If you've *ever* bought a Mac, chances are I could use your experience!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dr Venture, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Dr Venture macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #1
    Sorry for this thread kind of addressing a dozen ideas at once, but I really wanted to get your opinions on this... dilemma, and "other" tech discussion sites can't handle Apple-related discussions because they can't get past that people would buy from Apple( long story, different time and place).

    So here's my question or concern or whatever it is: I'm looking at the iPhone and I like it( minus the lack of 3G which is, in my humble opinion, a bit of a slap in the face), but I also like the Macbook. This might be because I saw the Macbook Air and appreciated what an affordable little powerhouse the Macbook really was, but that's for another subject.

    On the OTHER hand, maybe I should just settle down proverbially and get a desktop in the form of an iMac( after much more waiting than the other two options would entail), a possible option that I only just accepted as that( possible) after seeing how fast the thing booted up at my new job at my community college.

    Yikes, so I'm looking at a ton of options, in my opinion: An iMac, a Macbook, or an iPhone. I'm sure I'm not giving enough information to let anyone really help me, so if you still don't know what the heck I'm looking for, read on( and thanks for bearing with me!):

    I have my laptop with me all the time, but it's a big heavy Thinkpad and, while it's powerful, I'd like to bring a small laptop with me instead of that one for short trips where I'll just need to type some stuff up and browse the web occasionally. That said, maybe the iPhone would be better in addition to my Thinkpad because I'll be able to browse the web more easily( this ease of use being the trade off for not being able to type very much).

    Or, alternatively, I could get an iMac and enjoy the simplicity of it on my desktop. That faster boot-up was really impacting, for some reason.

    Any suggestions? I'd be much more inclined to get an iPhone if it had 3G built in, but if it's the best thing since sliced bread even WITHOUT it, then I can't really argue with that. The Macbook would be incredibly appealing if it booted up in under a minute without any tweaking, but I'd like to hear from anyone who got an iMac and felt, after buying it, that it was just the be-all end-all computer for them.

    Phew! I'm grateful for your just READING that entire thing, I don't know what to say about getting responses, haha.
     
  2. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #2
    If I were in your situation, I would go with an iPhone.

    How old is your Thinkpad?
     
  3. hockeysc23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #3
    Hey I know how easy it can be to get your head spinning about what mac to buy.

    I have had macs since 4th grade and will only use them. I recommend you evaluate how much the portability is important to you and whether or not you want 2 machines.

    If you only want 1 computer for awhile they figure out how much you travel or would use the laptop away from a desk. You will find that both the macbook (i just purchased one) and the iMac (my dad has one) are great machines and you will be happy with either.

    I recommend going iMac first (if you don't travel a lot) and getting a powerful desktop. Macs can run a long time. Then if you see your needs changing move into a Macbook.

    You really cannot go wrong with either but I don't think an iPhone (while awesome) fits your needs at this moment. Wait for a 3G version for the iPhone.
     
  4. forafireescape macrumors 6502a

    forafireescape

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #4
    I agree - don't go with the iPhone. If you bring your computer around a lot, which it sounds like you do, go MacBook.
     
  5. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #5
    You already have a good notebook and I assume you have a cell phone.
    I'd go with the iMac. (24")
     
  6. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #6
    That's the thing, it's really new, less than a year old. I was really hesitant about a Macbook because I already have this new laptop, but it's such a portable device compared to this 15.4" thing that it'd be nice to carry it around.

    @hockeysc23: I know what you mean. The iPhone really trips up when it comes to 3G, but I can't even imagine what my usage would be like on an unlimited plan. Right now I hardly use my 3G service, but when I do it's VERY capably fast. If they come out with a 3G device, I'd probably get it in a heartbeat, but I'm... hesitant about it.

    I'm liking the idea of the iMac because of the really good impression I got from using it, heh. Does anyone know what kind of specs it takes to run it comfortably? is 2.0 Ghz too slow or 1 GB of RAM not enough? I think I'd get the 20" iMac if I got an iMac at all...
     
  7. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #7
    The 24"? Do you think the difference is very important? I don't think I've ever used a computer monitor bigger than 15.4"( I've used laptops for years and small-ish monitors before that), so I don't really know what 20 versus 24 would mean to me in terms of experience...
     
  8. forafireescape macrumors 6502a

    forafireescape

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    Jan 16, 2008
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    NJ
    #8
    Don't go for the 24" if you don't need to - the 20" is plenty big.
     
