First post here. Need some advice... considering switching to Windows to save $

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by IndecisiveCollegeKid, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. IndecisiveCollegeKid macrumors newbie

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    #1
    First post here. Long time lurker since I’ve been pondering where to go with my next computer.

    First, a little background..

    I’ve been a Mac user since early 2012, so about four years solid. I have an 11” mid 2011 Macbook Air. For the most part, runs just as good as the day I got it. I got this as a college computer right before I graduated high school, but couldn’t start college until two years after I graduated due to health issues. I’ll be graduating from my two year program next spring. From there, I plan on getting a Bachelors. The MacBook Air has served me very well. Unfortunately the battery life isn’t the best, and carrying around a cord around campus is physically difficult for me since I can’t plug it in myself (I’m in a wheelchair). Even though I had the battery replaced around 6 months ago, it still drains faster than I would like. I basically am upgrading so I can get better battery life—ideally nine hours or more--but I’m not sure what to upgrade to.

    In a perfect world, I’d love to replace this with another Mac. At the time the MBA was released, it was the lightest thing on the market, which was my primarily reason for buying it. Because of my disability, even the smallest bit of weight counts. Additionally, my old Windows laptop was slow, always needed work/had some sort of virus, and would constantly overheat to the point of shutting itself down, so I made the switch. I do know that the retina MacBook is even lighter than the 11” Air, which is huge for me. I also love OS X and have had zero issues with it.

    Although I can technically afford another Mac and have had the money saved up for awhile just in case, I know there are cheaper options available. My van has some issues currently, and I’d like to have a decent chuck of money saved up if I need to fix it. It's really the only vehicle I can use since it has my ramp.

    I guess this leads me to: If I switched back to Windows to save money, would it be stable? Buying a Windows laptop would, in theory, put another ~$600 in my pocket over the Retina MacBook. I’ve heard really great things about Windows 10, but haven’t used it yet due to all desktops both at home and on campus still having Windows 7. I know there’s a lot of lightweight laptops currently available, as well. I don’t really care what OS it runs, as long as it works. Have they come far enough where I wouldn’t have to worry about things like trackpad issues, overheating, and malware?

    If they have, I’d be willing to give it a shot. I do know for sure that the Surface is out for me (although people love them). I don’t really have use for a detachable keyboard or a touch screen. That would actually make things more complicated for me. I don’t write well due to fine motor issues, but I type very fast—around 70 WPM. In other words, I don’t need a touch screen, just a light, stable laptop with awesome battery life so I don’t constantly have to ask someone to plug the charger in for me on campus.

    Currently, I use my Mac for homework/document creation, music, email, iTunes, and web browsing. Pretty basic stuff. Again, I’d be willing to buy another Mac if it’s still smoother than Windows. It’s worked beautifully. It would, however, be nice to save some money if Windows has really improved since 10 was released. To save or splurge...

    If anyone has an opinion or computers to recommend on either side based off what information I have here, that would be awesome. Thanks!
     
  2. SteveJUAE, Jan 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #2
    I think to give a more rounded assistance we would also need to know how important the KB ergonomics is to you ie must it be the equivalent or better as often lighter/smaller/cheaper laptops have some compromises in these areas, even the rMB has very short travel compared to your 11" MBA

    Likewise a brief explanation if interface to your phone (IPhone ?) has any extra importance for your needs.

    Obviously the new 11" MBA have outstanding battery life and are cheaper than the rMB you have not noted why this may not be the easiest solution for you, or are you trying to go below this entry point on price. If you are also considering other OS outside Windows or OSX then the floor opens up considerably

    As you have read here many find discounted prices on for their Apple products and others (eg Open box) but presumably we can ignore these opportunities for the sake of fairness in comparisons and options.

    In truth most Win10 laptops come with touch screens and although you may not feel you cannot take full advantage of these often it has little or no premium attached and of course you can just ignore this (I did on my top end Vaio Z Pro prior to Win 10) and you may find some aspects may help, just look at it as a bonus IMO. Likewise removable KB's although presumable clamshell is the best footprint wise for you(ie no kickstands or folding supports is preferred). Likewise I assume that some of the advance features of trackpads is also difficult to use.

