New Mac

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by skaertus, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #1
    I am thinking of buying a new Mac laptop. I currently have a defective 15-inch Dell XPS 15 9550 (the model with the 3840x2160 resolution, an Skylake processor, 16 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD). The laptop is great, but has never quite matched my previous 15-inch retina MacBook Pro (Ivy Bridge) in terms of build quality. Now it has a swollen battery, and the keyboard and SSD are showing defects. Prior to that, it got too hot, the trackpad was never as great as in the Mac (regardless of what the reviews say), and the space key hit twice frequently.

    Now, I am thinking of buying a new Mac, and I want some opinions. Here are the possibilities:

    • 12-inch MacBook with a Core i5 1.3 GHz processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD, for USD 1,399.00
    • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar with a Core i5 3.1 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, for USD 2,199.00
    • 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar with a Core i7 2.9 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, for USD 2,799.00

    Yes, I know these are very different computers, but I have reason to think of all of them as possibilities. Let me explain.

    • I would only buy the 12-inch MacBook if I am able to fix my Dell XPS 15. The MacBook would not be my main computer, as I think it may be too slow and does not have enough ports (would not be able to connect it to an external monitor and power it at the same time, and I am not buying a new monitor that powers the laptop). For this reason, I am thinking of buying it with 8 GB and 256 GB only.
    • I am thinking of the Core i5 model for the 12-inch MacBook as the Core m3 model may be too slow. I am not sure about the performance of these low-voltage Kaby Lake processors, though.
    • The 12-inch MacBook may have its downsides (slower processor, not-so-great screen, no Touch Bar), but it is really light, and this is great, as I intend to carry the laptop with me on a daily basis (usually from home to the office, but also to meetings; not really long walks, but still...).
    • The 13-inch MacBook Pro seems to be the most balanced between power and portability. It fits everywhere, and is still light to carry around.
    • As I am coming from two 15-inch machines, I am afraid I may find the 13-inch model too small, especially if I want to spend several hours working on it. Wouldn't this be a downgrade, since I had the 15-inch before?
    • I really like the size of the 15-inch screen (especially such a great screen), and I think this is more important for me than the quad-core processor or even the video card (although a dedicated video card is always very welcome).
    • When I used my previous 15-inch MacBook Pro, it was a little awkward to use in planes, due to its size. I do not travel that much, but sometimes once or twice a week I do some short trip. I wonder whether the smaller footprint might help this time. I also wonder whether the reduced weight would make much difference to carry this beast around.
    • I see the power supplies are very different. 29W for the MacBook, 61W for the 13-inch Pro, 87W for the 15-inch Pro. Does anybody know the weight of each of them? I would carry the power supplies with me as well, to make sure I have enough battery, and this could make a difference in the overall weight. However, I did not find any information about this.
    • In addition to carrying the power supply, I would carry around a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, as well as some other stuff. So, the laptop is not the only weight to be carried around; it would add to something else (although it will certainly be the heaviest item, and more than half of overall weight).
    • I use the laptop mainly for work and entertainment. Microsoft Office, especially Word and Outlook (but also sometimes Excel and PowerPoint), reading PDFs, web browsing and Spotify. I can take advantage of a not-so-small screen as I sometimes write in Word having a PDF or a web page on the side for reference or to verify information.
    • I live in Brazil and here is hot in the summer, so a laptop that runs hot may not be a very good choice.
    • I want 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD on the laptop to run Windows as well. I plan to have both macOS and Windows installed, so 512 GB is welcome (should I consider 1 TB? It is expensive). 16 GB is to run macOS and Windows side-by-side on Parallels.
    I am really thinking a lot about this but came to no conclusion so far. Any input? Thanks.
     
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Location:
    UK / China
    #2
    Quite honestly, what do you need and what can you afford?

    If you can afford the 15" it's the best computer.

    The 12" is fantastically portable but so is the 15". If you absolutely must sacrifice power for portability then that's why they make it. For your use you could use a rMB no problem, and the screen is just as good as the MBP. But as you state the 13" is the best compromise, again it's why they make it. The weight/size difference between them in real world use is negligible, as is considering the weight of the individual power bricks, you would never tell.

    It sounds like the 13" is the best for you. Go buy one and try it out, if you don't like it you can always return it.
     
