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Old May 15, 2010, 01:42 AM   #1
Inspired
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How Durable is a Macbook Pro 13"?

Hi Everyone,

As the title says I am thinking of buying either a Thinkpad T-Series or a Macbook Pro 13".

Here's my Situation, I am a college student, money is an issue but I am willing to invest in either of these two machines. I have NO(ABSOLUTELY NO) problem with either operating system. I would be happy to get either one. But if I had a choice I would pick the Macbook Pro, my other problem with it is how durable is it? because I am a college student I often carry a lot of textbooks in my messenger bag which would constantly bounce and slam on my back as I walk(or run) to class. I am very well convinced that the Thinkpad can handle the constant bumping around and such but I am curious as to how much abuse can a Macbook Pro 13' take? I dont plan on dropping it on the floor but if it happens accidentally what are the likelihood of it surviving?


I am not starting a flame war, and I hope nobody who reads this Post does either, I simply want to know the durability of this machine. Also if you have the time, any data or research out there that shows the average life span of a Macbook Pro?(when I say average life span, how long do you expect to use the machine before it completely fails on you) This would also be a leaning point towards my decision.

Thanks for reading, all advice and comments would be taken towards considerations. Please try to avoid being biased.

-Inspired
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Old May 15, 2010, 01:49 AM   #2
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  1. I don't expect my MBP to EVER fail on me. I have an iBook that I bought in 2001 that I gave to my sister, and she uses it as her primary computer.
  2. Just don't drop it. I went to an infant care class, and someone asked "What do you do if you drop your baby?" The instructor looked at him and responded: "DON'T"
  3. Have you looked around your campus? There's a reason that so many college students get MBs or MBPs. They are plenty durable for college use.
  4. Just buy a sleeve to put your MBP into before you put it in your backpack.
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Old May 15, 2010, 01:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surely View Post
  1. I don't expect my MBP to EVER fail on me. I have an iBook that I bought in 2001 that I gave to my sister, and she uses it as her primary computer.
  2. Just don't drop it. I went to an infant care class, and someone asked "What do you do if you drop your baby?" The instructor looked at him and responded: "DON'T"
  3. Have you looked around your campus? There's a reason that so many college students get MBs or MBPs. They are plenty durable for college use.
  4. Just buy a sleeve to put your MBP into before you put it in your backpack.
+1!!
I got a incase hardshell instead of a sleeve. It just seems convenient
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Old May 15, 2010, 01:59 AM   #4
Inspired
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surely View Post
  1. I don't expect my MBP to EVER fail on me. I have an iBook that I bought in 2001 that I gave to my sister, and she uses it as her primary computer.
  2. Just don't drop it. I went to an infant care class, and someone asked "What do you do if you drop your baby?" The instructor looked at him and responded: "DON'T"
  3. Have you looked around your campus? There's a reason that so many college students get MBs or MBPs. They are plenty durable for college use.
  4. Just buy a sleeve to put your MBP into before you put it in your backpack.
Hi Surely,

Thanks for the quick response. I know that of course I would try my best to never drop it(same with a child, i would my best to never drop my child too) but the thing about children is they grow up, so sooner or later you dont really "carry them around" anymore. With a Laptop assuming it NEVER fails on me(I mean this to both the Thinkpad and the Macbook Pro) It will always remain as my delicate treasure that I will carry around and **** happens ya know(that's how life is). Ten years span, down the road you can't say you wont fall or trip at all. But my question is, will it survive a drop if I did drop it?
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:00 AM   #5
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That is a very difficult question. I have seen one friend catch his hand on the power cord and pull his 15" laptop off his recording studio desk, smack down onto the hard wood floor! Oh no... wait a minute, it's still running... no dents, no scratches, nothing! Then I saw another friend drop a pen on his closed 2009 MBP, put a horrible looking dent in the top next to the glowing Apple! Each case is different, and YMMV greatly. I have used a MBP for almost a year, no trouble at all, but I am very careful when I take it out for a walk, using a good exclusive bag, ie. no books etc. in the same bag compartment.
The aluminum models are fairly rugged, but the top is not very dent resistant, so i would recommend having at least a separate compartment for the laptop, setup so that books don't press against the top, the bottom should be more resistant to abuse. In any case, a few marks or small dents are like medals on a warrior, not to fret about.
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Inspired View Post
Hi Surely,