    Window 10 has many facilities to assist anyone with all kinds of problems and it should also not be understated the additional flexibility of ease of access or UI scaling options offered as often these higher res screens fonts etc can become quite small especially for us that wear reading glasses. Further more with Cortana you may find additional usage in some areas and is getting better. Additionally screen mirroring to TV' and other household appliances for music etc seems far less restrictive and voids the requirement to plug in cables or have specific OEM equipment.

    As for security issues a lot of this is dependent on the user ie How paranoid you are, where you point your browser and how do you respond to emails noting you have just won a million :). Many now consider there is little requirement for 3rd party antivirus programs in Win10 although having one installed is very much automated now ie a one time install and forget. IMO many pros vs cons over OSX vs Win10 are a bit too argumentative for the average user and often descend in to the minutiae of details.

    Let us know so we can offer a more focused suggestion :)
     
  3. IndecisiveCollegeKid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Edit: I completely missed the part about the keyboard. Took a minute for what you meant to register :p I can type on pretty much any keyboard, even the Retina MacBook one that I tried in the store. I know a lot of people hate it, but I love it. I touch type.

    I was considering the Retina MacBook because it was the lightest option available. I have an iPhone and take calls on it, plus it integrates super well. I'm not sure if there's something similar available on Windows 10, but have had to take calls on my computer because I couldn't reach my phone numerous times. Super convenient.

    I assume you're talking about ports (or lack thereof)? I have a flash drive but rarely use it due to the fact that I can't print directly off the computer - I have to plug to a school computer and print it there. Nine times out of ten, I e-mail assignments directly from the hard drive. The only issue I can really see is using my external hard drive for backups - but aren't the adapters fairly cheap?

    For what it's worth, I also have an Apple TV that I connect via iTunes occasionally to access Apple Music files. I'm not super tied to the Mac system, but it is pretty convenient to have everything sync.

    Let me know if that answered your questions!
     
  4. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #4
    Synch issues s not a major problem with any system these days :) and somewhat an overplayed card.

    As you have Apple TV you solved home issues but windows will beam to many devices, ports etc was not a real issue more of a convenience or inconvenience with dongles and leads and there is WiFi alternatives :)

    Only 3 questions:

    Why not the 2015 MBA 11" only a marginal weight delta but a large price one ?

    How important is laptop answering of calls as windows only offers missed call notification and sending of sms with IPhone/Android unless you have a windows phone which should offer more options, Imessages or similar is covered by skype and other popular apps. ?

    What do you think you may miss most of all from OSX, I know this is subjective but you may feel their is a compromise that may or may not not exist from your own preferences or experience ?
     
  5. IndecisiveCollegeKid, Jan 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

    IndecisiveCollegeKid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    1) It sounds crazy, but that little bit does make a difference! Super pathetic to admit, but the smaller form factor and lower weight of the retina MacBook (or a Windows equivalent) is noticeable. Lighter is better in my case, unfortunately..

    2) Read this wrong. It's late. It's pretty important actually. I do have an app on my Amazon Echo for the same purpose though, so I could probably adapt it somehow. The only thing that sucks about that is it doesn't work if the wifi is down :/

    3) I really really love Mac trackpads. I would hope that other laptops made progress in this regard, but my last laptop had a super buggy trackpad.. it would constantly jump around the screen for no reason. I was never able to fix it and it was super frustrating. As I said before, I'd love to keep the ability to make calls. Other than that, as long as it's stable, I'd be willing to find something similar as far as size and weight on the Windows side and see if I like it. I'm not really sure where to look!
     
  6. SteveJUAE, Jan 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #6
    Thanks :)

    I am a bit concerned for you with the rMB as to achieve your target >9hrs battery life you will have to be quite minimalist with use and that defeats your other wishes. If you have noticed the Guys getting good battery life on the move are not running WiFi/BT and background apps continuously and with medium to low screen brightness. In this respect only, the current MBA's trumps over the rMB.