  3. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #3
    Thanks for the input.

    Actually, I can afford any of them. And the 15-inch that I have in mind is "only" USD 600 more expensive than the 13-inch that I would buy. So, that is not a lot of difference.

    I do not have to sacrifice power for portability. I want something that is really comfortable to use, but it is nice to not have to carry too much weight.

    The screen of the 12-inch MacBook is actually not as good as the one in the Pros. The 12-inch screen has 300 nits, while the Pros have screens with 500 nits and supporting a wider spectrum of colors.

    Why do you say that the 13-inch is the best for me? Any specific reason?

    I cannot return it after I buy. Like I said, I live in Brazil, and not in the U.S. Even if I buy the laptop in the U.S. (which I will probably do, as prices in Brazil are about 150% more expensive than in the U.S.), I will bring them back so I will not be able to return it if I do not like. I have just one shot.
     
  4. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #4
    I thought Apple's return policy was global? Or is it a 3rd party reseller there? (Not familiar with your region sorry).

    The screen difference isn't something you'd notice in my opinion, unless you're sat with them side by side all day. I believe the MBP defaults to a lower brightness though so unless you planned on using it at 100% all the time again, I don't think you'd notice. So I wouldn't base a decision off that.

    I'm saying the 13" purely as it seems to be the best balance for you. The 12" is the most portable but personally the difference between the 13"/12" is minimal, however the power difference is significant. The 15" is a fantastic computer that is very light and portable, but as you said you travel occasionally it could potentially still be a slight issue.

    As I said if portability was an absolute must it's the 12". If you want the best possible computer it's the 15". If you want a balance of both it's the 13".

    If money is not an issue. I'd honestly recommend you just go to the store and put a 13" and 15" next to each other and look, the weight difference isn't much (3lb vs 4lb), and the size is about 1.5" width/depth.
     
  5. Lunfai macrumors 65816

    Lunfai

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Sheffield
    #5
    I remember you from way back in the day when you got your IB rMBP.

    I’ve been using a 13” rMBP for the last three years too. I love the size and portability and I think it’s the best laptop for me because I was in Uni and it was just so easy to carry around and it never failed me.

    I’ve decided to get the 13” again because not only is it even lighter now but the last one didn’t fail me and all the upgrades I get now are just bonuses.

    I would not get the 12” because I didn’t like gen 1 of the butterfly keyboard and I’ve not tried the 2017 version with gen 2 but I don’t think my virtual machines would play very well with a m3 / m5 rebadged i5 processor and the last one did not keep up and I can’t stand the lag when you have a lot open. I’ve also read that the m3 and m5 / i5 isn’t much different this year but I’ve not seen benchmarks to back this up, but it’s definitely something to research.

    As for the 15”, I contemplated updating myself but I know it’s too big for my needs and I’m planning a docked setup with an eGPU + 4k screen instead of having to be lug around a big machine.
     
  6. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #6
    I am not sure about Apple's global policy on this, but even if there is one, I really doubt they will accept to replace a product bought abroad. Taxes here in Brazil are just too high. The base MacBook, which costs USD 1,299 in the U.S., costs USD 3,000 here in Brazil. The basic 15-inch MacBook Pro, which costs USD 2,399 in the U.S., costs USD 5,600 here in Brazil. And so on. So, I have serious doubt that they would agree to exchange products given the high taxes Apple has to bear here in Brazil.

    Well, I like to use full brightness when the laptop is connected to a power source.

    Yes, but, you know, I like big screens a lot. I like to use apps side-by-side, and a larger screen helps with that.

    That's how I see it as well.

    I've seen that, and I am still in doubt. Both are great, and the 15-inch is absolutely stunning.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 11, 2017 ---
    Thanks for the input. I don't have a docket setup, though. Just an external monitor to use at home. Actually, I've never seen an eGPU for sale here in Brazil.
     
  7. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #7
    Does anybody have any experience in using the new 15-inch on an airplane? Given it has a smaller footprint than the previous model, is it any inconvenient to use?
     
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #8
  9. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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  10. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
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    #10
    I am mostly in doubt between the 13" and the 15" Pros. The models I would buy would be a difference of only USD 600, as I would opt for 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD in each model (which I think makes most sense; or should I opt for 1 TB SSD?). Is the 15" model more worth it because of the additional horsepower and the size of the screen?
     