  9. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #9
    The 24" iMac has a much higher quality LCD panel than the 20" iMac.
    The difference is not at all subtle.
     
  10. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #10
    Oh, also, does anyone know what my options might look like if I wanted to put more RAM in the thing? I've seen walkthroughs of opening up iMacs, but I don't know if I'd be really interested in trying that if there's a very present danger that even a careful user could ruin something. I don't remember RAM being that expensive on other sites and I was thinking I could get the 1 GB option and then putting in 2x2GB pieces instead of the 1GB.

    Edit: Also, I wouldn't really care at all if the thing runs comfortably with 1 GB, hehe.
     
  11. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #11
    One problem with the iphone part of the plan is that... If you are traveling and staying in hotels, some hotels do not offer wifi. Which will suck because then you'll be working off the EDGE, unless you're in portland, which has wifi throughout the streets. WOOT!

    The imac is a very powerful machine, but I really can't live without my laptop. The ability to pick up and move is a very sexy idea, and yes I know you can get imac backpacks to move them, but it's not the same.

    If you're not going to be doing anything but browsing the internet and checking your email then either of these machines are great.

    I know I didn't help, but Hell I threw my two cents in.
     
  12. pscoble macrumors 6502

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    Sep 11, 2006
    Location:
    Petaluma
    #12
    Oh boy the 20" has a beautiful screen. Good lord you people make it sound like total crap. 1500$ 20" is a great deal if you want a desktop, but so is the 2.0 model. The iMacs are great.
     
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #13
    I've got enough Macs under my roof to probably qualify to give you an answer - even after having given some to my parents, there's a 24" Aluminum iMac, a 17" white iMac, a mini, a MacBook, and a MacBook Pro. And an iPhone.

    The 24" iMac is wall-mounted on a swing-out arm (the 20" iMacs aren't mountable), and I use a wireless KB and mouse with it. It is, by far, my favorite Mac. The screen is big and beautiful (the 24" screens are higher quality than the 20" screens). If you can afford a 24" (new or old style, any speed), you will love it like you'd love your child. Especially if it's wall mounted.

    The 20" iMac, which I don't own but have used, is very similar to the 24", just not as nice of a screen (but still, for non-snobs, a nice screen) and not wall mountable. Both are silent. Silent is good.

    The MacBook is a nice little laptop, and I especially like the keyboard, but the screen is only of middling quality. Not bad, not good. It's a solid little laptop, although I prefer the MBP (but I do like the MB's KB better, except that it isn't backlit).

    The mini is so damned cute you have to love it, but it doesn't seem like it's what you want. It's not stunningly powerful, but it's on par with the MacBook, for the most part.

    The iPhone is nice, but... it's not a computer replacement.

    If it were me, I'd get an iMac - a 24" one if you could possibly swing it - and, if you're still jonesing for a laptop replacement, get a Nokia N810 (or N800 plus a $20 BT keyboard). The N800 is priced less than an iPod Touch and, while not as spiffy, it's a lot more customizable. The N810 costs twice as much but has a keyboard and built-in GPS.

    The iMac isn't mobile. But a desktop's a good thing to have, too - easy to add external drives, easy to attach elgato's products to it to record TV, etc.
     
  14. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #14
    Right, I was incredibly disappointed when I saw Steve's keynote and mentioned the EDGE network. If they updated it for the Mobile World Congress or something then I'd be much more likely to get it, but I don't think I'd be too happy about using a slower network.

    Some people have mentioned this, so I'll put it straight: I'm fine with my Thinkpad as it is right now, but it'd be a nice improvement to get the Macbook and leave the Thinkpad at home and occasionally bring it for more intensive projects. I travel occasionally, but I wouldn't say more than once a year, and during those times I might just bring my Thinkpad instead because it's such a sturdy machine. I was thinking of the Macbook for going to and from school( basically being out and occasionally on my computer for less than 8 hours in a given day).

    I think I'll be going with the iMac 24" if the panels are really that much better than the 20" models. I'll most likely find myself getting an iPhone when they launch a 3G version. I guess that whittles the subject down quite a bit.

    Any input on upgrading the RAM once it's with me? 150 dollars for another stick of 1GB RAM is really expensive... I'm not too concerned about the hard drive, I'll probably work out some central file server for my computers to access from anywhere in the network, so the hard drive would just have to be enough to run programs and possibly hold music or something.
     
