Is it worth it to get a Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cookiemonster19, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. cookiemonster19 macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2013
    I'm a high school student with 2 years to go until college, I use a 2 year old HP netbook now, and it's slowly dying, and I think it will die within the next year, so I need a new laptop sometime.

    I don't have any (working) desktops, at home, and everyone basically has their own laptops, so this'll be a standalone computer for me. I'm not generally worried about it being ultraportable and light.

    I was wondering if it was worth getting a Macbook Pro 13"... I would mostly use it at home and occasionally bring it to school.

    I occasionally use Photoshop and do other graphics work, but it'll mostly be surfing the web, and the occasional word processing.

    I'm also considering a Windows computer, it would probably be cheaper, but I'm just liking the overall design, and OS, of the Mac. So, in usability, a Windows machine would work too.

    So.. Is it worth it to get a Macbook, or would a Windows machine be better?
  2. Satori macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2006
    Welcome to MacRumors!

    In the end this will have to be YOUR choice.

    If you have the money then I don't think that you will regret buying a 13" MBP or rMBP. If you need windows at some stage, you can always put this on the MBP.
  3. F1 Fan macrumors regular

    F1 Fan

    Apr 18, 2012
    Well, a simple Windows machine would be cheaper but if you want a Mac and can afford one then I agree with Satori, you're unlikely to regret it.

    In your situation though, I would suggest the Air over the Pro. It'll save you some cash and actually be faster for your uses due to using flash rather than a hard drive. My understanding is that the extra processor power in the Pro only comes into its own when you're doing heavy video rendering or similar. The rest of the time, the hard disk will slow you down compared to the Air.
  4. IlikeMacsSoMuch, Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013

    IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    If you buy a cMBP (non - retina), yes is has a hdd which is slower, but you can easily upgrade the RAM and the HDD for a SSD yourself. Plus that model still has a dvd drive and an ethernet port, so you wouldn't need any adaptor. The upgradability will make it last much longer.

    By the way, for what you do with it, HDD is not so bad. But if you don't mind having an external dvd drive, you could buy the retina display, it already has a flash memory ( same thing than ssd). But I'd encourage you to max the RAM when you buy.

    For what you plan on doing with it, you will get much more bang for your buck with a Mac:apple: than you would with a comparably priced windows pc.

    And on the plus side, it is not a pc.:p!!!

    May I ask what you want you want to study at college? Because you should consider it before you buy because your mac will certainly last you for at least your first year of college.
  5. beautifulcoder macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    The Republic of Texas
    Wait. You said your 2 year old HP is dying. There is a reason you pay less for a Windows machine (it is a POS).

    I wouldn't waste my time. Unless you want to be in the same predicament in two years just spend a little extra and get the Mac. You will love it and most likely never look back.
  6. takeshi74, Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Worth (and better and many other words) depends on the person's needs/wants/etc. You need to give us the info needed to make such an assessment if you want us to tell you. If it was universally not worth it to high school students then no high school student would have one and that's definitely not the case.

    Either solution will meet your needs. Again, you have to define the criteria that specify where you draw the line.

    We can tell you what we prefer but that should be obvious consider the site you're asking this question on and our preferences/needs/wants/budget are going vary from your own so they're not necessarily relevant to you.

    I've used Windows machines for much longer than 2 years. You can't make broad, sweeping generalizations about such a diverse group of machines. You also can't assume that the OP will love it. Again, it's a subjective matter. OP would have to try one to find out.
    This is really like any other decision making process. List out your requirements and assign weights. Then consider how each option suits you. A Windows machine will probably be cheaper but how big of a priority is cheaper? I know I don't select everything that I prefer with cost as the highest priority, for example. Think it all through and you'll have your answer.
  7. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    Low end pc laptops are pretty much junk, but I have had some luck with the higher end laptops at work, even though Windows still gives me issues from time to time. I typically buy a used MacBook Pro with a minor problem and fix it or get it fixed and use it until I decide it is time to upgrade a year or two later. I like being able to come home from work from day of crashing Windows servers and computers to my MacBook Pro that I hardly ever have to tweak just to make run correctly. Even on Mac some software packages with clash with each other from time to time, but I hardly ever have the issue of a program crashing the whole OS, requiring a reboot, like I do with Windows.
  8. skaertus macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    The truth here is: either a Mac or a PC is fine for doing whatever you want or need to do, unless you have any specific needs which require one or another. PCs and Macs have evolved over the years and are both very capable platforms. At this point, they are both straightforward, reasonably stable and easy to use. So, it's a matter of personal preference more than anything else.