  11. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
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    #11
    Really depends on whether you need that extra horsepower and screen size. The 15" is the better notebook for sure in every category except size/weight. However, the current 15" is lighter and around the same size as the 2008-2012 era 13", which was at the time considered a very lightweight and small notebook. So right now I feel it's portable, vs. extra portable. Really depends on what you need but if the cost difference doesn't matter I'd always opt for a 15" over a 13" for the sake of portability, if using it 8 hours a day as opposed to carrying it from A-B 2 times a day.
     
  12. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
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    Brazil
    #12
    It is basically going to be my main computer. I will use it on a daily basis and also intend to carry it with me to work and to travels. I use the laptop for basically office productivity, word processing, web browsing, and research. I am not editing videos or doing very heavy processing stuff. The large screen is nice because I like to have windows opened side-by-side (usually a PDF and a MS Word document). Reduced size and weight are also good because, well, it is always a plus. Any of them could do for me, I am just trying to figure out which is the best one. My last one was a 15-inch retina Pro, which was great and had a great screen, although sometimes I wish it were a little smaller and lighter.
     
  13. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    Location:
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    #13
    Well there you go. The new 15" is a little smaller and lighter than the one you have right now!

    You don't need the horsepower fair enough, it will mainly be the screen size. I would say you get used to either a 15" or a 13", if it's your daily computer you are unlikely to ever 'miss' a screen size unless you often use another too. Also depending on how long you plan on having it, you don't know what you're likely to be doing 4 years from now, so can be helpful.

    I'd say just get the 15", it's stupidly light and portable, the 13" is a whole other extreme really. It's like the difference between an iPhone and iPhone plus model. But if you wanted to get the 13" you'd get used to the screen size easy enough, in reality it's not a great deal of difference, not like 13" to 17".

    Go to a store and actually pick them up, take your bag with you and ask if you can put it in and try it out. I think that's the only way you're going to feel confident in your decision otherwise you'll be going around in circles weighing pros and cons of each device when you could go buy one and use it instead!
     
  14. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
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    #14
    Yes, I suppose it's the best way of doing it.

    I am planning to buy a model with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. But now I am thinking if I should not go for 1 TB SSD instead.

    I am planning to use both macOS and Windows on the laptop. I need Windows as most software that I use is better under Windows than macOS. I use a lot of Microsoft Office, and Office for Windows is miles ahead of Office for Mac. On the other hand, I had a hard time finding Windows hardware which is on par with a MacBook Pro, so the best thing would be perhaps installing Windows on a Mac and using it alongside macOS.

    Back in 2013, I bought my Mac with 256 GB SSD and I partitioned it so there would be 128 GB for OS X and 128 GB for Windows. In the end, the available space was a little on the low side. I don't want to commit the same mistake again. I was thinking that 512 GB would be enough to accommodate both macOS and Windows, but I may be wrong. Should I go with 1 TB instead to make it more future-proof?

    There is another thing. I used Windows and OS X back then, and I also installed Windows on a virtual machine (Parallels). The main reason for doing this was that the trackpad was much better under Parallels than under BootCamp (and Trackpad++ was very annoying requiring me to re-install it every week). After Windows 10 and particularly after Yosemite, 8 GB RAM started to feel too low for using both OSs comfortably. I guess 16 GB would address this issue, but not sure though. Should I use BootCamp and Trackpad++ to get a better performance in any case? If I pay for Trackpad++ will I get rid of the annoyances?
     
  15. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #15
    I am still thinking about buying a new laptop, but I am reconsidering my options. My criteria are basically the following.

    • I want a laptop that is very convenient. One that I can carry around with me, is thin and light. And that can be used comfortably as well. Convenience on the go. A laptop that I can simply close the lid and open again whenever I want, that connects easily to the Internet (either LTE-enabled or connecting automatically to my cell phone), and that may even work as a tablet (like a 2-in-1).
    • The main use would be Internet browsing, watching videos and listening to music, reading PDFs, and, of course, Microsoft Office (not alternatives, not watered-down versions, but the full Office with support for 3rd party supplements).
    • I want the laptop to be fast and to respond quickly to my commands, although I do not need the horsepower to edit videos or run games.
    • I want a good screen (retina-like quality, not too refletive would be desirable), a good touchpad (that responds quickly and precisely to my commands) and a good keyboard (comfortable to type on).
    • I want good battery life, something that I can rely on to work unplugged all day if necessary.
    • I do not need macOS. I am perfectly fine with Windows, which would work very well for my needs.
    I would gladly buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro, but I am just thinking that it may not suit my best needs. It is heavy to be carried around. I always tend to go and buy the biggest and best piece of hardware possible, and it is usually great, but perhaps this time it is not the best choice.

