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A tale of two flawed experiences with non-Apple products


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 23, 2009
This is a quite long story, and a testimony to the quality of Apple products.

First, I want to make clear that I’m not an Apple fanboy or a Mac Evangelist or whatsoever. I am just a regular guy who has been using IBM PCs since 1993, and had the first experience with Apple products back in 2008, I guess. Since then, I bought a white MacBook, a 1st gen iPod Touch, an iPhone 4S, a 3rd gen iPad, an Apple TV and two iPod nanos. As I live in Brazil, Apple products are very expensive, and they only got some popularity during the 2000s. Still, Macs account for less than 1.5% of all computers around here, and the iPhone is much less popular than Android devices. This is all due to the very high prices of Apple products after the high taxes applied by Brazilian authorities, which make them absolutely out of reach for the vast majority of the population.

Said that, I’ve replaced two of these products with non-Apple devices, and the experience was frustrating. Let me tell you how it was. I would actually prefer to use non-Apple products, as I don't like closed ecosystems and I don't want to be dependent on a single company. I would like to have choices. But I don't want those frustrating experiences to repeat.

The first Apple product I’ve ever bought was a white polycarbonate MacBook, back in May 2008. It was equipped with a 13-inch display capable of a 1280x800 resolution, a Core 2 Duo T8300 at 2.4 GHz, an integrated video card, 2 GB RAM and a 160 GB HD. Even though it was one of Apple’s lower end offers, I paid about US$ 2,000 for it. It was a pleasant experience overall, as the laptop was thin and light, and had good input (mouse, trackpad, webcam), and was quite fast.

As time went by, the laptop became slower. Laptops soon became to feature a 16:9 screen ratio with higher resolutions than my Mac (and also than other Macs available). Screens soon began to feature LED backlightning, instead of CCFL as my MacBook. The Intel GMA X3100 integrated video card couldn’t handle it when I connected the Mac to an external high resolution monitor. The other components soon began to show their age too. The laptop came with Mac OS X 10.5 Lion installed, and when I installed Mountain Lion on it, it began to feel sluggish. I thought of upgrading it. But then, at the beginning of 2011, I dropped the laptop, and the screen broke. I found it was the perfect time for replacing it for another laptop. I could replace the screen, but the A/C adapter was not so good anymore, and the battery was failing. Even if I replaced all these components, the slowdowns would still exist. So, I went to the market to buy something else.

The first thing I thought was the MacBook Air. It had just been refreshed in late 2010. But Intel Sandy Bridge had just been launched in the beginning of 2011, and the MacBook Air still used Core 2 Duo processors (because Apple stubbornly wanted to use those NVIDIA integrated graphics cards, which Intel didn’t allow from Nehalem onwards). So, despite the MacBook Air looked great, I skipped it.

I went with a laptop which looked like it was a great cost/benefit factor. I was not too much into Mac OS X, so a Windows machine would do. I could never get rid of Microsoft Office, and never found a replacement for it running on OS X (not even Office for Mac, which is crap compared to the Windows version). So, a Windows machine could be the solution. And it was a Sager NP5600, featuring a brand-new Sandy Bridge Core i7-2720QM at 2.2 GHz, 8 GB RAM, an NVIDIA GT 540M video card and a 500 GB 7200 RPM HD with some 4 GB SSD for performance increase. The machine screamed. It had a bright 15.6-inch screen with a 1920x1080 resolution which put the screen on the Mac to shame.

The machine was a beast, but it didn’t provide the same level of experience then the Mac. The screen was definitely beautiful and very bright, although TN, but it came with a dead pixel and Sager wouldn’t replace it. But the worst part was the build quality, the design and lack of ergonomics. I never wanted it to look great, but design is not just about looking good. It is also, and most of all, about feeling good. And the Sager didn’t. Let me explain why.

First, the build quality was bad. The MacBook felt solid, even though it was made of polycarbonate. The Sager didn’t. It seemed to have plastic parts not well fitted into others. Felt cheap, and not too good to handle. It was thick and heavy, and not so good to carry around. The keyboard felt crap and cheap, and not half as pleasant to type on; the keyboard on the Mac, as a comparison, was great. The trackpad felt very crappy, to the point I couldn’t use it; I have to use a mouse with the Sager because I can’t handle the trackpad. The trackpad on the Mac, although not multi-touch, feels much softer and better overall. The webcam on the Sager produces low quality images and can’t capture enough light; the webcam on the MacBook is much better. And so on.

The crappy build quality of the Sager shows. I carried it around with me to work, and it had several issues. The A/C adapter got burnt four or five times, and I had to replace it. The HD got out of place and I had to take it to technical support; and so did the screen. My MacBook never had these issues.