    Said that, a Mac provides a more limited, but a beautiful experience. If you're in the market for a Windows machine, then you have a wide range of options, and you may be able to get a very cheap laptop which will be adequate for your needs for well less than US$ 1,000, and perhaps as low as US$ 600 or US$ 700, or even lower. But achieving these low price points require manufacturers to compromise on several things: cheap and low quality components, lower-end specifications, and so on. Apple's offerings are different: you have a limited range of choices, and all of them are expensive, but then you get what you pay for: all current MacBooks are made of aluminum, with quality parts, and good, if not high-end, specifications. The parts which are not top-notch are at least adequate, and never low quality. A Mac is always a well-balance machine, and usually provides a good experience, with high level of satisfaction. Of course you may also get a top-notch Windows PC if you choose to pay the price for it, but even then you may get something that doesn't fit every requirement. The Acer Aspire S7, for instance, is said to have a low capacity battery, and the Asus Zenbook Prime is bashed for its touchpad; and both are expensive laptops, which sell for more than US$ 1,000.

    If you decide to go the Mac route, I think there are two options you should consider: the 13" MacBook Air and the 13" retina MacBook Pro. I wouldn't consider the 13" non-retina MacBook Pro, as it will be clearly discontinued by Apple in the near future, and replaced by the retina version. The 13" non-retina model has these mechanical parts that Apple keeps bashing, such as the optical disk drive and the HDD. Both the MBA and the rMBP lack the optical drive and have a fast SSD instead of the slow and sluggish HDD of the cMBP.

    Between the MBA and the rMBP, I would choose the rMBP. The reason is that it truly provides a unique experience in terms of hardware which is not replicated by anything else in the PC world. It has a very beautiful IPS screen with a 2560x1600 resolution which makes text incredibly sharp. You may easily find other laptops which replicate or even surpass the hardware of the MBA, but you can't find anything else in the Windows world similar to the rMBP, no matter how much you're willing to pay.

    But then again, it will come down to the price you're willing to pay for these machines.
  9. chrise2 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2012
    You're two years from college. Your college may have specific computing requirements. Or they may even give you a laptop as part of the tuition. Keep that in mind. You can get a new computer now, but you may need to get something else for college.
  10. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Do you have money? Then it is worth it. Do you really love a MacBook Pro? Then it is worth it. Do you like a Windows laptop? They are worth it too and very cheap to buy. :apple:
  11. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    My dad came to me with this exact situation today.

    Although sounding very FanBoy-ish, I advised him to get a 13" cMBP. He loves the design and loves the FaceTime stuff, so that's what I told him to get if that were the case.

    Yes a $600 Windows laptop would do what he needs too, but sorry Windows 8 is horrid (IMO).
  12. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Neither of those points is entirely correct. I've had Mac hardware problems too. It can happen whatever computer you purchase. Known issues are sometimes different. Price depends on what HP. They make a very wide range of hardware. Look at the prices on some of their elitebooks, especially if you order one with any cto options.
  13. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Exactly! My brother has had multiple hardware issues with his 13" rMBP.
  14. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    Go with the 13 inch rMPB if you can afford it and you won't be disappointed.... previously I had a top of the line vaio S, after two years was completely out of service ( fans always on, magnesium damaged, battery lasting 15 minutes)... with my mac I'm still ok after 2 years... I just put an sad and 16 gb of ram and it seems a top of the line... but you know, you are in a Mac forum, so people will suggest to buy apple, not windows...
  15. UBS28 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2012
    My daughter has my 6 year old $500 windows laptop and it's still running like new. Macbook Pro's can also die after 2 years. Why else you think Apple only gives 1 year warranty?

    HP is bad though. I warn everybody not to buy something from HP. And usually they tell me what a mistake they made by ignoring my advice. Not all Windows laptops are made by HP.
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    First, your netbook is dying. Is it just getting slow? Maybe time to clean install the OS. Netbooks are slow, and were always meant to be slow, so maybe there's nothing wrong at all, it just can't handle the newest software.