Thanks for the quick response. I know that of course I would try my best to never drop it(same with a child, i would my best to never drop my child too) but the thing about children is they grow up, so sooner or later you dont really "carry them around" anymore. With a Laptop assuming it NEVER fails on me(I mean this to both the Thinkpad and the Macbook Pro) It will always remain as my delicate treasure that I will carry around and **** happens ya know(that's how life is). Ten years span, down the road you can't say you wont fall or trip at all. But my question is, will it survive a drop if I did drop it?
Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Depends on how you drop it, what you drop it on, how high the fall is, etc. There are too many factors involved in a drop to know what will happen.

I've owned laptops since 1998, and I've NEVER dropped one ever.
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot guys. As Tyra Banks would say "[I've]...reached a decision."
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:11 AM   #8
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No matter the situation, the Thinkpads are more shock-resistant and less prone to warping. If you're going to stuff your notebook in your bag, GET A THINKPAD!

However, you could just get a backpack that has a special pocket for a notebook and keep your MacBook Pro in there. As long as you don't mush it with your load of books by putting the bag down ON the pocket, it's not going to be an issue.

Whatever is more convenient.

Here are some macs that have faced tragedy and walked away still booting:
Plane Crash

Brazilian Shooting

Run over by Lindsey Lohan

Run over by a Greyhound

Run over by Bowser

Dropped by some hoser
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:17 AM   #9
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If it helps, I own a T41 (old model I know !) and the machine itself is solidly built. Over the past 5 years the battery had to be replaced once and the hard drive failed once, but I guess this can happen to any machine. I also have a white macbook on which the white plastic outer casing has some fragility, so for me, an aluminium enclosure would be a definite plus. Otherwise, both machines are equally susceptible to 'operator error' - dropping, closing with a pen left in the hinge etc etc or to 'random defects' - hard drive fails, motherboard failures and so on. Maybe you need to base your decision on other criteria such as available software, backups (in which case the MB wins hands down) or simply price.
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCheeto View Post
No matter the situation, the Thinkpads are more shock-resistant and less prone to warping. If you're going to stuff your notebook in your bag, GET A THINKPAD!

However, you could just get a backpack that has a special pocket for a notebook and keep your MacBook Pro in there. As long as you don't mush it with your load of books by putting the bag down ON the pocket, it's not going to be an issue.

Whatever is more convenient.

Here are some macs that have faced tragedy and walked away still booting:
Plane Crash
...
Brazilian Shooting
...
Run over by Lindsey Lohan
...
Run over by a Greyhound
...
Run over by Bowser
...
Dropped by some hoser
...
I really enjoyed looking at the pics, thanks for going through the trouble hunting those pics down for me, I really appreciate it. Me and my gf are just admiring it at the moment. LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarkone View Post
If it helps, I own a T41 (old model I know !) and the machine itself is solidly built. Over the past 5 years the battery had to be replaced once and the hard drive failed once, but I guess this can happen to any machine. I also have a white macbook on which the white plastic outer casing has some fragility, so for me, an aluminium enclosure would be a definite plus. Otherwise, both machines are equally susceptible to 'operator error' - dropping, closing with a pen left in the hinge etc etc or to 'random defects' - hard drive fails, motherboard failures and so on. Maybe you need to base your decision on other criteria such as available software, backups (in which case the MB wins hands down) or simply price.
This has got me to think more about which to get....ahh, I wish both these great companies would work together and make a hybrid of the two.