A few months after I bought the Sager, I fixed the Mac. I went on to buy another battery and another A/C adapter for it. In the beginning of this year, I upgraded the memory to 4 GB and put a 120 GB SSD on it, replacing the HDD. Now, it is fast and zippy to boot and to open software, and to do most of the tasks I need, even though the processor and the video card are still slow and the screen doesn’t provide a lot of real estate to work on. As for the Sager, well, it is currently not working... I have to take it to repair to see what’s happening with it now.

The second experience was with a smartphone. I bought an iPhone 4S in March last year, and it was my first iPhone ever. Prior to it, I had a BlackBerry which was just terrible to use. The iPhone 4S was great, it had a great screen, 3G connectivity, and a fast processor. And provided a pleasant experience.

But then Apple has those things that got me frustrated. I had to be stuck with 16GB of flash memory, and couldn’t insert an SD card on it because Apple won’t allow me to. I can’t install any app that’s not available on the App Store. It’s too simple, I can’t do a lot of things with it. This year, I decided to replace my iPhone 4S. I thought of the iPhone 5, but gave up. It is very expensive here in Brazil (about US$ 1,300 the cheapest model), and availability is quite limited. In addition, it’s not compatible with the LTE frequency available here in Brazil.

So, I went with the Samsung Galaxy S4. It has a bright Super AMOLED 5-inch screen at 1920x1080 which is just gorgeous, and that’s a great factor that attacted me to it. I just looked at the screen and asked myself why Apple didn’t put such a great screen in the iPhone. And it worked with LTE frequencies here in Brazil. I just didn’t care about the plastic parts. So, I bought it, and it was much cheaper than the iPhone 5. And I sold my iPhone 4S to my sister.

The first day, I was loving it. It could do things I couldn’t imagine doing with the iPhone. It could do multi-tasking, real multi-tasking! I could customize it! I could read web pages on the screen without zooming, as the display was really large! There were so many possibilities... it was much, much better than the iPhone, why couldn’t everybody just see it?

The second day, I was hating it. The interface was confusing, and it required more steps to do simple things than the iPhone. The quad-core Snapdragon processor was fast, but there were much more slowdowns than the iPhone, and it actually felt slower. I couldn’t handle it comfortably with one hand, and I only realized how many things I did single-handed with the iPhone when I got the Galaxy and couldn’t do any of them. I have large hands, but I have to stretch my fingers to reach some parts of the screen, and that’s not comfortable at all. The screen is larger, but it seems that I make even more mistakes with the keyboard than I did when I was using the iPhone and its narrower screen. The touch screen of the Galaxy doesn’t seem to be so good and so precise as the one in the iPhone. And I got four viruses in just one day! I wanted my iPhone back!

So, I decided that I’m buying a new laptop this year, and it’s going to be a retina MacBook Pro, with its solid build quality, premium parts, and great high-resolution screen. And I’m also selling my S4, and replacing it with an iPhone 5. Perhaps I don’t get the ultimate hardware, but I get premium parts that make the whole difference and there are no trade-offs. I’m just tired of crappy products. Will I ever be able to get rid of Apple?


macrumors 604
Oct 13, 2008
This is a quite long story, and a testimony to the quality of Apple products.
So, I decided that I’m buying a new laptop this year, and it’s going to be a retina MacBook Pro, with its solid build quality, premium parts, and great high-resolution screen. And I’m also selling my S4, and replacing it with an iPhone 5. Perhaps I don’t get the ultimate hardware, but I get premium parts that make the whole difference and there are no trade-offs. I’m just tired of crappy products. Will I ever be able to get rid of Apple?

Apple has QT issues also, they cannot control what the refuse to make statside and in a country that prides itself on dishonesty from every angle.
Last edited by a moderator:


macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2012

I dont get this post.....Why "Will I ever be able to get rid of Apple"....? You have already stated two horrid experiences from your point of view. Anyways, in Brazil or any part of the world, you are free to buy or not Apple products. I know for sure for some time now Apple products are expensive in Brazil. But you mention premiun parts, user experience and another factors that make worth to you to shell out big $$ for Apple hardware.

In the world does not exist a perfect company. But if Apple fits the bill for you, maybe you have to bear their faults....just saying and sharing my POV....



macrumors 68040
Jun 13, 2004
I know this is annoying but it seems fitting to say...


Apple fanboy

macrumors Westmere
Feb 21, 2012
Behind the Lens, UK
Once you go Mac you never go back. I think all manufacturers have defects from time to time, but it's how apple deal with the issues you don't get elsewhere. I hope the new MBR works okay.
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