If you were a writer, which would you choose?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GanChan, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. GanChan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    #1
    Let's say you're a writer in need of a cheap portable work machine. Your computing needs mainly include word processing and Wi-Fi web browsing (including the ability to switch between web research and writing without too much hassle). You're eternally strapped for cash but might be able to scrape a few hundred bucks together to make this happen. Do you go with:

    1. A iPad2
    2. An old, used G4 iBook or Powerbook
    3. A new but cheap PC netbook
    4. Other???

    Thanks!
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Texas
    #2
    Netbook. More portable than a PB/iBook with a much better battery.

    If you write a lot, you're going to want the physical keyboard over the iPad's touchscreen.

    Did you intend this to be a poll?
     
  3. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

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  4. GanChan thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2005
    #4
    No, I just thought I'd include the various options that were on my mind. The physical (if small) keyboard and price are both points in a netbook's favor. The fact that it'll come with Windows isn't. :)
     
  5. astrorider macrumors 6502

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    Sep 25, 2008
    #5
    If you're considering a $399 iPad2 + external keyboard, maybe you could swing a Macbook. You'll have better support for newer software. They're listed for $479 currently, but this site has had frequent sales for around $440.
    Megamacs

    A good site to keep an eye out for deals is dealmac.com. Search for "used macbook" so see what's been available recently.

    Ebay is another option.
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #6
    You can get a full-size keyboard on 11.6" netbooks.
     
  7. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    Detroit
    #7
    Based on your criteria, I'd go with a netbook. Otherwise I'd say an iPad w/BT keyboard, but you want to be able to do research and write at the same time, and the iPad isn't the fastest or easiest thing to multi-task on.
     
  8. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #8
    I'd suggest trying out a couple of your options if you can to see which keyboard suits you best – after all, if you're using it for writing you're going to be using the keyboard a lot and it'll be important to have something that you're comfortable with.
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    Not the iPad. While they write, they aren't meant for writing.

    If you are strapped for cash, then something with a warranty. Which means new or refurbished. A MacBook Air from the refurbished store is perhaps a bit out of your range, but would fill your needs exactly.

    If you don't need to go with Apple, then a net book would be my suggestion.

    Unless someone will give you an old iBook or Macbook for free, or for $50 or less. You could use that, but the cash you have away for a bit and perhaps add to the balance. It will just be a matter of time before the old iBook or MacBook will need replacing, but at least you've bought yourself some time.

    Luck.
     
  10. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #10
    If your strapped I would look for a decent 2008ish MB. The MB would serve your needs very well and they can be had for a fair price. I wouldn't recommend an iPad, while yes they can do word processing they are more a media consumption and presentation device, even with a keyboard I wouldn't really recommend it. Here is an example of one for $400 http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Apple-MacBo...pt=Apple_Laptops&_pcategid=111422&_pcatid=529
     
  11. GanChan thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2005
    #11
    LOL - I stopped into Fry's to check out a few netbooks, examine the keyboards, etc., but it must have been a slow day there because I was so piled-on by salespeople I ran out of there as fast as I could. Seriously, after the third guy in one minute asked me if if I had any questions, I was ready to yell "Have I ASKED any?" So much for that, I guess.
     
  12. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #12
    Used C2D MacBook Air, you'll be glad you did!L
     
  13. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Out of the options you listed, I'd suggest an old PowerBook. If you can scrape together a little more, I'd suggest a used 11-inch MacBook Air. I'm working on my first novel and this is the machine I use the most to write (along with the Scrivener app). I've tried writing on my iPad but I'm just so much faster on a physical keyboard that I rarely try anymore these days.
     
  14. Captain Cat macrumors newbie

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    Apr 19, 2012
    #15
    An interesting machine to get might be the 17" PowerBook. Fairly cheap, nice keyboard (backlit even), easy multitasking (screen). You'll be limited to Tiger/Leopard though (recommend Tiger for speed).
     
  15. nastebu macrumors 6502

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    #16
    My first Mac was an old powerbook that a friend donated in exactly these circumstances. It was wonderful and I would recommend going that route. The iPad and Netbook are both niche machines that limit you in screen size or keyboard--really the two most important things for writing. An older MacBook sacrifices speed, but that really won't be a factor assuming you're just running the necessary writing software--word processor, bibliographic program, journalling program, todo list program, scrivener, etc.
     
  16. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #17
    I write for a living.

    Option 2 is the only one I'd consider ... and even then, I'd have to grit my teeth. Old machines are invariably slow machines, and my time is money.

    If you're swapping files online, you will quickly run up against software limitations with the G4 processor. Still, it's the best solution for someone with limited funds.
     
  17. caligomez macrumors regular

    caligomez

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    San Juan, PR
    #18
    +1... Except I don't think you'll be able to find a 2010 Macbook Air in your price range. However, doing a quick search in eBay I saw a few used white Macbooks pre unibody (2007 / 2008) that were going for about the same price of an iPad 2.

    That model would be a good fit. I still have one, and my kids give it a daily beating (playing flash games online).. Hasn't failed once..
     
  18. KingJosh macrumors 6502

    KingJosh

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    Australia
    #19
    definitely not iPad (terrible keyboard for writing) and iOS is a pain to deal with it is more of an entertainment system than work system.

    Old mac might not last long and is bulky. You may as well go with a PC netbook which is thin and cheap and packs more power than an old mac probably price matched.

    os x is still over windows just but on the decline and probably sink under windows soon enough. I would go for the PC. I am about to convert back to PC after 8 years of mac.
     
  19. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #20
    What a lively sense of humor you have! I wish there were a "Best of MacRumors" award - I'd nominate you!
     
  20. Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    Sep 19, 2003
    #21
    Anything that can run Scrivener. It's available for Windows now, but it's a generation behind the Mac version.

    I'd go with a used MBA (or a refurb, if your budget allows it). If you're strapped for cash, then get a used MacBook. Don't get a PowerBook––the PPC processor will limit what you can run.
     
  21. KingJosh macrumors 6502

    KingJosh

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    #22
    I am sure you would receive the award nominated by a lot of other people complaining about the way os x is going then too.
     
  22. urweirdmister macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
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    Los Angeles, Ca
    #23
    iPad all the way

    I use my new iPad for writing all the time. I use CloudOn to send documents to my laptop or iPhone over Dropbox and its great. I also use the on screen keyboard and it works fine, so i could imagine using a bluetooth keyboard would be great. The benefit of the ipad is you can use it literally anywhere and the battery lasts FOREVER. I know you could use a netbook anywhere, but personally they just feel weird to use.
     
  23. Mike Valmike macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 27, 2012
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    Chandler, Arizona
    #24
    I'm a professional legal writer and let me tell you, the iPad and the netbooks don't cut it. You're better off getting a slightly older refurb Wintel notebook or better yet Mac notebook, if you find one where the numbers line up for you. A post-2008 Air would be great if you can find it, due to battery life, especially if it's an SSD model.

    I use an iMac, but non-writing considerations play into that, such as my recreational need to edit audio and video and serve media to the ATV3 in the living room. I could have a much older, weaker Mac and still have plenty of writing capability. So can you.
     
  24. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #25
    Get a Windows notebook. Windows and OS X are almost the exact same thing for what you'll be using it for: Microsoft Word and your browser of choice.
     

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