metal vs. plastic

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by parkm13, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. parkm13 macrumors regular

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    Aug 25, 2010
    #1
    is the metal unibody of the macbook pro better than the plastic of the macbook? why or why not?
     
  2. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

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    #2
    metal - looks better
    metal - dents easily

    plastic - looks ugly
    plastic - no dents
    plastic - no unibody?
    plastic - breaks more easy
     
  3. articcine macrumors regular

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    #3
    Yes. Well, obviously aluminium is a stronger material and doesn't get that weary.
     
  4. Davichi macrumors 6502

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    Feb 23, 2011
    #4
    Metal= looks like professional laptop.
    Plastic= It looks cheap and it is cheaper to produce for apple.
     
  5. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 25, 2010
    #5
    so as long as i dont drop it the metal will be better in the long run?
     
  6. articcine macrumors regular

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    #6
    They call it unibody as far as I know.
    Anyway, basically the aluminium is better than the white plastic, it won't dent, but it'll break.
     
  7. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

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    #7
    Yes.

    but it really is easy to dent...
     
  8. Hakkera macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2009
    #8
    Matter of opinion there. I personally prefer the looks of a white macbook everytime. Heck, aesthetically speaking I'd even choose a Black Macbook over a unibody job.
     
  9. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 25, 2010
    #9
    yeah it is called unibody, but the plastic and metal are both unibody.... how easy it to dent? like will it dent with everyday use?
     
  10. FriarNurgle macrumors regular

    FriarNurgle

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    Jan 2, 2011
    #10
    Aside from the strength argument, the MBP aluminium unibody just feels like a million bucks compared to the MB plastic.
     
  11. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    US East Coast
    #11
    Personally, I have always preferred my plastic Macs. I like the way they look. I like the way the plastic feels. It doesn't dent. Scratches are less obvious, to me, as they don't go through a surface coating as they do on the anodizing of the aluminum. Even my ancient iBook does not look scratched, although if I look closely in the light I can see there are scratches (and I have never had a case/skin on it). There are some, but with white-on-white they are not easy to see. OTOH, the plastic can crack, and the new unibody Macbooks do have some cracking issues.

    Some people obviously would like the look and feel of the metal better. The metal is much less likely to crack (basically does not crack). The anodizing can wear through (rubbing), deteriorate (sweat), or be penetrated (scratches). It can dent.

    I don't think there is a right answer. I think it depends on what you like, and which potential/actual problems you would rather face. Both materials have proven to have downsides.

    Miss Terri
     
  12. articcine macrumors regular

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    #12
    Go into an Apple store and have a look at each one of them for yourself.
     
  13. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 25, 2010
    #13
    i like the look of the black macbook the best but thats not an option. i have the late 2010 macbook right now and i think im going to get the new pro so i can get the metal. i dont like the way the plastic feels when i am laying my hands on it to type and i think the metal will be much better. i also want the light up keyboard
     
  14. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    San Diego, CA
    #14
    Bingo. My girlfriend has a unibody plastic Macbook and I think it looks really good. I like the rounded sides better than the square ones of the pros. The edges on the aluminum macbooks are just too sharp.
     
  15. ozred macrumors 6502

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    Feb 19, 2011
    #15
    Apple has chosen aluminum for it's appearance. Styling is of greater importance to Apple than functionality.

    Most premier Laptop manufacturers choose high quality plastic for it's durability, resilience and resistance to dings and dents as well as it's ability to dissipate heat.

    When NASA chose Laptops for the space shuttle they chose ThinkPads. Highly durable, strong & able to withstand vibration to the extreme, this is but one example of the superiority of plastic.
     
  16. molala macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Opera/9.80 (iPhone; Opera Mini/5.0.019802/23.390; U; en) Presto/2.5.25 Version/10.54)

    I've owned both and they both look great. Personally, I prefer plastic. Yes, plastic CAN look cheap, but not the way designs its laptops.

    Answer is really subjective. I wouldn't diss aluminum because I prefer plastic.
     