    I'm not normally budget restricted so I tend not to look as close at these other cheaper options other than normal curiosity, having said that my recent interest in light weight/longevity tablets with KB's running Win10 was piqued by a friend

    Finding the equivalent trackpad will be difficult on budget laptops however they are not as glitch as you found previously

    I will try to find suitable alternatives for you to consider, as I'm sure others will :)
     
  7. Admiral, Jan 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016

    Admiral macrumors regular

    Admiral

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    #7
    How about a supplemental power solution that would give you a longer workday with an external battery that could be mounted on your wheelchair? In this regard I think maybe a HyperJuice external battery pack would keep a Retina MacBook (or even your existing MacBook Air, if you're otherwise still satisfied with it) juiced up for 12-16 hours even with heavy use. And you would then charge it back up once you got home for the day. But no need to fumble around with cords and worry about access to outlets during the day.

    You say the MacBook Air runs as good now as the day you bought it. Would you keep it, if the battery life was better? If your 2011 MacBook Air battery life isn't the best, it's probably because of so many cycles on the battery. Five years is a long time. Those batteries are cheap now, about fifty bucks, and easy (for someone other than you) to replace, with the right tools. Any friend should be able to help you replace that battery.

    Here's another tip: Companies like HyperJuice's maker, Sanho Corporation, are always looking for reviewers to review their product and publish about it, and often will give a unit to a reviewer for that purpose. Your disability keeps you in that wheelchair all day and makes it hard to get to an outlet? Perfect. You're one of the use cases that HyperJuice was created to serve. You're a reviewer whose opinion can be trusted, because you're really going to put it through its paces. Contact them and ask for a review unit. Dollars to doughnuts you'll get one in the mail.
     
  8. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #8
    I think you will find the OP changed his batteries 6 months back :), like you I thought of a supplementary battery but thought that sort of missed the point as laptop + external battery is likely to = rMBP opposed to something more minimalist and conservative on power resources to achieve weight and daily endurance targets
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #9
    I think you should go with a new 11" MBA and save your money over the retina model, as nice as it is.

    I don't believe you are going to find a Windows laptop that is lighter than the Air and gets more than about 5-6 hours of real-world battery life.
     
  10. bbrks macrumors 65816

    bbrks

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    #10
    I don't want to go in too many details, but if you really want to switch to Windows lap top, I can recommend the HP Elite Book 820 G2. I am using it now for about 3 months and I am really pleasantly surprised with it's performance with Windows 10. I have a basic version, but with 16GB RAM and Samsung PRO 256 GB SSD. One of the lightest machines on the market with 12.5 " screen. But, you wont get battery autonomy for more than 6 to 7 hours. And also, if you got used to MAC screen, no Windows lap top can match that. Speed and performance though is definitely on a MBP Retina level.
     
  11. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #11
    You should not consider the retina Macbook if battery life is a prime consern. It has the shortest battery life of all Apple laptops at the moment. And if the 2011 Macbook Air suits you now, a new model will surely raise the bar.
     
  12. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

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    #12
    Your question seems to be about saving money, but in case you didn't know, many of us run Windows 10 on our Retina MacBook's, my opinion, it's the best transportable Windows machine money can buy. I get 9+ hours of battery, it lasts me all day, and the light weight is completely a gamechanger, especially for a student on a sprawling campus. I never run OSX, only Windows 10 on my RMB, but if in a pinch I needed to iMessage or FaceTime or AirPlay or AirDrop its cool to know those features are there, only a few clicks away.

    Point being, if you find a $900 Retina MacBook you can use Boot Camp to run both OSX and Windows if that matters to you, there is value in that which may offset the few hundred you'd save by getting an HP or a Toshiba at Best Buy. The weight is the big thing. Cheap notebooks run about 6 pounds with the power brick you'll have to carry around all the time. The RMB is under 2 pounds.

    BJ
     
  13. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #13
    Saving is great. However, ask yourself what you really need. That will define your options.
     
