retina MacBook vs. iPad Air 2 vs. Dell XPS 13

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dj64Mk7, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Dj64Mk7 macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    Hi everyone! You may notice that I have started several threads similar to this one, but I will say that I prefer to get updated advice as my situation evolves.

    For those who don't know, I'm currently in 11th grade in the state of Maryland in the USA. My parents and I are awaiting a grant to get me some assistive technology through a program called Maryland Promise.

    We originally applied for a Surface Pro 3 back in June of this year, but that was denied because we did not provide enough proof from my school that this technology would help me. Right before school started (on August 17, 2015), we re-applied for the grant for a retina MacBook, which we are still waiting to hear an official yes or no on (as of October 4, 2015.)

    Separately, we have the opportunity to potentially make this grant go through faster by going with a different computer. My dad and I were at Best Buy the other day looking at laptops, and asked a sales rep about the Dell XPS 13. It's an open box unit, but by negotiating with the manager we were able to get the price down from $1300 to $999.

    Finally, the iPad has become an option recently. The boss of my case manager from Maryland Promise has the ability to approve grants of up to $1000. This has me seriously considering the iPad Air 2 as my next computer, not just because it could be approved ASAP, but also because I believe it could handle what I need.(?)

    Like I said earlier, I'm an 11th grade student. I need a device for both home and school. I need a device that will at least last me through the end of high school. I have a visual impairment, so a high-resolution (retina) display is a must for the clarity. I need something thin and light, easy to toss in a backpack, but easy to carry in hand as well. I have an iPhone 4s right now, but I am prepared to try Windows Phone if I get the Dell XPS 13. I also should mention that the school IT department gave me an iPad to use for schoolwork, and I love the form factor, but the software restrictions from MDM are too great for me to use that as my device.

    Is the iPad Air 2 a good choice as a main device for me, given the situation I've described above? Would it be better to wait indefinitely for the retina MacBook that may or may not come to be mine?

    Sorry for the really long post, but I really appreciate if you stuck around and read it.
  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I would get the Dell if it's looking like you may need to wait indefinitely for the Macbook.

    My Macbook died on Friday, so I have been using my iPad Air 2 and keyboard over the weekend. It's a GREAT casual device, but it is nowhere near as easy to do more complex workflows, even with the new multi-tasking features. If you are not comfortable doing your work on the iPad you borrowed, the Air 2 is not going to change that. The Dell is a good machine and will allow you to focus on your work now, which is more important than the hardware or the OS you are using.
  3. Dj64Mk7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    Thanks for the quick reply. I can do all my work comfortably on an iPad, it's just that IT restrictions disable me from doing so. The Dell is a great deal, but even that comes in over a thousand, so we will just have to wait and see. I'm not a fan of Windows at the moment personally, but I'm open to trying something new if I have to. Apparently a bunch of higher-ups were complaining about how I can get such a "designer laptop" like MacBook, while they are stuck with $400 Dell laptops or whatever. Keep in mind that I'm not paying any money regardless of which way this goes, as the grant covers whatever I need it to, up to a reasonable point of course.
  4. rigormortis, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    i have a studio xps 1340. it was the upgraded version of the studio m1330. it had two video cards, and the back side was part plastic ( or metal ) part leather and part aluminum. abut a year after i bought it, dell stopped manufacturing 9 cell batteries because the sales weren't good. and to this day if i want to buy a dell 9 cell battery pack i have to buy a counterfeit.

    even though the studio xps 1340 and the m1330 was pretty much the same computer, they batteries differed. they are not interchangeable.

    another thing i hated about dell was i also bought a dell minitower. they both have flash bios
    authorizing them to run windows. oem computer manufacturers put the windows keys in your flash bios. one computer was authorized to run windows vista and the other computer, which came out the exact same month, was authorized to run the next version of windows 7 ultimate.

