macbook or dell for video chat purposes

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lukoson, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. lukoson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #1
    Hi All,

    My dad's looking to buy a notebook so that he can take it back and forth from NJ to Florida and still video chat with his grandson. I've got a 2007 2.2 MBP and he's already got a 2008 iMac in NJ and Skype has been great for us (better than ichat). He likes the macbook (specs below) but all he's looking to do is video chat, check email, & use the web and so he's having a hard time justifying the price difference compared to the Dell below.

    I can get a student discount on the following aluminum Macbook:

    13in MacBook 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB 160GB SuperDrive

    With the student discount it comes to $849 total. Plus I get the free ipod touch which I'd look to sell on ebay. If I can get around $200 for the ipod the total would come to approximately $650 - Obviously a great price for the macbook.

    He also found this Dell at BestBuy which has a built in webcam which is important given the desired use for video chat.

    Dell - Inspiron Laptop with Intel® Pentium® Processor - Black i1545-014B-BLK Intel® Pentium® mobile processor T4200; 3GB DDR2 memory; DVD±RW/CD-RW drive; 15.6" widescreen; built-in webcam; 250GB hard drive; Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1; Built-in Dell 1397 wireless networking mini-card (802.11b/g)
    total $499 + tax

    Obviously the mac is a better machine and it would be my first choice but he is wondering if it is worth the extra $150 given his needed use? Will Skype work well on the dell? Also, will it have a good wireless connection with the 802.11b/g vs. the wireless 802.11n on the macbook if he wants to sit outside and be on the computer? I also saw that snow leopard should improve ichat so that might also be something to take into consideration.

    Thanks for the buying advice.
     
  2. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    White Lake, MI
    #2
    i would say go with the mac, but keep in mind you are on a macrumors site. snow leopard will give higher resolution video chats, but that is only in ichat so i dont think it will help with skype. it will also require a third less in bandwidth but again that is in ichat, not skype. if you can sell the ipod touch on ebay for 200 bucks (which you should be able to) then it is a great deal on a macbook.
     
  3. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #3
    My understanding is that the basic API call changes the iSight resolution, so all programs should be able to benefit from it. The bandwidth is program optimization though.
     
  4. gan6660 macrumors 65816

    gan6660

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #4
    I would suggest getting the 13in MBP. It has more features than the MB and the Dell. Its battery also lasts for 7 hours so he can chat away.:D
     
  5. GodWhomIsMike macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #5
    I can't get the video chat to work with anything except iChat on my MB.
     
  6. waterskier2007 macrumors 68000

    waterskier2007

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    White Lake, MI
    #6
    ehhhh so i was 1/2 right. trust this guy, he seems to know what's up
     
  7. lukoson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #7
    Really? We find the resolution much better on Skype than ichat.

    That would be great but he's having a hard time justifying the extra $150 at the moment!

    I thought I'd get responses pushing for the macbook. I guess I was also having doubts after reading a recent Wired article on netbooks where they point out that most people's computers are way overpowered for what they typically do (i.e. check email, surf the web). I'm probably a case in point with my MBP (though I still love it!) They suggested that 4 year old computers are plenty powerful for what most people do but that manufacturers try to lure us each year with more powerful computers which are really only needed for more power hungry programs like games and photoshop. Does video chat require that much added power?
     
  8. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #8
    ...either of the machines you just mentioned are way over kill for what you want to do and he already has a good iMac for at home...

    I have an eeePC1000H and its been fantastic as my "road warrior" machine back and forth to work... its been so great, I just ordered the new upgraded model for a friend (the eeePC1000HE)... it arrived today and after playing with it for the last 15 minutes installing his new 2 GB RAM and setting the icons up, etc... I'd actually like an excuse to get myself one of them...

    The battery life is rated ~10 hours and its got B/G/N and BT built into it... along with openoffice, skype and the web cam, its good to go... www.newegg.com sells them for $383 plus shipping, check it out...(its even got a chicklet keyboard like my iMac and MB)...
     
  9. lukoson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #9
    This is a great recommendation and alternative. Amazon even has it for $375. I'm not sure if he'll be keen on such a small screen but I'll let him know. Thanks!
     
  10. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #10
    ...remember, the Asus netbooks also have a 160 GB HDD standard...and plugging it into a monitor when at home is easy... also, the 10" screen is perfect for watching movies while traveling and the person in front of you puts the seat all the way back...

    Really though, they do 1024x600 native so they look fine...
     
  11. mikec521 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    #11
    ive had a dell, the video quality is horrible, id diffidently go for the mac
     
  12. jasonbaker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    #12
    DEFINATELY buy the Mac. theres no question about it. it will be the best for anything u want to do with it. if your trying to establish a video chat connection i recommend downloading dell video chat. most new dells come with it already installed and you can download a mac version from the website for free. i use it to chat with my girl friend all the time. she has a dell and i have a macbook just like the one you were talking about and it works seamlessly
     
  13. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #13
    Grab a dell mini 10v at the dell outlet for $239 on a Tuesday. You can use it as a web-cammy road warrior as-is or hackintosh it into a very nice portable mac.
     
  14. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #14
    I love ichat, but Google video chat seems to give more consistent quality for video. Plus, it is platform agnostic, so you can chat with anyone you want on any computer. I've also had issues with hotels blocking AIM (not sure why), so google chat is a good backup.
     
  15. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    #15
    dude you're getting a dell.

    i doubt your grandpa needs a macbook. dell would be the cost effective choice.

    obviously I prefer macs to dells any day but your grandpa might not need to spend the extra $. If the main point is video chat im sure you can get a dell half the price that would suffice.
     
  16. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #16
    this thread is 3 months old, i am sure he already bought something
     
  17. lukoson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #17
    ha ha

    yep he got a macbook a few months ago. ichat was great but actually feel that the quality has deteriorated pretty dramatically since we both upgraded to snow leopard (low audio and pixelated image). I thought it would get better.
     

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