    So, I am in the quest for this new laptop. I don't want to make any concessions or any compromises, but it is proving to be more difficult than I thought initially. I don't need macOS, and a Windows laptop could be just fine.

    The thing is, this quest is proving to be more difficult than I initially thought. I have some Windows options that I have analyzed and I came to the following conclusions:

    • HP Spectre x360: Poor battery life with 4k resolution; touchpad is not Precision.
    • Lenovo Yoga 910: Not that light; there are reports of it being noisy.
    • Dell XPS 13: I had issues with the XPS 15, so this model may well have its own.
    • Microsoft Surface Pro: Not really lappable.
    • Microsoft Surface Laptop: Alcantara keyboard may get dirty easily.
    So, there do not seem to have so much good options in the Windows world. I still have business-class laptops to consider, such as the ThinkPads and Latitudes, and the Huawey Matebook X, which has not been released yet, and seems to be a great machine.

    Apart from these, I have the Macs. Even though I do not need macOS (and perhaps Windows would even serve me better for work purposes), I am thinking if this would be a good option. After all, Macs have a great build quality; to my knowledge, macOS is more energy-efficient than Windows (especially with the lid closed, but I would like to confirm); has silent operation, and good screen, touchpad and keyboard.

    I would also like to confirm how is battery life on macOS running Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office for Windows is light on resources, but Mac: Office is not that good. I know that battery on macOS may last longer than on Windows. But how is battery life running macOS and Word or Excel or PowerPoint in comparison to running Windows and Word or Excel or PowerPoint? Does Mac: Office drag battery life more than Windows Office does?

    In addition to that, I would like help choosing the best model. Even though I would love to buy the 15-inch model, it is probably not the most recommended. Then I would have the 12-inch MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

    If I go with the MacBook, I can buy it for USD 1,299. If I go with the 13-inch Pro, then I will probably want the Touch Bar as well and get it for no less than USD 1,799. I don't really need the ports. Is it worth the difference for my kind of use? How is battery life and noise on these models compared?

    Thanks again.
     
  16. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #16
    I have zero experience with it, but I've heard that the Lenovo X1 Carbon is a pretty good machine.

    However, you specifically cite battery concerns when running MS Office. I just wanted to point out that the non-TouchBar 13 gets phenomenal battery life, quite possibly best in class battery. Is the larger battery enough to offset the (larger?) battery drain of Office for Mac and put it on par with PC laptop battery life? I don't really know, but it's worth considering.

    Also, the 13" nTB Pro's performance is about on par with the TB model, even with the lower clock speeds. (I know benchmarks are synthetic and don't always represent real-world performance, but it's a handy way to do a quick comparison).
     
  17. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #17
    I have heard it too, but I have never seen one in person, so I cannot confirm.

    I would like first to confirm whether MS Office consumes more battery under macOS than under Windows. Can someone please confirm this?

    I read that the nTB Pro has more battery life than the TB Pro. Is it much difference? And how is it compared to the 12" MacBook? I do not plan to buy the nTB Pro, unless I come to the conclusion it is the best model by far. I am leaning towards the 12" MacBook (because it is so light and cheaper) or the TB Pro (because it is more powerful and has the TB). The nTB Pro has neither of these.
     
  18. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #18
    No idea. I imagine it depends on what you're doing.

    Again, battery life is largely determined by current usage. The battery in the nTB is larger than both the 12" MB (31%) and TB (~11%). I don't have experience with either machine (yet) but the nTB goes a couple hours longer for web browsing (empirical based on other MR users).

    Benchmarks, and I understand that they don't always reflect real-world performance, show that the nTB model is as fast as (actually faster than, but 2% +/- is negligible) the TB model, despite the clock speed.

