaggerating on the screen quality. It is really really bright. And crisp. But yeah pretty glossy. When I was sitting outside in the direct sun, sun behind me, I needed to move to another spot. Pretty minor, since I am rarely outside with my computer. I can deal/move. In my apartment the glossiness is no issue. No reflections, except when it is off.

BTW this new notebook makes my iBook look like a clunker. ;)
Good upgrade, the new 'book is really pretty and sleek looking in comparison. And should stay cleaner. :D

dnguyen
Oct 28, 2008, 01:56 PM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3230/2946640520_0e88526895_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3158/2945776717_ceccd10d14_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3241/2946639578_a28205d32e_b.jpg
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