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #15
    I bought 4GB of RAM from DMS (because they're right up the road from me and I can drive to get it). At the time, it was $109 for the better RAM. It's still under $100 for 4GB of decent RAM.

    It took all of about 2 minutes to install.

    And, yes, the 24" panels are quite superior to the 20" ones. If you don't see them side-by-side, though, it's not as noticeable.
     
  16. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #16
    My goodness, you're a Mac connoisseur, hahaha. I can get anything, technically. I'm not in a rush to get anything because I'm completely satisfied with my Thinkpad's computing abilities, but something about using the iMac at my job today pushed me over the edge. It was just too pleasant an experience for me not to get one. The catch is that if I'm going to get an iMac 24" I'll have to wait( and save up) significantly longer than if I were to get an iPhone( which I can afford as soon as my contract is up for renewal).

    Still, I'm willing to wait to get this thing since it's just such a solid computer.
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #17
    Well, as you know, computers don't get slower over time, so, by waiting, you might just get an even nicer system. :)
     
  18. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #18
    The RAM is extremely easy to upgrade in the new iMac; you simply unscrew the RAM access panel and snap the modules in place.
     
  19. Dr Venture thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #19
    I would like the Mac Mini if I had a nice monitor( or for that matter a monitor at all) to go with it. I can't use my TV because it's too big and it'd be a huge hassle to get it setup.

    But my gosh, I can't believe those things haven't caught on. It strikes me as incredibly futuristic.
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #20
    Well, depending on your TV, it's pretty simple. Mine's connected to a 37" HDTV, and it works great. But... TVs aren't so great for 'regular' computer use and are better for entertainment and/or video conferencing use.

    By the time you add a monitor, etc., to the mini, though, you might as well get a low end iMac.

    But agreed, the minis are wicked.
     
  21. deboni macrumors member

    deboni

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    #21
    My choices

    I have a PowerBook and an iPhone, and I've been through a couple of iMacs and other desktop Macs. Here's my take on your choices.

    The iMac is a nice machine. So are the MacBooks and MacBook Pros. And I like my iPhone.

    But...

    if I had to choose between (a) a Thinkpad and an iPhone, or (b) an Mac laptop and some other kind of phone, I'd choose combo (b). I'd also think about selling the Thinkpad. (I dislike them, and although less if they're running Linux.)

    I think a Mac laptop is generally more useful than an iPhone, so that's my choice.

    You can make a MacBook or MacBook Pro act enough like a desktop system to obviate the iMac, for a while.

    Tom
     
  22. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #22
    I have both a Macbook and an iPhone and I can give you a little advice in terms of portable web surfing. The iPhone is great if you need to pull info fast while out and about. I use it to check my e-mail and Google maps for traffic info multiple times a day. You do see a difference with speed when you are using it with wifi and then go to an edge connection. It's still completely usable but waiting for media rich websites to load can be a pain.

    All that said though, I wouldn't recommend one as a primary internet device while away from the home. I tried using the iPhone as my only mobile internet access for a few weeks and ended up going back to my Macbook for major internet usage. It wasn't the speed issue, it was comfort. The iPhone screen is nice but it's to small to use for extended use(I'm talking 30 min+). You start to get a bit of eye strain. Also, to read small text you end up holding the phone close to your face, which isn't the most ergonomic. Your arms start to get sore holding a device at eye level for long periods. A laptop is much more comfortable for things like that. If you use the internet for extended periods, stick with a laptop(either your Thinkpad or a Macbook).

    As for the Macbook, it is highly recommended. I have had mine for a year and a half and find it quite fast and reliable. The ram is really easy to upgrade. Actually there is picture instructions under the battery, by where the ram slots are located. The manual also has the same instructions. Easy to do and a lot cheaper than having Apple do it.

    That said, I would push you towards a iMac. Since you have a newer pc laptop it makes more sense getting a new desktop. It will also make it easier migrating over to the Mac os since you will still have a windows machine if you find yourself stuck on something. This is what I did. My first mac was an ibook that I used side by side with a pc desktop for a year before I replaced it with a Powermac. The iMacs are great machines and you should have a great experience with one.

    My two cents.
     
  23. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

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    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #23
    I think it is pretty easy to put in ram in an iMac. I know it is very easy with a MBP. So, do not pay for Apple Ram. It is way over-priced.
     

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