    13" nTB - https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/search?utf8=✓&q=Intel+Core+i5-7360U
    13" TB - https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/search?utf8=✓&q=Intel+Core+i5-7267U

    I think the 12", while an awesome little machine, is too many compromises for me. So the question is, is it worth an extra $300 for the TouchBar/Touch ID and 2 extra ports, and likely sacrificing some battery life?

    FWIW, I'm in the same boat, asking the same question. I'm leaning towards the nTB myself.
     
  19. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
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    #19
    Thanks. I would much appreciate if someone could confirm this. Word, or Excel, or PowerPoint, or Outlook.

    I am asking myself this question, and I am leaning towards either the 12" MacBook or the 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

    The advantages of the 12" MacBook would be: (i) very small, thin and light, good to carry all day (and the power supply is smaller too); (ii) fanless design, so there is no fan noise; (iii) good battery life; and (iii) cheaper. The disadvantages would be: (i) slower processor; and (ii) just one port.

    The advantages of the 13" MacBook Pro would be: (i) faster processor; (ii) larger and brighter screen; and (ii) more ports. The disadvantages would be: (i) more expensive; (ii) larger and heavier; and (iii) has some fan noise.

    The advantages of the non-Touch Bar over the Touch Bar would be: (i) to be cheaper; and (ii) to have more battery life. The advantages of the Touch Bar model would be the Touch Bar, of course.

    I am seriously thinking about the 12" MacBook. I have used my ports so little in the last year... I have used them mainly to connect a mouse. If I have a dock at home that supports powering the system, and also an HDMI port, then I could live with just one port perhaps. The single port for me is the biggest disadvantage of the MacBook. I really like the fanless design and the weight.
     
  20. pallymore macrumors member

    pallymore

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    Boston, MA
    #20

    I think the 12inch will be too small, and it has only one port. It's ultra portable, but personally I don't like it - I don't think it's designed for prolonged professional work.

    15 inch is nice - but if you fly economy, the new 15 TB is not much better comparing to previous gens when used on a plane. It sounds like you don't really need the 15inch for your work though. the dGPU is very likely a waste of your money.

    I'd say 13inch is your best option here. I wouldn't worry about fan noise unless you push it really hard all the time (then you need the 15 for the power, but there might be more fan noise as well)
    The non-TB model is also a fine choice. Performance-wise, it is enough for what you do, but I don't think it's going to be faster than the TB model when the CPU is maxed for a longer period of time. The benchmark scores seem a bit higher than the TB model because it has a slightly higher clock when turbo-boosted, but it's not going to stay turbo-boosted as long as the TB models due to its power limitations.
    But, again, I think it's powerful enough for your usecase, you shouldn't be worry about CPU clock speed.
     
  21. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #21
    We bought my wife a 12" Macbook about 18 months ago and she loves it. We have one USB-C to lightning cable just in case but generally we are all but cable free. That being said, neither of us had to use USB-A yet...
     
  22. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #22
    The screen is a little bit small indeed, but the keyboard and trackpad are fine.

    The size is very convenient. Very good to carry around, I think. And I also think it may be good for meetings, as it does not take much space at a table.

    15-inch is great, but it is also heavier to carry around. And of course not the most practical one. It is harder to use in meetings or in an airplane, for instance.

    I really don't need all the power. I would buy this for the screen size alone.

    I think any of these laptops would be perfectly suitable for my use in terms of power. The 13-inch seems to really be a fine machine. It is heavier than the 12-inch, but not very heavy. It would add about 500g to 600g of weight considering the laptop and the power supply, which is considerable but not the end of the world.

    I am trying to decide between the 12-inch i5/8 GB/512 GB and the 13-inch Touch Bar 8 GB/512 GB. I would buy the 16 GB version of the Touch Bar model, but I can get much better prices if I get the non-customized models, so I am trying to avoid them.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 18, 2017 ---
    Any limitations? Drawbacks? Wish you had bought the 13-inch version at times?
     
  23. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #23
    Honestly? Not really. The lack of USB-A could be tough, but that's about it. It is fast enough most of the time.
     
  24. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #24
    Thanks.

    Most of the time? At what times do you experience lags?

    Do you run Windows on it as well?
     
  25. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Austin, TX
    #25
    No. We don't have many problems with it at all. She rarely, if ever, complains about lag.
     

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