  14. IndecisiveCollegeKid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Thanks for the input! Given everyone's opinions and advice, I think I'll get a MacBook Air 11." It's not the lightest, but still super light, and I could get it for a decent price with a student discount. Battery is another huge reason I think I'll stick with it. I didn't know the Retina MacBooks have had battery issues prior to reading these forums. I was under the impression those got 9 hours. The Windows laptop recommended would totally be for me, but unfortunately has a shorter battery life. I want to be sure the battery will get me through a whole day on campus without a charge. I have my textbooks on my computer, as well, so I use a lot of battery life.

    I would have to upgrade to 256 GB SSD (what I have currently) as I have just under 128 used on my current computer. Everything else would be the same. :) Thanks for being super helpful!
     
  15. iosuser macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Which has higher priority, battery life or price? A Windows laptop with good battery (and light weight) will easily cost as much as a new MacBook Air.

    If you don't mind buying used, there's a reputable seller here selling a 2014 11" Air for $579 with warranty till 4/2016 in the for sale section here. I believe the 2014 MBA11 will last 9-10 hours. Most Windows laptops have wildly exaggerated battery life claims. I had a 2015 Dell XPS13. Dell claims *15* hours. Best I could get was 10 under very light use. 8 was typical. Very good for a Windows laptop still, but far from Dell's claim, and cost as much as a MacBook Air.
     
  16. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I have seen these external batteries that dock with the power adapter.

    You could extend your internal battery that way.

    I don't think you will find a Windows machine with 9 hr battery life..
    Plus the usual slowdowns, spyware etc over time..
     
  17. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #17
    I think this is the best option for you as it's simple any brand of laptop using the same processor and similar screen will give similar endurance relative to battery size. The only way for you to gain better endurance will be to opt for a different processor. That means an Atom or Skylake M series for you, given looking at price point.

    There are options in these 2 specs for you but the newer Skylakes will be more expensive and closer to the MBA price an may only give a marginal boost over the MBA. You will notice a difference in performance with the Atom types which may not be agreeable.

    Before you buy you should look at one or two laptops in these configs too be sure IMO although I think you will find the deltas pros/cons will be outweighed by your familiarity with OSX and other minor points
     
  18. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #18
    There's definitely a lot of options. You could sell your current MacBook Air, wait (if possible) for the new ones in the Spring (either for a better MacBook with Retina display or for good deals on the current MacBook Airs).

    One thing for sure: do not buy a MacBook at full price, there are always sales that could save you at least $100 :)
     
  19. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #19
    I went from a MBP to the MBA for similar reasons. When you're not fully abled, every ounce counts. The MBP took two hands to life, and the Air can be held in one. When I have all day meetings, I don't bother with a power cord and have never run down the battery.
     
  20. IndecisiveCollegeKid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Where could I find that? May check it out.

    Also been finding things on other sources like groupon and craigslist, etc, but not sure how reputable those are...
     
  21. iosuser macrumors 6502a

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    #21
  22. IndecisiveCollegeKid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I don't do anything super heavy, so the processor/RAM doesn't mean much. I know a lot of users like to especially stress higher RAM, but 4GB has suited me just fine. Same for the processor as well.

    I would love to sell it, but I'm not sure what to sell it for. Would ~$250 be reasonable, or could I do something lower?

    It really does make a huge difference. My last laptop prior to this was a 15" (parents got it for me for Christmas), and it was so huge, I could hardly carry it - it was more than double the weight of my current MacBook, around 6 pounds. I'm so glad I found something that's both light and effective!

    It seems I don't have permission to access the page. Could this be due to the fact that I'm a new user here?
     
  23. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #23
    I'm no expert in re-sale value, but $250 seems a bit too low.
     
  24. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    #24
    You should look at the compromises you would make if you opted for say:

    Asus EeeBook X205TA or Lenovo Yoga 2 10" windows version or the Dell XPS non touch

    All should reach your battery/weight requirements and price :) but only the Dell offers comparable spec to what your use to, plus a much better screen

    They all do the basics you require but don't expect anything special from the Asus or Lenovo, but look at the price :)

    The 11" MBA just meets your needs on endurance and is familiar it's the easy option for you
     
  25. iosuser macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Oh yes it requires a certain number of postings before access to the for sale section is granted. Sorry.
     

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