    Given that you want a laptop to do a multitude of tasks, I would high suggest avoiding the 13 inch macbooks. The screen size is just too small, especially if you want to photoshop. Everyone wants to multitask, and you just can't put two apps together side by side with a 13 inch screen. So think about a 15 inch laptop. Now there are quite a number of good 15 inch laptops, just avoid the cheap ones and go for one in the $800-$1200 range. Also since you probably have a windows photoshop license, I would recommend going with a windows laptop.
  17. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    I doubt someone would buy a Photoshop license to put on a netbook. It's probably a trial/pirated copy.

    I think 13" is fine, it depends on the resolution as well. A 13" with a 1440x900 resolution like the MBA is more useful than a 15" with 1366x768 IMO. For occasional editing it's fine. A high school student doesn't have the same requirements as a professional designer.

    I would suggest waiting until June to get a 2013 13" MBA. It would definitely be faster for his uses and the weight and resolution are a plus as well. If nothing but the CPU/GPU is updated on the base model it could also have its price drop by $50-100.
  18. PortableLover macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2012
    Netbooks iirc by default came with 1gb slow as hell and made to be cheap. A mac would generally last longer. I believe the base mbp would be more then enough for your needs. If later your needs change to a point where you need more RAM upgrade it yourself. That being said, a 399 laptop from best buy would be enough and be better then your netbook in speed and last a little longer. Not as much as mac, however.You pay a lot for reliability and the high quality design as well as the OS.
  19. Radiating, Apr 14, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013

    Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    As a general rule laptop manufactures besides Apple sell bottom of the barrel junk. Their profit margins are around $50 on a $400 laptop so competition is extremely fierce to make the cheapest possible product with everything wrong with it because consumers only look at specs.

    Apple is the only laptop manufacturer that makes "high quality" products any more. Even manufactures that claim to be premium are actually just selling complete junk. I've owned several $2000-$4000 laptops (voodoo, HP Envy, ThinkPad, Alienware, Asus, you name a high end laptop manufactuer, I've owned one of their products) and all of them have been cheap garbage and all broke from usually from multiple cost cutting issue in at least a dozen ways (meaning each laptop had a least a dozen critical failures, which is absurd), though I do use my laptops very hard, and put them through hell. I haven't had a single problem with a MacBook by comparison.

    A MacBook will be more expensive in the short run but much cheaper in the long run, a windows PC depreciates 90% in 3 years. A Mac depreciates 50%, which is a very important consideration that more than offsets the initial purchase price. Example: $1000 laptop vs $1600 MacBook (identical specs) - Laptop resale = $100 after 3 years, MacBook resale = $800. So the MacBook is actually $100 cheaper in the long run (for a better product).

    It's also worth considering that OS X is around twice as efficient compared to Windows so you will have much better battery life. MacBooks are also more efficient than other laptops given the same hardware. I actually compared two computers: a $2000 high end HP laptop and a MacBook with literally identical 1:1 specs, identical battery capacity, identical memory identical CPU & GPU the MacBook used around a third less power simply because the power supply is built for maximum efficiency not the lowest cost (measuring actual power draw during an identical performance test under Windows 7 with the screen turned off)

    The upside to OS X is more efficiency and arguably a more intuitive and better interface the downside is less software is compatible with it, but unless you're doing something specialized or advanced you should be fine.

    Macs also last longer, people use 6 year old MacBooks left and right with no issue. 3 year old PCs like your HP are going to be on their last legs, because as I mentioned it's a race to the bottom for quality due to slim profit margins. Manufactuers when faced with for example a choice to put fans that are $2 less expensive in their notebook that will wear out and lose lubrication and make clicking noises in a year or put more expensive ones in, will always go for the cheaper route. Because that $2 will increase profit by 4% which is huge.

    Apple's profit margin is 10 times what other manufacturers make on laptops and that profit margin makes them make choices that are the OPPOSITE of what bean counters would do. Instead of putting cheaper fans in their notebooks they actually spent millions of dollars using computational fluid dynamics to create an entierly new fan design that has multiple different sized blades to spread the noise across a greater set of frequencies and make their products quieter. All to improve their products a tiny bit. There's actually a good reason why Apple has such good resale value, and it's not their "desirability" and all that other nonsense people tell themselves to try to explain why Apple products are popular. The products they make are popular because they are actually properly built from the ground up.