    yet dell tries to get you to pay extra for windows ultimate, when the computer you bought was already authorized and licensed. its like dell charges you $100 for something your computer already can do

    i don't know if i will ever buy a dell again

    with the way windows 8 and windows 10 came out, i don't think ill ever buy a pc again

    i really like my windows 7 machine i use it all the time to record tv shows, yet widows has an issue with this and wants me to upgrade to windows 10 so i can lose my ability to record tv

    now windows 10 wants to charge you $2 to play solitaire without ads. i mean come on
  5. Dj64Mk7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    Looks like someone has had a really bad experience. Thanks for the tip, but this isn't too helpful.
  6. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I would pay attention to this. Perceptions matter, and it's probably worth more to you in the long run to appear as though you are making the best choice for everyone involved rather than holding out for something that is going to make people raise eyebrows. There is no reason that Windows can't do what you need, and in fact, in the long run it will certainly be beneficial for you to have experience with multiple operating systems so that you don't become too tied to any one particular way of doing things. The fact is that most of the world still runs on Windows. To shy away from it is to only harm yourself.
  7. rigormortis, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    sure it helps.

    if they want $100 more for a different version of windows , don't give them money.

    if you buy a mac you are more likely to be able to buy batteries for the mac for as long as you own it.
    they just stopped selling iPod classic parts, and they have been repairing them for 8 years.

    if you buy a pc , you might not be able to get parts for it for more then a few years

    i don't know about flavors of windows now , but it used to be you couldn't backup to a network unless you paid extra for it

    with a windows computer , backups cant contain "programs", whatever programs have to be reinstalled from cd.

    so to avoid that, you do a system image. the system image ( again i don't know about 10 ) can only be restored to the same computer. or a computer that is close enough to the computer you own.
    ( link )

    if you computer dies, be prepared to buy the exact same computer from eBay as you currently own so you won't lose your stuff.

    macs backups are universal, they can be migrated to any computer running os x. you can take a hard disk out of an old mac and use it in migration assistant to restore on a new mac.

    this removing your hard disk from a dead windows computer and using it as "windows easy transfer" is not a feature that windows lets you do., back when one of my computers died, easy transfer required the other computer to be running.

    in order for me to backup my windows 7 box to the point where its system image can be restored on a different computer, i had to buy a copy of acronis true image for $90

    just buy the mac and buy a copy of windows and run it under vmware fusion or parallels or bootcamp . problem solved.
    you can get windows dirt cheap as a "system builder cd" on eBay

    if the hard disk still works , you could use it as an external hard disk on a new winnows computer and copy stuff from documents , downloads, music, pictures, etc , but you will still need to reinstall all your software

    another cool thing about macs is if your windows machine was installed as a virtual disk file. you can just run it in vmware fusion without modification (i heard but i have not tried this )
  8. Dj64Mk7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    It turns out that the people reviewing my case were all off today, which is good in a way, just for a breather. All this really comes down to now is if/when they approve one or the other. At this point, the iPad is really just a fail-safe in case neither of them are approved (I think.) To be honest, I'm scared of Windows because my dad always has tons of issues with his PC, and I don't want to have to run slow, risky antivirus, or software to "clean" my computer of temporary files or whatever. I'm a master at using OS X and iOS, and I am afraid that my dad will pretend to be the know-all "god" of Windows 10 [mobile]. I'm sorry.
  9. Dj64Mk7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    This is part of what makes me scared. Just sayin'.
  10. Dj64Mk7 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2013
    UPDATE: my dad is scheduled to have a conference call with two higher-ups from MD Promise where he will be pushing for a decision of some kind.

    Also, I've ruled the iPad out entirely, because iOS does not have the features I need currently to be successful at school and home use.

    Wish us luck please!
  11. Thunderboltedge macrumors regular


    Nov 12, 2014
    Luck. And do not go for the IOS iPad ever. What you need is a real OS and even if you prefer OSX (i understand you I am writing you from a Macbook), but i would strongly advice you for the Dell XPS.
    More than a reason,:
    1) Dell is good, very good, and Windows 10 literally flies. believe me it is really a wonderful OS now, microsoft incurred in many mistakes, but they seemed to have focused on what people wanted, and they manage to get it.
    2) For future working and life preparation and this stage i would advice to learn very well to use Windows. in the real world Windows still make 95% of OS on board, and for working reason you'll likely need more this than any OSX (apart exceptions).
    3) As you have listened probably, once you know how to use a PC, than the switch it is easy, but if you just grew up with Mac, you could have very tough days moving in a while to PC.

    Just considerations, hope they help you and luck for the rest

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10 October 4, 2015