  17. parkm13 thread starter macrumors regular

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  18. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Speaking of plastic, does anyone remember the old dark gray plastic of machines like the Duo? I think that was great: Super tough, didn't crack, didn't get stained, very hard to scratch. I never would even have considered putting a skin on it for protection, or getting a hard-shell case. No need. I would pay hundreds extra to get a case made of that on a new Mac. Not possible, I know, but a gal can dream :cool:
     
  19. MUBiomed macrumors 6502

    MUBiomed

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    Apr 24, 2010
    #19
    If you have ever held one of the white macbook models at an angle the entire case is covered in swirly scratches....I can't handle it Al only for me :D
     
  20. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #20
    metal looks and feels better

    plastic gets less hot and has better wifi signal
     
  21. akhbhaat macrumors regular

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #21
    I owned a unibody white Macbook for five months. While there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the computer itself (I liked it quite a lot, actually), I really grew to hate the white polycarbonate shell over time. It's NOT made of the same sort of durable plastics that you'd find on a Thinkpad or even a 2001 vintage Sony Vaio (I have one; it looks almost new to this day).

    For instance:
    Every surface on the shell except the area immediately surrounding the keyboard has a glossy finish. These surfaces scratch and scuff very easily; the nylon security strap in my old laptop bag (I eventually replaced it with a felt-lined messenger bag) really did a number on it. You only have to look at it from an angle or under direct lighting to see what automotive detailing hobbyists would term "swirl marks." I also noticed spots on the finish starting to rub dull on the wrist rests next to the track pad after just a couple months (and this was a secondary computer that saw very little use when I was at home near my desktop).

    The keys show dirt and seem to smooth out and/or discolor from use/skin oils. I was obsessive about washing my hands with soap before using the computer (especially after eating), but the end result was still the same--it just took longer to develop.

    Unlike the MBP (with rounded feet), the entire underside of the Macbook chassis is rubberized. This surface stains and dirties very easily; moreover, I've read reports where the entire rubber surface eventually begins to separate from the baseplate. I didn't own mine long enough to see that happen, and I'm not sure it necessarily would have (doesn't seem to be a ubiquitous problem), but the fact remains.

    The cracking seems to be less an issue than it was with the pre-unibody versions, but it's important to remember that this chassis has only been around for 16 months.

    Long story short? I developed a serious case of buyer's remorse, sold it this past week, and ordered a new (2011) MBP.

    Now, these are relatively superficial problems, and many (most?) people won't care or even notice. I'm just trying to point out that physical durability is not a legitimate advantage for the plastic MB.
     
  22. ZombieZakk macrumors 6502

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    Feb 23, 2011
    #22
    i wonder if anyone ever wanted extreme protection for the aluminum unibody and put on like the truck rhino bed liner haha :D It could look kind of cool.

    but i love the metal unibody never dented/dropped/scratched one (of the previous ones i owned. but i am insanely careful with my comps and phone.

    i dropped my previous 2006 blackbook and it didnt crack or break but slightly misaligned the screen hinge did not affect performance just kinda sucked. So the plastic is strong. :D

    Gotta Love :apple:!
     
  23. ramo macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2006
    #23
    The alumnium on the old powerbooks/macbook pros was so soft that it dented with low impact. That was a major downside to that material...
     
  24. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    US East Coast
    #24
    I'm not so sure your information about the wi-fi holds true anymore. I understood that the earlier metal Macs had suffered from poorer wi-fi reception than the plastic ones, and as I live with marginal wi-fi reception, this was a concern to me. I researched it as much as I could, and from what I learned, it seems that now the wi-fi antenna is mounted in the hinge area on both the plastic and metal laptops, and that that area is not metal on the metal laptops.

    When I bought my 2010 MBP, I set it up next to the unibody plastic Macbook, in my marginal reception location, and they both got the same number of bars. So, while I did not diassemble either of them to see what was inside, I am tending to believe the claims that the metal ones no longer have worse wi-fi reception.

    Miss Terri
     
  25. dime21 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2010
    #25
    the metal unibody does not dent easier. a drop or a blow that would dent a unibody, would crack or chip the plastic. look at used plastic mbp's on ebay and see how many have chipped and broken edges. both are susceptible to damage, it's just that the mode of damage is different due to the material difference.

    that said, i'll choose metal every time. put both side by side and open the lid as if you're using it. now pick up the plastic one by one front corner and notice how the entire thing creaks and flexes. now pick up the metal one by one front corner and feel how solid it is.

    unibody > plastic.

    also, even if the metal one does dent - you can repair it in exactly the same way you repair a door ding on your car door! Get one of those "paintless dent removal" kits that includes a little suction cup stick thing and some adhesive. It'll pull the dents right out, like it never happened. if it's a really bad dent, or group of dents, you can remove that panel and bang them out with a hammer and dolly - again, just like autobody work. when the plastic one breaks, it's broken forever.
     

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