MacBook Pro vs. MacBook: One Man's Saga

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Benjamin Black, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Benjamin Black macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dalls, TX
    #1
    A cautionary tale of time wasted, and lessons never learned...

    Two months ago I sold my beautiful 4-month-old iMac G5 to purchase a shiny new MacBook Pro. I did this for no logical reason really. The iMac worked lovely. I knew about all of the MBP problems. And yet, the shiny newness that was the MBP would go home with me. Period. Unfortunately this was not the end of the story.

    Over the last few months I have gone through 4 replacement models of the MBP. Problems incurred on one or all of these computers include: whine/buzz, warped lid, uneven casing, poor volume control, extreme heat, malfunctioning keyboard backlighting, and various scraps and scratches added by careless Apple Geniuses.

    Tired of the problems and the bad customer service at two different Apple retail stores, I finally opted to return the computer (sans the 10% restocking fee) last week.

    I then immediately placed an order for a white MacBook via Amazon. I chose to do this for the obvious reasons: Portability, cost, and ridiculously similar specs to the pro models.

    Anyway, with the Amazon shipping delay driving me nuts, I finally broke down and visited an Apple retail store (which I swore I would never do again) to take a gander at my purchase in person.

    My thoughts on the MacBook are thus:

    1. Very solid build. Perfect for a student. This thing feels indestructable.
    2. Beautiful external case. I liked the white much better than the black, which looked kinda cheesy and cheap IMO.
    3. Keyboard was fine. Not as responsive as the PowerBook or MacBook Pro, but definitely an upgrade over the iBook.
    4. Magnetic latch is a winner. The latch on the MBP seems clumsy by comparison.
    5. Glossy screen looks great (watching movies will be a pleasure), but could prove to be a pain-in-the-ass.

    Despite its good impression, I decided to cancel my Amazon order after leaving the store. I really can't point to any one reason. But every model in the store had something quirky about it. One had the squeeky lid (much worse than the whine/buzz), one had a warped case, the black one had the grease markings, etc...

    I think if you could judge a notebook by it's cover, I'd be happy. But once you open the lid everything is so...blah. From the fat lip around the screen, to the inaudible speakers, to the wonky power button - the MacBook just screams cheap. (And it is. I'm sure they will sell tons of these.)

    But I've gone back to the MBP, to wait out this mess of first generation Intel Mac portables in style - if not satisfaction. (I've just purchased a MBP - 2.0Ghz, 1GB RAM, 256 vram, 120GB HDD - for $1800 on ebay...complete with it's own set of shortcomings I'm sure). Not a happy ending by any means. But at some point, life must go on...

    My advice? If you can wait for the second generation of Mac portables - do so. If not, be prepared for possible disappointment and frustration, and be thankful that the lavish consumer purchases agonized over on this website are even possible. You're lucky, whine or not.
     
  2. jaxstate macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    #2
    Well my MBP should be here Friday or Saturday (hopefully). I hope I don't have any of the problems u see, if so, it's going back.
     
  3. celebrian23 macrumors 65816

    celebrian23

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Under the sun
    #3
    The heat is my main concern. My desk broke while we were moving all of our furniture due to recarpeting. I'm going to college in the fall so it'd be dumb to buy a good desk, so I'm getting my mbp monday. It will spend most of its life on my lap. But I really can't wait any longer. I'm somewhat tempted to just buy an ibook or 12'' powerbook and buy an intel mac when these portables stop having so many problems!
     
  4. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a

    TheMasin9

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    #4
    wait it out

    i think i am gonna wait it out too, i can deal with my ppc powerbook g4 for another couple months before they revise the macbook pros, plus this winter ill be able to get them at cost from my place of employment.
     
  5. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #5
    my macbook is flawless as are many others. The lip looks normal to me, the speakers are quite decent for a laptop its size (way better than the ibook speakers), and the power button is, um, a regular power button.