    Another good example of the difference between cost cutting and high quality is the casing, I owned an HP Envy 15 that had a magnesium case so you'd think it would be durable. It was a $3,000 laptop. Besides having countless critical parts fail, a battery nearly explode and other horrible problems, near the end of it's 1.5 year life after all the problems it had, I banged the corner of it against the floor from a low table. The magnesium case shattered because it was a $25 peice of junk that was cast by heating up magnesium grains until they just barley melted together and calling it a day. An entire corner of the computer shattered into a million peices because the thing had no structural integrity at all, the magnesium chassis was just a cheap marketing gimick built like a toys r' us toy. I hit my 15" MacBook Pro in the exact same way, not only did it not shatter into a million peices, but it actually just bent the corner, because it was cut from a solid peice of aluminium, which bends, it doesn't shatter. (I even managed to bend it back).

    Anyways, because Apple doesn't discount their products on fire sales and makes high quality products that last years the resale value is very stable and high. I'm actually spending around 3 times less year over year buying MacBooks for the same specs than I was spending with any other manufacturer just because I didn't lose all my money when I was done with the computer on resale value, and that's not even counting the price difference in repair costs after the warranty expires or replacement batteries in warranty due to poor battery design, which added up to a few hundred per notebook. I haven't had to deal with paying for a repair or a new battery since switching to Macbooks.

    The other benefit of MacBooks is that if they do break, you can bring them to hundreds of local Apple stores and they will usually be able to fix them next day or they will air mail them to get fixed in 5 days. If you ever have had to fix a computer you know the warranty service of companies like HP or Dell is ridiculous and incredibly drawn out for up to two months and unprofessional. They just don't care, and why should they?

    If you're a Windows user like I am you can also instal Windows on a Mac with great results. I need Windows for the work I do, but I only use Macs, so I currently have 3 Macs with 1 running OS X and 2 running windows and everything works really well. In fact it's better than running windows alone because I can use OS X as my recovery and back up environment which is great because windows back ups are so poorly done with any solution I've found. Under OS X using winclone I can restore an entire MacBook Bootcamp setup in 5 minutes. You couldn't even dream of getting results like that with any other back up restore environment. Trust me I've tried using Windows PE back up environment or linux ones with clones of the partition, they are ridiculously flakey. OS X is by far the most ideal environment to deploy a windows instalation. Especially to disimilar hardware such as when upgrading.

    I use a MacBook Air that runs OS X only, which lets me leverage to advantages of OS X. It's great, and lasts 2-3 times longer than the windows alternative I was using before on battery. I get 7 hours using it hard with 30 tabs open and some business software.

    To answer your question though it's always worth it to get a MacBook in the long run. Even if the software isn't best for what you want, the reliability and resale value are more than worth it and most people don't realize that. I would do whatever you can to get a MacBook instead of any other laptop, and only get anything else as an absolute last resort. In the long run a PC will be much more expensive, in time money and effort, even if you're running windows. You would still be using your old laptop to this day without any problems if it were a MacBook and could have sold it for several hundred bucks vs nothing or next to nothing. Especially because Apple offers software upgrades, support and even 3 year warranties for products so they stand behind them long after you've bought them.
  20. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    As others have said - a cheap Windows laptop will do the job (ignore the zealots) especially if you're not concerned about size and weight. Most people here would agree that Macs are better designed and better looking.

    If you want something head and shoulders above a PC you'd have to go for the 13" Retina Mac Book Pro - the PC world hasn't caught up with that screen or form-factor yet. If that's too rich for your blood then look at the 13" Macbook Air.

    These days IMHO the regular 13" MBP only makes sense for people who aren't ready to forgo optical drives, ethernet, firewire and big mechanical HDs. Otherwise, the Air has a slightly better screen and using a SSD has a more dramatic effect on perceived performance than a minor increase in processor speed.

