Scared to buy an aluminum MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ThomasJL, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    I attend a college which is on the quarter system, and in starting in the beginning of January I'll be taking 6 classes (a total of 24 units, which is double full time (3 classes/12 units is considered full time)). I use my laptop to take notes in class. The quarter system goes by so fast, that I cannot miss any class. I am horrible in taking notes by hand, as I am very slow hand writer.

    This past quarter, I ordered a BlackBook 2.4 from Apple's online store, and I've had to return it twice. I'm on my third one now, which is also defective. I'll be returning it. There is no Apple Store near where I live. This has been a major waste of time.

    I need a laptop for next quarter. I'll only be able to order it and receive it one day before classes start. I am scared though... scared that I'll have to fall behind in classes due to having to wait for replacement laptops to come in the mail due to poor quality control. Do you think I'll be safe ordering an aluminum MacBook? Is it highly likely I'll get a defective model, and have to keep returning it in order to get one that's perfect? What is the likelihood of that?
  2. amrk47 macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2007
  3. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    You think you're scared. The way you set up this post now I'M SCARED to recommend anything to you in the off chance you get a bad machine :)
  4. arthursiew macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    We need to know more about your expectations.
    Let me lists some issues that are known for the MB and I'll also tell you whether I can live with it or not, as I am also a student.

    The Screen- Compared to the Air and Pro, the screen doesn't look as nice. I mainly use my computer for surfing and working, so I don't really care. In fact, I find the screen fine.
    Slanted Keys- Some users find some of their function keys slanted a bit. I don't really mind, because I don't really look at the keyboard and it doesn't affect any of my typing.
    Lack of Firewire- Like I mentioned before, I use it for school work and surfing and I really use USB. I have never used Firewire ever, so I don't find it an issue.
    That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'll continue posting as soon as I find out more problems
  5. ebika macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2008
    Pfft, just go old school and bring a tape recorder. Then later, you can have an 80's study montage as you cram for a test, complete with A-ha and Duran Duran music playing. Some examples as provided by google: .

  6. eye.surgeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    Define defective.

    If you tell me you returned it because the function keys are slanted or some other inane reason I will heap scorn on you.
  7. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Since you don't have a location posted in your info, I don't know the feasibility of this- but can you not just go into an Apple store and inspect the one that you would purchase? Several posters have mentioned going through several in a store (the number defined by the level of the poster's OCD) to find one that they were satisfied with.

    There do not seem to be an overwhelming number of operational/hardware issues- most of the reported problems seem to be of the cosmetic variety.
  8. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    Cheapest solution: Learn to write fast, or write fewer things, or just remember without writing. I know a lot of people that spend so much time on their notes but they do horrible on tests and assignments where it counts. :p

    But, about your question about the Aluminum Macbooks, there are a good number of people happy with them and they seem very sleek and perform well for the price.

    But if I were you, I'd just go and buy a Penryn (last generation) MBP. Goes for about 1600 now and is still incredibly powerful. Mine has no issues. Plus if you get the GPU issue, Apple promises a replacement, so rest assured.

    Remember, if you have a predisposition that every product you get from Apple will have flaws in it, there is nothing that Apple can possibly do to make you happy. So yeah, just be optimistic even though you've had bad past experiences :)
  9. yOyOYoo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2005
    To the Original Poster:

    What are the chances that you could receive 3 defective macbooks?

    If that's the case, chances are your aluminum macbook will be defective as well.

    Just curious, what was wrong with them???
  10. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    I'm looking for:

    • No dead pixels (not even one).
    • No slanted keys
    • No loose battery cover

    That's not too much to ask for for $1300.

    I know the viewing angle sucks, but that's not a defect. The three listed above, however, are indeed defects.
  11. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    Try taking it back for one dead pixel, see how far you get
  12. yoavcs macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2004
    Is this Quest for The Perfect Mac the modern version of the Quest for The Holy Grail?

    I got a MacBook. I love it. The function keys are slanted, I have a solitary dead pixel in the bottom right corner and if I really try hard I can move the battery cover 2 mm.

    I still sleep soundly at night.
  13. Knolly macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007
    I know the pain although I'm slightly less nuts about it... Taking 20 or 21ish hours. Double majoring in Engineering and English and attempting to graduate in four years = not a good idea.