    I think the problem here is that you're too picky. You have a right to be picky, as the consumer. But honestly, look at your complaints. Grease markings? It's a store model. Fat lip? It's smaller than most out there.

    I haven't owned a MBP so I can't speak to those issues. But the impression I get from your post is that you aren't going to be happy until your laptop is not only 100% defect free (which is fine), but designed 100% to your liking (which is ridiculous).

    I'm sorry for the troubles you had with the MBPs, and that you can't find something you like. But in my honest opinion, you're being kind of ridiculous. You sold a perfectly good mac and have found something to complain about in every model you've owned or seen since. Some of your concerns seem legit and some just seem... silly. I hope you find what you're looking for, but I think the moral of this story is, next time, stick with what you already have and like.
     
  6. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #6
    Agreed.

    I don't mean to disregard the OP's opinion, but you have to wonder if any computer would suit his needs. Complaining about the power button looks, to me, searching for something not to like. In essence, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I guess I'm fortunate to get one of those rare MacBooks that has zero problems. Or perhaps I'm not expecting perfection from a $1,200 consumer electronics device?

    Now on my $38K car the driver window is making a whistling noise; that's driving me nuts! :D
     
  7. Passante macrumors 6502a

    Passante

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    on the sofa
    #7
    Your signature says it all:

    ":confused: Nonsense is better than no sense at all."
     
  8. lynziwow macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    CALIIFORNIA
    #8
    thanks for this...

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this experience. I'm kind of in the same boat you were in, I'm the current owner of an iMac G5 20" (iSight), purchased on the day they were released. Lately I've been traveling a lot more and I've been wishing that I had gotton a laptop cause it would just be so sweet to have a lappy on the road with me. Alas, I *do* love my iMac and I also have a fair amount of PPC software that I don't want to lose. Your posting convinces me to be satisfied with the computer I own, because it would be a huge hassle (plus quite a loss in resale $$) to replace my computer. Now I just need to save up to get portable *in addition* to my desktop.:rolleyes:
     
  9. Benjamin Black thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dalls, TX
    #9
    I'm happy that you have a nice MB.

    Does it matter if 50 people touch the machine or one? I was just confirming the complaints/observations of others. If you purchase a black MB, you will have to deal with markings from hand oil.

    Thanks for okaying my desire for a defect free $2000+ notebook. The MBP is in IMO as close to a perfect laptop design as there is. I've bought two now, so clearly there is something to that.

    I'll agree that, in hindsight, it wasn't the brightest idea to sell my iMac. I too thought others were being a bit too condemning and thought my chances at a flawless MBP were high. I wanted the portability of the MBP and was really suckered into the purchase by the design. You've got me - I regret it. Thanks for your concern over my future hapiness and the morality lesson. I will try my best to lower my expectations. The next time I drop $2000 for a purchase and experience problems acknowledged by thousands of other consumers, I hope to be able to simply c'est la vie?

    At any rate, I did state my story to be a cautionary tale. I'm sure these notebooks will see improvement in QC over the coming releases. It seems to me that for every positive experience, there is an equally negative experience with these computers. So for those of you happy with your purchases - cool. My .02 clearly isn't for you.
     
  10. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #10
    After reading this, I'm hugging my MBP and thanking whoever's up there that it exhibits none of the flaws that others have posted about here.

    Unfortunately, it's starting to show one problem I haven't heard anyone else complain of - there are two black marks at the very bottom of the screen, rougly level with the F5 button. At first I thought it was just a greasy smudge, but now it looks more like a screen issue. With bright colours displaying, it's invisible, but when dark colours show, the black smudges show just enough to be really annoying. I hope it wasn't due to the keys hitting the screen!
     
  11. macpastor macrumors regular

    macpastor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #11
    I spoke to the manager at the Apple Store in Edina, MN (Southdale). As of yesterday they had sold over 1400 MacBooks and only 1 came back with issues.

    1, One, Uno...