    Or Photoshop Elements, which is 1/10 the price of Photoshop and has 7/10 of the features (and sometimes comes bundled with scanners, cameras or printers). They've done a good job of removing features that pro users need without wrecking it. The latest version follows the trend for annoying dumbed-down, redesigned-for-the-sake-of-it UIs, but the features are still there under the surface.
  21. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Seconded for trying out the Air. I use a rMBP15 which is great, but I bought a 13" Air for the missus. The size and light weight are amazing, and a worthwhile tradeoff for the non-retina screen. Just as good for day-to-day use. These are the two key Macbooks at the moment. I found the 11" Air just too small to be usable enough, and the 13" MBP too big and not powerful enough.
  22. cookiemonster19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2013
    I actually think that this netbook has lasted pretty well considering how much I've dropped it over it's lifetime :eek: It currently has a sellotaped battery, a malfunctioning spacebar, a battery that's holding half it's original charge, and various chips on the corners.But it was mostly due to accidents such as holding it while walking outside in the dark, etc. (an incident which I have no intention of repeating) Though no matter how careful I'll be, I don't think any laptop will be drop-free.

    I also have a mostly functioning 8 year old Windows XP desktop, though it just doesn't have the RAM, processor or hard disk memory to be used now, as even Facebook surfing will crash it.

    @Radiating, that's a good point. I'm quite sure that if I tried selling this now, I would get next to nothing, or even anything, as there are 'cooler' cheap devices out there like tablets.

    I know my netbook's hopelessly slow, every other computer I've touched in the past few years has been faster. It's just that 2 years ago when I bought it, it was school recommended, plus netbooks were pretty much the only choice in the super portable computer category.

    It's basically fine I think in terms of OS right now. A year ago I had to do a lot system restores on it for some reason I've forgotten, but it's system has been mostly fine since then, apart from a few weeks ago when it logged me in and told me that I wasn't allowed to access any of my files, but a reboot solved that.

    I live in a Windows household, so we've got loads of Windows software around... No Mac stuff, though my mum says the cost of Office is okay. I unfortunately only have a Windows Photoshop license... It's for 2 machines though. I guess that if I desperately needed it, I could trade laptops with someone while I used it.

    I've used Windows machines my whole life... Literally, cause my dad used to program computers so we always had an extra older computer around for my brother and I around to play games. I guess one of my major reasons for wanting a Macbook is that I just want a change from Windows for once.

    I'm seriously considering the air now... :cool: It's lighter to carry around and basically the same price as the pro as far as I've looked now.

    Thanks for all your replies :)
  23. 0dev macrumors 68040


    Dec 22, 2009
    What you've got to remember is, cheap laptops are a false economy. A cheap laptop is likely to break a lot sooner than an expensive laptop is and give you a lot more trouble in the meantime.

    If I were buying a PC, I would never buy a cheap one. The absolute least I would pay is £600 because I know anything cheaper than that would be crap. And in all honesty, a high end PC will likely be just as good as a Mac hardware wise, Macs are only higher quality than most PCs you see in stores because Apple only sell high end hardware.

    So my advice to you is to completely forget about cheap laptops and focus on what the best computer for you is. If you decide it's a PC, buy a higher end business model that will last you and be a reliable machine. I recommend a Lenovo of some description, those things will go on forever. If you buy a Mac, get that MacBook you want, it's a solid computer too. I'm on a cMBP right now, it's awesome.

    Just don't whatever you do buy a bargain basement Dell.
  24. wes- macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2009
    I have been using my white macbook for almost 7 years, before that i always bought a new laptop every 2 / 3 years.
    Only the last few months i feel my macbook cannot keep up anymore, but mostly it is just a memory thing.
    What i am trying to say is, you won't regret buying a macbook.
  25. cookiemonster19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2013
    Yes, I know the cheap laptop thing, I had to take apart a barely one year old one to clean the dust out of its fan. (compared to others which have lasted years but have never needed to be cleaned out) I haven't known of any massive failures in them yet though.

    Yeah, it would be better in the long run to get one durable laptop than several cheaper ones. But I've seen posts about Macbooks needing logic board replacements, etc. Is that a major issue?

    If I was to get a PC though, I'd definitely look at the higher end.

    Wow seven years is a long time... I couldn't imagine any of my family's Windows laptops making it anywhere near that long, because of dropping, wear and tear and hardware malfunctions.

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