Last edited by xUKHCx; May 15, 2010 at 05:25 AM. Reason: removed images
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Old May 15, 2010, 02:44 AM   #11
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Physically durable? Quite. Sadly it's also quite flexible, which in my case allowed the screen to be crushed when my cousin accidentally sat on it, but it's not exactly Apple's fault haha.

I did get it fixed, but then a year later the logic board died too, so it's currently on my shelf collecting dust because well, the cheapest price I was able to get from an authorized repair shop was 720, so about $1046.

I just want to make it clear that with the exception of my cousin sitting on it, I had taken extreme care over my laptop. As the repair shop put it, "you've just been very unlucky really".
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Old May 15, 2010, 03:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inspired View Post
Hi Everyone,

As the title says I am thinking of buying either a Thinkpad T-Series or a Macbook Pro 13".
[...]
Thanks for reading, all advice and comments would be taken towards considerations. Please try to avoid being biased.

-Inspired
Hi, I think the MacBook Pro is pretty durable, the Aluminum Shell makes it way more durable than a plastic computer, but these aluminum computers bend, it didn't happen to me, but i have an apple keyboard which got a bit folded which can be annoying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surely View Post
  1. I don't expect my MBP to EVER fail on me. I have an iBook that I bought in 2001 that I gave to my sister, and she uses it as her primary computer.
All the new Mac have a way bigger failure rate than the Early 2000 ones, A Power Book from 2000 might be running now, but i don't think you'll see a 2010 MacBook Pro Running in 2020, however noone can expect the computer to last forever but i think It can last you some 5 Years, i would get apple care or another insurance just for the peace of mind that I'll last me 3
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Old May 15, 2010, 03:29 AM   #13
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In reality, I think the white MacBooks are the best Macs for students who are going to use them actively and on the go. Those are really durable and very dependable. I would actually buy the Thinkpad in your situation. In truth, Windows 7 is extremely reliable and most applications run on Windows NOT on OS X.

Good luck whichever way you go.
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Old May 15, 2010, 03:33 AM   #14
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I would expect Macs to fare well under normal usage conditions but do worse at being dropped, having coke spilled on them etc.
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Old May 15, 2010, 03:45 AM   #15
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i have a t61 and at first, i was very careful with it... now that its getting old and im looking for a replacement, i tend to treat it less nicely...

that said, this thing is built like a tank!! They really arent joking around with the internal roll cage. I literally drop the thing on the carpet without much if any concern... it still works fine. I also walk around the house holding it by one edge of the screen and still have no issues... i put it in my backpack with books without using a sleeve or protector...

dont get me wrong... the macbook pro with its sleek aluminum shell should be quite sturdy... but it all depends on how its engineered and what forces it experiences... Take for example a soda can... you can actually stand on an empty can and because of its shape, it will support your weight as long as the force is even across the top. but once you squeeze the can, it completely fails... Based on what i have seen.. the macbookpro doesnt have internal structures to reinforce the screen so i would imagine you should be quite careful with it..

Bottom line... the thinkpad IS DEFINITELY more durable but that doesnt mean the MBP is super fragile either.

here are some cool vids of thinkpad going through some rough times!

(water draining keyboard)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMyiY...eature=related


(flat out abuse)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrRzG...eature=related
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Old May 15, 2010, 04:13 AM   #16
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That last one happened to my MBP (although it was not me who did it) and it wasn't dropped, the corner was hit into another object and the case bent near the Ethernet port.

Nothing was wrong functionally, so I just bent the thing back with my hands, and it's not noticeable at all.

Hooray at the malleability of aluminum!
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Old May 15, 2010, 05:05 AM   #17
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Until today I have rarely heard of or seen a Thinkpad so I really don't know much info to base a decision on what you should pick. Personally I own a Mackbook Pro and just looking at a Thinkpad I would feel like i would be going back into the past to purchase it. It looks more like an executive's laptop from the early 2000's to me. I don't want to be bashed by saying this but just by the appearance of the Mackbook Pro and the Thinkpad I would automatically choose the Mac. It just appeals more to me. I love the aluminum unibody and the overall simplicity of this wonderful fine piece of technology. I just purchased a Mackbook Pro about 2-3 weeks ago and I love it, I can't see myself with any other computer.