    Apprently Apple got it right this time, and learned at the expense of MacBook Pro customers. The life of a guinea pig, so much fun!
     
  12. Benjamin Black thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dalls, TX
    #12
    Wow. Apparently I've touched a nerve. I'm not sure how I've come across as being overly picky. I've simply presented my opinions based upon hands-on experience for many people who haven't had the chance to hold these machines themselves. I just wanted to let prospective buyers know that potential disappointments persist, and that the new MacBooks aren't immune.

    Nonsense is better than no sense at all = Imperfect notebook is better than no computer at all

    Like I said in my original post, I think all the members of this forum are blessed to have expensive computers to enjoy/bemoan. We are extremely fortunate not to be dodging gunfire in our streets 24/7.
     
  13. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #13
    You're saying that one store sold 1400 MacBooks?

    I find that very hard to believe that any store -- even the NY one -- moved that many in just over two weeks. My own Apple Store can't keep them in stock but even then, they get -- on average -- about two shipments a week of MacBooks and even then, only 6-10 at a time.

    [Edit] Or are you also including the Pros in that number as well?
     
  14. Benjamin Black thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dalls, TX
    #14
    Um, to be fair this means nothing. I was told this repeatedly regarding the MBP. IF there is a problem, they aren't going to tell you about it, because that would obviously detract from sales.

    That said, it would seem that they have had a little more time to get things right with the MacBook. So I do hope you are right.
     
  15. celebrian23 macrumors 65816

    celebrian23

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Under the sun
    #15
    I think you have to remember that not everyone returns theirs even if there is a problem. A lot of times a person just shrugs it off if it's something they can live with and they don't want to go through the trouble of returning it. 1/1400=an extemely small percentage, unrealistic even.
     
  16. TechnoPagan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    #16
    Well, kinda. If the 50 people are in a mall, travelling from the food court without having washed their hands before they lay a finger on the MB, it does make a difference. The owner, presumably, will be a lot more careful with his machine than the (literally) unwashed masses that wander into an Apple Store to play with the pretty toys.
     
  17. celebrian23 macrumors 65816

    celebrian23

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Under the sun
    #17
    blackbooks will show grease and oil. white ones will show dirt a lot easier. Pick whichever is less disturbing to you :p
     
  18. Benjamin Black thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dalls, TX
    #18
    My point is that two hands over a lifetime will accumulate more oil/grease than 50 hands over a few days (apparently it can't be wiped off, but just becomes part of your MB). But I'll give you the foodcourt business. The grease is present on single-user "BlackBooks". Several owners of these computers have posted annoyance at this. I was simply confirming that this is an issue (if this wouldn't bother you, obviously it's a non-issue.)

    Funny thing is many of the owners have said that they think this "problem" will begin to subsist the more they handle their machine - eventually the oil marks will be everywhere, so there won't be isolated smudges - there will be smudges everywhere.
     
  19. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #19
    Really? Where do you live? I live in Minnetonka...it's amazing how many people on this site live in the MN suburbs...
     
  20. pammyspyce macrumors regular

    pammyspyce

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, Calif
    #20
    I took my 3rd MacBook back for a refund yesterday. When I got up to the counter and told the guy I wanted to return my MB he sighed and said, "not another one." I said, "what?" And he said, "nothing, you're just the 4th person to return a MacBook today." o_O
     
  21. m-dogg macrumors 65816

    m-dogg

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #21
    Do what I did - Keep your iMac G5 and buy a refurbished powerbook for mobility. Sure, it isn't as powerful as a MBP, but you'd still have the G5 to help handle any heavy lifting. And you can continue using your current PPC software with a final revision PB while all these Intel hiccups get worked out.

    I bought my PowerBook after I got sick of waiting for the new MacBooks to come out. I saw the new MB's in person for the first time a couple nights ago, and I had no regrets on my decision.
     
  22. TechnoPagan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    #22
    Benjamin Black
    Ew. I mean, you're probably right, but the very thought makes me a wee bit queasy.
     

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