    Anyhow, does your bookstore on campus sell macs? I bought my Aluminum Macbook there, it had a stuck pixel and slanted keys and I was able to just exchange it for a new one two weeks later (could have done it sooner, I was just busy).
  14. headfuzz macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2007
    Brighton, UK
    Dunno how it is in the US but here in the UK there are legal allowances for dead pixels, under which a screen is not deemed to be faulty. 13 for retail iirc. If you return a screen with under this number it's entirely at the vendor's discretion as to whether they deem it warrantable for replacement. There are other grades of lesser numbers for hospital equipment and other similar stuff, going down to zero dead pixels for military screens.
  15. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    I describe the defect here:
  16. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Hey, if you don't mind spending a premium of $1300 or $1600 on a defective product, then so be it. I am not that wealthy. Furthermore, since I am not that wealthy, I actually have to sell my old laptop in order to by a new one. Defective products are worth less than ones in non-defective condition. Why should I have to lose money due to Apple's greediness in terms of cutting quality control?
  17. pyramis macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    Go light

    I'm going to focus more on the practicalities of your needs than your emotions about defective products. Other posters have addressed issues of defects as well as you can expect.

    If you're looking for an ideal note-taking computer and money isn't a crucial factor, go for the newest Macbook Air. The build quality is certainly held to higher standards than your Blackbook, but probably comparable to the unibody Macbook. You can also save money and go for a previous generation Macbook Air.

    But if you're also looking for a computer with a little more power, the aluminum Macbooks are fast - as fast as previous generation MBPs.

    I would have faith that Apple's aluminum unibody laptops (Air included) have some of the highest build quality in Apple's career. That said, there will always some horror stories. Don't be scared. Worry about your 24 units, not your imperfect keys.
  18. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Your best bet is to go pick it up and check it carefully before you buy. Ok, there is no Apple store in town, but what about authorized dealers (Bestbuy, or other smaller stores). You can call Apple to find out. It's good to know in a long run as they can do repairs in the future too.
  19. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Unfortunately with Apple he will get a free replacement. Apples customer service are far too lenient. Any other OEM would laugh you out the shop.
  20. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Unfortunately? Any other OEM would not be charging Apple's premium. You can buy a similarly spec'ed non-Apple laptop for 30-40% less. For the ridiculous premium that Apple charges, anything short of perfection is unacceptable.

    Again, considering that the only way some of us can afford new laptops is to sell our old laptops on eBay, why should we settle for defective products which will significantly diminish the resale value? This is not fair to me.
  21. descartes macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    everything has its problems if you look hard enough. just enjoy what you have and not sweat the small stuff.
  22. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Then buy a similarly specced non Apple laptop for 30/40% less. You must think that the Mac is worth the 30/40% more or you would not be purchasing it. That doesn't mean Apple have to offer you a replacement over a dead pixel when the law states 5 pixels minimum.

    I'm not going to go into why your 30/40% statement is wrong (resale value, bundled software, increased productivity), thats a debate for another thread.
    Apple's quality control is far better than most OEM's. You are becoming paranoid because of forums like these, full of perfectionists who will settle for no less than perfection. PC users in my experience just suck it up and live with it. (I'm not bashing you for it, you are entitled to a good product).
  23. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I think that you should go for the new aluminum Macbook or Macbook Air.

    nick9191, you know that there is a such thing as quote tags.
  24. svndmvn Guest

    Nov 6, 2007
    I say it's quite unlikely you'll have a defective Macbook.
    I really don't see any serious issues with this Rev A as some tend to make others believe.
    As someone else pointed out in other threads, the screen gets a lot better with the right calibration that suits your needs, don't you think the ones buying Pros or Airs would be kinda pissed if the screen had better blacks on the entry models?
    Slanted keys, it is not definitive at all, you can solve the issue with some paper on the side they tend to sink in, and take the paper out in a while and everything will look perfect.
    Loose battery cover, it is aluminum and the issue has been solved by many MR members pretty easily.
    The thing is Macbooks, especially the new ones, seem to be perfect for people that are new to Macs but expect something 100x better than other PCs, they are often better in my opinion but defects happen, these new customers are often quite young as well and get pissed as f**k about pretty stupid things, I'm afraid.
  25. ITGuy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2005

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