If you are basing your desision on if you are able to drop it or not I think you should get a Thinkpad. It looks like to me that Macs are more delicate than thinkpads from some videos that I've seen.

Here is a comparison video I stumbled apon aslo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMXmi...eature=related

Bottom line for me I choose a Mac.

Edit: Just seen the X series that doesn't look that old and clunky as the other thinkpads I've seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5tyZ6vGbNs

Last edited by xhArRiSoNxD; May 15, 2010 at 05:12 AM.
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Old May 15, 2010, 07:24 AM   #18
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Until today I have rarely heard of or seen a Thinkpad so I really don't know much info to base a decision on what you should pick.
Really? ThinkPads are the granddaddy of business laptops. They've come down a little since Lenovo bought them, but when IBM made them you could do no better.

Anyway, I've been traveling with PowerBooks and MBPs for years and years -- well before there was such a thing as a padded laptop case even. Never had any problems at all. I travel with a 13" MBP now. Fantastic machine. Now if you are going to treat it like crap and just toss it around, I can't say, but if you are just worried about the occasionally unavoidable bump, no prob.
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Old May 15, 2010, 07:27 AM   #19
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I'd say that the MBPs are not very durable at all. Too many threads here and else where document the fact that the alu. enclosure is much too soft and easily deformed.
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Old May 15, 2010, 07:36 AM   #20
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Pretty durably, the aluminium just needs to be looked after as it can dent and be misshapen. The magsafe helps a lot imo, lots of laptop falls are due to cable yanks.

If I were you though, I'd get the thinkpad. Looks to be exactly what you need.
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:01 AM   #21
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I'd say that the MBPs are not very durable at all. Too many threads here and else where document the fact that the alu. enclosure is much too soft and easily deformed.
Going off my own personal experience with several MBPs and PBs over the last decade, traveling all over the world with them, my guess is people reporting such are being abusive to their machines -- even if they feel they are not. It's true the early AlBooks signature as a warped lid b/c the metal was soft, but that is not the case w/ the unibody.

From your post it sounds like you do not have any real life experience MBPs so you are basically just regurgitating hearsay.
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:01 AM   #22
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I had the same decision to make that summer between a t400 and mbp 13". Both had very similar specs at the time, although the t400 had a faster standard processor, I think p8600 vs. p8400. I also had the chance to demo both at the same store. I went to microcenter and had the chance to demo their last t400 they had. While thinkpads are great designed computers, the MacBook pro just feels better built and more solid. Then unless you get a t510 or w510 with the upgraded wide gamut display, thinkpad screens are terrible in comparison to the MacBook pro.
Then with the ability to install windows as a second operating system on the MacBook pro makes the decision easier. For me, the decision was easy, and I had never considered a mac for myself until I decided I needed a laptop for college, but I did try to encourage my mom several years back when she was buying a laptop. There is just something about apple laptops which keeps drawing me back to them.
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:06 AM   #23
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talkin about warping and bending of the body. my table is slightly off balance, and the laptop doesn't sit 100% flat on the table. so if i pressed down on the bottom right hand corner of my mbp, it will rattle (if you know what im trying to get across). will this bend my macbook pro over time? like, will the mbp warp or bend into the shape of my table? (sounds ridiculous, but its worth it to ask).
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:18 AM   #24
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+1!!
I got a incase hardshell instead of a sleeve. It just seems convenient
The hardshell would probably increase the damage when dropped to the ground. A sleeve will absorb more energy. Hardshells also collect dust and particles which will carve up your Macbook.
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:23 AM   #25
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Really? I've neglected to clean my case at all and there isn't a SIGN of wear across my MacBook Pro. Take the shine off the keys and it could pass for new...
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